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Packing Your Hospital Bag: Leave These 12 Things You’re Not Gonna Need At Home

Listen, you know all those baby prep books you’ve read that give you super long lists of stuff you need to pack to take with you for labor and delivery when it’s time to welcome your new baby? Okay, you’re not gonna need most of that stuff. Now, you may feel some comfort and security knowing that you have your 90s soft rock 3-disc CD to take your mind off of labor pains, but most likely, it won’t make it out of your suitcase. 

Besides all the useless and uncessary things you’ll chorale to the hospital, you’ll have additional things, flowers, gifts, balloons and baby stuff to add to the pile and schlep back home. To save you the trouble and hassle, here is our old tried and true list of 12 things you can leave home and spare your poor partner the back pain.

  1. Newborn diapers– Hospitals provide all the diapers the baby needs during the stay and even send you home with extra starter packs
  2. Nursing cover -There is no need for modesty in your hospital room in your hospital bed. The nurses have seen plenty of boobs in their career. If guests visit while you’re nursing, you can ask them to wait outside until you’re done feeding the baby. Most people won’t get offended.
  3. Wipes– Most hospitals use a very thick napkin that they wet with water and wipes contain elements that aren’t good for a newborn’s skin.
  4. Diaper Cream -Most likely the baby won’t be born with a diaper rash and won’t develop one within the first2-3 days of his life while in the hospital. If he does, the hospital has sample cream to use. Those tubes and jars can add weight to an already stuffed take home bag
  5. Any childbirth class notes or guidelines and labor hints: Really now? Do you think in the midst of breathing through labor pains you’re gonna want to review your notes?
  6. Underwear– Many hospitals provide the most comfortable mesh disposable ones that you will love to use instead of messing up your own. The joke among my friends is that they are the special order Victoria Secret mesh panties for new moms.
  7. iPod or music player – with music selections to help with relaxation Besides being outdated and taking up too much space, piping Gregorian Chants or Enya in the room may be a distraction for the hospital staff, interrupt with monitoring equipment and/or disturb a neighboring laboring moms. If you have a smartphone that has the capability of accommodating music, download music on there and bring your headphones. It takes up less space than bringing your phone AND ipod.
  8. Receiving blankets- The hospital provides plenty that you can take home even afterwards. Save all the cute baby shower gifts for home.
  9. Two regular-sized bed pillows (in bright, distinctive, hard-to-lose pillowcases)- The Hospital or maternity center provide enough. If you are a germaphobe, think the hospital’s pillow cases may be too rough or want something familiar from home, just bring the pillowcases and replace the hospital’s cases. They take up less space.
  10. Baby’s “memory” book – for footprints or staff names and guest signatures Nice idea if you have someone who will remind guests to sign because you’ll be consumed with baby, nursing, caring for yourself, and will likely forget.
  11. Entertainment items (books, crayons, games) for children are to visit in hospital – A lot of hospitals don’t permit young children  in the maternity wards, but for those who do and if children come to visit they may not be staying THAT long to get bored and need entertainment. As for other people’s children, it’s not your job to tote extra crap to entertain your friends’ kids.
  12. Clothes for hospital baby photo AND clothes for baby to wear home  You only need one of these. Either or. The kid shouldn’t be a fashionista YET that she can’t be seen in the same outfit twice. You can simply put on the outfit before the photo and take it off afterward. If you can, schedule your photo the same day and around your discharge time.

The Extra Crap you don’t NEED but you CAN bring (eh hem, especially if you are a diva or fashionista):

  1. Make up– because you don’t want to end up on Facebook looking like you just went through a train wreck. If your goal is to look like Khloe Kardashian after she delivered Mason or at least attempt to, then you’re gonna want some make up.
  2. Towels- Because the hospital ones are usually washed a lot and can be itchy.
  3. Your own toilet paper – Hospital toilet paper can be thin. Your delicate bum may want something soft then
  4. Your Own Plush Robe – For accepting visitors, walks to the nursery to visit baby and /or walking off the gas for those who have c-sections.
  5. A spare bag – You can use it to store the extra stuff you’ll have to carry home.

Would You Try One of These 10 Exotic Exercises While Pregnant?

non traditional

Pregnant women traditionally are told all the things they cannot or should not do while expecting. The fact remains that staying active and fit is best for labor, delivery and recovery. Moms-to-be who were active before becoming preggers can maintain their level of activity with modifications as baby grows. Here are 10 Exotic and Non Traditional Prenatal Exercises for Moms-to-Be to consider.

Check out 10 Exotic PreNatal Exercise Classes

by JJ Ghatt at Mode

10 Ways to Encourage Early Reading in Your Child

child become a reader bellyitchblog.com

It’s back to school time but independent reading continues to be something all children should be doing on a daily basis. Reading is a fundamental skill that all children master eventually. Each child learns at their own pace and parents need to be patient, however, there are things that you can do to foster and nurture healthy reading habits in your child. 4Nannies.com shared these 10 with us for you to consider:

1. Visit the library – The library is a magical place for children! Help your child register for her own library card so that she can check out books independently. This independence will allow her to choose the books she’d like to read and help her become responsible for taking care of those treasures. Encourage her to look for books she is interested in, show her where to ask for help if she can’t find something and allow her to make her own choices.

2. Read to and with your child daily – About 30 minutes of reading per day is what is recommended to encourage healthy reading habits in your child. Start at a young age by reading to your child and then gradually transition to him reading out loud to you. The reading doesn’t have to be done all at once, but can be broken up into smaller, more manageable slices of time.

3. Role model at home – Children who see the adults around them engaging in reading are more likely to follow your example.

4. Write short notes to your child – Put them in lunch boxes, backpacks or leave them on the counter for your child to read. You can write about anything; tell her that you love her, leave her a small fact to read or even write down her chores for her!

5. Ask open-ended questions about the story that you are reading – Asking your child open-ended questions will encourage him to think about what is going to happen next in the story and to put together what has already happened. Ask him how he’d have the story end or to predict what he thinks will happen next in the story. Once you read more of the story, look back on your discussion and compare his thoughts to the actual story line.

6.  context to check vocabulary words – Throughout your life you use context to check the meaning of words you don’t know, so encourage your child to do the same. It’s an essential life skill.

7. Practice writing skills – Reading and writing go hand in hand because you learn one while you are learning the other! Have your child practice sounding out words while she is writing, encourage her to create her own story with illustrations and have her write letters to people in your family (and have others write back to her!).

8. Let them pick the books that they read – Giving your child ownership of the books he chooses will mean that he is more involved in the reading process from the beginning. Encourage him to read the classics as well, but let him pick out what he is interested in reading.

9. Make reading fun – While you are reading together have her act out stories, recreate them or illustrate them how she thinks it should be done!

10. Play reading related games – Choose games that require reading to play together. Games that involve word play (Scrabble or Boggle), games with cards that you read (Fluxx or Pictionary) or games that require you to read spaces (Life or Monopoly) all encourage children to read independently while playing.

It’s important to remain patient and calm during the learning to read process with a young child, help him when he needs help, but stand back and allow him to navigate the words on his own as much as possible. Eventually the day will come that you are sitting side by side on the sofa, each reading your own books, and all that effort and hard work will pay off.

Australian Blogger Blasted for Funny sign Posted on her Twins’ Pram


An Australian blogger who is a mom of three including twin girls is catching heat for a fun photo she posted on Facebook (and Instagram).

Uncanny Annie said in response to getting the same series of questions from well-meaning strangers in the street, she wanted to post the following sign in front of her stroller as she pushed 1-year old Delphine and Cheska about. She didn’t of course, but that didn’t stop many of the 21,000+ people who have liked the photo or friends of the over 7,000 who shared it to pepper the blogger with criticism.

Many called her ungrateful for complaining about something that is considered a blessing among many, to have two healthy twins. Others called her neglectful.

Annie returned to reply that had she known the photo would have gone viral and offended so many, she wouldn’t have shared it. Still she maintains it was a joke.

It reminded me of a past 2011 blog post about the three parts of the body of a strangers baby you should never touch.


Here is a list of some of the questions from Annie’s sign:


“Yes they are mine.”

“Yes they are twins.”

“No, not identical.”

“Conceived by f***ing.”

“Born via C-section.”

“Yes, my hands are full.”

A Yahoo! Parenting blogger who covered this story shared some of the strange questions she and others have been asked randomly by strangers on the street:

“C-section or vaginal birth?”



“Are you trying?”

“Are you going to have another?”

“How long are you going to continue nursing?”

“Isn’t she a little old for that?”

“Is that drink for you?”

“[Upon hearing I was formula feeding]: But doesn’t that make babies obese?”

And, for the win: “Are you planning to have you vagina stretched prior to delivering your baby?”

Read the comments to the story to get other examples other parents contributed there.

What would you add to the list?

Also, check out this funny video too that demonstrates the rudeness factor in some well-meaning queries you may as an expecting mom:

These are the Top 10 Companies to Work for to get Generous Paternity Leave


Unlike progressive nations like Sweden, the United States doesn’t have federally mandated paternity leave for employers. Only 12 percent of US companies offer it.

Given that Bellyitch is an online digital blog and eMagazine and a proud member of Team Internet, we were quite elated to see that 5 of the top 10 companies with generous paternal leave as identified by TakePart are tech companies:

Change.org tops the list at #1 with its 18 weeks paternity leave offering.

Coming in behind the online petitioning site at #2 is Reddit which offers 17 weeks for birth and adoptive dads.

Facebook is number 3 on the list and it extends its leave policy to contractors as well as employers. Sweet!

Number 5 on the list is Twitter which also has a support group for new and future dads. Imagine!

Finally, rounding up tech companies on the top 5 is Google, which at #7 on the list, offers 12 weeks if Dad is the primary caregiver and then throws in an additional 5 weeks for adoptive and surrogate parents.


dad with baby

The other ten companies on the list are: Bank of America (#3), eco-friendly retailer Patagonia (#4),  international US-based law firm Arnold and Porter (#8), Swiss health firm Roche International‘s US offices (#9); and business management consultants Ernst & Young. (#10)

Read more details here: http://ow.ly/OHhiT

6 Hacks to Get that Sun-Kissed Bronze Look this Summer


This summer, you don’t have to risk the dangers sun rays to get that bronzed and sun-kissed look by sunbathing for hours. There are plenty of tricks and hacks you can implore to fake it without baking yourself, compliments from our pals at SmileSimplicity.

Here are 6 easy Tips for getting that sunkissed and outdoorsy look with less the hassle:

1. Wear white and lots of it. And just as nice, you’ll feel and look cool and collected.

2. Consider a new nail polish. White isn’t the only color that will bring out your inner golden goddess. Any color that is lighter than your skin will make your

complexion look bold by comparison. Neons, corals, and golds are good choices.

3. Pile on the turquoise jewelry. This soft color pops against skin. Pastels like mint green work well too.


4. Whiten your smile. There are many tooth whitening options on the market, from whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses to in-office treatments. But why

not brighten your smile permanently with SmileSimplicity porcelain veneers? This is a new generation porcelain veneer that doesn’t require any drilling away

of sensitive tooth structure and thus no anesthesia. Bonus: this magic transformation can also correct chips, cracks and imperfections.

5. Go for the bronze: Dust a bronzer over cheekbones, but ask the makeup counter expert to help you pick your shade. Ideally, it should be no more than

two shades darker than your natural skin tone. You’re going for glow, not stripes.

5. Choose a coral lipstick and sheer gold eye shadow.

 6. Sun kiss your hair with blond streaks. Already blond? Add dimension and

contrast with some low lights.

10 Things To NOT Ever say to your Kids

I stumbled upon this very well written article published last Spring in Women’s Day, titled, “10 Things You should Never Say to your Kids.” Seeing as how I’m guilty of uttering more than one of these offenses, I read author Denise Shapani‘s explanations of each and they make complete sense! Very insightful stuff.  Now the challenge is to remember these lessons and resist the urge to repeat the offensive utterances. Oy!

The list of the ten are:

1. “I know you can try harder.”

2. “Are you sure you need that second cupcake?”

3. “You always…” or “You never…”

4. “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?”

5. “I told you waiting until the last minute was a mistake!”

6. “You’re the best at soccer!”

7. “Don’t worry—the first day of school will be fine.”

8. “Because I said so!”

9. “I wish you didn’t hang out with Jack; I don’t like that kid.”

10. “That’s not how you do it! Here, let me.”

Head over to Women’s Day to read Shapani’s reasoning for each HERE!

photo: Thinkstock

Top 10 common movie cliches involving pregnancy

In a recent HuffPo post, blogger Melissa Sher of MamaLingo put together some top cliche things one can expect to see in a movie that has a pregnancy in it and/or  is focused on pregnancy. I was cracking up at the list which to me contributes to so much misinformation and fear people have about pregnancy. Never get your information about pregnancy from a Hollywood film, folks. From Huffpo:
  1. Waiting Room As Party Headquarters  Celebrate good time, come on! Forget just the grandparents. In the movies, everyone’s invited to hang out in the waiting room. The waiting room is fun. Labor is pretty fast so no one ever gets bored. And, there’s always a “nosy messenger,” someone in the group who will check in on what’s going on you-know-where and report back.
  2. The Menstrual-Cycle Calendar Flip Technology schmechnology. Film characters must keep track of their periods with date books and marker. This way, when a woman thinks she might be pregnant, she can frantically flip backwards through her calendar to find the exact date of her last period.
  3. What To Expect During Labor 
    Bring earplugs. The breathing is loud: “Hee hee hoo. Hee hee hoo.” And that’s just the father-to-be offering his help. And the woman — when she’s not busy berating him for being alive — is screaming during each contraction. That is, until she is told that she needs to push one more time. (Exactly one more time.) Then, the poor thing will break down. She can’t do it. She can’t. She’s done. She can’t possibly. Not even once more. But… wait… SCR-E-E-E-E-E-AM! Cue the six month old wrapped in a blanket.
  4. The Pregnancy Test As A Social Activity  If you’re a character in a movie, sitcom or even a reality show, taking a home pregnancy test is something you do with a friend. The friend will probably buy the test for you, talk you into taking it, and sit on the sink while you pee on the stick. She’ll also be the one to read and announce the results.
  5. Public Puking Of course, sometimes, our heroine doesn’t know she is pregnant. Sometimes, she has no clue. In those cases, there’s a good chance that she’ll be in the middle of a business presentation in a conference room when she’s hit with her first bout of morning sickness. The poor thing won’t make it to the bathroom in time so she’ll have to make quick use of either a wastebasket or potted plant
  6. Breaking The News  When a movie character tells her husband that she’s pregnant, she does it when he’s in the middle of telling a long story. She will usually just say something like, “I’m pregnant.” (Or, “We’re pregnant” which I can’t stand. There’s no “I” in “team”… and there’s no “we” in “pregnancy.”) The news never registers right away. Instead, he continues talking. Then, he’ll stop and ever-so-slowly look over at his nodding wife.
  7. Baby Shower From Hell  Women who attend baby showers in movies and television shows are the most annoying, uptight guests in the world. Some bring their children to the shower. Those kids will be unruly, booger-picking brats who solely exist to scare the crap out of the pregnant main character.
  8. Start Your Engines Labor can begin one of two ways in the movies. The woman’s water can break. And if it does, it’s a flood of epic proportions all over someone’s shoes or the produce aisle. Or, the woman will calmly notify her husband, “It’s time.”
  9. Wigging Out  It’s time? It’s time?! Let the overacting begin! He zigzags around the house, grabbing a suitcase and running around in circles, while his wife waits patiently. Nine times out of ten, he’ll run out the door without her.
  10. Taxi Driver As Delivery Man There are two reasons that taxicab drivers exist in the movies. The first is to drive a heartbroken young man to the airport to catch the love of his life before she leaves on a flight to Europe. The second is to deliver babies.
Hilarious. What was your favorite?

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7 ways to prepare children for Passover

Passover can be a difficult holiday for children to understand. The Seder (traditional Passover meal) can be long, and children don’t often understand why certain foods (leavened foods) are prohibited during the holiday. Here are a few activities to keep your children as involved as possible during Passover and the Seder.
  1.     Create a Haggadah – Have your child draw pictures of the different aspects of Passover. They can draw themselves reading the 4 Questions, create a picture of the Seder plate and illustrate looking for the Afikomen. Put them in order together and bind with rings or string. Kids can use their own Haggadah at the Seder to help them be involved on a level that they understand.
  2.     Create a Seder plate together – Have your children help arrange the Seder plate with you, explaining what each item represents. You can also print off a child-friendly Seder plate here. Kids can color in the Seder plate while the family is sitting around the table.
  3.     Talk about the Seder – Talk with your kids about the Seder, which is typically held on the first night of Passover. Discuss how the Israelites were redeemed from slavery and given the gift of the Torah and explain why the symbolic foods are out on the Seder plate.
  4.     Read the 4 Questions together – It’s tradition that the youngest child reads the 4 Questions at the Seder, starting with the first, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Reading them together, in English and in Hebrew, will familiarize your children with the questions and the answers that will be asked at the Seder. Helping your child understand before the Seder will prepare them to be active in the Seder.
  5.     Read or tell the Passover story to your children – Reading or telling the story will help familiarize your children with the reasons that Passover is celebrated. The Israelites left Egypt quickly and there was no time for bread to rise, which is why eating matzah (unleavened bread) represents the time when people were forced quickly out of their homes. Passover also reflects a time for cleaning to rid houses of hametz (anything leavened).
  6.     Discuss the plagues – The 10 plagues are an important part of the Passover story and you should discuss them with your children, taking time to explain their importance. You can have your children act out the story or draw pictures of the plagues to add to their Haggadah.
  7.     Afikomen – The afikomen (or half of a piece of matzah) is hidden by the head of the household, and when it’s time for dessert it’s tradition that the children hunt for the afikomen and return it in exchange for money or a small prize. The afikomen helps children stay involved (and awake!) during the meal, knowing that their part in finding the afikomen is coming soon and that there is a reward for it once found – a prize and dessert!

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Earth Day: 30 Blog Posts to help you REDUCE your family’s Carbon Footprint

This winter, my husband went away to visit family and attend events at his native Trinidad and Tobago. While he was away, I woefully neglected to take out our recycle bin and forgot to ask our sons to do so as well. That meant, for two weeks, our pizza boxes, egg whites, milk cartons and such piled up and overflowed in the backyard. When I went over to tsk tsk shamefully and peer at it, that’s when I was struck at how large our carbon footprint is. The pile was so high. 
Lucky for me, I recalled GoNannies had submitted a guest blog post a little while back where it curated 30 blog posts that helped families like mine do a better job of using earth resources. This post is perfectly timed to share today for Earth Day and Earth Month is coming up this April:
As information about climate change and the damage it could cause continues to be discovered, more and more families are realizing the importance of managing and minimizing their carbon footprint. Making a difference in the health of the planet by making a conscious effort to reduce the ecological impact that your household has is the socially responsible, ethical thing to do. These 30 blogs all feature posts underlining the importance of that task, and offer tips, hints and tricks for turning your family a bit greener.
My family’s carbon footprint
Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
Not only will energy-efficient upgrades to your home help the planet, they’ll also save your wallet each month by translating into noticeable reductions in energy costs. These five blog entries detail some of the upgrades you can make to turn your home into one that has less of an ecological impact, and will also cost less to maintain.
Sustainable Dietary Habits
Making changes to your dietary habits is an effective way of reducing your carbon footprint while also enjoying healthier, more wholesome foods. These five blog posts detail not only the importance of sustainable eating, but also include tips for how to make the switch with your family.
Recycling and Repurposing
The environment created inside a landfill is one that’s typically anaerobic due to how tightly garbage is compacted. The lack of oxygen in this environment means that even biodegradable refuse may not break down properly, which is one of the reasons why recycling is so important. Repurposing items that you might ordinarily discard can also help you save money, and will keep them out of your local landfill.
Changing the way that your family commutes to work, school and activities is a small but significant step in the direction of ecological responsibility. Carpooling, participating in ride share programs, and utilizing mass transit are all viable alternatives to driving a car with one or two occupants, and these changes do make a difference. These five bloggers discuss their experiences and share their knowledge about earth-friendly transportation.
  • Green Transportation Alternatives
  • Cars & Transportation
  • Ridesharing: Not Just Your Family Carpool Anymore
  • 10 Green Family Travel Tips
Reducing Waste
While keeping garbage out of landfills and managing your family’s carbon footprint is of vital importance, learning to manage and reduce your waste as a group is a great way to instill the importance of green living in children, teaching them responsible practices that they’ll remember in adulthood.
Teaching Kids Earth-Friendly Habits
It’s important for families to reduce their carbon footprints as a household, but it’s also important that kids learn the necessity of living an environmentally-responsible life as they grow up. Good habits start when children are still quite small, and these five bloggers tackle the issue of imparting green values to little ones.

Stay GREEN everyone!

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