10 Things No-one Tells You About That Are Essential in Your Hospital Bag, For a Better Post-Partum Stay!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

We’ve all been there: stalking Pinterest for the best, most secretive must-haves for your hospital bag, only to find the same results each time you scroll down. You then turn to rely on friends, family,  or New-Mom Facebook groups for answers. Well, I’m here to save you from middle of the night Pinterest scrolling and sanctimommies of the Facebook world, with this single post! As a mom of 2 with a third arriving any day now, I’ve had my fair share of experience with hospital bag packing!

Congratulations mama + get ready for the best ride of your life!

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1. Pads but, not just any pads, THESE pads:

During the first 12-24 hours you’ll bleed ALOT, like more than I’m sure you’re actually picturing in your mind right now so, the adult diaper style pads the hospital supplies you with are great during that time but, afterwards when you’re not bleeding from what feels like your vagina to your butt, you might want something a little more comfortable. After two babies and a third just days away, I’ve had my fair share of pad trial and error and THESE are by far the best for medium to heavy bleeding!

2. Boy Short Underwear like these: MAMIA Women’s Seamless Stretch Boy Shorts Panties (Pack of 6)

If this is your first pregnancy, then you haven’t yet experienced the joy of mesh undies after birth. They’re great, really, if you don’t plan on moving from where you’re sitting at any time to feel a gush leak out one side. Boy shorts are AWESOME, they keep your pad in place, tightly confined to its appropriate and carefully adjusted area, and you won’t feel awkward when a nurse comes in while sitting in nothing but boy shorts and a nursing bra versus mesh undies and a pad sticking out on the side!

3. An actually COMFORTABLE nursing bra (or several). This one is my FAVE: A Pea in the Pod Full Coverage Nursing Sleep Bra

With my first, I didn’t know the absolute need for a nursing bra. Things changed when round two came. I promise you won’t regret investing in just a couple of comfortable, easy to manage nursing bras. The Pea in the Pod Nursing Sleep Bras are my personal favorite. They’re ultra soft, light weight, pull down easily, and don’t have weird clips or straps. They’re soft enough and without lining that you’ll have no worries cuddling your new babe while wearing it or sleeping in between feeding sessions.

4. A legit heating pad
You won’t regret this one. Your hospital probably has heating pads available, SOMETIMES, as long as there’s one not in use by other new moms. Even so, the heating pads they offer are okay but, ESPECIALLY if you’re on baby number 2 or after, you’ll likely want a heating pad that gets hot and stays hot. Of course not to be used when cuddling baby or feeding but, when they’re sleeping or away at the nursery, you’ll want some warm relief. The Sunbeam Heating Pad is top rated and for good reason. It’s already packed in my hospital bag and is off limits to anyone in our home until after baby is here and mama fully recovers.

5. House shoes. Not slippers, Not socks

Okay, I’m talking: easy to slide on, rubber bottoms, that your grandmother used to wear when she cleaned house or got ready in the morning. Socks, ewe unless they’re keeping your feet warm in the hospital bed. Slippers, just the same. Someone will likely come in and mop and clean your room once or twice during your stay but, if you decide to walk around the baby floor or down to get fresh air in the hospital courtyard. You’ll want the rubber bottoms.

6. Something to keep you occupied after baby arrives

There are only so many channels on the hospital’s cable network and only so many Law and Order SVU episodes you can watch before wanting to pull your hair out. Bring a book, magazines, cards, a board game for you and hubby, or something else you enjoy doing in a tiny, quiet space. *Also, snacks that can be eaten in between meals.

7. Something to help you fall asleep…
Fast! Practice meditating, bring Lavender Essential Oil and your Diffuser, your favorite pillow, anything. You’ll need it. Once things become quiet and everyone leaves you alone with your new baby for the first time since he/she has made their arrival, the exhaustion and tiredness will quickly set in and so will baby’s next feeding time or diaper change. The adrenalin will settle and your body will soon start to remind itself that it needs rest after all the work you put in for however many hours. Your team of nurses will visit periodically to make sure you’re awake and feeding your baby when it’s time, they’ll help with diaper changes and charting urine and bowel movements if they’re due, and anything else you or baby may need. So, take the time to rest when baby allows.

8. A short, light-weight robe

Don’t get something that will drag on the floor. A nice, light weight, knee-length robe will do the trick! One like THIS ONE (which I own and love) will make feedings easier without making baby hot and visits from friends and family more comfortable. Not to mention, your hospital bed is only so big, there’s no room for all the extra fabric of a long, heavy, terry cloth or fleece robe!

9. Your own towel

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with exceptional service but, hop out of the shower to a towel that only wraps halfway around your body? Well, that’s what you’ll get if you don’t bring your own. You’ll thank me for this one after your first shower post baby.

10. DISPOSABLE Breast Pads

If you produce a pretty fair amount of milk or more, you’re sure to leak…A LOT. You’ll be feeding your baby often but, some mamas are extra gifted when it comes to producing milk and have quite a bit of leakage in between feedings. Try the reusable ones at home if you desire but, during your hospital stay, the disposables will be so much easier and more convenient!

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Disguise Learning with Play using STEM! (+ A Snapology LEGO GIVEAWAY!)

I’m so excited to be partnering with Nakturnal for a giveaway! Read below to find out how you can enter to win a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot- Sebastian Gator! Find a full disclaimer on the sidebar of my blog!


It’s no secret that we eat, breathe, live LEGO and all things STEM-based in our home. Not a day goes by that one or both of the boys isn’t stimulating their brain with those small colorful blocks, folding a paper airplane out of an old piece mail, or manipulating K-Nex into crazy, crime-fighting vehicles and winding roads.

When we realized that Col was a little different than other kids, it took no time at all to see the potential benefits of what STEM-based learning could do for him. Writing, Reading, and Speech as separate subjects are definitely a must-have in your child’s learning plan but, for kids like Colin, a science and mathematical learning environment is the most beneficial way to grow their unique little minds!

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Fast forward to when we had K! We were quick to realize once he was at a play age that typically developing kids thrive in the same STEM-based environment as well! Which made play time between the two of them a bonding experience and way to encourage them to teach each other new ways of learning!

Now that you know our little back story, let’s get to why you’re really here: “How do I disguise learning with play using STEM and what exactly is it?”

  • What is STEM?

STEM is a way of learning based on the idea of educating children of all ages in four specific areas — Science, Technology, Engineering, + Mathematics in an applied, hands on approach. Rather than teach the four subjects separately, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

Pretty cool, huh?

  • What are the benefits of STEM?

1. It’s CURRENT!

In a technology-based society, science is forever changing and growing. As work places change by frequently updating their software, and equipment that we use in our daily lives becomes more advanced, STEM knowledge is vital. Staying up to date on the latest techy trends is a must in today’s world!

2. GET CREATIVE!

Creativity is one of the many benefits of a STEM education by implementing the idea of “Learning by Doing!”

Ironically, creativity is also the result of a STEM-based education ! STEM-based learning encourages students to get their hands ‘dirty’, solve problems, create new designs and functions, and make tools out of something that otherwise wouldn’t be!

3. INNOVATE, INNOVATE, INNOVATE!

With the growth of technology, is the freedom to invent and engineer almost anything you can dream of! Starting at a young age, we can encourage our kids to use their minds and create the impossible with STEM.

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1. OFFER THE RIGHT TOYS

I’m totally not suggesting that you go out and spend hundreds on an entirely new toy collection but, when birthdays and holidays come around, encourage friends and family to give more significant gifts that stimulate learning rather than the typical stuffed animal or piece of junk that will end up in a garage sale pile a few months later!

Some of our favorites:

  • LEGO
  • Magna-Tiles
  • Tegu Blocks
  • KIDS FIRST Engineering Tubs
  • Marble Run
  • Lincoln Logs

When choosing toys, try to make sure they incorporate and/or encourage one of the following: tinkering, building, circuit creation (adding pieces and parts to the toy that make it GO! or turn on and off), problem solving, or tech-based growth and learning.

Does the anticipated and totally loathed “LEGO dump” have you resisting adding them to your STEM collection?! Check out my post to help with that!

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2. ALLOW UNINTERUPTED + FREE WILL TINKERING

Sometimes, regardless of the mess it makes, you just have to let your little ones free with their tinkering toys without borders. I know, I’m with you. Walking into our home to a ‘road’ of K-Nex that stretches from the front door to, well, I don’t ever really know where, can be super annoying and seemingly pointless but, they’re actually using their little minds to create something super awesome and through the mess is some really great learning!

3. HELP + ANSWER WITHOUT FRUSTRATION

I know this one can be a bit difficult, especially when your knee deep in your own project but, when your little comes to you for advice or answers, they’re seeking you out for a reason! Curiosity is natural for growing minds and by shooting them down or showing frustration when they’ve asked the same question every single day for a week, you’re discouraging one of the greatest forms of learning. If you don’t know the answer to a question yourself, let them watch as you figure it out. Whether it be from a book, video, or the internet, seeing you seek out an answer encourages them to continue doing so through you.

4. ALLOW FREE PLAY WITH CRAFT SUPPLIES

Yes, for real. I mean, don’t give your kid all access freedom to liquid glue and finger paints but, offer them a bucket of dry supplies! Rubber bands, tape, twine, paper clips, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, clothespins, dowels, empty toilet paper rolls can all be used in creating some really awesome things. Change it up every other week or so with fresh supplies and new tools!

5. TRY A “BUILDING SNACK” TRAY

Similar to free play with random craft supplies, you never know what your little one will come up with when you offer them a tray of “building snacks” at the table! We love pretzel sticks, mini marshmallows, grapes, sliced olives, cheese cubes, and cheerios. You’ll be amazed at their first cheese cube-pretzel stick car with grape wheels!

6. INCORPORATE EDUCATIONAL SHOWS DURING SCREEN TIME

If you allow screen time in your home, there are a TON of education shows that go hand-in-hand with STEM-based learning! One of my favorite things as a mom to my littles is walking in on them super indulged in old school Bill Nye and The Magic School Bus. I love when they approach me to spill their guts about friction or some other super sciencey topic three days after watching an episode. It’s always a proud moment for us, even if they got it from a screen!

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We use all of these tools in our day to day life as a family and although it took a little practice, it’s now just routine! Our family truly enjoys play time together AND apart because of this method and as parents we’ve learned to embrace the repetitive questions and constant mess of LEGO!

 


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Giveaway closed.

Congratulations to Jenna!


Want to win a Snapology Sebastian Gator LEGO Set?!

(Recommended for ages 6+)

As parents of special needs + typically developing kids, we know from experience that every child is different and so is their preferred method of learning. So, as a soon to be family of three crazy boys, all different and unique, we’d love to know: Which of the ideas in this post is your littles’ favorite way of STEM-based play? (Haven’t tried one yet? Answer: Which idea are you most likely to implement first?) Comment below to be entered!

*Winner will be chosen at random 10 days from the post date on July 23, 2017 and will be notified via email. US entrants only please. Prize is a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot, Sebastian Gator, mailed directly to your home!


Curious about Snapology?!

Snapology is a STEM-based kids’ facility that hosts totally rad play dates, birthday parties, field trips, workshops, + summer camps where littles (ages 1 and up) use LEGO, K’nex, art + mosaic, code, robotics, and more to learn through play! Sounds super awesome right?! Well, they’re looking for someone interested in becoming a franchise owner in the Central Florida region! Give them a call or apply online today if this sounds like the spot for you!

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6 Ways to Stroll with Evenflo Pivot

A huge thank you to Evenflo for gifting this stroller to our growing family in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

Florida, sweet Florida!

There aren’t many places that you can spend the first weekend of March in swim trunks and flip flops and for that reason, we’re so happy to raise our babies in this sweet Sunshine State! For us, March calls for open windows, fruit picking, diving into the questionable temperatures of the pool, and renewal of our annual passes to the Central Florida Zoo!

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Over the weekend, we hopped in the car and made the short trip to visit the zoo! I’ve been dying to test drive our new Evenflo Pivot Travel System since it’s arrival and knew the zoo and all it’s terrain would be the perfect spot (even though the cheerios on the tile and our super plush shag rug did offer substantial terrain on the night of our new stroller’s unboxing).

What I really loved about pushing the Pivot around all day is the “toddler seat recline to bassinet” action. (Side note: We have a luxury brand stroller that I had to have JUST for the bassinet and to tell you the truth, the whole seat removal and replace with a bassinet and vice versa, is a TOTAL pain.) With the Pivot, there’s a lever on the back of the seat which reclines it ALL.THE.WAY. down to a bassinet. I really just can’t get over how much of a time and energy saver that is. How do you get it back into seat mode? Pull that lever and lift up. Seriously, it’s that easy! There’s a buckle on the back side of the seat to give the seat shape and keep it stable. I’ve got to give it to Evenflo for making it so easy and affordable to leave the extra bulky bassinet behind and transform your stroller from sit to sleep mode in 2 easy steps, WITHOUT the hassle of unlocking, removing, and storing a bassinet!

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Not only does the seat transform into a bassinet but, it can be unlocked and reversed for a parent-facing stroll. This was perfect while we waited in the long line to renew our membership before entering the zoo! The belly bar is easily removable and has an awesome snack tray which occupied little K with carrots and cucumbers during our wait!

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Once we got into the zoo, we just flipped the seat around and he was content all the way until he needed to exercise his bitty legs when we entered the petting area!

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Going through two toddler stages, several strollers and wagons, tons of terrain and adventure, and the constant feeding of growing boys while on the move, I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty experienced when it comes to knowing a good push to bad push in a stroller and the severe need for a well thought-out stroller basket.

Knowing that we’d be spending our entire day at the zoo, changing from play clothes to swim suits and back again, and snacking during our visit, the large and realistically functional basket on the Pivot, was a HUGE plus. It’s super easy to get in and out of, with a large enough space for two towels, a wet bag, lunch box, and more! I can’t thank Evenflo enough for creating this stroller with such an easy to access basket! TOTAL LIFE SAVER.

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Now, let’s talk about the push!

I’ve had my fair share of stiff wheels, blow outs, terrible turns, and squeaky strolls when it comes to strollers. Five years ago, being a first time mom, I was so excited to have an over the top, drop-in, majorly bulky travel system. BIG mistake, HUGE.

Going into our second baby with a toddler on the run, I REFUSED a travel system and instead told myself I’d be a baby-wearing feign. WRONG. (I mean, I love wearing but, I’m certainly not an 80% of the time baby-wearer. Heck, I’m not even a 30% of the time wearer.) Eventually, I caved and purchased a Sit and Stand…TERRIBLE. The idea was great but, the push was so difficult that we never used it.

Now onto my third baby, with TWO toddlers CONSTANTLY on the go and a storage unit full of mom knowledge acting as my brain, it’s easy to know what works and what doesn’t in only a matter of minutes (BEFORE purchasing and exiting the store to find you’ve made a huge mistake weeks later). Even my husband can appreciate a good stroller with an easy push and after our day trip, we both agreed that Evenflo has totally nailed it with the Pivot! Each of us had a chance to push through dirt and rocks, over boardwalk trails, water covered walkways, and mulch with ease!

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We wrapped up our long day filled with tons of snacking, playing in the sun, petting and visiting our favorite animals, and test driving our newest addition and I think it’s safe to say that every one came home a happy camper!

After a little thought, hubby and I have both decided to let go of our luxury stroller (with the bassinet) and replace it’s spot in the back of the mom mobile with our new Evenflo Pivot!


Want a full list of the 6 Ways to Stroll with the Evenflo Pivot? (Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!)

  • Front Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Rear Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Outward Facing Bassinet
  • Parent Facing Bassinet
  • Front Facing Seat
  • Parent Facing Seat

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Because each system comes with a SafeMax Infant Car Seat which features an Anti-rebound bar, we can’t wait to install it in our family car to bring baby #3 home!

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