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    Ulubulu Blog

    Hospital Bag Essentials (from a mom who's done it twice)

    I have always been an excited early packer. Vacation next month? Better start packing now! So of course my hospital bag was no exception. I started packing around 30 weeks, convincing myself that this was completely acceptable because I wanted to be ready in case I went into labor early. Since I started packing so early, by the time I hit 34 weeks, I couldn’t even remember what I’d packed. So I took everything out and started all over again. By the time I hit 38 weeks, I had forgotten all over again (thanks pregnancy brain). So of course, I took everything out and repacked... again.

    Fast forward to me going into labor. I FORGOT MY HOSPITAL BAG. That’s right folks, after all that packing and repacking, I left the dang thing on the floor next to the garage door. Really, my husband left the dang thing, but that’s a debate for another day. The truth is though,  of all the things that I packed, there were really only a few that I truly felt I needed. My husband brought my bag to me after our girl was born, and having way too many items packed ended up being super annoying. I just birthed an entire human being, the last thing I wanted to do was stand there digging through a bag fully of half my worldly belongings. So, I have put together a list of the only items that I think were actually useful to me during my 48 hour hospital stay.

    1. Extra long cell phone charger. Chances are, unless you are staying in a fancy new hospital, the plug in for your phone charger will be just slightly too far away from the bed. You’ll either be leaning over every time you want to check your phone, or you’ll have to physically get up. I recommend going on amazon, buying the extra long version of your phone charger ( I bought the 6ft) and packing that. You can thank me later.
    2. Robe + Nursing bra. Despite the multiple sweatpants, sweatshirts, night gowns, and leggings that I’d packed for myself, I lived in a robe and a nursing bra the entire time I was in the hospital. You just birthed a baby... I promise you, you do not want to be messing with pulling your pants up and down or worrying about whether or not your adorable postpartum diaper is showing. Find a robe that you feel both pretty and comfy in. I got multiple compliments in the hospital from nurses and family about how pretty my robe was, which was just the confidence booster I needed at that time. Plus, it’s easy to open up for skin to skin time/nursing.
    3. One swaddle + matching hat/bow. I packed like 3, thinking about all of the photos I would take of my little baby in various swaddle/bow combos. I used one. Because surprise surprise, hours after giving birth you just do not have the energy to put together a photoshoot for your newborn. I put my girl into one matching swaddle/bow set, took a quick announcement photo, and ended up changing her right back into the hospital outfit later because it was just easier (and she honestly looked so stinkin cute in it).
    4. A going home outfit for you. Be practical about what you choose. I remember after having my first baby, I hadn’t realized the extent of just how pregnant I would still look when leaving the hospital. I’d packed a relatively tighter fitting tank top and leggings and majorly regretted it when it came time to put them on. The second time around, I went with a super loose fitting house dress. I got mine from Dwell & Slumber but there are a ton of similar brands out there.
    5. A going home outfit for baby. Even this isn’t completely necessary since the hospital will provide you with a basic outfit. I brought a cute little newborn romper thinking that I would take some going home photos, but my baby had other plans and cried as soon as we put her outfit on. Every photo I have of her in the car seat is of her crying and it ended up feeling like it just wan’t really worth the hassle.
    6. Personal hygiene bag. I’m talking toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes, and maybe some face lotion. The hospital will provide you with some of the basics but for me, having the comforts of home in that situation were so important. Hospitals are not fun. Having the toothpaste that I enjoy, and being able to easily wipe my face with my favorite cleansing wipes, and having my favorite hydrating face lotion were major comforts to me.
    7. Chapstick. This goes with very little explanation. They will not let you have water while in labor. Your lips will be so dry. Chapstick=very very necessary.
    8. Cozy socks. Hospital rooms floors are cold and hard. Do yourself a favor. Bring the fluffiest comfiest pair of cozy socks you can find.

    Each situation is different and depending on yours, there may be a few other items you’d like to have with you. Had I been further away from home or been in the hospital longer there may have been some other items that I would have wanted. But for me and my situation, these were the only items that I really ended up needing. My best advice is to keep it simple. There will be plenty of time for all of the extras once you get home. 

     

    Pregnancy Advice from a New Mom!

    During these long nine months of pregnancy, I’ve quickly found that people...well, people LOVE pregnant women. Who would have thought that growing a tiny human being in your tummy for nine months got you celebrity treatment? People offer up their seats to me in waiting rooms, tell me to cut ahead of them in line, sit me first at restaurants--I even had a manager pay for one of my meals! I find myself unable to go out in public without answering the same three questions multiple times: "When are you due? What’s the gender? What’s the name?"

     


    I’ve also found that people love offering up their own “pregnancy advice”.

    • Don’t go shopping for anything until after the baby shower.
    • Don’t buy maternity clothes until you’re further along.
    • Don’t use the internet to look up your questions, ask the doctor instead.

    These are all pieces of advice I’ve heard multiple times, and what did I do? Not listen of course!

    That's why I feel that I should share my experience and talk about it: Keep calm, and don't become a shopaholic! The first and truest piece of advice I wish I’d listened to was not to go shopping until after the baby shower. Thanks to my excitement and shopaholic nature, my baby has now ended up with more 0-3 month onesies than I can fit in his dresser. Every time I saw a cute clothing set, I insisted that I buy it. Every time I saw a cute blanket, I insisted that I buy it. Every time I saw a great deal, well of course-I insisted that I buy it.

    Well, what do you know, come baby shower time, I was showered with all of the above. From onesies to diapers to pacifiers to blankets, I received it all. Now, my nursery is overfilling with generosity and I find myself wishing I had simply held off on buying, and waited to see what I received! Be careful with Maternity Clothes Don’t buy maternity clothes until your further along is definitely another piece of advice that I wish I had taken more seriously. I’ve found maternity clothes to be much more expensive than normal clothes, and if I’d listened, I’d probably have a lot more money and a lot less unusable clothes. My problem was, around 4 or 5 months pregnant, I thought I was huge! I decided right then and there and there was no way I could wear any of my clothes any longer and that I needed some maternity clothes. Boy oh boy was I wrong. At 9 months, I look back at my 4 or 5-month self and laugh. The reality is, I probably could have fit in most of my clothes for another couple months, had I gotten creative with my outfits. Of all of the maternity clothes that I bought earlier on in my pregnancy, I now have two shirts that fit me. Even maternity clothes that I bought a month ago are now tight and a little small on me. What have I learned? Hold off on buying maternity clothes as long as you possibly can and when you do buy them, buy them big! Listen to your doctor! Lastly, don’t use the internet to look up your questions, ask the doctor. I heard this several times, and every time I chose not to listen, I certainly regretted it. The problem with the internet is that the internet does not care about your overly emotional pregnant feelings. Each time I had a question and would look it up on the internet, I would find forum after forum of women talking about the same questions that I had. At first, I thought it was great...until I realized that every pregnant woman’s experience was not the walk in the park that you hope pregnancy will be. Each and every time, I would come across horror stories that would keep me up at night. For days I would worry about the health and well being of the baby--that is, until I would go to the doctor, ask her my same questions, and be reassured that the horror stories I was hearing were incredibly rare cases that were incredibly unlikely to ever happen to me. I can’t tell you how many times the doctor lectured me on not using internet forums for advice. Finally, I have learned. When I have a question, I ask the doctor and needless to say, I’ve been much more relaxed ever since. Everyone likes to give advice, and everyone is also much less likely to take it. That's how humans are.. we want to try things for ourselves.


    " Learning the hard way is certainly not the easiest way, and is definitely not the cheapest way."
    During this pregnancy, I’ve found that advice from people that you trust, and people that have been there and done that, is usually good advice. While I have had to use my own judgment at times, there are also many times that I wish I had listened to those that have already been down my road. While being pregnant may send a lot of attention your way, it also sends a lot of advice... advice that both you and your bank account will be happy you listened to!

    5 things you should know about moving while having a baby

    A moving company recently mailed us a brochure listing the best practices for a “stress-free” move. The pamphlet suggested that starting to pack one month in advance would eliminate anxiety. I would encourage them to go back to the printer and make two separate brochures starting with one very specific question in mind, “Do you have kids?” Realistically, there is no such thing as a “stress-free” move, but a more accurate timeframe, if you have children, is probably three months. Juggling packing with raising a child, who not only needs but demands and deserves your attention, is a very tricky process and your friends can’t come over every weekend for a month to help you. Did I cry? Yes. Did I whine? Yes. Did I get through it? Yes, kind of. No matter your situation the act of moving is a stress-inducing, anxiety-ridden, activity. I wanted to share the top 5 things I learned while moving to a new house, with an eight-month-old:

    1) Place your baby in a safe area.
    Try as you might keep the stacking to a minimum you will still need to navigate your home and the only way to do that is by stacking boxes. I had boxes packed and stacked in the corner of every room including Elena’s nursery. My priority is always Elena’s safety and, sturdy as my stacking seemed, it was important to keep her away from the possible dangers of boxes falling over. It is Elena’s nature to immediately attempt to investigate anything new in her environment and the new stacks of boxes were no different.

    Distracting your baby away from the danger can be difficult at times but redirecting their attention is the key. Tip: Elena loved playing with the empty boxes! If you have a box big enough consider putting some safe toys inside and it will serve as an exciting and safe playpen for your little one while you work on packing. Just make sure the box is dust-free so it won’t set off any allergies.

    Deciding what to take, what to get rid of, what to pack now and what to pack later building boxes, and running out of packing tape is an overwhelming process. I had never experienced doing all of it with an eight-month-old. When I packed something into a box Elena took it out. When I would really start finding my groove she decided she wanted to be held. Packing with your baby can be quite the challenge.

    2) Sleep Time
    As easy as it is to pack with one hand it’s even better to pack with two. Holding baby naturally, slows the process so try to plan your time around your child’s sleep schedule. Warning- you will want to put your boxes together in advance. Nothing wakes a sleeping baby faster than the sound of packing tape stretching across a box. I learned that one the hard way. You can also pack at night while the baby is dreaming away, but I caution you not to do all of your packings at night. Mommy’s need sleep too!

    3) Prioritize your belongings. 
    Moving is the perfect time to get your family organized. When you have a little one you have a ton of baby things. Things you need, things you thought you needed, and things other parents swore you needed. My previously spacious and uncluttered home was filled with Elena’s things and I was about to give up nearly half of the space.

    So what goes? You guessed it. Mommy’s and Daddy’s things have to go. But fear not mommy movers it really does lift a weight when you purge and simplify your life. I made three piles: donate, sell, and garbage. It felt great to donate items collecting dust in my closets knowing that someone else could use them. It also felt great to sell items we rarely used and make a little extra cash in the process.

    4) Stay Strong, but not too strong!
    Your friends and family will offer to help. Accept their offers! As moms, we try to do everything ourselves and so rarely ask for help. When push comes to shove you are capable of anything. Moving is not a push comes to shove moment. During my move, my husband was in the middle of his semester and tests, homework, and studying left him very little time to help me pack.

    If I had not been strong enough to accept the help of my friends and family I honestly would not have finished on time. They came over for a few hours at a time and entertained Elena which allowed me to focus on packing. I could get more done in one hour with a friend than in three hours on my own. They say it takes a village and it really does. If you have the chance to ask for help, do it.

    5) Enjoy it. 
    Packing is a daunting task. Mentally decorating the new house as I packed helped me get through what seemed like a never-ending process. Imagine the items you’re packing in your new home. Bonus- by the time you get to the new house you’ll already exactly where everything goes. The thought of moving can be a nightmare, but knowing that new adventures are on the horizon for your family will comfort you during the process. When packing becomes overwhelming to think about watching your baby grow in her new space and making memories together in your new home.

    By day three in the new house, Elena perfected the crawl. Way to go baby girl! While I thought packing with a baby was hard… unpacking with a crawling baby is even harder. Embrace the chaos you’re in! Moving is tough, moving with a child is tougher, and unpacking with a crawling baby is tougher than all of that combined.

    An Organized Home is a Relaxing Home: Tips For Managing Toys

    Let’s face it, having kids takes over just about every part of your life. Getting ready for the day takes at least an additional hour (typically jam packed full of negotiations and explanations as to why one must wear pants), you forget what “quiet time” even is, and you seem to be drowning under a never ending pile of laundry. While we love those little rascals more than life itself, it’s also important to remember to keep some parts of your life the way YOU want them. I have found that for me personally, this means keeping my home looking the way I want it to look, rather than like a neglected aisle of the toy store. I have found that the more chaotic my home begins to look, the more chaotic my mood begins to feel. A more organized home is a happier me. I absolutely love the feeling at the end of the night when my son has finally fallen asleep and I can cuddle up on the couch with a movie and my husband and look around loving what I see. Don’t get me wrong- keeping your home organized in the midst of raising a little human is not always easy. It has taken me years of trial and error to figure it out, but I have learned a lot along the way and would love to share some tips with you all on how to keep things a little more organized.

    Baskets

    Toy baskets are an absolute lifesaver. Since we spend most of our time in the living room, it makes sense that my son have plenty of toys accessible to him there. For a long time, this meant that we just had what felt like constant piles of toys everywhere and no matter how clean my house was, I never felt like it was truly organized or like things had their own place. I’d been thinking about adding some baskets for a while however it seemed like every basket I found was far too much money for something that my son could possibly end up breaking. Then I discovered the awesomeness that is Home Goods. If you don’t have a Home Goods where you live, I have also seen pretty good discounted basket sections at stores like Marshalls, Ross, and T.J Maxx. Even Target will surprise me occasionally with their basket clearance, you just have to frequent Target often (which you probably already do) and be ready to pounce when the clearance section has just been updated. The key to a good toy basket is that it has some movement to it. The stiff whicker baskets are far more likely to break on you (my son loves to pick at whicker and slowly/sneakily destroyed a whicker laundry basket piece by piece). I was able to find a couple of baskets that had a lot of give to them. My son will sit in them, roll around on top of them, do all of the other rough housing things that boys seem to do, and these baskets still keep their shape and are perfect in tact. They perfectly match the look of our living room and are big enough that you can’t even see what’s in them until you are right up next to them. Our son gets to keep his toys close and accessible, and we get to keep our living room clean and organized… it’s truly a win win.

    Utilize the space you have

     


     









     Got a coat closet? A little nook under the stairs? Landry room? Make the most of them! We bought a few of those little plastic 3 drawer storage containers and have them strategically hidden close to the areas where our son likes to play. We have one in the downstairs coat closet, one in his bedroom, and one in the laundry room, which helps to house the toys that won’t fit in the living room baskets. This helps our son to keep more of his toys easily accessible, while also keeping them put away so that we don’t have to see them if they aren’t being played with. Clean up at the end of the day is super quick and easy… any toy left out either ends up in the baskets or in the toy drawers, simple as that.

    Cycle your toys
    Between Christmas, birthdays, grandparents who love to spoil, and all of the other random events that seem to lead to endless piles of toys, it can get pretty overwhelming finding a space for each one. I’m willing to bet that your kids do not play with each and every toy every day. If they’re anything like my son, they have their main group of favorite toys that they play with for about a month at a time, then they move onto a different group of favorite toys. The unused toys are still sitting around getting in the way/taking up space, and often end up everywhere simply because they are there rather than because they are actually being played with. Solution: put them away and cycle them out! Get a big clear storage container (clear is best so that you can see what’s inside) and put in all of your child’s current least favorite toys. Store it in the garage or high up in a closet where they aren’t accessible to your children. Once your kids seem to be getting tired of the toys they have been playing with daily, cycle the toys out (be sure to keep the absolute favorite toys out, but put away the ones that seem to be getting played with less often). By doing this once every couple of months, you ensure less mess and your kids will be excited to be reunited with toys that they had forgotten about. Tip: Do the cycling out once the kids have gone to nap or bed for the night. If you cycle them out while they are awake they will try to convince you that EVERY toy they own is important to keep out (even the toys they haven’t touched in months).

    Hopefully these will help you get organized and feel good about the space you call home! It takes time to figure out what works for you and your family, so keep trying different organization strategies until you find what works for you. The process of organizing isn’t always fun, but at the end of the day it is SO worth it.