What You Really Need in Your Hospital Baby Bag

In the last month before your baby is due, one of your tasks should be to pack the hospital bag. As far as what you should bring, less is more.

Items Necessary For You

Keep in mind that you are not going on vacation. Most new mothers spend only 48 hours in the hospital and many of those hours are spent sleeping.

Also, think about your departure. You’ll have a brand new, delicate baby that you are not used to transporting. If people visit you and bring presents, you’ll also have those. You’ll have a car seat to wrestle with for the first time. Do you really want a bulky suitcase to deal with on top of all of that?

The fact is, you will only really need a few things. You have several weeks to figure this out, so go ahead and gather everything you want to bring and then start eliminating. Try to get it all to fit into something carefree and lightweight like a soft drawstring bag.

Let’s think about what you’ll actually need. For sure you need whatever medicines you regularly take, like decongestants or prescription drugs. You may also want to bring your favorite pain reliever just in case one isn’t supplied at the hospital.

You’ll need your photo ID and insurance card. Definitely bring your phone and charger so you can get some early photos of your baby and spread the good news to everyone.

Consider a nightgown and lightweight bathrobe. These will mostly be for modesty, rather than warmth. People will constantly be coming in and out of your room and a hospital gown will be too flimsy and revealing.

Bring a journal and pen, but only if you regularly write in one and want to record your memories of this big event. Otherwise, it will just be taking up room. Pack earbuds if you want to listen to your favorite music during labor.

When you go home, you can wear the same clothes you came in, assuming they are in decent shape. You’re not Kate Middleton and do not need to look glamorous for the paparazzi. All you really need is fresh underwear.

Include small sizes of whatever toiletries you use (don’t forget your toothbrush) and your hairbrush.

Pack lip balm and apply it generously, both before and after the baby arrives. Lips get incredibly dry in a hospital. Pads are optional. There should be a supply in the bathroom of your hospital room.

Often in birthing classes women are taught to focus on a special object when the labor pains hit. If you have such an object, make sure you remember to put it in the bag.

Items Necessary For Your Baby

All your baby will really need is an outfit for the drive home. Baby skin is incredibly sensitive so choose something really soft and easy to put on.

Most people know the sex of their baby these days, but if you don’t, bring something either sex could wear.

Most “newborn” clothes should fit your baby. Don’t bring something in a bigger size just because you think it’s cuter. You mostly want your baby to make it home in comfort.

If it’s cold or rainy outside, pack a blanket so you can wrap them up securely before you leave the hospital. Don’t forget that they have spent the past nine months at 98.6 degrees and anything cooler will feel chilly to them.

No need to pack dozens of newborn diapers. The hospital will be putting their own on your baby. You might just need one for the trip home.


Also, just a reminder that your baby can’t walk yet. They will not need socks and shoes and it probably won’t be worth the struggle to keep them on. Save that for later.

Comfort is what you should be most concerned with in packing your hospital bag, both yours and your baby’s.


Our Top 10 Tips for Back to School in Times of Covid

The sun is setting on summer, which means one thing: it’s time to go back to school. But what does that look like this year? For some kids, it means classroom learning with lots of new healthcare rules in place. For others, they’ll be spending their days learning at home, which presents its own set of challenges. 

Here are our top tips for navigating your new normal, whether your children are learning long division in math class with 30 other classmates, or taking a deep dive into the history of the U.S. from the kitchen table.

Classroom Learning Tips:

  1. Handwash to a melody! According to the CDC, one of the best ways to combat germs is by washing hands for 20 seconds at a time. Make it more fun by choosing 20 seconds of your child’s favorite song for them to sing while scrubbing and practice at home every few days. A great backup tune? The Happy Birthday song recited twice in a row.  
  2. Send older kids to school with their own hand sanitizer. Let them pick out the packaging and scent so they’re more likely to use it. Lots of vendors offer refillable carriers that attach easily to backpacks and belt loops. 
  3. Let kids show their personality with face masks. For children 2 years old and up, the CDC recommends cloth face coverings, especially during times when social distancing is tough. Let kids have fun with them and show off their unique personalities by choosing patterns and themes that speak to them. Get the Marvel fan a Spider-Man mask, or bring home a floral patterned design for the nature lover. 
  4. Purchase personal school supplies. Normally, kids share certain school supplies with other students, but for now, it’s safer for everyone to use their own. Buy compact-sized versions of safety scissors, glue, tissues, and anything else your kid’s teacher recommends. Write their first name on each item, and encourage them to only use their own supplies. 
  5. Set up a dedicated space for dirty school clothes and supplies. Pick a space right by your entryway with a clothes hamper and cubby. Have kids leave the clothes they wore to school in the hamper and place their backpack and other school supplies in the cubby to be disinfected. 

Homeschool Learning Tips:

  1. Set clear boundaries and time limits. Children thrive with a set structure. Have a school schedule for them every day, just like they would have in a classroom, and communicate each assignment and deadline clearly. Stoplight Golight, with easy-to-understand red and green lights, is an excellent tool to help your kids keep track of work time on their own.
  2. Instead of a chair, use an exercise ball! Homeschooling can make the calmest of kids wiggly. Let them burn off extra energy by sitting on an exercise ball during class time. The act of keeping their balance while subtly bouncing keeps their body occupied so their brain can focus on the lesson at hand. 
  3. Get out of the house. Get creative and take assignments outside. Instead of reading about different types of trees, take a walk around the neighborhood and point out some native species. Learning about fractions? Use sidewalk chalk to illustrate the difference between ¼ and ⅜.  
  4. Have a dedicated learning space. When teaching happens inside, make sure you’re in a designated space meant for learning. Keep study materials organized there and print out a daily schedule to hang on the wall. Even if your kids end up working at the kitchen table, it’s good to have a “homeroom” to return to. 
  5. Make kids part of the action. With homeschooling, lessons can take on many different forms. For example, baking cookies together can teach fine motor life skills, math, and science. An art project can teach history and geography. Keep kids engaged and playing an equal role in the assignment by using the True Tot Tower to put them on level height with their work surface. 

At the end of the day, we’re all navigating new territory in these unpredictable times, including your children. So remember, whether your kiddos attend school in-person or switch to learning at home, be patient and aim for trying your best, not achieving perfection. 

Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for Your First Baby

Soon-to-be-first-time parents have a lot on their minds! In addition to preparing themselves and their nursery for parenthood, they need to be sure their home is safe for their new kid at every stage of their childhood. That can seem overwhelming since almost everything in a house or apartment could technically be unsafe. There are, however, a few key safety measures to take which will cover the bulk of likely accidents.

Pest Control

Let’s begin with one that isn’t immediately obvious as a safety concern for new parents: pest control. A house or apartment that’s vulnerable to bugs and rodents puts kids, pets, and parents at risk for disease. Not to mention, an infested house loses value quickly.

Sharp Corners, Slippery Rugs, and Electrical Outlets

 Now, let’s look at the more obvious things that come to mind when talking about baby-proofing. Sharp corners on tables, counters, and other pieces of furniture keep lots of expecting parents up at night. Here are two good pieces of news that can set your mind at ease. First, bumper padding is very effective at softening a corner that could cause a major cut or damage an eye. It’s not expensive, and usually easy to install. Secondly, remember that with everything you must worry about with a new baby, you can wait a little while for this. Typically, infants don’t begin to crawl until they’re 6 to 10 months old. Before that, they mostly stay where you put them (with proper supervision, of course.) It’s important and necessary, but it can wait until you’ve settled in from all the challenges of being a new parent.

The same is true of slippery rugs and bath mats. Make sure you secure them with non-slip pads. Babies don’t have far to fall when they hit the ground, but if the surface is hard like a bathtub or unfinished basement cement floor, it can hurt bad and even do serious damage.

Installing safety plugs into electrical outlets is one of the cheapest and quickest things you can do to keep your home safe. You can buy them at nearly any retailer who has a baby or home improvement section for a few dollars. A small investment to safeguard your child from electrical shock. You can also move furniture in front of outlets, but you must make sure they can’t be moved. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can move it yourself while standing up, assume your child could somehow, some way, manage to do that as well. If not, it’s probably safe if there isn’t enough space for them to wiggle their fingers back towards them. In any case, err on the side of caution.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

 As diligent as you may be with furniture and appliances, you have a lot less control of the threats of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. What you can do, however, is make sure you have detectors in place to warn you. It’s simple, inexpensive, and potentially lifesaving.

Most homes built after 1989 will have smoke detectors installed, as it became required by law at that time. In 1993, regulations required they be in every bedroom. Of course, you may have an older house, and smoke detectors (while long-lasting) don’t live forever. A good guideline is to get into the habit of changing their batteries when you change your clocks twice a year to account for Daylight Savings Time.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are also critical because Carbon Monoxide is invisible and odorless. With smoke, you can at least see and smell the threat. You could, unfortunately, die from carbon monoxide poisoning quite quickly without ever knowing it was there. A detector can be a life-saver.

Locks and Gates

 Lastly, a simple, but easy to forget rule: keep your doors and gates locked. Children are curious and want to explore. Make an ironclad routine of closing garage doors, locking any door that they can use to exit the home or enter a dangerous area like a pool.

The world is full of hidden dangers, and a parent’s instinct is to try to protect their children from all of them. These tips cover many of the most manageable and common risks in the home.

5 Tips on Babyproofing Your Home

Babies are incredible little beings and being a parent is such a marvelous experience. When they are very small, there is very little that they can get into. While there are safety procedures, because they are reliant on you to get around, measures to secure your home are minimal. As they begin to grow, it is important to keep in mind that there are safety procedures that you need to consider to make sure that they are safe. Before they start navigating their way around your home, make sure to keep in mind these five babyproofing tips to keep them safe.

Securing Medication

Securing medications is a key component of babyproofing your home. All of your medications, including prenatal vitamins should be safely stowed away out of your baby’s reach. While prenatal vitamins were safe for you to ingest for your and your baby’s health during pregnancy, they are certainly not safe for your child, so it is critical to have any and all medications out of their reach. Not only should medication be stored high up away from children, if possible it should also be locked away so that there is no way for kids to get into it.

Safely Storing Chemicals

Chemicals can be a big safety risk for your children. Whether this is cleaning products or maintenance fluids, anything that can go into your child’s mouth that could be dangerous should be stored away. Storing everything that a baby could get into in a high up area may not be feasible, so cabinet locks are a great alternative. While a cabinet may be within reach of a child’s arm, childproof locks are a deterrent that can keep your baby safe. Whether you opt for magnets, press locks or grip locks, these can keep your little ones out of drawers and cabinets where they shouldn’t be. If you are using something that uses a key-like system like a magnet, it is important to also store the unlocking device away from your child’s reach.

Installing Baby Gates

Baby gates are a quintessential component of babyproofing, as these keep children locked in certain areas with mechanisms that typically can only be managed by adults. These systems are intended to keep children gated off in certain areas or restricted from encountering dangers like stairs. They come in mesh material, swinging gates and many other materials, but all lock. It is important that when installing these, you follow all of the necessary safety procedures, as improper installation can lead to significant safety hazards.

Presence of Pet Supplies

Pets supplies are another factor when it comes to creating a safe environment for your child. When babyproofing a home with pets, it is important to still create an environment that is safe and secure for your pets but making adjustments that protect your child. Consider using baby gates to secure the pet’s area so that you do not find your child trying to munch on pet snacks and stealing the family pet’s toys.

Babyproofing the House

Babyproofing can be a big undertaking as children have a way of finding their way into everything. While you may start with the most critical spaces in the house, it is important that you babyproof the entire home. Starting on a room by room basis will allow you to assess each space and evaluate it for potential dangers and then begin to put protective safety measures into place. This process can be lengthy, so start babyproofing well before your kiddo starts cruising the furniture. This will give you plenty of time, as opposed to rushing around trying to snatch up your kid before they reach the next danger around your underprepared home.

Babyproofing is a necessary step in securely your child and ensuring their safety. Once they get moving, it will be natural for them to want to explore their environment. You will want to ensure that your home is safe for them to explore and navigate so that they can learn and grow while still being protected.

Activities to Keep Your Kids Occupied and Safe All Summer Long

The summer months can feel endless, and the idea of keeping your kids occupied during the summer can be unnerving. On top of that, making sure they are staying safe is of top priority. Posting them in front of the television can leave you wanting more and will only keep them entertained for so long. With these fun activities, you can be assured that your child will be entertained for hours on end.


Pools and swimming are quintessential summer activities. This can be great fun for the entire family and a wonderful respite from the hotter summer sun, as long as you take proper precautions. Make sure there is an adult always keeping their watch on the younger kids, whether that be you, a spouse, or a friend. It is also a good idea to keep necessary floating devices on the children or inside the pool. Your kids will get to play, they will also get to be active and tire themselves out in the process. If you are wondering how much does an inground pool cost, know that there are options within your price point and surely this summer accessory will be well worth it in the end.

After having fun in the water, it’s important that your kids, and even yourself, are drying out their ears to avoid infection from bacteria. Q Tips are not a safe option for cleaning out anyone’s ears, but especially children. Spend time to find an ear cleaning instrument that won’t damage the canals and is easy to use.

Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course

During nice weather, when it isn’t too hot or too cold, take your kids outside to harness their creativity and get them moving by creating a sidewalk chalk obstacle course with them. They can be a part of the design process and then have an activity that will challenge their coordination and will hopefully leave them tickled with giggles. This is perfect for a safe activity since they will be having fun right outside of the house and you’ll be able to easily keep a watch on them.

Games and Family Fun

There are plenty of games that can be a blast for the entire family. If you are tired of playing the same children’s board games, switch up your at-home family fun. Consider alternating between different activities to keep things interesting with different child-friendly games and activities that you can easily find online. Playing games with your kids allows them to have plenty of fun without any risks.

Online Tours

Take the time to explore your world through online archives. All sorts of museums, zoos, and other attraction sites offer virtual engagement. While you may not be able to fly off to another coast, they may offer virtual tours or online activities for your child to learn from without leaving your house. On rainy days, this is a great way to keep them engaged and learning without wasting their energy on mindless use of a tablet or computer.

Bake Together

It can be a great experience to learn a new skill together, and baking can be a fun way to get your kiddos involved in food. Whether you make cookies or decorate a cake together, food can be a medium to bond over. Consider increasing the difficulty and teaching your kids about the science behind baking for an added layer of learning. Always pay attention to the stovetop or oven, making sure your kids don’t accidentally burn themselves. It would be smart to keep them at a table or countertop to do the mixing or decorating while you handle anything that involves heat.

Science Experiments

Beyond baking, you can make education at-home fun. If you have ever postulated about how to bring science home, give at-home science experiments with your kids a try. This can be an interesting way to explore and discover the world of experiments and science from the comfort of your own home.

Pillow Forts

The days of building forts and creating hideaways with blankets, pillows, furniture and anything else you can find around the house. By embracing your inner child and giving your child the space to be creative, you can bond over the creation of a structure. Once you are done, eat a snack or read a book in your new space to truly create a home within your home. Enlist the help of a room’s worth of furniture and as many supplies as you need to make a fortress that your inner child will be jealous of.


Utilizing arts and crafts to keep your little one busy is a tried and true activity. Whether you are creating their favorite animals with paper or painting birdhouses for your fluttering friends, these can tap into your child’s creative side and keep them busy. There are kits that parents can purchase and resources available online to give you endless ideas. Just make sure to keep scissors out of the way if they’re not old enough to know how to use them.

Keeping your kids busy and safe at home can scare even the most creative and patient of parents; however, don’t fret. If you utilize these stay-at-home activities, you can be sure to keep your child occupied and engaged, and they may even learn something.

Tips to Regain Strength After Childbirth

The days following childbirth are a special time for a new mom. As her body recovers she gets to know her tiny infant, and during these first few weeks, caring for the newest and most vulnerable family member will be her main priority. Once she is ready to return to her job, she will need to have all the help she can get to keep her mind focused and body energized. Here are tips for gaining strength and getting back into the workforce following the birth of a child.

  1. Give Yourself Time

Though a woman’s body is designed to nurture an unborn child and ultimately give birth to that child, childbirth still takes its toll on the body. It’s okay to take your time and ease back into your regular routines. The fatigue and extra weight isn’t going to wear off fast, at least not if you take a healthy approach, and accepting this and understanding it will help you achieve the best results in the long run. Don’t be hard on yourself. Nobody else is.

  1. Continue Your Vitamins

While you were pregnant, your doctor likely prescribed a regimen of vitamins to help your body keep up with the nutritional demands of caring for two. Post delivery a woman needs to continue that regimen as her body works overtime to recover from the shock of delivery and continue to provide extra nutrients through breastmilk. Prenatal plus is rich in vitamins and minerals that will help you as you build strength and become active again.   

  1. Eat Healthy

Taking vitamins is good, but they aren’t a substitute for a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help to restore your energy. Avoid foods high in saturated fats and limit your starches. Proteins from milk, cheese, fish and beans will help build back your strength. Spreading your meals throughout the day will help you keep up with the demands of your new child.

  1. Strength Exercises

Exercise is always important, but wait until your body feels up to it. It might be a few weeks until you’re up to working out again. Fortunately, during this time your new baby is taking lots of naps during the day as his or her body prepares for the growth spurts that lie ahead. It won’t be long until the baby develops a regular sleep schedule so you can dedicate the same time each day to your workout. Once you’re ready, find a routine you like that strengthens different areas of your body, especially your core.

  1. Get Out of the House

Getting out and taking walks is a great way to build energy and keep your mind healthy as well. Exercise will give you mental strength as it releases endorphins that naturally make you feel good. If you start feeling depressed, talk to your doctor. He can refer you to a mental healthcare provider or prescribe medication to help get you through this time of adjustment. It’s normal to have feelings of sadness after childbirth, but that doesn’t mean you should have to suffer through them without help. The blues will also zap you of the much needed energy you are working hard to maintain.

  1. Get Plenty of Rest

The demands of a new baby can have you feeling sleep deprived, so take naps with your little one if that’s where you can get them. These days aren’t going to last forever, so don’t feel guilty about when you sleep, just make sure you get it.

Being a new mom is a time of learning and growing as a person. Remember to give yourself time to adjust and heal. Take good care of yourself through a proper and balanced diet, plenty of rest and dedicated time for exercise. When you feel your best you are able to give the best care to your baby.


Written by Mia Morales

5 Ways Sleep-Deprived Parents Can Get More Sleep

Significant life changes and stresses are direct triggers for insomnia or sleeping problems. No wonder the newborn days become challenging for moms when it comes to battling for a few hours of needed rest.

Recent research has revealed that new parents will get just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep on an average night during their newborn’s first year on earth. To put this into perspective, during the first year of a child’s life, parents sleep 59 percent less than the recommended eight hours a night, which equates to losing 50 nights of sleep over the year!

If you’re a new parent struggling to get enough sleep, here are some tips to help you catch some blissful zzz’s.

Why new moms have so much trouble sleeping

Both moms and new dads will struggle with sleeping with a newborn, but for the mother, it’s especially difficult. That’s because of the perinatal period, the period immediately before and after birth, is a sensitive time for a mother who is dealing with a flood of abrupt life changes. Hormonal fluctuations, like the sudden drop in the reproductive hormones, can very much alter the way a woman’s biorhythm functions during the day.

Also, there’s the great maternal instinct, which from the behavioral point of view, is a very real and important phenomenon that can, in those first months of dealing with a newborn, jumble up one’s priorities and schedules. For example, brain alertness, especially the hearing, becomes more reliable in newly-made moms to be prepared for possible dangers for the baby. This means constant awakening, a lot of tossing and turning and struggling to fall asleep in the first place.

Not to mention the a-couple-of-hour awakening shifts, nightly feeding sessions, unexpected diaper changes, frustrating crying, and everything that a fussy newborn brings. Even the sturdiest of mothers may succumb to this sleep-killing schedule. But, good sleep is linked to better parenting, so there are lots of reasons to invest in a good sleep routine.

It’s hard as it is – don’t make it worse

After a long day of dealing with a baby, it may be tempting to indulge in “the don’ts” like binge-watching TV series, scrolling through social media, or coping with stress with loads of caffeine and fast food.

Studies have shown that too much screen time (due to the blue light emission) suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin responsible for a peaceful and quality sleep. Too much caffeine is also linked to sleep deprivation and restlessness, as it blocks the receptors that enable a good night’s sleep. Small changes, like switching from coffee to fresh juices, or reading a book instead of your phone, can make a massive difference for your sleep duration and quality.

Practice sleep-inducing activities

Having the right mindset is crucial for a restful sleep. Do anything that relaxes you and lowers stress, like having a nice hot bath, listening to your favorite music, meditation, or even doing light physical activity like yoga.

Do this not only as a part of the nighttime routine but also during the day, as it is vital to keep your spirits up and do things that stimulate your brain, like working on a hobby, expanding knowledge, etc.

Power-nap through the day

Although cat naps are by no means a replacement for 7-9 hours of night sleep, they are definitely an excellent way to overcome dizziness and tiredness during the day. The sleep experts at Bedroom Critic state that just 20 minutes of uninterrupted snoozing sessions can improve alertness and boost your mood.

Moreover, items like pregnancy recliners are specifically made to improve a comfortable sleep and may help moms achieve optimal napping, next to the baby or somewhere in your peaceful place.

Accept help – divide the work

While (unfortunately) no one can replace the miracle of lactation at 3.00 am, many things that newly made mothers cling to in the beginning can be done by helpful family members or even friends.

If you are bringing up a newborn with a partner, the best thing (for the sake of both) would be to equally divide the obligations during the day, to establish a somewhat reliable schedule that can very much improve a fairly good sleeping regimen for both the mother and the baby. Also, don’t be afraid to use the perks of technology if you have the means. Products like Smart Bassinets, the Baby Shusher, etc. are specifically made to help the baby sleep better, giving you a couple of precious hours of peace.

Avoid additional responsibility

As much as it sounds necessary to take up some new projects, or devote your time to your older children, it’s best to focus on the important stuff and not experience burnout. A few initial months of dealing with a newborn is a handful on its own, so wait those few months before becoming a super parent, as it will most definitely take its toll on your sleep.

Final thoughts – when to seek professional help

Although sleep deprivation comes as no surprise with new parents, chronic insomnia or lack of sleep may trigger health problems in the long run, most commonly found in new mothers in the form of postpartum depression.

If you notice having trouble sleeping soundly for more than a few weeks, especially if the baby waking up is not the problem, you should consult a professional. There are non-medication treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy, which showed to be very effective in helping postpartum women deal with sleeplessness. Nevertheless, the sooner you decide to tackle the sleeping issue, the less need there will be to worry about more serious health issues.