what to pack in your hospital bag

they say, “third time is the charm!” well, maybe. except this time, my birth experience will be amidst a global pandemic which has resulted in changing hospital policies. I try to avoid all the crazy extras because who wants to lug a bunch of stuff into the hospital for a (hopefully) quick 2-3 day stay? not me, or mike for that matter. honestly, my first labor was so bad i hardly used anything i packed because i essentially lived in the hospital gown. for brady, i felt 1,000x better and was able to “enjoy” our stay and time with him a little more. regardless, I feel like I have a good handle on the things you will want, need and use during your stay in the hospital.

here is what I am packing in my hospital bag for baby number 3.

for baby:

  • one gown
  • one going home outfit
  • one swaddle
  • one extra outfit just in case
  • one pair of no-scratch mits and a hat

if you have been following me for a while, then you know my favorites are all loulou and company. they have the softest material and cutest colors/prints. also, keep in mind, you might want an option in 0-3 size instead of newborn. landon was a huge baby and I barely squeezed him into a newborn outfit. brady on the other hand was a tiny little peanut and swimming in his going home out. this go around, I have a newborn option and a 0-3 option.

for momma:

  • one pair of nursing friendly jammies or comfy clothes
  • one extra pair of pants or joggers (my preference and not pictured)
  • one nursing friendly top (not pictured)
  • one going home outfit
  • a cozy pair of slippers (that can be washed or tossed after your stay)

this time around, especially since there will not be visitors, I want to be comfortable and practical. comfy clothes that are presentable, but also double as pajamas are a must. keep in mind, if you are nursing, you will want whatever you are wearing to allow easy access. also, for your going home outfit, you should pack maternity clothes or something with a lot of stretch! Unfortunately, the belly doesn’t just disappear after delivery… things no one ever told me! ha! last, bring slippers or slipper socks that can be washed or tossed. these are my favorite from amazon and wash up really easily. as far as comfies go, my favorites are the stars above line at target. I also really want to try kindred bravely and doe loungewear.

for nursing:

  • nursing pillow
  • one or two burp cloths
  • tubby todd nipple balm
  • one or two nursing bras

hear me out, I had NOTHING prepared for the first go around and nursing was hard! trying to stuff pillows get the best position/angle was so tough. do yourself a favor and pack the nursing pillow. I use a boppy, but any would work great. do whatever it will take to set yourself up for success. that includes the nipple balm. you will thank me later! I am excited to try this tubby todd nipple balm this time around. I actually ordered it with the mama bundle and i’m so glad I did! burp cloths and nursing bra are a bonus, but the hospital napkins are scratchy for baby and I always appreciated having something to control the girls…

for a photo op:

  • something cute for momma (and partner)
  • something cute for baby
  • your camera
  • something to announce (a letter board for us)

a lot of these items double in the other categories. this robe for me will work great for both a photo op and something cozy to lounge in. bonus, it’s easy to do skin to skin! this loulou bundle includes mits, hat and a swaddle so I am not double packing for baby! ps. I have one print for a boy and one for a girl πŸ™‚ don’t forget your camera and something to photograph with baby’s name or measurements!

extras:

  • pillows for both you and your partner
  • travel sound machine (a must for us!)
  • extension cord
  • chargers
  • computer
  • toiletries

pillows to sleep on for both you and your partner are crucial! make sure to bring them in a colored pillow case so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital laundry. extension cord because the outlet is always in an awkward spot. chargers for all of your devices. your computer or ipad to facetime family/friends and stream some shows! more on toiletries next….

toiletries:

  • shower sandals
  • face wash
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • chap stick
  • light make-up
  • extra hair ties
  • tubby todd mama bundle
  • dry shampoo
  • disposable nursing pads

just like going on a quick trip, bring the essentials that will make you feel most comfortable and most like you. your post-partum hormones are going to be out of control and so will the sweats. you will like shower one or two times while in the hospital. with all of the hand washing, mask wearing, you will be happy your brought the tubby todd mama bundle with you to alleviate the dryness. I can already see a huge difference in my hands an i’ve only been using the cream for a week now!

For mommas with other kids at home: MOST IMPORTANT (in my opinion) than anything you will pack is what you leave behind at home. Get ahead of yourself and leave behind schedules, what to pack to lunch at school, carpool procedures, etc. for your older kids. Whether they are in school or virtual or have “set activities,” a schedule and guidance is always appreciated by whomever will be coming over to care for your kids while you are away. Don’t forget to leave their insurance cards and a letter allowing them to make medical care decisions, just in case! Odds are you won’t need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

that’s it ladies! my essentials for the hospital. for bonus, you could pack it all in a super cute weekender bag from fawn design. it’s on my wishlist…

to make it easier on you, here’s an easy printable to help you with your packing! I would love to know if you have any other favorites from your hospital stays.

holiday gift guide: 5 gifts for the expectant mom

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i get messages all the time asking where i found this or that. or saying, “wow, that’s something i could really use!” so i thought, why not share with you my most used and loved items as gift guides. with black friday around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up a few gifts for the ones you love. full disclosure, i do not get paid for any of this, just sharing things i love, use daily and truly believe in.

let’s start with 5 gifts for the expectant mom. my hope is that you might find something for an expectant mom or new mom that she might not have thought of before!

  1. gathre mat: if you follow my instagram then you know i am pretty obsessed with these. we have one in the car for on the go, two for under the high chair or playing with messy things in the playroom, and one that can double as both a placemat or changing mat. the mats are made of bonded leather, fold pretty small, wipe clean with soap and water, and are BEAUTIFUL. wins all around. use at the park, under painting, playdough, kids eating, etc. the uses are endless! their black friday sale is live now until 11/25 so GO NOW!
  2. summer infant my bath seat: okay, this is a recent purchase of mine. when mike is traveling and i am solo with both kids for nighttime routine, this is my lifesaver. i can bathe both boys at the same time (which they love) and not be a nervous wreck about someone getting hurt while in the tub. it’s also perfect for the kiddos that are not quite stable enough to sit in the tub solo but has outgrown the baby bath tub. scoop one up at buybuybaby with a 20% off coupon!
  3. lou lou and company: anything from here is amazing! our BIL and SIL gifted brady with the sweetest blanket, newborn gown, hat and mittens. the fabric is like BUTTER. it was by far one of my favorite things to put him in during those early weeks. and the hat actually fit his tiny head! mittens that actually stay on are hard to find and these were so cozy and did the job. they have new deals daily for black friday, so sign up for their emails!
  4. hatch baby rest +: this is a game changer. sound machine, okay to wake light, night light, clock AND audio monitor in one. that’s crazy! we have original model and i wish we had the plus so we could get rid of one more gadget in landon’s room. the custom colors and sounds are awesome. landon is also waiting until his light turns green to get out of his bed which is a major win these days.
  5. hatch baby grow: i know i said the hatch baby rest is a game changer, but so is the hatch baby grow. with a new baby comes the pressure to gain weight. it doesn’t matter how you choose to feed your baby, pediatricians want to see that number on the scale go up. enter the need for the hatch baby grow. skip the co-pay and germy doctor office for a weight check and do it at home with this changing pad/scale all in one. for the nursing moms, you can do “weighted feeds” to track how many ounces they are taking at the breast. that is HUGE. no more renting a scale from the hospital or seeing LC for weighted feeds, you can now do it all in the comfort of your home. bonus, the changing pad is wipe clean (hello less laundry). the app that accompanies the scale is great for tracking feeds, diapers, weight, naps, etc. and easily shared between you and your partner. i wish i had this with landon.

my other online/holiday shopping tip – use RakutenΒ (formerly ebates). i do all of my online shopping through Rakuten and earn cash back on things i am already buying. they send your cash back through paypal quarterly. it’s legit and money back on stuff i was already buying.

questions about any of these products? leave a comment or come visit my instagram to see them in use.

up next – holiday gift guide for the developing baby

a review: spectra vs. medela

this is not your typical brady post, but it’s all thanks to brady that i am writing this post. finally, after 3.5 months of exclusively pumping and numerous texts from friends asking, i am writing my personal review of both the spectra S1 and medela pump in style advanced. i am actually writing this post while pumping (TMI). if you don’t have any interest in pumping, you can skip this post and wait for the next (likely an update on early intervention services).

so, here we go. i have been using both pumps daily – the medela stays plugged in to the wall by the bed for early morning, late night and middle of the night pumps. my spectra travels around the house and in the car with me.

which do i like better? which one would you recommend? these are the questions i get asked the most from my expectant friends. truthfully, i don’t haveΒ true winner. here is why:

  • i get the same output from both (sometimes i might think the medela gets a little more, but we would be splitting hairs)
  • i have the same level of comfort with both

in my opinion, i believe the above holds true for me because i naturally have a good supply AND i am using the correct size shields with both pumps. i believe a lot of women don’t pay attention to the size shield/flange and that is where a lot of discomfort comes into play. if you experiencing discomfort or don’t feel your pump is very effective, i recommend looking at the manufacturer website for sizing guidelines. this solves a lot of issues very easily.

here is my pros and cons list for each:

medela pump in style advanced

pros

  • compact size
  • effective
  • parts are easily cleaned and sterilized
  • easy to find parts and accessories at most retailers

cons

  • not portable without the purchase of a battery pack accessory
  • does not have a timer
  • LOUD

IMG_5269-3

spectra s1

pros

  • portable (the battery is rechargeable)
  • effective
  • quiet
  • closed system (meaning you can share the pump without worrying about cross contamination)
  • varying speeds of suck and varying levels of vacuum power
  • display with timer, speed, vacuum setting and light (if needed)

cons

  • parts must be boiled to sanitize (they are not recommended to be sanitized by steam bag, sanitizer, dishwasher)
  • parts are difficult to find in stores

IMG_5272-3

the reason there is not a clear winner for me is because while the spectra offers more options and portability, it’s not as convenient when it comes to needing to buy replacement parts and cleaning/sanitizing.

if i were a first time mom reading this and needing to make a decision, i would probably choose a spectra s1. if i am a second time mom and i had great luck with the medela the first go around, i don’t know i would say you should get one or the other. i know, not much help. BUT you have to look at your lifestyle and what matters most to you!

other helpful tips for pumping:

  1. EAT: now is not the time to try some diet if you want to maintain a good supply. i can tell on days where i am better nourished, my supply is better
  2. HYDRATE: without a doubt the most important thing you can do for your body while pumping
  3. RELAX: it’s easier said than done, but try your best.
  4. PREPARE: buy the extra pieces you need. the best money spent, for me, was on more flanges and bottles. so that i was not washing everything after every pump.

may i also recommend buying a hands free pump bra? seriously, life changing. do yourself a favor and buy one (or TWO) to make your life easier!

feel free to shoot me an email or comment with questions. i am happy to help in any way i can. be sure to check out my instagram story highlight on pumping – it shows all my favorite products and supplies!