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I'm giving birth soon—these are the 23 items I'm packing in my hospital bag

The amount of times I googled "what to pack in my hospital bag" when I was pregnant with my first is hard to quantify. As a first-time mom I had no idea what I would need or want, especially when it all also depended on the type of birth I would end up with. At around 36 weeks, I kind of packed a bag—it had maybe three items in it, all which I can't remember now because they were probably nothing I actually needed. The day I gave birth to my son, I didn't even have the bag with me, so all that time spent searching for answers was for nothing. When it came down to it, all I had was the hospital robe and socks.

This time around, I'm pregnant with twins and, as a second-time mom, way more prepared.

I've already packed my bag because I know anything can happen at any point and it will be staying in the car so we can have it with us at all of my appointments. I've also focused on including items I really love and ones that make me comfortable rather than products I can get at the hospital once I'm admitted. And if you are having a home birth, mama, you can still use this list to get everything together for the big day.


Here's what is in my hospital bag:

A bag for everything

Mommy Bag Navy

First thing's first, I need a bag to carry all my stuff. I chose this Llama Momma Company bag because it's big, has a wide opening and allows me to fit all my essentials, plus some more. The inscription on the side will also make it obvious to anyone helping you during your birth that those are the things you need with you.

$99.99

Hospital gown

Mama in a Box

Yes, you can get a gown at the hospital (and if you have a C-section, you will probably have to wear the one they give you during surgery) but they are pretty rough on sore nipples and your back is always totally exposed. This gown has buttons down the back for easy access, but also so your body can be covered after birth. The buttons on the shoulders are perfect for breastfeeding and skin-to-skin access. Most importantly, it's soft and comfortable on your skin. I've worn it a couple of times to sleep while pregnant to test it out and I have no complaints.

$49

Silicone ring

THE FLEX - BLACK

I feel naked without my wedding rings, but when I was postpartum with my son, my fingers swelled so much my husband almost had to cut them off of my hands. Not repeating that experience again. This silicone ring is comfortable and expands easily for your fingers to swell a little without making it uncomfortable.

$39.95

Organic nipple cream 

Lansinoh Organic Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding, 2 Ounces

This is one of those items I didn't know I needed and then assumed the hospital would provide. I was wrong on both fronts and my nipples really suffered during those three days of learning how to breastfeed a tiny newborn. Eventually, I learned that I couldn't live without a nipple balm. This one is baby and mom safe.

$14.14

A phone charger

AmazonBasics Double Braided Nylon Lightning to USB Cable, Advanced Collection, MFi Certified iPhone Charger, Red, 10 Foot

You have no idea how long your birth is going to take. Or, you might want access to your music so you can play your birth playlist. And, you will definitely want to snap some cute first photos so you'll need a charged phone for all that. I recommend getting a really long length in a really obvious color so no one trips on it if you have to plug it on the other side of the room. It'll come handy once you are home and trapped under a napping baby for 23 out of the 24 hours of the day.

$15.99

A camera

Polaroid Mint Instant Print Digital Camera (Blue), Prints on Zink 2x3 Sticky-Backed Photo Paper

Even though we'll probably take most photos with our phones out of convenience, I'm also packing this instant camera to have some printed photos of the babies for us to keep in their journal/photo book.

$89.99

Lip balm

Balm Dotcom

The air in the hospital will likely make your skin dry and if you are doing a lot of heavy breathing, your lips are going to be the first affected by the dryness. I super-duper love this lip balm—it's the only thing that keeps my lips moist and refreshed during the winter. This is one of the three items I did have on my first hospital bag.

$12

Compression socks

Dr. Segal's Energy Socks 15-20 mmHg Compression Socks for Women & Men -Confetti Black/Multicolored (Medium) - Great for Work, Travel, Pregnancy, Nurses, Running

You know what else swells postpartum? Your feet. My feet were waaaaay bigger after giving birth than they were at 37 weeks pregnant. Compression socks help with the swelling and also alleviate some of the pain that comes with it. These are ideal to have on while you are resting in bed or even to wear out of the hospital.

$29.99

A water bottle with a straw

 Roll over image to zoom in CamelBak Eddy+ BPA Free Water Bottle

This is one of the other items I had in my hospital bag with my first. My doula told me so many times to bring a water bottle because staying hydrated was going to be key. The straw makes it easier to for me to chug some water while lying down. This will also be great if you plan to breastfeed so you can easily stay hydrated during feeding sessions.

$10.99

Toothbrush

Doctor Plotka's Mouthwatchers Antimicrobial Floss Bristle Silver Toothbrush, Adult, 2 Pack

It's easy to forget these in the chaos of labor and birth, so I added them first to my bag after learning from my mistakes. Remember to add one for your birthing partner since they probably won't be thinking about details like these.

$8.99

A robe

Blush Rose Ribbed Robe

If you are planning to have visitors come meet the baby, you might want to pack a soft comfy robe to wrap yourself in while they are there. This one looks beautiful in photos, too.

$55

Crocs

Crocs Classic Clog|Comfortable Slip On Casual Water Shoe

Hear me out, I know Crocs are not the most stylish shoes. However, they are waterproof and have a great grip so you'll be able to wear them in the shower and around the hospital while you recover. Also, they are pretty wide which will help accommodate your swelling feet. I was skeptical and now I'm a convert.

$29.95

Hair ties

Thick Seamless Cotton Hair Bands, Simply Hair Ties Ponytail Holders Headband Scrunchies Hair Accessories No Crease Damage for Thick Hair (Neutral Colors)

Pack a million of them just in case since they tend to go missing. For me personally, there's nothing more annoying that having hair in my face when trying to push a baby out.

$9.99

Nursing bra

The Mesh Trim Maternity Bralette

I brought one bra to the hospital—the one I was wearing when I walked in—which needed to be cut off me for a C-section, leaving me with zero bras to wear for the rest of my stay. I'm bringing this one because it's incredibly soft and I'd like to attempt breastfeeding again (we stopped the first time around). This one has easy clips to access your boobs and is so comfortable I'll likely wear it on my way out.

$35

Nightgown

Maternity nightwear / Nursing nightwear

This is not yet in my bag as I'm currently wearing it to sleep almost every night. It's so comfortable and roomy that I'll make sure to grab it on my way out of the house when it's time to go. Sleeping in a hospital is not the easiest so I'll bring this in an attempt to make my stay a little bit more like home. It has a slit for easy access to your breasts in case you want to breastfeed in the middle of the night.

$69

Clothes for baby while at the hospital 

heather grey snuggle knit newborn gift set

We didn't have any baby clothes the first time around and our son spent his first four days of life in a hospital kimono and blanket. Sure, he seemed comfortable and will never remember it, but I was a little sad that I hadn't brought him anything to wear. This newborn set has a gown, cap, bib and blanket to swaddle your baby. And if your baby poops or pees through it, you can always use the hospital clothes as backup!

$59.95

A car seat

Doona Dusk Limited Car Seat at PishPosh Baby - Includes Free Essentials Bag + Rain Cover!

Okay, this technically doesn't go inside my hospital bag, but I will need it to leave the hospital so I added just remind everyone not to forget theirs. I went with the Doona Dusk limited edition because I'm expecting to have a repeat C-section and carrying a car seat is not in my plans after having major surgery. I can push baby around in this one and then have my husband load it into the car easily. Plus, I love the concept of Doona's two-in-one use of their car seat.

$599

Going home outfit for baby

Line Up Modal Magnetic Coverall

Going home outfits are very special and it's up to you whether you choose an outfit that has been handed down throughout your family or something brand you you've picked for your baby. I chose to go with these onesies that have magnetic closures to make life a little easier in the chaos of packing to leave.

$36

Leggings 

The GLOWE Maternity Legging

Mom needs a going home outfit as well, and I opt for comfort above everything. These Glowe leggings are so soft and really adapt to your body. I know my belly will still look a bit pregnant when I leave so I like knowing these will hold my mushy bump comfortably in place.

$132

A T-shirt with a message 

"RAISE GOOD HUMANS\u00ae" V-NECK TEE

I like T-shirts with messages on them, so of course I'm packing this one to make my exit from the hospital. A reminder to myself and those around me of what we should be doing.

$32

Sweatshirt

BFF SWEATSHIRT

Perfect to wear inside the hospital if you are cold or need more coverage and also ideal for wearing as you go home. The material is one of the softest materials I own and it has enough space for a postpartum bump.

$119

Postpartum undies 

CoreLove High Rise

Depending on how much you bleed postpartum, you'll be able to wear these to go home. I wore these the first time around and was more comfortable in the car sitting than I was with the thick hospital pads (but if you need those, wear them!). Once I got home, I changed into adult diapers with zero shame. These undies make going out more comfortable and are absolutely leakproof.

$36

Packing cubes

Bentoko 6 Piece Travel Packing Cube Organizer Set (Magenta)

To keep everything organized inside my bag and not lose track of any of my belongings. I started using these while I was traveling a lot for work and come to realize they are the best invention for when dealing with tiny baby clothes.

$29.99

Or if you find packing overwhelming you can get a service to do it for you

A bag for every budget

If you are super busy with work or chasing other little humans, don't think you'll be able to remember everything you need or just like for someone else to deal with the logistics of your hospital bag, you are in luck. Companies like Baby Boldy curate bags for moms-to-be so they have one less thing to stress about. You can choose from three different tiers -basic to fully prepared- which come in different prices ranges. They all have the basics you'll need at the hospital, plus you can always add on your personal stuff to their bags to be super ready to go.

$120

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If you're already feeling a bit of cabin fever, it's time to get outside for some fresh air, mama. Whether you've planned your days around homeschooling activities or have decided on taking a more laid-back approach, there's always one thing that everyone in the family can agree on: playing outside!

From playhouses to tree swings, we've found 12 of the best outdoor toys to keep your little ones busy in the backyard during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Gardening tools

kids gardening tools

Even the smallest of gardeners need the right tools to get the job done! These wooden + metal gardening tools look (and work) just like the real thing, and are crafted from natural materials and without toxic paints or finishes. Your little one will love getting their hands dirty while also developing their motor skills.

$27.99

2. Sidewalk chalk

kids washable chalk bucket

Get the kids outside to create sidewalk drawings (and positive messages for neighbors!). This giant bucket is filled with 50 washable chalk sticks, providing hours of outdoor fun.

$11.92

3. Water beads

kids water beads

Simply put, water beads are just so much fun! These smooth, squishy beads create an awesome tactile experience and are prefect for sensory play in a water table or any type of small container. You can even use them to practice color recognition, sorting, counting and so much more.

$10.99

4. Picnic + sensory table

picnic and sensory kids table

Sensory tables are a staple in any preschool classroom—and can be in your own home, too. They're perfect for stimulating your little one's senses and facilitating play, creativity and exploration. This beautiful table has a built-in sandpit that can hold up to 50 lbs of play sand or nearly 3 gallons of water. Plus, it doubles as a place to paint, color or draw.

$116.99

5. Web swing

kids outdoor web swing

This swing will take you back to simpler times and long, warm summer days spent swinging outside. With more than 1,000 great reviews, this is a bestseller for a reason. It holds up to 600 lbs so multiple kids can hop on (even parents can join in!), and the tree straps are built to be durable.

$69.99

6. Pool

mini inflatable pool

There's really not much to say here other than WE COULD NOT BE MORE OBSESSED WITH THIS POOL! Measuring 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall, it's big enough for you and the kiddos (ummm or just you?) to stay cool. And have we mentioned all the fun designs? Swoon. 😍

$45

7. Scooter

kids radio flyer scooter

Whether you're zipping through city streets or riding up and down your suburban driveway, a good scooter is a must have for outdoor fun. It's a great way for little ones to improve their balance and coordination while also having a blast!

$22.88

8. Sprinkler

kids giant sprinkler

Nothing says summer like a giant inflatable cactus sprinkler in your backyard 🤣 This playful sprinkler stands almost 6 feet high and is the perfect way for kids to cool off during those hot days. (Shh, we won't tell if you want to join in on the fun, too!)

$58.99

9. Jumper

kids junior jumper

If you're looking for a jumping toy but don't want a full trampoline, this jumper is the perfect solution. It's super bouncy, super safe and really fun! This one is sized perfectly for smaller jumpers, and can handle multiple kiddos at once.

$169.95

10. Wheelbarrow

Radio Flyer kids wheelbarrow

If your kids are going to play outside, they might as well pitch in with the yard work 🤷🏽♀️. This classic wheelbarrow looks just like the real thing—just a lot smaller! Little ones will love filling it up, pushing it around, dumping it out, and then doing it alllll over again and again.

$39.99

11. Oceanbound tide pool set

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their bath toys and use them in a new way outside. With this tide pool set, there are so many opportunities for fun sensory play, whether it's in a sandbox, a rice sensory bin or just good old fashioned dirt. We especially love that these toys are made from 100% recycled plastic and that they come in their own adorable storage bag that can also be used for play.

$19.99

12. Wooden playhouse

Kids playhouse

This one is spendy for sure, but a sturdy, beautiful playhouse is an investment that will pay off in years of imaginative play for everyone from young toddlers to school-aged kiddos. This one is large enough for several children yet compact enough to work in even tiny backyard spaces. It's made from 100% cedar wood and features several large built-in windows, flower boxes, a working door + doorbell, and even a chalkboard.

$289

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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If you had to only choose one product to toss in your bag, what would it be? Our guess is you're looking for something that's easy-to-use, affordable, clean and multi-tasks for you—something that'll simplify your routine because you have other things to worry about than what beauty product to grab (like making that Zoom meeting in time while you're working from home).

Enter: Arrow Beauty—a clean beauty brand created by Birchbox with products designed to save you time.

I had the chance to try out the entire product line and, let's just say I've made sure to toss one everywhere—in my bag, on my desk, in the bathroom. And during this pandemic, it's made getting ready (okay, looking presentable for video calls) in the mornings so much simpler.

Each product is created to be something you grab and go when you're in a rush. Everything is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and mineral oil, vegan and cruelty-free so you can still give your littles all the snuggles and kisses without stressing about transferring any bad ingredients over. And, they're designed to travel well. Birchbox made sure Arrow Beauty featured leak-proof and carry-on friendly items. Did we mention everything is under $25?

Here's what is in their first launch:

Nourishing lip oil

birchbox arrow lip oil

This one might be my favorite from the collection. A lip oil that leaves a high-shine finish that isn't sticky (!!!) and keeps your lips moisturized for hours. It comes in clear, perfect to top off your favorite shade, or color enhancing pink that reacts to the pH level of your skin, making a unique shade for you.

$16

Radiant skin moisturizer

birchbox arrow skin moisturizer

Have no time in the morning? Massage this into your skin for the ultimate pick-me-up. It has a subtle sheen that illuminates and nourishing ingredients—hyaluronic acid and aloe—that hydrates and gives you a glow.

$24

Color enhancing lip balm

birchbox arrow lip balm

The Birchbox team listened to customer feedback to reformulate their OG tinted balm and it's *so* good. There are three shades—berry, coral and blush—that look incredible on all skin tones because it reacts to the pH in your skin to enhance your natural color. Even better? It's buildable!

$15

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This is the #yearofthemother.

And this is the pregnancy book women deserve, from the experts at Motherly.

This is an unprecedented time to embark on the journey of motherhood. You are part of a new generation of women elevating empowerment in all its forms.

Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, whether you're still deciding about pregnancy or already have a baby on the way, becoming mama involves your body, mind, emotions, lifestyle, relationships, schedule, spirituality, worldview—and most of all, your heart.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama celebrates the wonder of your new baby and honors you through this profound life transformation.Inclusive, holistic, and evidence-based, this book was made for you—a loving and supportive embrace of your unique motherhood journey in all its power, complexity and beauty.

Peek inside here!

the_motherly_guide


Praise for The Motherly Guide

"Mothers around the world deserve the guidance that this book offers: unconditional support and access to expert-backed, non-judgmental information. This book is the first of its kind to support the whole woman through the whole journey from getting pregnant, to birth, postpartum, and beyond. The maternal wellness revolution has arrived." —Christy Turlington Burns, founder, Every Mother Counts

"Motherly is leading the conversation about how pregnancy, birth, and postpartum transforms a woman's world―and The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is their greatest contribution yet. Women deserve all the support as their bodies, minds, and lives transform, and this book delivers it with so much heart."—Katrina Scott, cofounder, Tone It Up

"The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is like having an entire birth team on your nightstand...it offers grace, empowerment, and support for however and wherever you find yourself on the becoming mama journey."—Anthonia Akitunde, founder and editor-in-chief, mater mea

"THE essential guide to pregnancy and birth has finally arrived. The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is the only book you need to get you through this adventure. It's woman-centered, warm, and informative . . . it's the book I wish I would've had, and the one I'm so excited for you to have."—Natalie Gordon, founder and CEO of Babylist

"This epic book is a cross between an encyclopedia and a wise aunt. In this thorough and comprehensive resource, the Motherly team offers equal doses of wisdom, love, and cold hard facts so that each new mother can develop the confidence that she desperately needs on her pregnancy and motherhood journey. A soulful and dependable guide for all women."—Kimberly Ann Johnson, author of The Fourth Trimester

Pre-order your copy ofThe Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, and join us as we redefine motherhood, together.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on so many people's lives, and mamas everywhere are feeling it especially hard. The outbreak has been an especially scary time for pregnant women who worry about getting the support they need during this already challenging time.

At Motherly, nothing is more important to us than helping mamas everywhere feel supported and empowered from the very beginning of their motherhood journey. That's why we took two major steps toward helping pregnant women everywhere feel more confident right now:

First, we wrote the pregnancy + birth book you deserve.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama provides evidence-based, women-centered support for every stage of your journey, from trying to conceive to caring for your sweet new baby.


We wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama to ensure that every person has access to high-quality, nurturing pregnancy and birth guidance. It is the pregnancy book you deserve. And we would be honored if you would consider pre-ordering it now.

You can pre-order The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama at your favorite retailer, and it will be on its way to you when it releases on April 14th:

During this difficult time, please consider ordering from Barnes and Noble or an independent bookstore as they are greatly impacted by COVID-19. (Also, please note delivery times from various outlets may vary or be delayed due to the virus.)

Second, we're making our Becoming Mama™ Online Birth Class absolutely free.

For the thousands of women who are unable to attend their birth class due to the virus, our class, taught by Diana Spalding, Motherly's Digital Education Editor, certified nurse-midwife, and writer of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, is the nurturing, empowering resource you need to have your best, most supported birth no matter what.


This class will prepare you for your birth, while the book is about the entire journey—from trying to conceive, to pregnancy wellness, birth, postpartum and caring for your sweet new baby.

More than 7000 women have joined Motherly's FREE online birth class

Pregnancy and birth are some of the biggest moments of life—it can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Going through this process during a transformative world event—a pandemic—can make it feel so daunting. We want you to know that we are here for you.

You deserve to experience pregnancy, birth and motherhood with confidence and joy—and we are honored to be on this journey with you.

As founder of mater mea, Anthonia Akitunde said, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama "is like having a whole birth team on your nightstand."Because you deserve to experience it all with confidence and joy—and we are honored to be on this journey with you.


To sign up for our free online class, please fill out this info, and we'll email you access to the class (within 24 hours) and sign you up for our newsletter.


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