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1. Your birth plan (this *is* what you're heading to the hospital for after, all)


There's no "right way" to write a birth plan.

Your birth plan actually starts way before you put pen to paper. It starts as a relationship with the medical staff you've chosen, and a hospital or birth center whose labor and delivery options work for you.

Once you have those basics in place, a written birth plan helps to clearly communicate your wishes to hospital staff during the intensity of labor.

Questions cover everything from pain management options during labor to choices around your son's circumcision.

Let Motherly walk you through your options.

In Motherly's birth class, we'll go through ALL your birth options and help you write a birth plan that is right for YOU. You'll even get a printable birth plan and preferences workbook to bring with you to the hospital or birth center. Learn more.

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2. Clothes you can wear to labor in comfort + style

Pick out a beautiful labor gown for comfort and (of course!) for your first family photos. James Fox Co. makes lovely gowns for labor that we just adore! They also have shoulder snaps that allow for easy breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact post-delivery.

3. A beautiful bag

Every first-time mama overstuffs her hospital bag, so we're not going to dissuade you from adding the kitchen sink to your tote.

But we truly love the idea of a buying a special bag that you'll bring with you to the hospital greet your little one—and for the many overnight trips to Grandma's house that are soon to follow.

Let your partner know that it makes a fabulous new-mama gift. ?

4. An amazing camera

We're not about to suggest that your husband strap a GoPro onto his head, (although, you know, that would be cool). But we definitely recommend bringing a high-quality camera with an empty and ready to go memory card.

You're going to want to capture every little adorable first move baby makes, and you'll cherish HD videos and photos for decades to come. (Be sure to learn how to use it before the big day!)

Totally worth the investment.

Promise.

5. Breastfeeding-friendly snacks

Stuff your bag full of oats and honey bars from Kind, and you and your partner will stay energized through labor, delivery and hours spent snuggling your baby.

Plus, oats are widely considered a galactagogue, a big word that indicates a substance is believed to help boost milk supply. (You'll be an expert on these terms in no time.)

6. Lovely lip balm

Mamas love to take EOS Lip Balm to combat the hospital's dry air. And not just because it's 100% natural, but also because its packaging is just so darn cute.

Plus, the sweet scents are sure to remind you of the special times you spent kissing your new baby.

7. A super-comfy nursing bra

Bravado's Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra gets top marks from mamas and designers for how comfortable it is against mom's and baby's skin.

Removable foam cups inside the bra help to conceal leaks, and the one-handed clip release makes it easy for baby to get to boobie.

You'll have strong opinions about nursing bras soon, but this bra is sure to fit the bill.

8. A stunning robe for greeting visitors

Wrap your little one inside for a little breastfeeding and skin-to-skin, and then cover yourself back up when your family and friends drop by to visit.

9. A toiletry bag stocked with overnight supplies

You may move rooms a few times during your stay at the hospital or birth center, so make it easy on yourself by packing your toiletries and cosmetics (not to mention hair supplies like a blow dryer and elastics) into an easy-to-transport bag.

10. A dreamy receiving blanket

Perhaps you have a family heirloom that you want to bring to the hospital, but if not, be sure to grab a blanket for snuggling with baby.

So, so sweet.

11. The sweetest ever coming-home outfit

Nobody does take-home outfits better than Etsy. You'll find custom monogrammed outfits, on-trend mini-me ensembles and matching siblings outfits.

Dress your baby in layers—heavy sweaters and jackets are a no-no in baby's carseat, so having cardigans and blankets to add to your little one's look is ideal.

12. Fabulous loungewear

Your job at the hospital after baby is born is to chill out and bond with baby. That's easier to do when you're super comfortable.

We are wild for Storq's maternity clothing and accessories bundles, which take you from your first trimester to postpartum with key items to shape your wardrobe.

Plus they're super soft and look amazingly chic in all those photos you'll be taking with baby.

13. An outfit for you to travel home in

Most women look six months pregnant when they leave the hospital with baby. This is normal! But it also affects how you'll dress in the weeks and months postpartum.

Pack a special look for you that makes you feel amazing—we love this nautical dress from Seraphine that features easy access for nursing. The A-line silhouette also allows extra room to disguise the pads you'll be wearing the whole month after birth. Again: normal. Pair with leggings for a super-smooth look.

The dress will begin to drape more in front as uterine swelling goes down, and it transitions from summer to winter months equally well.

Bon voyage, mama!

And don't forget...

• Safely installed carseat

• Extra-long phone charger

• Your insurance card + photo ID

• Flip-flops (for the shower), sandals or socks (to walk the halls with)

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Naya Rivera/Instagram

As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.

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Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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