Everyone is concerned about what baby gear items to get when they register, stocking up on everything from diapers to a car seat, but what about the mom?

No matter how much you were around babies before, (I was a lot, even getting my master's degree in a pediatric field), or how much you've researched or read or prepped and planned, nothing can really prepare you for the day-in-and-day-out experience of being a mom yourself.

It's rewarding, challenging, growing, refining, joyous work and easily my favorite role by far. I wouldn't trade it for anything, even on the toughest days.

Motherhood is a big role. And yet there's no handbook or "registry guide" to follow, even though it encompasses a full-on, major identity and lifestyle shift and you will need a toolbox of things to get you through. You just can't exactly register for them.

But here's what you can stock up on for motherhood:

Patience. For when your baby gets up for the 18th time in the middle of the night, or when you're on your fifth outfit change of the day.

Grace. For everyone. Extra doses for those closest to you (yourself included). We're all just doing the best we can.

Friendship and community. Motherhood can be isolating and you'll need to rely on your home team and that group text thread more than once. Among the texts I have sent this year: "Does anyone have experience NOT giving the antibiotics for an ear infection?" "How long did it take you before you felt like you got the hang of this?" "Play date tomorrow at 10am?" Motherhood, while wonderful, also (at times) is hard. Find your tribe. These friends will be worth more than gold.

Caffeine. If you're into that (like me). See also: wine and chocolate.

Hydration. For all that extra coffee. I often forget to drink water, but when I do I think "I should do this more often." A cute water bottle helps.

Nourishment. In all forms and every sense of the word.

Fresh air, and bonus points for endorphins. Because we all could use a little more vitamin D and a little less screen time.

Humility. It's kind of hard to go through the birth process and not come out more humble (thank you, nurses, and all healthcare workers for doing the jobs that you do), but once the baby's here, someone else's bodily fluids will now be a part of your daily life (and your wardrobe).

Flexibility. Your days will not go as planned. The sooner you can accept this fact, the better.

Endurance. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. Your days may feel loud and busy and full right now, but someday they won't. As everyone says: the days are long but the years are short.

And most definitely, a strong sense of humor. You can choose to either laugh or cry at a million moments in your momming. Choose the former and be happier.

Granted, yes, there are a few "needs" with a baby. Probably things like: a place for your baby to sleep, a plan for feeding, and a car seat that fits. It was time for us to graduate from our infant car seat to a convertible one, and after researching I went with the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85. I chose this one for a few reasons, two main ones are the weight limit is higher than most, and the cover removes easily for cleaning (because the words "clean" and "car seats" are never in the same sentence unless fresh out of the washer). This one is neither the least expensive nor the most, and it checked all my boxes for comfort, safety, style, and design. Sidenote: I wish I had moved him sooner! He's a pretty big baby, and would cry every time I put him in his infant car seat. (Yes, every-single-time.) but he's hasn't cried yet going into this one (SO glad). I think he may have just needed more space? Sharing in case your baby also hates their infant car seat and maybe they just need to graduate to the next size. It's all a guessing game with babies but I thought this was an interesting observation.

(Caught these two having a moment. Trey thinks Daniel is about the funniest person on earth.)

So, yes, get your baby essentials. But also stock up on your motherhood toolbox. You're going to need those qualities a lot more than that wipe warmer.

This post was written for Maxi-Cosi. We adore this car seat and how their well designed baby products combine the best of style and safety.


We've been fighting colds for what seems like all winter now. At one point Trey had an ear infection and I was trying to take his temperature with an ear thermometer. He was squirming and crying, and I realized that this loud beep in an already infected eardrum must be super uncomfortable for him. I wanted a no-touch (not even the drag-across-theforehead) thermometer that worked.

I researched around and found InstaTemp, and have been impressed.

It's no-touch; it works via a one-second press of a button, like a remote aimed at a TV, except the remote is the thermometer and the TV is your baby's forehead. It's accurate from infancy through adulthood (Daniel and I even tried it on ourselves, and the readings were more consistent than our ear thermometer) and it works even when asleep. Great find.

Best wishes for staying healthy through this winter! Having sick little ones is so tough. I love discovering any product that makes it a little easier.

Thank you InstaTemp for partnering with me on this post.


Our bags are packed and ready. It feels more both more real and still not real at the same time. To prep, I read blogs and asked friends what they loved having, and I also reached out to Instagram where there was a huge response with tons of helpful information in the comments section on this post here. I compiled all those into this list, and am now feeling prepared for almost anything. Here's what we're bringing:

(Bags pictured: On the right: Birdling Bags Weekender. This is a small business run by moms, and the bags are super high quality, made in the USA, and designed with compartments that help to stay organized while traveling with babies and all the gear they require. On the left: Baggu Clutches: an ethically minded company, love their nylon reusable bags and as a bonus the leather on this clutch is made from scrap material from other bags.)


Birth plan. Up until I was 37 weeks pregnant I didn't think I would even draft this, but I'm so glad I did. It was good for me, even just mentally, to get organized about the things I hope for or really don't prefer in labor. I feel so much more knowledgeable and prepared by having made these decisions in advance. (I totally understand that birth plans are a "best case scenario" kind of thing and that no birth goes exactly to plan, but it was just helpful for me to think about and communicate my ideal preferences, even if none of them happen in reality.)

Swimsuit. There's a hot tub at our hospital and I hope to be able to labor in it at least for a little while before getting an epidural. We'll see how this plan works out but I'm packing it anyways. Another friend mentioned that her strapless swimsuit top was a lifesaver and she wore it during birth.

Cheap flip flops. This item was recommended over and over again, for walking the halls and showers.

Lip Balm or Chapstick of choice. Another highly recommended item.

Essential Oils. Some people swear by these. A nurse gave us a great tip to put a few drops of an essential oil on a paper towel and then into a ziploc. That way, if you decide you like the scent one second but hate it the next, you can just zip it away.

Coconut oil and/or lotion for a million uses.

Books or other distraction tools.


The number one recommended item to me on Instagram was by far: SNACKS. Both for during labor (each hospital policy is different, ours allows eating up until the moment of an epidural) as well as post-delivery. Someone mentioned that even if the hospital where you're delivering has a reputation for an amazing menu, it could take a while for those orders to come through and you will be STARVING after birth. I've already gotten into my packed snack stash and will be replenishing it soon in response to how often this item was recommended.

Many people echoed bringing your own water bottle. This one is my favorite for keeping drinks ice cold.

Lots of granola bars. One brand I've recently discovered is Oat Mama Lactation Granola Bars, which are really are more like a cookie, with the added bonus of helping with milk supply. They're gluten free and made with wholesome ingredients, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor is amazing.

Drinks. I wanted a lot of green juice in my pregnancy, and it was hard to find ones that were pasteurized and safe for pregnancy. These Bundle Organics Juices fit the bill, and are fortified with things especially for expectant moms like folic acid. They also have a tea for pregnancy that I've been drinking iced recently. Your hospital may or may not allow iced tea during labor, so be sure to check the policy. Multiple people recommended coconut water as a way to replace lost electrolytes post-delivery.

Another tea that I've loved iced as I near labor is Red Raspberry Leaf. This one has been widely researched for helping with a variety of labor and delivery factors including shorter labor times and lower c-section rates, among other benefits (see research findings here). Of course, run everything you take by your health care provider first.

Gum, hard candies, and cough drops. Many people suggested these items, as labor can be really drying and all the pushing/breathing can cause a sore throat. Also, gummy bears! A nurse friend told me they fall into the required "clear liquids" category if your hospital has a strict policy.

Because some friends have had longer hospital stays than others, I'm bringing a few prenatal vitamins because I hear they're helpful to take while nursing, along with Postnatal Omega 3 supplements. (I've loved the Prenatal Omega 3 this pregnancy, the strawberry flavor is the best.) I like that this brand is endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association, but as always, run everything you supplement with for yourself or your baby by your health care provider first.

A tiny bottle of champagne. Because we are ready to celebrate.


Many people mentioned a speaker and/or a white noise app to drown out the hospital sounds (or other people laboring!) We really love this one by Fugoo. It's bluetooth enabled, the size is small and packable, and the sound is incredible. We're not planning a specific hospital playlist but will have it set on a Pandora station.

iPhone and computer and chargers. My iPhone case by Otterbox has extended battery life capabilities which has been such a lifesaver and I'm assuming it will be even more so in the hospital. Some people also mentioned an extra-long iPhone cord is helpful for hard to reach outlets in the hospital.

Canon Camera. I decided not to have a professional photographer at the birth, but possibly will bring in a friend to take a few photos of the three of us on day two. I'm bringing along my DSLR to take a few photos of the babe on it's first days. (A helpful tip from an Instagram commenter: make sure you clear space off your phone and/or camera card so that you're not busy deleting photos while trying to document your newborn.)

People to Contact List. I thought this was a great idea. A list for your closest circle of family/friends to text during labor, and another to send an announcement to once the baby is born. Designate your contact person now (either your spouse or someone else) so that you don't have to be in charge of this during labor.

Car seat installed. Of course.


Robe. This item was recommended to me over and over again, and especially in a lightweight fabric. I love this one by Belabumbum. Super soft, stretchy, and the lace detailing at the edges adds just enough of a feminine touch to feel pretty.

Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Balm and Spray. Both products were recommended to me for postpartum recovery and I'm glad to have them.

Undies. Probably totally TMI for the internet, but necessary for postpartum care. Your hospital may offer a great option, but if not, one company I've discovered recently is She Thinx and Icon, two sister brands that have developed a new kind of underwear, perfect for two main issues associated with postpartum recovery. The science behind it is so intriguing, and as a bonus, each purchase contributes to health care for women in developing countries.

Spandex Shorts and/or Leggings. For keeping all the postpartum mesh underwear/ice packs in place.

Belly Bandit. To help with hip pain and torso support after birth.

Pajamas that are dark and loose, and semi-nursing friendly if possible, along with warm socks.

Blanket from home. A luxury item for sure, but an Instagram commenter suggested this one (who delivered at the same hospital where we will be) and mentioned that the thin cotton blankets the hospital offers weren't great.

Travel sized toiletries (love Dr. Bronner's). Other necessities: toothbrush/makeup/hair ties/hair brush/etc.

Dry shampoo. I forgot about this item until someone mentioned it on Instagram, and I'm so glad they did because I use this daily. Another mention that I hadn't thought of: tissues. A friend said she went through a lot of these and the ones at the hospital are scratchy.


Nursing: tanks, bras, pads, gown, pillow, nipple cream, comfort packs. See more on each item in this post here.

(A note on pumps: this was suggested by a commenter, although I won't be bringing mine as another friend mentioned that the hospital where we're delivering has one available that she used. Personal preference, but check with your hospital on availability.)

Nursing Friendly/Going Home Outfits For Me. I've heard to expect to look at least 5 months pregnant after giving birth (or more if you have swelling!) so I'm bringing stretchy clothes that also work for nursing. It was tricky for me to find cute nursing clothes, but I love this red dress, this striped dress, and this tank by Ripe maternity.

Going Home Outfit for Baby. We're bringing a couple newborn sized outfits and 0-3 months depending on how big this baby is. My husband was a 10 lb baby so I have high hopes but low expectations for a petite babe.

Our hospital provides most things for diapering and baby health needs, but I'm bringing along a few things that I'm picky about, like socks and hats, my softest swaddles (Little Unicorn, Numpfer, and Max and Moose), and a travel size bottle of a natural baby wash (especially since Johnson and Johnson has gotten so much bad press recently for knowingly using cancer causing chemicals). I've heard some hospitals don't clip newborn nails and an Instagram commenter mentioned she wished she had these, so I threw this baby nail trimmer in my bag.


I feel like guys in general need less "stuff" than women and babies, so anything Daniel remembers to bring beyond an extra shirt and toothbrush will be a bonus. His plan is to have headphones, snacks, laptop, phone, chargers and swimsuit. We were thinking of bringing an extra duffel bag to bring all the postpartum recovery and baby items they send you home with, until I heard from a commenter that our hospital provides big bags to take things home in, so we can skip it.

Anything we're missing? If you've delivered before, what did you bring and loved having?

Shared in partnership with some companies listed, and although some links are affiliate, I did not receive paid compensation for this post. Product choices and opinions are my own.