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3 In Baby/ Motherhood/ pregnancy/ printables

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag
This post contains affiliate links meaning I make a small commission

If you’re searching for a hospital bag checklist, you’ve come to the right place! There are tons of similar posts floating around the internet with checklists, but being a labor and delivery nurse and a second time mama, I’m sharing what you really need to pack in your hospital bag!

I remember with my first babe, we got sent in for induction after our appointment at 37 weeks. I was in no way prepared so I literally threw everything in a bag and off we went to the hospital. I remember strolling in looking like we were going on a week’s long vacation. This time, I definitely plan to be more prepared and intentional with packing my hospital bag.

 

Here is the down and dirty of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag

from a Labor and Delivery Nurse:

Flip Flops – I love these Croc flip flops. They are so comfy for walking around, grip to your feet and can also be worn in the shower.

what to pack in your hospital bag - crocs flip flops

 

Comfortable dresses/nursing gowns – I’m all about the comfortable dresses and these are like all I wore last time. They’re easy for nursing, a loose, non-binding option for csection recovery mamas and a simple way to look a little more put together. I love this one from the Nesting Olive. I bought it in a few colors. I also love these 24/7 house dresses from Undercover Mama.

What you really need to pack in your Hospital bag - nursing dress

 

Yoga Pants – I like these ones from Target because they are loose fitting and stretchy (so great for csection mamas).

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - yoga pants

Nursing Tops – I love this three pack of nursing tops on Amazon

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing tops

Nursing bras – I got this three pack on Amazon. They are wirefree.

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing bras

Swaddle blankets – seriously you can never have enough. I got a few from Copper Pearl and I love them because they are big, soft and super stretchy. They also have lots of different, fun prints.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - swaddle blankets

Going home outfit for baby – Amazon has lots of cute ones. I like this one for a girl and this one for a boy.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - girl going home outfit

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boy going home outfit

Boppy – I loved having my Boppy with me at the hospital to help with breastfeeding. The lactation consultant was able to show me different positions that were comfortable post c-section.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boppy

Pillow – your own pillow. I know sometimes on L&D especially when we’re slammed we run short on pillows so I always tell people bring your own from home. That means dad or your support person too.

Diffuser – Not only is it nice to have going during labor, but also in postpartum for overall rest and relaxation.  I have mine that I use from Young Living but I like this one from Amazon as well. My favorites for sleep and relaxation are lavender and frankincense.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - diffuser

Phone charger – I have this extra long one from Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - extra long phone charger

Camera

Headbands/hairties – I found these cute ones with a bow on Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - headbands

Toiletries – Ok so the hospital does have some stuff but I’m a little particular. I got a cute cosmetic bag and hit the travel sized toiletry bins at Target and stocked up on everything I needed. Don’t forget the dry shampoo and chapstick!

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - dry shampoo

Pacifiers – some hospitals no longer provide them especially if they are Breastfeeding Friendly. So if you know you are going to want them, bring your own just in case.

 

Things that you don’t need to pack because the hospital will most likely provide to you:

– Underwear – the hospital will give you that sexy mesh kind so why pack your own?

– Pads/topical numbing sprays and creams/icepacks

– Non skid socks

– Gown to labor in (unless you want to wear your own but it’s most likely going to get covered in lots of fluids just saying)

– Diapers/wipes

– Nipple cream

– Onesies

– Breast pump – most hospitals have them for you to use during your stay but ask before you go.

 

Click here to download my printable checklist

 

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag printable checklist

 

 

0 In Motherhood/ postpartum anxiety/ postpartum depression/ self care

My top 4 tips for tackling anxiety

4 tips for managing anxiety
This post is sponsored by Walgreens but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

(Zip up hoodie from Mother Bee Maternity)

For years I have struggled with anxiety, long before becoming a mother.  My first experience with it was my senior year of college.  I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like I was being strangled.  My body was paralyzed and I couldn’t move.  I was absolutely terrified and didn’t realize then that it was in fact anxiety.  Once I became a mom, I was a constant bundle of nerves – Is he breathing? Is he eating enough? Am I spending enough quality time with him? What I thought were normal worries and concern snowballed into a giant panic attack when I was 10 months postpartum.

The thing about anxiety is that it’s a constant battle that ebbs and flows – some days are good, others are more challenging.  For the past two years I have been able to keep my anxiety in check with some helpful changes.

Here are my top 4 tips for tackling anxiety:

 

1.) Create a routine – Coming up with a daily routine helps diminish any feelings of anxiety. It’s something that is the same each day and you can come to depend on. Eating wholesome foods, getting some exercise, daily medication and a good night’s sleep are the four major components of my routine.  I make it a point and my self care to ensure that I don’t stray from my routine because if I do, it throws me out of whack.

I first went on anxiety medication when I was in nursing school. I remember at my appointment asking my doctor to prescribe me something, I felt alot of shame.  I wasn’t the best at remembering to take it, some days I would, others I would go 3-4 days without. Shortly after finishing school, and becoming acclimated with my new job, I felt better and took myself off of my medication.  Those feelings of panic and dread slowly started to creep in again. After I had my son, I went back on anxiety medication.  This time, I made it a priority to take my medication daily so that I could be my best self for him and my family.  And now Walgreens is making it easier to stay up to date on your medication adherence. Be sure to download the app to make filling your re-fills a whole lot easier http://bit.ly/redphone-wakeup.

2.) Don’t procrastinate -Whenever we have a lot to do, it’s normal to want to put things off. The thing is, procrastination makes you feel even more overwhelmed.  I like to use lists and write down all of the things I need to do that day. I try to tackle the more challenging things early in the morning when I’m at my best, crossing things off as I go. Not only does this help keep me organized, but I also feel like I’ve accomplished something.

 

3.) Breathe – mindful breathing or meditation is one of my favorite tips I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s easy to do and you can do it anywhere. Mindful breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, shutting off our “fight or flight response” when we’re stressed and telling our mind to “rest”. To practice mindful breathing:

  • Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
  • Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
  • Then slowly exhale for 8 seconds.

After a few cycles, I feel more relaxed and centered.

 

4.) Talk to someone – Whether you talk to a trusted family member or friend, or enlist the help of a counselor or therapist, talking to someone is very helpful. Not only do you feel like someone is listening, but it can also help you identify your triggers so that you know what things make you feel more anxious or stressed.

 

4 tips for managing anxiety

 

 

 

2 In health/ intentional living/ Motherhood

10 ways I practice self care daily since becoming a mom

There is no job more exhausting than being a mom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely rewarding but it’s also downright exhausting. All of our energy goes into caring for our families and making sure everyone is healthy and happy. As mom’s it’s natural we’re always doing for everyone else that so often our own self care takes the back burner.  But it’s like they say when you board the plane “put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others”. What good are you to everyone else if you’re not at 100% yourself?

If you go on the internet, you’ll see the term “self-care” all over. But self-care is more than just massages and bubble baths. (I love those things as much as the next woman trust me.) Self care is anything that re-fuels or re-charges you, mentally, physically or spiritually so that you can continue to give your best self. I’m sharing some simple ways you can add self care to your day to day routine.

Here are 10 ways I practice self care daily since becoming a mom:

 

1.) Enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea by yourself – That first morning cup of coffee, alone and in silence, it’s sacred. That’s my me-time. My husband knows that if he or my son happen to wake up early, to stay in bed and give me my time alone.

 

2.) Get dressed in the morning – I don’t get all fancy, but putting on jeans and a top, doing my hair and throwing on some concealer and mascara makes me feel like a decent human. Think of when you were on maternity leave, hadn’t showered in a week and wore that same pair of leggings for the 5th day in a row how you felt. The power of a hot shower, real clothes and a little makeup does wonders for your mental health.

 

3.) Clean or organize something – For me, having a clean home is like my xanax. Now, don’t get confused, my house is in no way spotless. I’m not on my hands and knees scrubbing or vacuuming every day (that’s why I have a Roomba). But daily I go through our common living spaces and put things away to get rid of the clutter and keep it organized. Looking at things scattered around my house makes my brain feel scattered and anxious vs when things are orderly bringing a sense of calm.

 

4.) Cook or bake something – For some people this may seem like more work so if that’s you, then don’t do it. I love being in my kitchen. On my days off I love to either bake a yummy treat to have in the house (try my version of Joanna Gaines’ lemon poppyseed bread) or try a new recipe for dinner. It’s fun for me and makes me feel like I accomplished something.

 

5.) Practice gratitude – Each morning, usually during my morning coffee, I think about the things that I am grateful for and everything I have. When things start to go a little sideways, I bring myself back to that mental list and remind myself of all I have to be thankful for.

 

6.) Read a book or listen to a podcast – Reading is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love to lay down with a good book and flip through the pages, getting lost in the story. It doesn’t have to be a book. You can read a magazine or a few articles from a favorite blog. I love The EveryMom and Nesting With Grace. You can also listen to a favorite podcast.

 

7.) Do some goal setting or daydream – I do this during my morning coffee (see why that time is so sacred?).  Sometimes it’s just daydreaming about a nice vacation or thinking about projects I want to do around the house to make our home my dream home. Other mornings it’s literally writing down things that I want to accomplish that day.

 

8.) Laugh – whether it’s laughing at myself or something my son said or did, I try to find the humor in daily situations.

 

9.) Say No – This was something I was lucky to learn a few years ago at a time when I felt like I was being stretched too thin. I’m a natural people pleaser and I like to make people happy. But if it doesn’t make you happy or stresses you out, it’s ok to say no to things.

 

10.) Go to bed early – Nothing recharges you like a good night’s sleep which since entering motherhood is few and far between. A couple night’s a week, I go to bed early before anyone else, leaving my hubby to do bedtime duty. I’ve been doing this since I was in college. When I was home from school it was a little joke with my parents that “I was retreating for the night”.  But that’s just what it is, my retreat. Some nights I read or meditate or doing nothing at all and just let my mind veg out. It’s a nice way to end the day and quiet the mind from all the constant thinking and worrying.

 

What are some of your favorite ways to practice self care?

 

 

10 self care ideas for moms

7 In Motherhood

A letter to me before you

a letter to me before you

Do you ever look back and think how different you were before becoming a mom? If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice before entering motherhood what would you say? I’ve linked up with some other mamas and we’ve all written a letter to our pre-mama selves doing just that. When you’re finished reading mine, head to the bottom of this post and read their versions of “A letter to me before you”.

 

Dear mama,

Yes you, I’m talking to you. You’re a real ball of fire. You’ve worked so hard to reach academic success and now you’re a hard-working career woman, bringing home the bacon. But you know how to have fun too. There’s lots of nights out for drinks after work, brunches on the weekend, and boy do you shop til you drop. You take pride in yourself, putting yourself first. You enjoy living carefree and having no commitments.

You’re still not quite sure you’re cut out for the motherhood thing. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s time and it’s the best thing that will ever happen to you.  And when it is time, you’ll have to work really hard at it, but you’ve always persevered.  With a little help from science, it will happen. From that moment on, your whole life will change. And there’s no greater joy than watching as a life grows inside you.

maternity photos

The minute you see your husband holding your new baby your heart just swells. You’ll go home with that little bundle and when the sleepless nights hit and the monotony of maternity leave sinks in think to yourself “what have I done?” But you’ll get through it. You’re not used to asking for help, but that’s what family is for.

Some days, you won’t even recognize yourself. You will look in the mirror one day and see that you have morphed into a totally different person, one who’s been wearing that same pair of leggings for a week and with spit up on your shirt. But it’s the best version of you. Don’t get hung up on those stretchmarks and deflated breasts. Those are your reminder of what an incredible miracle your body grew.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Your son will remind you daily that he doesn’t want the perfect mom, he wants you. He doesn’t care if your house is clean, or that the sink is full of dirty dishes. Hold him as long as you want, everything else can wait. And when he wants you to get down on the floor and play with him, just play. He will teach you not to take life too seriously.  That smile of his and that musical laugh, there’s no better sound in the world and you will do anything to make him laugh again, just so you can hear it.

playroom

When it’s time to go back to work, your heart will feel like it’s being torn. But you’ll learn to balance career and family.  And now, your priorities have changed. There will be no greater sense of pride or accomplishment than when you see your son do something new for the first time. Or when you come home from a long day at work and he runs over to you and throws his arms around you and says “I wuv you mama”. And as you cuddle on the couch, all of the day’s stresses just melt away. Because this is all that truly matters.

And when it’s time for baby #2, you’ll think to yourself “how could I love another baby as much as the first?” and a whole nother set of worries will appear. But you’ll manage and figure it out, just like you did the first time. Because if there’s anything motherhood has taught you, it’s that you’re flexible, yet resilient.

By far, becoming a mom is the greatest gift. You will truly find yourself in motherhood. And while you may not be the same woman you once were, loving another little human more than you could possibly love yourself is your greatest success.

a letter to me before you

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