10 Things No One Tells You to Pack in Your Labor & Delivery Hospital Bag (Plus a Free Printable)

When we were preparing to head to the hospital, I looked up several lists that featured the standard things to pack in your hospital bag (change of clothes, onesies, toiletries, etc.), which are all wonderful but I thought those lists were missing a few things. So, I put together my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Hospital Bag. I also included a free printable (my complete hospital bag checklist) after the list.

1. Warm socks – I am naturally cold, and I love a good pair of warm socks, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. Chances are good I would have been wearing warm socks at home, but I spent almost our entire stay in a hospital gown and socks. (I know, I know…I’m a fashion maven) The whole hospital was freezing and I was thankful to not walk around barefoot.

2. Tennis balls in a sock – One of the most valuable tips we picked up from our Lamaze class was this simple handheld massage trick. You literally take two tennis balls, put them in a long tube sock, tie the sock, and experience paradise. When your labor coach (husband, mom, best friend, etc.) massages your back with this contraption during labor, you will forget that you are in a hospital and feel like you are relaxing somewhere on a sandy beach (I may be exaggerating – it’s been a few months since my delivery…)

3. Button down (or zip up) shirt for dad – Everyone talks about mom and baby sharing skin to skin contact during the first hour after delivery (called kangaroo care) but they fail to mention that dad can do it, too! If mom had a c-section or for some reason can’t do skin-to-skin, dad can step in and the baby will get the same benefits of regulation of body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. I am thankful that I was able to have that time with my sweet girl because it is one of my most precious memories, but I am also thankful that Daniel was prepared to step in if I was unable.

4. Maternity clothes to wear home – I wish I could tell you that you would magically fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes two days after delivering your little one, but that’s just not reality. Be proud of your body – it has fought hard to create a little person and then deliver them into the world, and now it is going through physical and emotional (and hormonal) shock. Give yourself time to recover, time to relax, and time to be free of the pressures of body image in our society. Be proud, feel good about yourself, but also…bring maternity clothes…I promise you’ll thank me.

5. Baby Book – It’s not likely that you will be spending a lot of time writing in your baby book during your time at the hospital, but some hospitals offer you the option to stamp your baby’s footprints directly in the book. Our hospital didn’t give the ornate certificates of the past, so we got the official-looking form that I later added to my baby book. It was fine, but I wish I would have brought the book for a very personal keepsake. I looked everywhere to find the perfect baby book, here’s the one I fell in love with.

6. Extra bag for gifts (and hospital stuff!) – We were allowed to take all my postpartum goodies, a few burp clothes, the extra diapers, and even a swaddle blanket home from the hospital. We also brought home things like the bulb syringe, comb, and a Halo sleep sack our hospital gives to every newborn. When sweet girl couldn’t figure out her latch, I started pumping, so we had a ton of pumping accessories to bring home as well. Add to that the few presents we got from friends who visited us, and I was glad we had brought an extra bag to lug everything home!

7. Money for parking/valet – Call the hospital ahead of time (or better yet – take a hospital tour!) to find out the parking situation for moms in labor. Our hospital had valet parking for $4 (totally worth it in my opinion!) Of course, we had our $4 ready to go and sweet girl decided to begin her entrance into the world at 1:00am, well after valet parking had stopped. Oh well! We eventually used it in the vending machine for late night munchies.

8. List of people to call – Your brain is mush after delivery. Unless you want everyone to find out on Facebook, make a list of people who ought to hear the news over the phone (or at least through a text!).

9. Pillow in a colored pillowcase – This was the only thing my hubby really appreciated having. The hospital pillows aren’t the most comfortable things in the world. I was too exhausted to care, but when you combine an uncomfortable pillow with an uncomfortable fold down couch, it’s not easy for a new dad to get a good night’s (or morning, mid-afternoon, or early evening) rest. The colored pillow case is important because otherwise it will get swapped out for one of the commercial-grade hospital pillow cases – not pleasant!

10. Gift for dad – This is obviously not essential, but I know that my husband spent a lot of time figuring out the quickest route to the hospital, helping when I was too sick to move, and just generally caring for me throughout the pregnancy. I wanted a way to show him how much he meant to me throughout the process. The gift I gave him was simple – he got some Dad’s root beer and a storybook he enjoyed when he was a kid to read to our daughter (Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go). It wasn’t extravagant, but I think it just let him see that he is still important even with my focus elsewhere.

Well, that’s my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Diaper Bag! Here is a freebie – you can either download this picture or print the PDF below.

Hospital Bag

Printable Hospital Bag Packing List

I would love to hear from you! What did you love having in your hospital bag? What did you pack that you didn’t end up using?



Top 10 Items for Baby

Top 10 Baby Items for 0-6 Months - witandwander.wordpress.com

Seven months after giving birth to our first daughter, I can tell you that we have gone through a LOT of baby products. Some items I loved and some I couldn’t put away fast enough. Because some moms-to-be would rather sit through an all-day meeting with no bathroom access than think about what to put on their registry, I thought I would share my favorite baby products for new mommies and women who have been invited to a shower (How do you pick something that says “thoughtful, but practical” and not just “this was what I could afford from your list”!?). These are my must have, baby-tested and mommy-approved items for babies 0-6 months old.

  1. Wubbanub – These funny little pacifier/animal combos have been a lifesaver! They generally stay in baby’s mouth a little longer than a standard pacifier and give her something to hold on to. The attached pacifier is a Soothie, which is the only type of pacifier our daughter would take. I also got a few extra Soothies to stick in the diaper bag for emergencies. Not to mention these Wubbanubs look adorable! Our favorite is the giraffe. (If you ever happen to run into him, ours is named Carl)
  2. Bright Starts Lots of Links – I am convinced that links are the most versatile toy on the planet. They can attach toys to a toy bar, stroller, or car seat. They clip a blanket to a stroller to make a sun shade. They have great textures, making them perfect on-the-go teethers. Basically, they are baby gold.
  3. Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station – This may seem like such a silly thing to have, but a changing pad is so convenient when you go out to eat, go on vacation, or even just go to a friend’s house. This one has pockets to keep some wipes, Butt Paste, and a back-up diaper in, which means you can just grab it and go.
  4. Medela Feeding System – I’m sure the super expensive bottle systems with a million parts to clean serve some sort of magical purpose, but I am all about a one-stop-shop. These Medela bottles fit on my breast pump (I have the Medela Pump in Style) and I can feed her directly from those bottles. They also have several convenient sizes, so I can portion the milk out and save a little liquid gold here and there.
  5. Sleep & Play – Who needs fancy clothes for a newborn!? They are just going to pee or spit up all over it anyway! The chance of you leaving your house more than once a week for the first month is slim, so just stick them in a Sleep & Play day and night. I prefer the ones with snaps that go down both legs. Then you don’t have to completely undress them for every diaper change or wrestle a floppy (but strong) newborn leg back into a pant leg while they are fussing. You’re in survival mode during the first few months, so it’s all about ease!
  6. Board Books – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Of course any books are good when they are young, but sweet girl really loved Brown Bear. She would study the high-contrast pictures and try (unsuccessfully) to pull the animals off the page. Some other favorite books of ours are: Horns and Toes and in Between, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Oh the Thinks You Can Think, and Put Me in the Zoo. My hubby thought we had too many books for her age, but now that he’s read The Eye Book 231 times, he appreciates the variety. My only real requirement for books is that they don’t make me cry (I’m looking at you, Love You Forever). If I accidentally read one of those books, I am sitting in the middle of the living room ugly crying while my daughter looks at me like I’m nuts – it’s not a pretty picture.
  7. Sophie the Giraffe Teether – If you would have told me before having sweet girl that I would gladly drop more than $5 on a teether, I would have laughed in your face. However, Sophie is so worth it! It is easy for tiny fingers to grasp and it’s legs are perfect to soothe sore gums in those hard-to-reach spots.
  8. Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – We would not have made it through the first few months without this rocker. Our daughter had pretty bad colic, so she took all her naps in this rocker. She slept in her bassinet at night, but the slight elevation of the Rock ‘n Play really helped extend her naps.
  9. Fisher-Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym – This was sweet girl’s favorite during playtime and tummy time when she was a newborn and we still use it now that she’s sitting up and rolling over. This model has a piano at the end that can flip to go over their legs once they are sitting up – she loves it! I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure we have a budding Mozart on our hands.
  10. Sassy Go-Go Bugs – These silly little toys have gone with us everywhere. They clip on her car seat, hang on her play mat, and attach to the diaper bag just in case! I bought several packs of these bugs because they are easy to for little hands to manipulate and, according to a seven month old, the wings are very tasty. These were really the first toys she actively played with and we have definitely gotten our money’s worth out of them!

© Lenspired PhotographyBonus: Swaddle Blankets. I added these blankets as a bonus because they aren’t sold in stores, so it’s not really fair to you. They were made by my mother-in-law and had to be included because they have literally been used every single day of sweet girl’s life. If you know someone who sews, ask…no beg…them to make you 38 in. x 41 in. blankets. They will seem huge when you bring home your tiny bundle, but these kids grow fast! This is hands down the best size for a swaddle blanket.


Considering how many baby items there are, this was a pretty short list! What did I miss? What were your favorite baby items for a 0-6 month old?

My New Normal

I thought I knew what life would be like with a new baby…

They tell you about the sleepless nights, the feelings of uncertainty, and the love you will have for your baby. I knew the safest ways for her to sleep and the best thing that she could eat. The nursery was decorated, clothes were washed and tucked away, meals were prepared and frozen.

I should have been ready. By all reasonable standards, I was ready.

But any mom knows, nothing can truly prepare you for the whirlwind of becoming a mother.

No amount of planning can make you understand just how completely, mind-numbingly exhausted you will be. Before your baby is born, you can never know the feelings of desperation and self-doubt that creep in when you’ve tried everything you can imagine and your precious child is still wailing as she fights sleep. No one can really describe the swell of emotion as you silently weep while trying to get your sweet baby to breastfeed when you are already so sore. You never anticipate how it will wear on your marriage when you’ve had your seventh sleepless night in a row and haven’t had a moment alone in weeks.

It is exceedingly difficult to have a child. They come crashing into your life and it will never be the same.

Fortunately, that is only one aspect of having a child. It is also impossible to understand how completely you will love this tiny human the second she is placed in your arms. You can never know the feeling of pure joy that overcomes you when you’ve worked for hours and your little one finally falls into that deep sleep and you know you will be able to rest. No one can describe the deep appreciation that overcomes you as family arrives and you finally understand how important it is to rely on those closest to you. You can never anticipate the joy you experience when walking out of the doctor’s office after hearing that your child is thriving or realizing that the love you have for your child has not replaced the love you have for your husband, but that the love you are capable of having has increased exponentially.

I am learning to survive the difficult moments and enjoy the precious ones. I must always remember that never again will I work this hard, sleep this little, or love this much…

…until number two comes along I suppose!