The Baby Mavens MUST HAVES For Your Hospital Bag


You are almost at the end of your pregnancy! You made it through the morning sickness in the first trimester, the tiredness of the second trimester, and now you may be nesting in your third trimester. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag. Let’s get it ready to go!

The first rule of the hospital bag is that it is all about YOU!! It’s about Mom and her partner. Of course you need that ridiculously adorable outfit that you picked out months ago for your new baby to come home in, but other than that- your baby doesn’t need too much!

* Bring the things from home that will make you comfortable! This might be your own pillow, or even a favorite blanket. Your partner especially may want a comfy pillow or blanket, the chairs are not that comfortable!

* Pack some SUPER comfortable clothes. Think yoga pants and flowing shirts. We know you want to look cute in all of the photos, but you are going to be sore and tired and you will to be comfy!

sound_machine* If you have one, pack a white noise machine. (Or use an app on your phone!) It is loud and crazy in the hospital, the white noise machine will help you get a little rest.

* Don’t forget all of your chargers! Phone chargers, camera chargers, etc. You will want to have those! (Maybe even buy a second one to     leave in your hospital bag.)

_35* Slippers! Sometimes the hospitals can be cold. Especially those cold tile floors. And you may be shuffling back and forth between the bathroom and your bed.

* You will want your own toiletries, don’t forget your makeup (You may have a photographer come to your room!) and maybe even your own hair dryer. (You may desperately want a shower, OR you may not one at all! In that case, bring some dry shampoo too!) Don’t forget                                some chapstick and lotion, sometimes it’s dry in those rooms.

* You will have lots of visitors, and lots of visitors likely means lots of cards and gifts! Bring an extra bag or small suitcase to pack all of the extras. (You will have lots of stuff from the hospital too!)

swaddleme-3-pack-grey-chevron-and-ptru1-21193103dt* We said that you didn’t need to bring much for the baby, but throw one of our favorite “Swaddles for dummies” in your bag to make those nights in the hospital a little easier. We love Summer Infant’s Swaddle Me’s for those new babies.

* If this is your second baby, make sure to pack a special gift to the new big brother or big sister, from the baby!


*Lastly- don’t forget to have your carseat! And make sure you find a CPST in your area to show you how to properly install it in your car before the big day!

Remember, hopefully you will have a short and easy stay at the hospital! But you want to make it easy and an enjoyable experience for your, your partner, and your brand new baby!


How Can We Help You? (Part 3 of 4)

Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t stand up long enough to shower?  Too tired to cook dinner?  So exhausted you fall asleep standing up while waiting for the Nespresso to brew?

If you’re a new parent, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Now for my next question – would you like to get some sleep?  Even one full 8-hour night?  I’m sure you’re saying “YES!” again!  Well, help is on the way.überforderung

The Baby Mavens offer overnight care.  Yes, that’s right, we will care for your newborn(s) overnight while you sleep.  ALL. Night. Long.  Maybe you already knew that, but you weren’t sure what an overnight shift might look like.  Here’s an example, but remember every family is different, so your needs may be very different!

I arrive at 10 pm to find mom and dad semi-comatose on the couch with their 3-week-old baby between them.  He’s asleep for now, but due to eat soon.  A quick check in with the parents and I learn that things are mostly going well but that mom’s PPD is causing her extreme anxiety.  She, along with her physician, have decided that breastfeeding is causing her far too much stress, so she is no longer nursing. Both parents seem relieved with this decision. She is going to continue pumping as often as she feels up to it, but at this point, we will be using up the freezer stash and transitioning to formula.  Mom happily reports that she is going to bed and will see me in the morning. Both parents retire for the night.

I move baby into the bassinet and tackle the dishes in the kitchen.  After the sink is clean and the dishwasher is running, I prepare a bottle of Expressed Breast Milk for the baby who is now awake and ready to eat.  He hungrily downs all 3 ounces and of course needs a diaper change afterwards.  Then, I re-swaddle him and settle him back into the bassinet.  With a little bit of shushing and swaying he falls back to sleep.

I gather his laundry from the nursery and start a load of his clothes.  There are towels in the dryer which I fold and put in the linen closet.  Now I settle in on the couch next to the sleeping baby.  I doze off as I listen to his sweet little baby sounds. At about 2 am he awakens me looking for his next meal.  I quickly get a bottle prepared and feed him. This time he’s so sleepy it takes a little prodding to get him to take more than an ounce; he keeps falling back asleep. Once he’s all settled back into bed, I go downstairs and move the laundry to the dryer.  Now I rest some more myself.

4:30 am and baby is stirring, but not really awake yet.  I stick the bag of breastmilk in a cup of warm water and run down and grab the laundry so I can fold it after he has his bottle.  He wakes up and has his bottle and another diaper change.  He’s bright-eyed and wide awake.  “No, my little friend, it’s not wake-up time yet!”  It takes a bit of shushing and swaying to get him back to sleep.  I finish folding the laundry and quickly put it away.  The dishwasher is done, so I put the dishes away as silently as I am able, so as to not disturb the parents or the baby. All bottles are washed, the Diaper Genie is emptied, and I am able to close my eyes once again…

5:50 – my silent alarm goes off and I wake up, careful not to wake the baby.  I fold my blanket to the back of the couch and fluff the pillows the way they go.  I run into the powder room and brush my teeth and hair before greeting the parents for the day. I meet Mom in the kitchen at 6:00.  She’s feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

So, I ask you again, how can we help you? #TheBabyMavensDoThat






How Can We Help You? (Part 2 of 4)


When we meet soon to be moms and dads, some are sure they will need LOTS of our help and some aren’t really sure they will need our help at all. But they ALL want to know, what “it usually looks like”. But our shifts can be so very different, even for the same family, that we have found that there is no usual, no typical, postpartum shift. Our support looks exactly like how YOU need it to be, during that one moment in time.

A mom I had worked with for months was going back to work. She was anxious, and nervous, and also somewhat relieved to return to the work that she loved and was passionate about. We talked about it for a few weeks before,  I helped her get ready to leave her baby in someone else’s very capable hands for the first time ever. That someone else’s hands happened to be Dad. Dad was staying home for that first week that Mom returned to work. Their plan was that this would help Mom be able to ease into leaving her baby after spending all of those long days and weeks with her.

But two weeks before her return, Mom was very nervous. Would Dad know where everything was? Would he know just how Mom swaddled her before a nap? Would he be able to soothe her when she was crying? And so she asked me to come help Dad on that first day. (And truth be told, Dad did great! He didn’t really need my help.)

That day, Dad got to see how I had supported his wife (and Baby!) for all of those times he had been at work. We chatted about what was going on with the baby, and he asked a lot of questions. Then, he got to take a nice long shower while I watched the baby. He returned a few work emails while I washed the bottles. He mowed the lawn while I folded a basket of laundry. And then, he got to sit and watch HIS favorite show, while I gave the baby a bottle. We sent Mom some pictures of the baby, and she wrote back: “I’m missing my baby today, but I am kind of glad to be back to work! It helped me so much to know that you were there to help Dad, and I was able to concentrate on getting back into my role here. So thank you so very much!”

I loved how I got to help and support this family in so many different ways!


Spring! Let’s go to the playground!

Could it be true?  Has Spring finally arrived? I think it’s safe to say that in fact, Spring is here.

You’ve all been cooped up much of the winter, and UGH that snow.  Even when it was a “nice” day – there were puddles and potholes and frost heaves, etc.  Not to mention the germs and flu that lurked in every destination.  BLECH. Better to just stay put. Let’s face it this Winter kinda sucked here in Massachusetts!

But now the weather is fairly mild and dare I say:  Pleasant even! Spring is a great time to get out and explore with your baby. Playgrounds are finally clear of snow (albeit somewhat muddy still) – try your little one on the swing, get a little exercise, bring a blanket and some bubbles, or just sit on a bench and observe the big kids running and playing.

At a loss for ideas?  Here are a few of The Baby Mavens favorite playgrounds:

Endicott Park in Danvers – barnyard animals, a nice playground with several play structures for all ages, picnic tables, walking trails through the woods (not for strollers, sadly), plenty of grassy areas to run around and, this is important – a bathroom! Free parking weekdays, $3 for non-residents on weekends ($1 for Danvers residents).

Lt. Ross Park in Peabody (also known as Cy Tenney Park!)- nice handicapped-accessible play structure with rubber ground cover as well as sandboxes and older wooden structures which offer creative ways to play. Plenty of free parking.  This park has baseball fields so it can be busy in the evenings and weekends. And, there are some of the nicest porta-potties I have ever seen. It’s adjacent to the bike path, which offers a great (stroller-friendly) opportunity to stretch your legs and take in a little scenery.  There are ponds along the path, and many types of animals may be observed such as turtles basking on logs, birds, frogs, caterpillars and even an occasional snake!

Another great spot is Ipswich River Park in North Reading!  In addition to a grassy area with walking trails, there is a small play area with a sandbox, swings, climbing structure, and a big track you can walk around, a skateboard park for your older children, plenty of picnic tables (many in the shade!) and lots of open space to run.  Also – they’ve got bathrooms there as well!

Lynch Park in Beverly is a beautiful waterfront park with a NEW play structure and a NEW splash pad! There are also plenty of picnic tables, two beaches, lots of grassy areas to roam about in, and a beautiful Rose Garden. Non-Residents of Beverly pay a parking fee of $8 on weekdays and $20 on weekends (yikes!) but this park is worth it.  The downside?  The public restrooms don’t open until Memorial Day. {You used to be able to use the restroom in the Beverly Recreation office building [first floor, to the right inside the door], but I don’t know if that is still an option!}

There’s also a great toddler playground on the North Side of Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, across from the Gingerbread Construction Company.  This small, fully fenced park has nice baby swings as well as a structure geared for younger kids. After you push your little one for a bit, you may want to tighten up your sneakers and take a lap around the lake (3.25 miles) or maybe you’re more interested in getting some muffins across the street – either way, this is a great spot to stop!

So, why not pack up your baby and head outside to enjoy the season? A good dose of Vitamin D will feel great, and the fresh air will do wonders for you and baby, too!

If you’ve got a brand-new baby at home and an active toddler, consider taking your postpartum doula with you to the park. She can help with the baby while you spend some much-needed playtime with older brother or sister.  When baby is ready to nurse, we will hand him/her over to you and keep an eye on your older child.  Yes, The Baby Mavens can help in this way, too! We can even drive your car if you’ve had a C-Section and haven’t been cleared to drive yet!