Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Partner, & Baby!

We always end up over packing for the hospital. To be honest, you don’t need much if you’re going to be there for a couple days.

But, if you think you might be spending more than a couple nights at the hospital, definitely get your packing done early.

Here’s what I learned from my past two pregnancies.

What the hospital usually provides:
newborn blankets
nose aspirator
mesh undies
ice packs
sanitary pads

What I didn’t find useful to pack:
Extra clothes for baby – baby will have his/her newborn swaddle. You need one or two outfits.

Sanitary pads – the hospital gives you pads, and they are not terrible. They are not great but the pads do the job the first couple days. If you really want to have comfortable sanity pads, then make your own.

Nursing nightgown – I still don’t know what that is. A comfortable robe or shirt works just fine.

What you should really pack for the hospital:
Portable fan – you never know the temperature in your room. Some rooms will let you control the temperature, others not at all. Upon admittance into the hospital, you will go from triage to the labor & delivery room and then to the maternity ward. Since you cannot open windows in a hospital room, a portable fan can keep you from feeling stifled.
Pillows – Bring 1-2 of your favorite pillows from home. Be aware though, if you use them during delivery, they just may not cleanable when it’s over.

Chapstick – dry lips. Need I say more.

iPad – to watch movies. Especially nice if your room has no tv and you have a long labor. Or you’re in the maternity ward and the only tv you have is from 1999.

Phone charger – do not forget this!

Extension cord – no joke. Outlets are in the weirdest spots in a recovery room. Get an extension cord and you won’t be stretching your arm out trying to instagram and charge at the same time.

Camera and camera stuff – Bring your camera.

Phone – duh.

Maxi or mini dresses – Pack a dress that is EASY to wear; no buttons, zippers or hard to access area for the boobs.

Zipper hoodie – if it is cold in the room. ZIPPER is key.

Robe – makes it easy to nurse and provides a layer if you become cold. Plus a robe makes you feel a little more stylish and human.

Blanket – feel cozy and bring a light blanket you love. Don’t bring your ultimate favorite because you never know what could happen.

Socks – continue the coziness with your own socks. If you get cold easily, pack 2-3 pairs.

Toothbrush and toothpaste – I was surprised my hospital provided them for me, but it’s always good to have them packed in your bag.

Disposable contacts – if you wear contacts, don’t forget to pack them!

Flip Flops – Do you really want to walk barefoot on the hospital ward?

Toiletries – Collecting hotel toiletries? Now is the time to use them! Pack a travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap. Also pack face wipes – even if you don’t time to take a full shower, a refreshing wipe will give your face life.

Makeup – Bring your absolutely must have to walk out the door on any given day. I always have eyeliner, lipstick, and mascara. Even in the chaos of new baby and learning of your newly weird body, a little makeup will give you an instant esteem boost. Not to mention, a good time to take a photo!

One nice top – Speaking of nice photos, have one nice top you can take a photo with. The top should be easy to wear, comfortable, and quick for nursing. Look for a maternity top, nursing top, or something loose fitting.

Swimming trunks – If you have a bathtub during labor and delivery, you may want a two piece bathing suit.

Snacks – have your favorite snacks for when you’re in the recovery room. If you take an epidural during labor, you will not be able to eat, at all. Keep the snacks for your spouse (when they are starving and it’s 1am) and yourself.

Baby things:

Going home outfit

Something cute to take a photo with – a newborn printed sign, a special gift from a family member, an outfit, a stuffed toy, something lovely.

If you leave in the hospital in a car make sure you have a CAR SEAT!

20 Things You Must Do Before Having Your First Baby

Wondering what to do for yourself in those last months of pregnancy? Sure, you are belly deep in nesting and buying diapers or onesies, but what about yourself mom?

These are your last months with you and your spouse ALL BY YOURSELF. After this, there’s no going back. You will forever have another little person attached to you.

I crowdsourced these “must haves” self-care ideas with veteran and new moms. From getting yourself a pedicure to sleeping as much as you want, this is your time to shine and enjoy those last pre-baby moments in life.

1. Non-pregnancy related doctor appointments – Get yours eyes with your annual vision appointment, dental cleaning and checkups, dermatology, and any other medical appointment that has nothing to do with baby.

2. Talk to insurance about your annual deductible and copays – If you have health insurance, you may get lucky to meet your deductible and co-pays with the birth of baby because of the sheer cost bill by the hospital to insurance. Get on the phone now with the insurance provider and find out how much may be covered and what your expected out of pocket is.

Also find out what your annual deductible, copay, and coinsurance amounts are. If you are lucky, you’ll meet them with the birth of baby and your remaining medical costs for the year will be cheaper to almost free. This is a good time to get that prescription list together.

3. Nap and sleep more – At some point it’s going to suck to sit, sleep, stand, lie down because of baby’s position in the uterus. Doesn’t matter, because you need rest. Whenever you are not working, hang out and relax. It’s okay to watch an extra episode, err season, of The Great British Baking Show. Actually just nap whenever, wherever!

4. Have sex – Yes, you can have sex when you are pregnant. Pregnancy hormones make you crazy, why not go crazy?

5. Chop up basic veggies – Chop onions, carrots, potatoes, etc and freeze. You can then make quick meals without relying on expensive frozen foods.

6. Fancy food – Treat yourself to long, fancy lunches/dinners especially at non-child friendly places. You might not be able to have a glass of champagne but you can enjoy beautifully served food.

7. Pamper yourself – Manicures, pedicures, facials, waxes, get it all done now!

8. TV show list – Make a list of easy going TV shows to watch postpartum during the random hours you and spouse will be awake with the newborn in the first weeks.

9. Go to the movie theater – When will be the next opportunity you will get to go to the theater? 2028? 2031? Whenever you get rid of the kids? Remember the good old days where date night consisted of dinner and a movie, do that again!

10. Get out in nature – Whether you are hiking or driving through the woods, go enjoy nature without lugging around a diaper bag, a stroller, a baby carrier, and a baby. You may not be able to do much hiking, but you can enjoy those beautiful sunsets.

11. Babymoon – There is the honeymoon when you get married, and the babymoon for just before a baby. A lovely way to take a proper vacation with spouse and/or friends. We went to Hawaii with best friends for a week and it was amazing. I still remember it as one of the best trips of our lives.

12. Fix your house – No matter what you do, you will end up nesting. Sorting clothes, baby toys, diapers, wipes, medicines, and overstocking with useless items (true story). What you really need to do is fix things that need to get done in the house. Shelves, unpack boxes, sort out a closet, buy lounge chairs. Honestly, my husband put up the sun umbrella the day I was in labor. It was on his to-do list for a month, but he finally put it up (after much screaming, lol) when I told him we are having this baby today. TODAY! Cue laughing face and rolling around hilariously.

13. Meet friends – Dinner, fika (coffee), lunch dates, get out with your friends! If you are the first in your group to have a child, this is important for you. No matter what you say (and how much eye rolling you are doing at me), you lose time to hang out on a whim. Sure, you will see your friends, but it won’t be the same.

14. Girls Night Out – Speaking of meeting friends, go out for a girls night out. Get dressed up and enjoy time with your girlfriends.

15. Work auto-email & processes – Make sure your work processes are in place well before you go on maternity leave. Who will take over? Who leads projects? You will not be answering emails, sitting on calls or otherwise herding cats at your company. Hop to it and have a plan in place. Also make sure your auto email letter is set and will start on a specific date – usually the last day you work. If you go into labor earlier, turn on your auto responder immediately. Since you already wrote the response email, it’s one less thing on your list.

16. Car tune up – Take your car in for servicing. Oil change, alignment, tire rotation, standard service checks, go in now. There’s nothing like having a 2 week old baby and needing service on your mode of transportation.

17. Pets? – Buy extra everything: food, litter, medicine. Take them in for their annual checkup. Your fur baby will soon have a human sibling, be ready for jealously and acting out.

18. Hospital bags – Pack your hospital bag for yourself and your spouse. Once you hit 36 weeks you are considered term and baby can show anytime.

Get ready for the time of your life. Everything is about to change and be turned upside down. It good, bad, and beautiful.

Love your last moments as an adult without responsibility before embarking on the adventure of parenthood.

My Indian Maternity Milk Bath Photo Shoot

Like most of my friends, my friend Liza is a wedding photographer. But she is also a lifestyle photographer who does milk baths. Every time I would see one of these milk bath photos in my Facebook feed, I told myself, “one day I am doing them!”

It’s called milk bath because you fill a tub or pool with water and then milk. I know, the Indian in me is saying, “don’t waste food,” but you only need a gallon to provide the wispy effect.

When I was pregnant I realized this was the perfect opportunity to have a maternity milk bath photo shoot. And being a bit crazy (I’ll blame the hormones), I wanted to do something out of the box. Way outside the box.

Why not wear a sari? How pretty would that be?!

I messaged Liza, who lives on the other side of the Bay Area, San Jose, and told her of my crazy idea. Her instant response: YASSSSSSS.

I pulled out a pink crystal chiffon saree because it has a translucent glimmer in the water. If you recognize the saree, I used for my first maternity photo shoot three years ago.

After making the trek across the Bay to Liza’s place, we had a busy day. The photo shoot took six hours from start to finish from makeup and washing down.

Being 36 weeks pregnant, I was a giant whale floating in the water. Seriously. Between the sciatica pain and hip pain, I couldn’t even turn over by myself! Liza’s assistant would help move me. Honestly, I never felt so old and incapacitated in life.

Note to self, get a message the next day because your body will be dead.

One of the highlights of the shoot was being beautified by the makeup artist. Having someone else do your makeup really makes you feel like a princess. Kim, our MUA, does not specialize in Indian style makeup, which I loved.

I wanted something light and eternal, but glittery. You know you’re Indian when you keep saying, “more glitter, more glitter, MORE glitter! There’s never too much!”

I am sure she thought Liza and I were insane, but you don’t often get to do an Indian maternity shoot. It’s an opportunity to push the boundaries – you can only have photos you dream of if you make it happen in reality.

Overall I couldn’t be happier to celebrate a part of me, being Indian, and a special moment in my life of being pregnant. Even though I was exhausted after, these are the kind of photos you print and place on the walls. No pain, no gain, right?

Thanks to Liza Head of Juniper Springs Photography, Kimberly Brown for the makeup, and Liza’s assistant for rolling me around in the water.

Elegant & Whimsical Baby Shower

Baby showers – they can be so kitschy you want to hid under the diaper cake or so babycentric you want to hid under those “chocolate” diapers.

I know I know baby showers are meant to be about babies. But shouldn’t they also be about mom? and dad?! and having a good time.

Two of my best buds M & J put together a stellar baby shower. We of course used Pinterest for inspiration. We wanted to stay away from the most cliched aspects of baby showers. Almost like a bridal shower minus all the alcohol and more whimsical.
Out: the candy diaper game, the chugging bottle game, and sorry, everything lame.
In: pretty flowers, macarons, and a sense of elegance and whimsy.

We had lovely macarons from Fleur de Farine, based in Palo Alto.

A selfie with the party organizers, M & J!

Our baby shower party setup – presents, a diaper cake (I give credit, this one is adorable), and stuffed toys and toy blocks from our childhood.

“Who’s that baby?” game. Our hosts collected baby photos from the guests and we had to figure out who each person was. Super fun. It took me 10 minutes to figure out some of my friends!

Opening baby presents. It couldn’t get more fun. This diaper bag from Skip Hop is amazing too.

Belly henna by Henna Lounge. I just LOVE mandalas!

If you want more whimsical ideas check out my 10 DIY ideas for onesies and my Indian maternity baby shoot on The Big Fat Indian Wedding.

10 Adorable DIY Onesie Ideas

At my baby shower, my friends put together a DIY onesie and bib station. Friends made the cutest and funniest onesies for our baby.

I just have to share their artwork and creativity!

**iPood** – Forget the iPod, the iPood is what really happens with a newborn baby.

**Est 2015** – Don’t you love all those annoying apparel companies telling you what year they were established? How about make one for the babe. Way more meaningful.

**Crying gets you things** – if crying doesn’t solve the problem for your baby bean, cry some more. Crying will pretty much run your lives for those first months. Might as well enjoy a onesie with it!

**I am why we can’t have nice things** – That ended when I chose to have rabbits, but it’s just as true when you have a baby.
**Input//Output** – put an arrow facing up to the mouth, and put the output sign on the baby’s tushie. There will be a lot of outputting.

**noob** – give the nerds some love

**player 3** – honestly, I haven’t figured out what this means, but it’s sure cute!

**Feed me and no one will get hurt… I left you a present** – need I say more?

**Hangry** – now that it’s an official word in the Oxford dictionary, you can be the coolest aunt/uncle ever for designing this onesie.

**”#tbt”** – This was by far the most creative and provocative onesie. Do you remember the time when you were just a wee little sperm? Make this throwbackThursday so your friend’s kid can learn the trauma of how a sperm becomes a baby.

Now on to making more onesies!

The Chicken & The Egg

“My wife asked me to send our family a tasteful picture of her water birth. Apparently, this wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be.”

Actually, I thought it was pretty funny. I don’t know if I’d want to see a real photo of a water birth sent on a postcard…