You’ll be surprised at how many things you need to take with you to the hospital. Our handy checklist for your hospital bag will ensure you arrive prepared for everything and anything, with a few pampering extras too…

Hospital Bag for Mom: Labour and Delivery

  • Medical notes and birth plan (if you have one)
  • Bathrobe for walking around during labour if it’s a long one
  • Socks for cold feet
  • Hard candy during labour you usually aren’t allowed to eat anything but sometimes they allow hard candy and ice
  • Slippers that are comfortable for that labour walk
  • Lip balm for those poor lips that dry out
  • Body lotion or massage oil, some find a little massage during labour relaxing
  • Water spray if you start to feel hot
  • Hair clips or elastic to keep annoying wisps of hair from landing on your face
  • Eye mask and earplugs for that bright and busy maternity ward when you need some rest
  • Relaxing entertainment to help you pass the time like a book, tablet with movies downloaded, or music

Hospital Bag for Mom: After Delivery

  • Nursing top and or nursing gown if you plan to breastfeed
  • Underwear that is large enough to wear with heavy-duty maternity pads
  • Heavy duty maternity pads, it’s normal to bleed a lot after birth
  • Bras that are comfortable and well-fitting
  • Nursing pads
  • Nursing pillow to make feeding time a little easier
  • Extra long phone charger
  • Toiletries like tissues, hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and hairdryer
  • Pack a plastic bag to pop dirty clothes in
  • Make-up for those pics of baby and you
  • Moisturizer as your skin may feel drier than usual
  • Comfy clothes that are loose-fitting to wear during your stay and your trip home
  • Snacks and drinks. Labour can sometimes be very long, so consider packing light snacks and drinks for afterwards
  • Perineal mist (bottom spray) for postpartum haemorrhoids, episiotomies and swollen or bruised perineal tissues
  • Nursing balm that will safely hydrate dry, cracked, sore skin for better breastfeeding

Hospital Bag Essentials for the Birth Partner

  • Snacks and drinks. Labour can be thirsty work, even for supportive partners
  • Change for vending machines and parking
  • Phone and/or camera plus chargers and batteries
  • A small pillow and blanket to get a bit of rest during downtime
  • Entertainment like book, table and music
  • Clothes because labour is unpredictable, you never know how long the stay will be
  • List of people to contact with your baby news
  • Car seat to bring home your new bundle of joy

Hospital Bag for Your Baby

  • 3-6 one-piece PJs (newborn/0-3 months)
  • Soft baby hat in newborn size
  • Pair of baby socks in newborn size
  • Pair of scratch mitts
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Soother in case your baby wants one
  • Bibs
  • Soft baby towel
  • Coming home outfit

Have Ready at Home

It’s important to have these things ready to go when you get home from the hospital as it is to have your hospital bag on the ready.

  • Heavy duty extra absorbent pads – you will bleed for quite a while still
  • Ice packs to soothe those parts that just worked so hard
  • Basket of nursing stuff – nipple balm, breast pads, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, snacks for you for late night feedings
  • Stool softener, trust us you’ll need this
  • The Belly Bandit Wrap that helps support your belly, waist and hips post-pregnancy
  • Diffuser and oils to have around for emotional wellness
  • A peri bottle in every bathroom in the house.  If you don’t know what a peri bottle is it’s what you will use to clean your down there parts every time you use the washroom for a few weeks after you deliver.


How to have a happy bladder in three easy steps

When you laugh, cough, sneeze or even change positions do you pee a little?  You’re not alone, 50-60% of all pregnant women leak urine during pregnancy.

First trimester: Frequent urination is one of the first signs of pregnancy for many women. In addition to hormonal changes that increase urine production, your uterus expands and presses on your bladder – even when your baby is tiny.

Second trimester: Happily, as your uterus expands it will rise higher in your belly, away from your bladder, giving your temporary pee relief.

Third trimester: In the last months of pregnancy, the urge to go frequently will come calling again. Your baby will drop in your pelvis and put pressure on your bladder.  You may even find yourself getting up several times during the night.

An unhappy bladder can impact your day-to-day function, energy levels, sex life, and even your confidence. The good news is that adopting some easy lifestyle habits, from what you eat and wear to changing your diet and drinking more water, can make a world of difference.   Here are 3 easy steps to a happy bladder:

Step One: What you eat can impact your bladder’s happiness. Some foods and dehydration can make your bladder very unhappy.  Some believe that drinking less water will mean they’ll pee less. This is not true! Dehydration makes your bladder irritated and angry.  Drink water throughout the day, don’t drink it all at once. BTW, dehydration can also lead to preterm labour so hydration is important for healthy labour.

Certain foods can make your bladder unhappy too.  They can make leaking and urge worse so it’s best to avoid them until you get your bladder back under control.  Avoid carbonated drinks, coffee, teas, fruit juices, artificial sweeteners and chocolate!

Step two: A well-trained bladder is a happy bladder.  Do your Kegel exercises! These will strengthen the muscles surrounding the urethra, which you use to hold in urine.  To do a Kegel, tighten and then relax those muscles – as if you are trying to stop pee. You can do your Kegels anywhere, anytime, while you’re sitting or standing.  Try keeping the muscles contracted for about 10 seconds, 10 – 20 times in a row, at least three times a day.

Trust me when we say you’ll be happy you did these long after your little one arrives.

Step three: What you wear affects your bladder.  Wearing those Louboutins can make your bladder a wee bit irritated. Wearing high heels negatively affects pelvic alignment. The pelvis houses the bladder and uterus.  When the pelvis is out of alignment, the pelvic floor muscles lose their ability to contract, relax and becomes dysfunctional. Which ultimately means it loses its ability to control urine flow.

We know that not all stylish bump-styles work with cute flats if you do wear heels often simply add a support pregnancy belt that goes under the belly and wraps around the back. Wearing a pregnancy support belt will help relieve pelvic pressure and un-weight the pelvis.


Managing our Tangled Relationship with Stress

Pregnancy is a time of many changes – your body, your emotions and your future are all changing.  You may embrace these changes, but they can add new stresses to your life.

Feeling stressed is very common during pregnancy.  The good news, some stress is healthy. But too much stress can cause physical, mental, and emotional aches and pains.

Your pregnancy doesn’t need to be stressful.  It’s all in how you handle it. Here are 7 tried-and-true ways to manage your stress, so you can get on the path to enjoying a healthy and balanced pregnancy.

#1 Identify your stress triggers

Understanding the things that stress you out, and in what ways, is particularly helpful in solving the underlying problems.

What stresses you out? How do you react to it? Understanding how stress manifests in your life is the first step to finding balance.

#2  Focus on one thing at a time

Our conscious brain isn’t able to multitask.  If right now, you’re reading this post and talking to your partner, you are really doing neither.

An easy everyday technique for reducing stress is to focus on one thing only.  Then move on.

#3  Get some exercise

Moving your body is important to combat stress and keep it at bay.  If you keep your body in peak condition, you feel more energized, leaving you prepared to manage life’s stresses.

No matter what your fitness level may be, the key is to simply move your body every day.

#4  S.T.O.P

In order to live peacefully and mindfully, we have to take time to STOP.  Deepak Chopra, world-renown author, internal medicine specialist and teacher of meditation and wellbeing techniques, uses the word as an acronym – S: stop what you are doing, T: take a few deep breaths, O: observe your body and smile, P: proceed with kindness and compassion.

#5  Eat well

Nourishing your body with the right food will give you the energy you need to tackle what life brings you, including stress.

If you’re stressed out, what you’re eating is a great thing to look at, stresses can be triggered by different foods. It’s important to make conscious eating choices especially when you’re pregnant.

#5  Sleep to combat stress

Are you getting your zzzz’s?  When you’re well-rested, you can approach stressful situations more calmly, yet sleep is so underemphasized.

The key is making sure you’re not only getting enough sleep but that the quality of sleep you’re getting is restful and restorative.  

#6  Smile

Have you heard of the mind-body connection? How much power does the body have over the mind?

Research has found that even a phoney smile can help you handle stress  So if you’re looking for a quick way out of stress, you’ll need to smile more.

#7  Find stillness every day

Meditation is one of the best tools you have to counteract stress, and your brain’s bias to hold onto negativity.  Sit quietly, without an agenda, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sure your mind might get restless during meditation, but after a while, it will quiet down and you will relax.


You’re pregnant…congratulations!  This life-changing moment sure comes with its fair share of emotions: excitement, joy, relief, panic, and likely an extra dose of confusion over what to do next.  Here is a compilation of 100 things that moms from around the world have learned and shared about pregnancy, labour and delivery, postpartum recovery and life after baby.

  1. Start taking your prenatal vitamins.

  2. Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of morning sickness so make sure that you take your vitamins every day.

  3. Morning sickness is the worst part of pregnancy – It can occur at any time of day and anytime during your pregnancy. It can even stop and come back at a later stage.

  4. Pregnancy can make you tired and emotional. Relax when you can.

  5. Take more naps. Don’t wait for the baby to be born so you can “nap when the baby naps”… He might not be a good napper.

  6. Stay active to reduce stress, improve circulation, and boost your mood.

  7. Yes, it is possible to fart and burp at the same time.

  8. Baby kicks are the best part of being pregnant! These flutters start between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy.

  9. Enjoy that beautiful skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last.

  10. Enjoy that thick shiny hair. You will soon be losing it in copious amounts.

  11. Don’t feel guilty if the gender of the baby on the ultrasound isn’t what you were expecting (or hoping for). It’s normal and will pass. (And you will be so happy about your little boy or girl that you’ll forget about it anyway.)

  12. Love your body and the beautiful miracle that it is busy creating inside for you.

  13. You are going to pee all the time. Especially in the first and third trimesters.

  14. Your sense of smell will be as good as your dogs and there are a lot of weird smells out there, be ready.

  15. Love those stretchy comfy maternity clothes. You don’t have to struggle to get into those skinny jeans anymore.

  16. Sex is amazing when pregnant.

  17. Speaking of sex, do those Kegels.

  18. The second trimester is the best – you don’t feel sick, you don’t have to pee so much, you get a cute little bump, people smile at you and hold doors (for some reason this all stops once the baby comes when you need it the most)

  19. You can get priority parking in most malls.

  20. Nesting.  It’s fun to get your baby’s room ready and imagine how they will look in their giant crib!

  21. When you hear yourself say “this baby is going to fit into our lives and we’ll carry on as normal”. Don’t believe a word of it.

  22. Wear those fitted clothes – your bump is beautiful and you look cuter without extra frump.

  23. Save receipts because you really don’t need that bottle sanitizer.

  24. Use your birthday money on yourself, silly girl. I know you’re excited, but that little baby will get more presents than you know what to do with.

  25. Don’t buy too many newborn sizes because babies grow extremely fast.

  26. Pack your hospital bag early and make sure that all of Dad’s and baby’s things are packed as well.

  27. Pregnancy is not a time for making lasting decisions. You may think that you will be an attachment parenting devotee or you may know that you know that you want to formula feed, but give yourself permission to change your mind. It will be the best gift you can give your baby.

  1. If you want to speed up labour once your contractions have begun, use a breast pump.

  2. Have a birth plan but know that it’s just a plan, not a prophecy.

  3. You do have a say in your labour and delivery.   Whether you have your eye on that room with the whirlpool tub or the nurse who delivered your neighbour’s baby, you are entitled to the birth you want.

  4. Preggo-scaping is really not necessary.  Besides, who’s going to blame you for not shaving when you can’t even see over that belly?  The same rule applies to painting your toenails. Trust me when I say your birth team does not care at all.

  5. Having your waters break is not a one-off gush…it continues for hours into labour. (Birth is so glamorous.)

  6. Know that every woman experiences labour and birth differently.

  7. Giving birth is messy. Really messy.

  8. Poop is good.  You may have heard the rumour going around that some women poop while giving birth.  I have news for you: It’s true. As horrifying as it may sound, pooping on the delivery table is actually a good thing.  It means you are pushing the right way.

  9. Make sure your husband knows how to quickly and efficiently find the ice machine.

  10. Labour is hard work, but you were totally made for it. Go for it, girl.

  11. Educate yourself about C-sections and Vaginal births. Anything can happen, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go the way you wanted it too.

  12. The most important piece of advice from childbirth class is…find something, anything, to look at during your contraction. Focus on that thing and that thing only through the contraction.

  13. Giving birth is the happiest and scariest day of your life.

  1. Let your body heal. Don’t rush back to the gym.

  2. If you wake up drenched in sweat a week or two after giving birth, get excited about it. You’re sweating off those extra baby fluid pounds.

  3. It’s okay to not fall head over heels in love immediately with your newborn.  It will happen.

  4. Deal with your disappointment about things that went wrong with the birth and don’t let it steal the joy of birth from you.

  5. Spend a lot of skin-to-skin time with your baby so you can bond.

  6. You are going to feel so overwhelmed with love, just soak in it.

  7. It’s okay to hold your baby as much as you want – you can’t spoil a baby.

  8. Crying is how newborns communicate.

  9. Listen to your instincts.

  10. Babies have their own schedule; they will guide you. Don’t try to do everything by the book.

  11. Yes, the world really does want to see a bazillion photos of your baby on facebook – load ‘em up.

  12. Nursing is natural but doesn’t necessarily come naturally – Don’t be disappointed if breastfeeding is difficult or painful.

  13. What you eat after birth matters because it affects your baby’s diet if you decide to breastfeed.

  14. Feeding on demand is 100% acceptable.

  15. You are not a failure if you can’t breastfeed.

  16. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mother.

  17. Never leave home without extra breast pads and another set of clothes for you and baby.

  18. There’s no such thing as “bouncing back” after a baby.  It takes time, so give yourself time.

  19. You will lose the baby weight but you may never wear those jeans again – your body shape may change.

  20. You will have bad days, but loads of good ones too.

  1. Your life for the next two years will feel similar to a constant hangover. Don’t worry, go with it, even try to enjoy it – it will get better.

  2. Don’t forget to take time for yourself.

  3. Don’t forget to take time for your partner.

  4. Remember marriage will never be the same after a baby, a lot changes.

  5. Date nights are important.

  6. Make time for sex

  7. Post Natal Depression is a reality.

  8. Don’t lie to make it seem like you have it together.

  9. Don’t ignore how you feel.

  10. Accept any help you can get for cooking, cleaning and babysitting.

  11. Trust yourself.

  12. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing.

  13. It is okay to have a meltdown.

  14. Be prepared for spontaneous mama-tears when you have love-saturated-heart moments. (And don’t rush them – they are precious.)

  15. Don’t worry about changing your baby every time he spits up. You already have too much laundry to do. Just rub it in – ha!

  16. Don’t wake your sleeping baby unless you absolutely have too. Feeding schedules, shmeeding schedules. Let the baby sleep. (You’re welcome.)

  17. When your baby is a newborn, take extra care to burp him after a feed.   It’s worth the extra few minutes to avoid gassy baby meltdowns.

  18. Four months is not too early to begin teething. If in doubt, just keep sticking your finger in there to check.

  19. Decide on a lullaby song for your baby so that every time you sing it they know to expect that it’s naptime/bedtime. (Just make sure that you like it, you are going to sing it a lot!)

  20. Just because your baby sleeps through the night consistently at a few weeks old doesn’t mean they will continue as he gets older and hungrier. Just know that in advance. Sometimes this really feels like two steps forward, one step back.

  21. There will be some diaper blowouts that are not worth trying to clean up outside of the bathtub.  We’re talking a right, hot mess. That goes for both you and baby.

  22. There will be lots of times when the baby is crying and you don’t know why. That’s ok, babies cry. Sometimes they are trying to communicate something, but often they are releasing their big emotions and pent-up baby angst. Just do your best and remember that sometimes even you just need a good cry, too.

  23. Be prepared when you’re encouraging your child to learn to crawl. I know it’s fun and super cute, but there really is no turning back. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, you overly keen first-time mom, you.)

  24. Congratulations, you will now forever be known as “so-and-so’s” mom.

  25. Diaper bags are for carrying important things, like snacks for mommy.

  26. During those first few months, be prepared to go through baby’s clothes every 3-4 weeks and pack up the too-small ones and pull out the bigger ones. (And be aware that you might get a little teary on occasion about how fast it’s all going.)

  27. Even though it feels like a lot of work to think ahead and make double portions, it’s worth the effort to have homemade meals to pull out of the freezer instead of frozen pizzas on those nights.

  28. Plan for “quick errands” to take twice as long as they used to. Actually, make that three times as long.

  29. There will be days where you cry as much as your baby. This is normal. There will also be days when you cry more than your baby. This is also normal.

  30. Different babies have different milestones at different times. Do your best not to compare.

  31. If you’re having one of those days where you feel discouraged because you’re getting nothing done, take 20 minutes to play with your baby without multitasking. It will instantly give you perspective.

  32. Doing a load of laundry, folding it, and putting it away all within the same day will make you feel like wonder mom. (Go ahead and congratulate yourself and tweet about it when you accomplish this.)

  33. Make feeding yourself as big a priority as feeding your baby. (That way everyone wins.) You really do need to be intentional about taking care of yourself.

  34. Watching your husband be a daddy will make you fall in love with him even more. Relish it. Appreciate it. And make sure he knows how much it turns you on.

  35. You might find yourself accidentally speaking in a higher pitch or saying things like “bye bye”  or “night night” or “poo poo” when talking to other adults. You’ll grow out of it as you get used to this gig, so just have fun making fun of yourself in the meantime. You might also find yourself swaying the childless shopping cart back and forth during the rare kid-free grocery run. Again, just laugh at yourself and then tweet about it later. These days are over fast.

  36. You will re-define “sleeping-in” to any time past 7:00 am, and thankfully it will happen every once-and-a-while.

  37. Don’t put off buying a video baby monitor if you can afford to swing it. Not only will it provide endless entertainment for your first few days of having it, but it will save you from playing the guessing game about nap times.

  38. Be careful not to underestimate the small things. Starting your day with simple things like making the bed, having a shower, and eating breakfast will make the entire rest of your day better. Seriously, DO THIS STUFF.

  39. Don’t get defensive when friends without children (especially single friends) ask you what you do all day at home. They honestly have no clue what it’s like to maintain sanity as a new mom.

  40. Remember that you’re doing a great job. Being a mom brings out the best and the worst in you. Know that you’re normal and try to learn from all of it. And more than that, enjoy the ride — you’re a far better mom than you probably think.



I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the awesome moms who shared their experiences so candidly,  Chaunie Brusie a labour and delivery nurse and author of Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming Your Life, Preparing for Your Baby, and Moving Forward with Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy,  Shan Vijendranath the Lifestyle Blogger of You, Baby, and I, and Adriel Booker the author of Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss.