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MCLV Pregnancy | Minimalist Approach to Baby “Essentials”

The MOMENT you find out that you’re pregnant you’ll feel like you’re being inundated with online recommendations, emails filled with lists, and perfect Instagram pictures telling you about all the products you need. What will be essential for your future child to survive.

Initially, I was overwhelmed. By halfway through the first trimester, I was suspicious. By the end of the first trimester, I was annoyed.

I vowed to ignore the advice and just start with the basics. In the age of Amazon, if I needed something later on, I could have it arrive within 24 hours anyway, so why drive myself crazy and go on a buying spree before I even knew what was necessary?

My plan was to ask my three best friends, all mothers of two, what their most essential products and gadgets were. Once I had a full list, I sat down with le hubs and decided what we actually needed, what made sense to wait to get, and how we wanted to handle the nursery set up.

So here’s my minimal-ish approach to baby “essentials” for a new mom.

Clothes: Since little ones grow out of clothes so quickly and we had no idea what size baby we’d be taking home, I wanted to approach clothes in a very minimal manner. Only one or two newborn pieces and just the basics for the first 6 months – Sleepers, rompers, onesies, some separates, and a few layering pieces. Since I was due in mid-September and temps start to decrease in mid-October, I did about 25% warm weather pieces, 25% separates and layering pieces, 25% sleeping gowns, sacks, and swaddles, and 25% cold weather pieces for once it got chillier. My go-to brands were Hanna Andersson and Kyte.

Supplies: Similar to the clothes, I wanted to focus on the first 6 months for supplies.

Large Investment Pieces: Rather than try to buy a ton of products without knowing what kind of baby we’d have, we wanted to just get the essentials ahead of time. After talking to my parents, the inlaws, and my friends, this was the first list of investment pieces.

  • Chicco KeyFit 30 – I did a ton of research and talked to many moms, and opted for this infant carseat with a base that stays in the car.
  • Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Seat DLX Playard – Rather than getting a stand alone bassinet that would be grown out of and discarded quickly, we decided to use this Pack ‘n Play system that included a changing table. We could use it in our bedroom for the first little bit, use it around the apartment while we’re home, and travel with it.
  • Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib – This is a crib to toddle bed to day bed. Sustainable wood, super safe. Was a big fan!
  • Infant Optics DXR-8 – This gizmo was actually my husband’s only request. I had no interest in a camera, but he was adamant.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of multi-use products. The amount of kids junk that ends up in landfills is horrifying and I didn’t want to over-shop and end up contributing to that problem. Another reason to skip a baby shower or just have a celebration sans-gifts!

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MCLV Pregnancy | What’s In My Hospital Bag Part II – What I Actually Used

In the first What’s In My Hospital Bag post I talked about what I was planning to pack for our hospital stay. Now that some time has passed and I’ve slept, a little, I wanted to do a follow up post on what I actually used in my hospital bag. And what I wished I brought that I didn’t bring.


What I packed:

Conclusion: A carry on sized roller was perfect. Enough space for everything, easy to pack/unpack, and easy to travel with upon arrival and departure, and when there was a room change.


What I packed:

Conclusion: I WAY overpacked. I stayed in hospital gowns until 30 minutes before we left. I was constantly being checked by the doctors and poked & prodded by nurses, so the gown offered them the access they needed. Plus – TMI – I honestly just didn’t want to destroy my clothes. The gowns were simply easier to wear and they offered me an endless supply, so I could change them as often as I needed/wanted. The slippers, socks, and nursing bras were all definitely needed, plus one going home outfit, but that’s it for me!


What I packed:

Conclusion: I used everything except the ear plugs and sleeping mask. Definitely recommend mini sizes of everything though, there’s not a ton of counter or storage space in hospital bathrooms.

Postpartum Essentials:

What I packed:

Conclusion: I needed and used nothing. Your milk hasn’t come in immediately post delivery so you don’t need nursing pads yet and the hospital provides everything else you need in that moment. Plus you can ask for anything they don’t automatically provide. You DEFINITELY don’t need a pump.

For baby:

What I packed:


While I was never explicitly told how big le bebe was going to be, she turned out to be much smaller than I’d anticipated. At 7 lbs 4.8 oz, she didn’t fit in the 0-3 month outfit I’d packed and we were so nervous about dressing her that we didn’t want anything too complicated. I HIGHLY recommend bringing a sleeping gown. They’re easy to put on and most babies will fit in them. Easy peasy!


What I packed:

Conclusion: I definitely used my phone and the long charger, plus we ate alllll the snacks, and the gift cards were very well received by the nurses. We did NOT use the speaker {or my playlist!} or essential oils. My delivery was an intense 2 hours so there wasn’t really a good time for scene setting or trying to stay relaxed – It was work, work, work. I also didn’t use the headphones or listen to books on tape as I’d planned, I did however read a lot. Definitely recommend downloading some books if you have a Kindle/Nook, or bringing a physical book.

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MCLV Pregnancy | Practical Third Trimester Checklist

I was a little disappointed when I started searching for a practical third trimester checklist. While there were millions of lists out there, cleaning the nursery and scheduling maternity photos weren’t what I was looking for exactly. So I finally just cobbled together my own pre-baby checklist!

Get nursery ready – This includes cleaning, decorating, putting together furniture and gadgets, and all the shopping. We started midway through the second trimester and worked through it all slowly. The goal was to be totally ready by 2 weeks before my due date just in case I was early. Plus we were both working from home and stuck inside during quarantine so it gave us some activities to do. 🙂

Wash clothes – They recommend washing all the clothing, accessories, swaddles, burping cloths, washcloths, and towels ahead of time with a baby-safe detergent. I didn’t buy a baby-specific product, rather I used the non-toxic, hypoallergenic, fragrance free detergent that we already had on hand – Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder. It checked all the boxes that the baby-specific soaps did and the whole family could use it.

Stock up on household goods – I treated this similarly to the start of shelter-in-place and made sure that we were fully stocked on toilet paper, paper towels, soap, dish & laundry detergent, cleaning supplies etc. The goal was to not need to go shopping for home supplies a few weeks to a month.

Prep the Pantry – As the household chef, I wanted to make things as easy for my husband as possible. That meant stocking up on pantry basics for easy meals like pasta and marinara sauce, getting some boxed mixes so he could make baked goods, and I prepped and froze some meals ahead of time.

Birth Classes – It was like pulling teeth, but I got my husband to join me for three classes. One on pregnancy and birth through Bundle Birth {I’m a huge fan of her YouTube videos!} and a newborn class from Taking Cara Babies {found her through Instagram}. Plus an online infant first aid & CPR class through the Red Cross.

Hospital Prep – Get hospital bag together, prep diaper bag, watch the virtual hospital tour, and register for delivery. Also, on a related note, find a pediatrician. The pediatrician, or another doctor from their practice, will visit at the hospital after the birth and you’ll need to list them when you register.

Decide on Help – We decided to do a night nurse for a few nights a week to help us learn about and develop a nighttime schedule, so we had to interview and pick one. We also started the discussion about childcare when I returned to work and came up with a general plan with set dates for taking the next steps.

Life Insurance – We’d been talking about life insurance since we got married but getting pregnant finally got us moving on this. We asked our parents about their policies, did our research, and talked to providers before deciding what would work best for us {right now}.

Medical Power of Attorney – We wanted to have the appropriate documentation in place to ensure that my husband could make medical decisions on my behalf if I became incapacitated. And vice versa. Check on what’s necessary in your state.

Figure out the Car Seat – We won’t get into how long this took us, but I can confirm that we’re both able to put it in and take it out. With minimal cursing.

Enjoy Together Time – I definitely get the appeal of a babymoon, even though we opted out of this {we’d been quarantined working & living together for 6 straight months, going away to spend time alone didn’t seem necessary}. Enjoying the end of your time just the two of you is important as you’re heading into parenthood!

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Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Sunscreens 2020

After sharing my favorite cleansers of 2020, I thought I’d share my suncreen picks as well. The number one thing that you can do to protect your skin and reduce the signs of aging is wear sunscreen every single day. This was one of the lessons that my mom taught me and which I learned the value of over the course of my 20’s and 30’s.

There are two types of sunscreen – Mineral and chemical. And there is A LOT of news and information out there on which is better, what they do differently for your skin, and what product you should choose.

The truth of the matter is, however, that you should pick whatever sunscreen you will wear. If you don’t like the formulation or the white caste or the smell, you won’t wear it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s “better” than another sunscreen.

That being said, I do have fairly strong preferences and I like lightweight formulations that don’t feel oily or greasy. Below are my current favorites:

Tinted Sunscreens:

A few notes on sunscreen:

(1) Be sure to spread it on your neck and bring the product down to your decollete. Also, be sure that you cleanse those areas at the end of the day!

(2) I know the eye area is sensitive, but it’s also the thinnest skin on the face, so you want to be sure to get your sunscreen under there.

What’s YOUR favorite sunscreen?

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MCLV Pregnancy | What’s In My Hospital Bag

I love watching What’s In My Hospital Bag videos on YouTube and reading the lists on blog posts and Pinterest. I’m a big planner and I love to feel prepared, so maybe that’s part of it. The other part is probably that so much of the birth chapter is unknown and can’t be prepared for, that I enjoy focusing on what I can do. Which is pack a hospital bag!

So let’s get into this! 🙂

Since we’re living the age of COVID-19 there are a few things that we needed to take into account. Not only could my mother not join us in the delivery room {a devastating hit, I genuinely considered having her there and letting my husband sit out the birth of our first child} but once we’re in the maternity ward we can’t leave. Not for food or for changes of clothes. So we both needed basic clothes and toiletries for our stay.

Bag – I was going to use my Longchamp le Pliage duffle but the bigger I’ve gotten the less I’ve wanted to carry a bag on my shoulder, so I swapped it for a rolling suitcase. My inlaws got us the Away Expandable Carry-On for Christmas so I decided that was the bag to bring. Lots of pockets and separate areas which is great when packing for an undetermined amount of time.

Clothes – I generally pride myself on packing fairly minimally so I was curious how I was going to end up approaching this. I’d say that I didn’t go too overboard, but I definitely tweaked my general packing equation.

PJs, robe and nighty to keep me comfortable before and after birth, though odds are that I’ll end up wearing the hospital gown most of the time. And two going home options, leggings and a top or a dress, depending on how my body feels.

Toiletries – We both packed the basics with some skin care and make-up thrown in for me. If you want to learn more about my skin care and make-up routines during pregnancy check them out.

Postpartum Essentials – The hospital will provide most of this, but I wanted to bring a few things to make me more comfortable post-baby.

For baby – I found that what to pack for the baby and for the mom post-partum was where I saw the most variation in people’s lists. Some people brought everything – Muliple outfits, breast pump, diapers… I figured the baby would be mostly taken care of by the hospital, hanging out in a diaper and that if breast feeding didn’t happen, we’d be bottle feeding. So I left all of that at home. But here’s what I did bring:

Miscellaneous – This was a place that it was easy to get carried away and I tried to reign it in. Some women basically bring their entire bedrooms and I knew that I wanted to avoid that. No pillows or bedding or hospital gowns for this mama to be.

  • Phone
  • Extra long charger + battery pack
  • Headphones + charger
  • Wireless bluetooth speaker
  • Gift cards for the nurses {I had planned to bake cookies but with COVID-19 I didn’t know whether they’d accept them}
  • Snacks {We brought a little cooler with coconut water and water bottles, plus trail mix, chocolate covered raisins, and protein bars}
  • Essential oils – Lavendar & sandalwood
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