Helpful Tidbits

Hospital & Postpartum Survival Kit

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for, oh I don’t know, eight months now. I came up with the idea almost immediately after Jameson was born and really wanted to put it together as a way to hopefully help some future mamas. But, you know, I got busy aka distracted. Life, amiright? Anyway, better late than never! I hope you find this list of items you might need for the hospital and for your postpartum recovery helpful in some way. Please let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I labored naturally at home and Jameson was born just about an hour after we arrived at the hospital. Because of this, I didn’t bring any labor-specific items to the hospital and we only stayed one night. If you have opted for a C-section or want to be prepared in case you end up needing to stay longer in the hospital for any reason, you may need to tweak this list here and there.

FOR BABY

A few (swaddle) blankets – Only if they’re sentimental or wanted for pictures, though. The hospital will provide and send you home with plenty of their own swaddle blankets.

A few simple outfits – Again, only if you plan on dressing your baby in the hospital. We ended up just keeping Jameson in a diaper and swaddling him up because 1) it was easier to change him; 2) they run all kinds of tests while you’re there and it’s much quicker if the baby isn’t covered in clothes; and 3) skin-to-skin bonding is recommended, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

Going home outfit and a spare going home outfit – Normally I would say this is overkill because really, what are the chances that your itty bitty one will completely destroy his meticulously chosen outfit moments before being loaded into the car seat for the first time? 100% likely with Jameson. I was literally strapping him in his car seat when – BAM! – poop explosion. So he ended up coming home in a random onesie I had jammed in his diaper bag.

** Don’t bother with diapers & wipes because the hospital will provide everything you need (and more!) and the ones you brought will just take up space. Grab those hospital freebies like they’re going out of style.

FOR THE HUBS

Sweatshirt – One of the top recommendations I got when asking people for advice on what Alex should pack. They were right! Our room got chilly and he was glad he had it.

Nice camera – In all likelihood, you won’t be taking many pictures (you’ll be busy, you know, being a mom and all). Decide who will be in charge of taking pictures, whether that’s a professional or your husband with your good camera, and make sure you pack the charger.

Other electronics – Phone, chargers, possibly something to watch movies on (Alex and I brought my iPad and watched The Office on Netflix while Jameson snuggled with us in bed).

Comfortable Clothing & Toiletries You know the drill.

FOR YOU!

Ready for the nitty gritty? We’ll start off easy…

A copy of your birth plan – If you have one. I never even used mine (I knew how I wanted my labor to go and my midwife was extremely accommodating) but it might be nice to have on hand, especially if you think it would be helpful to have your preferences clearly laid out in writing for the doctors and nurses.

Anything you might need for labor – As I mentioned above, I labored almost entirely at home so I didn’t bring anything. But this could include special music, a focus item, a Bible with specific verses marked to read during labor…

Hair ties – Maybe one or two. My hair was a hot mess after delivery so I just threw it in a pony and that was that.

Chapstick – Always good to have.

Loose-fitting pajamas/other outfits – If you want to avoid the hospital gowns. Some people really prefer to be in their own clothes, which I totally get. I personally just stayed in the hospital gown the entire time (didn’t even wear a bra) because it was convenient for nursing, convenient for all those frequent doctor checks, I didn’t care if it got ruined, and I was really just too lazy to get changed. Seriously. Next time I deliver a baby I’ll probably bring one pair of pj’s just in case and that’s it.

**Clothing recommended to me: Yoga or sweat pants, flowy shirts, a nightgown, and a robe. Make sure you’re not too attached to any of these items since they could get rather…stained. Ew.

Nursing bra and/or nursing tank – If you’re planning on breastfeeding. Again, I ended up not even wearing mine but I would still recommend bringing one anyway.

Socks and/or slippers – I believe hospitals recommend you bring those with good grip on the bottom, just in case you decide to wear them while laboring and want to walk around.

Flip flops – A definite must. I wore those bad boys right into the shower. I don’t care how many chemicals have cleaned that bathroom, I knew what was coming out of me (yep, gross) and I knew I wasn’t the first to be in that situation.

Toiletries – The hospital does supply you with shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. so you could skip this if you want to pack light. I, however, am the kind of person who likes to use the products I’m used to. Don’t forget your toothbrush, though! 🙂

Beauty supplies – The only thing I used in this category was a little bit of mascara so I didn’t look like a total zombie in our first family pictures. But I did pack my straightener as well. (I didn’t yet know that you don’t really have that kind of time with a newborn. Ah, youth.)

Going home outfit – Keep in mind that you will probably look about six months pregnant even after delivery (boo!) so choose something comfortable and roomy. I wore leggings and a long, loose shirt.

Nipple cream (for all you nursing mamas) – Yup, now we’re getting into it. You probably won’t know what works best for you until a few days in so just grab a brand and try it out. I used Lanolin by Lansinoh but I’ve also heard great things about Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter if you prefer lanolin-free.

Depend for Women – Hey, you don’t want your baby to be the only one in diapers do you?! Yeaaahhh. To be quite frank, you’re going to be bleeding a lot. It’s going to look like a murder scene in your pants every time you use the bathroom. The hospital has these mesh thunder-pad panties that lots of women swear by, but they never fit me very well. I wore them at the hospital just because I paid a buttload of money for that hospital stay and darn it, I’m getting me some mesh panties! But once I got home I switched to Depends (picked up at Target) and they fit much better. Plus, soooo sexy! Seriously though, I much prefer diaper-wearing to worrying about a regular pad sliding around my underwear all day and night. Once the bleeding subsides a little in a couple of weeks you can switch to the regular pads (I did), or just keep on rocking the diaper.

TO HAVE READY AT HOME

(your postpartum care)

Perineal Irrigation Bottle – Found on Amazon here, or stolen from your hospital. Use to clean…er…down under.

Dermoplast – The blue kind, not the red kind. The hospital will probably send you home with some but I had more ready for me at home and I’m so glad I did. This stuff will numb the heck out of your nether-regions, which is definitely what you want (whether you had tearing/stitches or not).

Some sort of stool softener – Just…yeah. Take it.

Lansinoh soothies gel pads – For nursing mamas, found on Amazon here. I didn’t actually use these so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard they work wonders on sore or damaged nipples and I wish I had bought some.

More Depend for Women – Just buy a whole bunch. C’mon, you know you want to.

And that’s it! I would really recommend checking out The Postpartum Experience on Lucie’s List as well, especially if you’re not sure what to expect in terms of your delivery, what happens at the hospital, what happens afterwards, and so on. Meg breaks everything down so easily and she’s a riot. Can’t recommend her work enough!

Let me know if I missed anything important! I’d love to hear what worked well in your experience.

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Helpful Tidbits, Products + Reviews

What’s in my diaper bag

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+ diaper bag: Ju-Ju Be B.F.F.

+ nursing cover: Covered Goods

I thought I’d do this fun little post really quick for any moms-to-be out there who are wondering what exactly they’ll actually need in their diaper bags (I used to way over-pack mine haha). Jameson is almost seven months now so I pack a little differently than I did when he was a newborn, but it should give you a pretty good idea about what some of the essentials are.

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+ front pouch aka the “Mommy Pouch” (pictured above): my wallet, some gum, dental floss (you never know), hand sanitizer, Chapstick & a lipstick or two, and a few Advil in a plastic baggie.

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+ mini zipper pouch: a pen, an extra binky (which Jameson really just uses as a teether now), sunglasses, and my cell phone if it’s not in my pocket.

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+ main pouch: a small red cosmetic bag which I use to hold diapers (usually 5-8 because I overprepare) and wipes so that I can easily find them, teethers in the plastic-covered picture display pockets for quick access, a burp cloth, an extra onesie and extra shorts/pants, sometimes a pair of pjs if we’ll be out for awhile, one of those packages of sample wipes just in case I run out of my usual ones, health-related essentials grouped in one of the inside pockets (spare thermometer, his special lotion for dry skin, a travel baby brush, and a nasal aspirator), a few non-teething toys that he likes, our spare baby monitors (not a real essential, but we spend the weekends hanging out with family so they’re useful to have on hand), my nursing cover which Jameson is eating in the picture above, and maybe a snack for me.

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+ insulated side pouches: his sippy cup on one side and either a snack for him (usually Puffs) or my water bottle on the other side.

++ the back of this diaper bag has a pouch that holds the memory foam changing pad it comes with, and I sometimes shove random stuff (junk) back there too.

And that’s everything for now! The nice thing about this diaper bag is that it really has a lot of space and plenty of inside pockets for organizational purposes. I’m excited to see how it grows with us and fits our needs in the future as Jameson gets older, and as we hopefully add more little ones to our family!

Did I miss any essentials? Let me know what you keep in your diaper bag! 🙂

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Helpful Tidbits, Products + Reviews

Baby Registry Basics

So you’re having a baby… Yay!!! Congratulations on bringing a brand new, adorable little squish into the world!

Deciding what to buy/register for when you’re pregnant with your first baby can be so overwhelming at the beginning. Recently a friend of mine (who’s pregnant with her first baby, hooray!) asked me if I could share with her a list of everything I think is a “baby essential” for new mamas. She’s putting together her registry and was looking for tips on where to get started. I sent her my list but I thought I’d share it here as well, just in case other mamas-to-be could benefit from it.

{By the way, I am by no means an expert…these were just things that I personally registered for and/or found super helpful these past four months with Jameson. I also have a shorter review of my top eight favorite baby products, which you can check out here.}

Okay strap in and let’s get started…

Stroller & Car Seat

I thought I’d start off with the big ones. You can buy these separately but we’ve found that the stroller + car seat combo option (aka a travel system) is super convenient and easy because you can literally unclick the car seat from its base in your car and click it right into the stroller (which is extra magical when Jameson falls asleep in the car and we don’t want to wake him up). We use the Britax B Agile (stroller) with the Britax B Safe (car seat) but there are lots of other great brands as well. Alternatively, you can actually buy a car seat alone and then buy a stroller frame that the car seat can click into, but that stroller frame can’t be used in the future without the infant car seat. So that’s why we chose the full travel system instead, and we’ve loved it from day one.

Baby Carrier

There are sooo many options and I drove myself crazy researching and trying to figure out the best ones. Ultimately I bought two different wraps (but I liked the Solly Baby the best out of the two…it can be used for an infant and an older baby) AND we also got a soft-structured carrier (the Ergobaby 360) for things like zoo trips and situations where I want to wear Jameson for longer periods of time. But if you prefer wraps to the structured carriers (or vice versa) you really don’t need both…that’s just what we did.

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Swing or Bouncer

Seriously, if you can get your great-aunt-whoever to buy you a really nice swing, it will not disappoint. If not, just go with the best you can afford. Total life saver for me when I needed to get dinner together or clean up or whatever and Jameson was too little to just leave somewhere and be entertained. We have the Fisher-Price My Little Snuggapuppy swing. Getting a bouncer is another (cheaper) option, but you probably don’t need both the swing and the bouncer, so go with whatever works best for you.

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Graco Pack ‘n Play with reversible napper and changer

{Find it here on Amazon} This bad boy is easily packed up and taken places so your baby always has a safe place to sleep and play. Plus it has a bassinet on top which flips to be a changing station, so you can set it up in your bedroom and let your little one sleep there at night if you want. Otherwise, you might want to buy a full bassinet to keep in your room during the first few months. If you go with the Pack ‘n Play, though, it’s all in one (the main reason we went that route). You’ll also want to register for a couple of the Pack ‘n Play mattress sheets (on Amazon here) and possibly a separate, more comfy mattress than the one it comes with (such as the Dream on Me), if you’re planning on using it long-term.

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Bath Time Supplies

  • Go with the cheap blue bathtub that everyone gets (Walmart has them here) with the infant sling in it for when your baby is super itty bitty. No need to get fancy in this area.

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  • We use plain old Johnson & Johnson products for shampoo, body wash, and lotion (you can register for the gift set if you prefer).
  • And make sure you throw some washcloths and hooded towels on the registry for your babe, too.

Sleepy Supplies

  • First off, you’ll definitely want to register for some swaddle blankets. You can get specific “swaddlers” that just velcro so you don’t have to worry about wrapping and folding and all that black magic, but Jameson never liked those. We ended up buying a bunch of the adin + anais muslin blankets instead (kind of pricey but if someone buys them for you…scoreee!). They’re super breathable and can be used for swaddling of course, but we use them for lots of other things too.

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  • Depending on your house size, you’re going to want to register for some baby monitors. If you’re in a small apartment you might not even need them, but if you’re in a larger home (or if you’re just a worrier like me) then you’ll need some good ones. We originally registered for audio-only monitors but as we’ve been transitioning Jameson to his crib at night, I personally felt like I needed more for my own peace of mind. So with our Christmas gift cards we ordered the Levana Stella video monitor and it’s been awesome. Either way, do a bit of research before you decide on a monitor so that you’re sure you found a quality one.
  • A sound machine is another item you might want on your registry, especially if you have loud neighbors, loud animals, loud spouses (ahem). There are plenty of cheap ones that will do the trick, or you can go all out and get a fancy shmancy one. We use the plain old HoMedics SoundSpa sound machine and keep it on the white noise setting. Or sometimes we just put a small fan in Jameson’s room, which works just as well for drowning out unwanted noises.Some sort of night light. Doesn’t have to be anything expensive (unless you want it to be), but I’d definitely recommend one for those late night feedings when you’re basically half asleep and bumping into everything.

Feeding Supplies

  • Bottles/slow-flow nipples if you’re planning on bottle-feeding or pumping (even if you’re not, you might want to grab a couple of bottles and nipples like the Philips Avent starter gift set, as well as some formula, just in case you get in a bind and breastfeeding isn’t an option at the moment for whatever reason).

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  • A hand pump and/or an electric pump for breastfeeding mamas (you can get a nice electric pump through your insurance under Obama Care). Also some sort of storage system for your pumped milk, if you want. {I can’t really speak too much on this area because I personally don’t pump or store breast milk.
  • Burp cloths. LOTS of burp cloths. (We use Gerber brand and they double as cloth diapers if you’re into that sort of thing). Some bibs might be good as well.

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  • Nursing pads for inside your bra (I personally prefer the washable kind because they’re softer and cheaper than constantly buying the disposable kind). Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding, having some nursing pads on hand is helpful at the beginning because you’ll most likely leak a little when your milk comes in.
  • Nipple cream or butter (I just used Lanolin by Lansinoh when I needed it at the beginning) but I’ve also heard good things about Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter.
  • A good nursing cover. Don’t skimp on this one! It’s so worth it if you’re breastfeeding. I started with the standard bib-type (aka the front-facing cape) but it felt so awkward and revealing to me so I searched for a more modest option. Ultimately I found Covered Goods and ordered the cover online almost immediately. It’s literally probably my favorite baby-related purchase, not only because it’s so modest and comfortable but also because it has so many other uses as well. Check them out for sure!

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  • A Boppy (or some other type of nursing pillow) is helpful when you’re learning how to breastfeed, and it’s good for tummy time for babes. You’ll also want to register for at least two nursing pillow covers just because…babies are messy.

Diapering Doo-Dads

  • You can register for diapers and wipes, but you’ll probably get those as gifts anyway.
  • A wipe warmer. Some people say to skip this one, but for Jameson it was a must. When he was a newborn he haaaateeedd getting his diaper changed and a wipe warmer seriously made such a difference for him.

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  • Some type of diaper rash cream (I highly recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, partly because the name is hilarious but also because it’s just a really good product)
  • Possibly a diaper pail, although we just use a small trash can.
  • A good diaper bag. There are about 6 zillion options to overwhelm you, but whatever you decide…make sure it’s good quality. You’ll probably be using it for many years down the road (and possibly for multiple kids), so invest now. I went with a Ju Ju Be diaper bag (the Ju Ju Be B.F.F. model because it’s also a backpack) and I’ve loved it ever since. Cute, convenient, comfortable to carry, machine-washable, and versatile.

Nursery Essentials

{Just stick with the basics.}

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  • A mattress (you can go organic with this, or something like the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams mattress on Amazon)
  • A few waterproof mattress pads and a couple of extra sheets (for those lovely late-night leaking adventures)
  • A dresser (we have the Fisher-Price Lakeland Double Dresser that matches the crib)
  • A changing pad to go on top of the dresser if you want to skip the whole extra “changing table” piece of furniture like we did) and a few changing pad covers to go on it.
  • A glider for you (doesn’t have to be fancy, just something comfy you can rock/feed your bebe in when you get tired of bouncing them around). We just got one of the cheapest ones we could find on Amazon and it’s been perfectly fine.
  • A mobile like the ones from Buy Buy Baby can be great.

Playtime 

  • A play mat is a MUST (Jameson learned so much about using his hands from his mat and he has so much fun with it). Fisher-Price makes great ones, in a variety of price ranges.

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  • For older babies, Exersaucers are a blast (found here on Buy Buy Baby) and so are those bumper jumpers that you can attach to the door frame (found here on Buy Buy Baby).
  • You might also want to see if a Bumbo (on Amazon here) is something you want for when your baby is a little older. If so, I’d recommend getting the tray attachment for it so your baby can easily play with toys or have a snack or whatever else.

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  • Some sort of car seat toy (Amazon has a bunch of options here). This is especially useful when you have a baby like Jameson who strongly believes that the car seat is quite literally torture.
  • Maybe a couple of bath toys? You can delay this, though. Newborns just sort of lay there in the bath haha.
  • Any other toy that looks fun! Rattles, things with buttons and silly songs, some teethers. But really, you’re probably going to get a bunch of these whether you register for them or not.

Randoms

  • Pacifiers. You’ll probably want to register for a couple different brands to see which your babe prefers (if any). We used Soothies at first and now Nuk brand since Jameson was about one month old.

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  • Some sort of snot remover device (we use the NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator which looks like the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in your life but works SO AMAZINGLY WELL). You can also pick it up at Target or Walmart or wherever.
  • A mirror for the car so you can see your baby while you drive (like this one).
  • Receiving blankets are great to have on hand, for swaddling when the baby is little and for tummy time and things like that (those things get so much spit up on them all the time, you’ll probably want quite a few).
  • Maybe a couple of cute baby blankets, although you’ll most likely get those as gifts anyway.

 

And that’s it! Phew! You made it.

** Word to the wise…don’t bother registering for baby clothes unless there’s something specific you really really want. You’ll be up to your eyeballs in adorable baby clothes at your shower anyway. **

Another AWESOME resource I’d encourage you to check out is Lucie’s List. It’s what I used when I was researching baby products and putting together my registry. The sheer number of options for literally every baby product is like…insane. But Lucie’s List made it easy for me to compare the top brands and choose what I thought would be best for my baby and my family. Plus Meg (the main author) is hilarious and she has a great newsletter that gets sent directly to your email with tips and info depending on where you are in your pregnancy/mommyhood. I loved getting those newsletters every couple of weeks during my pregnancy, and even after the birth of my son.

I hope you found this giant registry overhaul helpful!!! Please comment with any other registry essentials you may have, or with any questions. Thanks for reading!

– Jess

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