Things to do before giving birth
The last few weeks before giving birth can be very stressful for mom to be and dad too. While you are enthusiastic to finally see your baby, it is also nerve-wracking to get everything done before he or she arrives.
The last thing you want to do is be unprepared when it’s finally time to meet your little one. Instead, you want to be able to bask in the excitement and joy of being a new mom.
The best way to do this is to get as many things done as possible so you avoid unnecessary stress in the future. But as a first time mom to be, you may not know what those things are. I remember being in your shoes and just spinning my wheels trying to figure out what to do next. So, let’s go over the essential things to do before baby arrives and remove all the guesswork for you!
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Things to do to prepare for baby
Being the excited mom to be that you are, you’re probably reading this article well before your third trimester. If that’s the case, one of the best things you can do now to start preparing for your baby is get a pregnancy planner.
It truly simplifies the things to do before baby arrives from a pregnancy standpoint.
In addition to giving you a place to keep track of your pregnancy milestones, a good pregnancy planner will also provide you with a checklist for each trimester of pregnancy. You’ll know what to do and when to do it so when it’s finally time for your baby to arrive, you can just rest and nest.
You definitely can’t go wrong with this pregnancy planner. I didn’t know about it before I had my baby but will definitely be using it for the next one!
Things to do before baby arrives checklist
As you begin to knock out your “before baby arrives” to do list, you may find it easier to have a visual and be able to actually cross things off your list.
Make sure to grab your printable preparing for baby arrival checklist.
You can hang it on your fridge, keep it in your purse, or put it inside of your pregnancy planner.
Things to do before baby comes
I believe in keeping things simple to avoid undue stress and overwhelm, especially for a mom to be. So the things to do before baby arrives will be broken down by trimester. This way you can pace yourself and not feel like you’re drowning in a never ending to do list.
First trimester things to do before baby arrives
One would think there’s not really much to do in the way of baby prep in the first trimester. But, that’s not true.
Two of the most important things you’ll need in order to care for your baby as a working mom should be handled as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant.
Can you guess what they are?
Find a Daycare
Did you know that there are some daycares with waiting lists that exceed 1 year?
It’s hard to believe but that’s definitely a thing and I wasn’t aware of it when I got pregnant. By the time I started looking for a daycare, I couldn’t find a waitlist with less than 50 people in front of me.
I often joke with my friends and tell them “As soon as you see the two lines on your pregnancy test, call the daycare and then tell your husband“.
I’m not entirely joking though….
Finding the right daycare is extremely frustrating and is truly something that should be done sooner than later. You also want to put yourself on a couple of different waiting lists because you just never know.
My daughter ended up coming 4 weeks earlier than expected which meant I had to return to work 4 weeks earlier than anticipated. That really put me in a bind and almost forced me to have to hire a nanny, which wasn’t in the budget.
You want to avoid putting yourself in a situation where maternity leave is over and you don’t have childcare.
Talk to HR about FMLA
Does your job offer maternity leave? If not, you’ll need to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act also known as FMLA.
Essentially, FMLA gives you 12 weeks of job protection. It doesn’t provide any income but it gives you the reassurance that your employer can’t fire you while you’re home postpartum. Most companies also offer short term disability which will allow you to receive 60% of your income for 4-6 weeks postpartum depending on your delivery method.
To apply for FMLA you’ll need to contact your HR department. Unfortunately FMLA is only applicable if you’ve been employed with that company for at least 12 months before your delivery.
I know what you’re thinking…
If FMLA is for the postpartum period, why do you need to apply for it during the first trimester?
Well, the reason being is that FMLA will also cover you during your actual pregnancy. It protects your job if you’re doctor deems your pregnancy high risk and puts you on bedrest or if you’re just having pregnancy complications in general that requires you to call out of work.
Once you’ve been approved for FMLA you can specify if your unexpected absence is pregnancy related and therefore covered under FMLA.
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Second trimester things to do before baby arrives
Now morning sickness is starting to subside and you’re at a point where you can actually start enjoying being pregnant.
You’ve probably announced your pregnancy already and have started receiving pregnancy gifts to make pregnancy more comfortable and give you the pampered fest you deserve. But, what should YOU be doing now to prepare for baby’s arrival?
Start buying pampers
This might seem like a crazy suggestion, but just hear me out.
Your baby is going to need their bottom covered either by a cloth diaper or a pamper. That’s just a given. And chances are they will continue to need some type of diaper until they are well over the age of 2. That’s a lot of diapers and let’s not forget, pampers aren’t cheap.
What I did was a buy a case of diapers every payday. I didn’t really pay attention to the sizes or brands (I had a good idea that I was going to be a Pamper Swaddlers type of mom) because you can exchange any unopened box of pampers at anytime for any size or brand you want.
I liked doing it this way because it was cheaper doing it in advance and I didn’t have to worry about running out once the baby arrived. Between now and the time your baby arrives, many stores (like Target) will have sales on pampers or some type of money back offer. Whenever I saw a sale, I took the time to buy even more pampers.
By the time my baby arrived, I had 25 cases of various sized pampers. Combine that with what I was gifted from my baby registry, and you’re left with a mom who didn’t have to buy pampers for her daughter until she was almost a year old.
Buying pampers in advance cuts out one of your expenses as a new mom and saves you time.
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Work on your baby registry
Take this time to decide where you want to create your baby registry and research what you want to put on it.
Be sure to check out this baby registry checklist to give you a starting point.
Keep in mind that every mom will tell you something different when it comes to what you should put on your baby registry.
Think about the type of person you are now (minimalist vs extremist) and let that guide you on what you’ll need as a new mom. Ultimately if you only have these 9 things, you’ll survive the first 30 days with your newborn.
Book maternity photos
Maternity photos are very popular amongst expecting moms and so they tend to be booked months in advance. To save your sanity, find your photographer now and get on their schedule.
If you’re clueless about photographers who specialize in doing maternity photos, do a quick search on Instagram for your area and start following the ones that catch your eyes. Reach out to your favorites and book an appointment.
It’s also never too early to start picking out your maternity photo outfits.
Find a newborn photographer
Just like maternity photographers, newborn photographers are booked far in advance as well.
Sometimes you can book a package with your photographer to cover your maternity session, newborn session, and baby’s 1st birthday. Just be sure to ask in advance.
Check out these tips for what to look for in a newborn photographer.
Begin prepping the nursery
The nursery is a huge source of anxiety for expecting moms. Not only do you have to decide where to put it, but you also have to figure out what are the essential nursery must haves, and how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.
Then, you can turn your focus to the decorative items that you’ll need to personalize the space. For this, I would turn to both Pinterest and Instagram. They are both filled with drool worthy nursery decorating ideas that are easily duplicated but most people never think to do.
Now you may say that you don’t want to put your baby in the nursery right when they are born. Though that is a good argument, you still have to have some kind of solid setup for them.
For the first few months, you might feel like keeping them in your bedroom, which is exactly what I did. Even so, you should still have the nursery ready to go when the baby comes home. That’s not something you’ll want to be fiddling with after.
Try to make the room functional and keep things like diapers, medicines, and other baby care items readily accessible.
It’s time to stockpile
Once you have a newborn in the house, it will be extremely difficult to leave home and make a quick trip to the store. What used to take 5 minutes will easily turn into 30 minutes or more with an infant. To make sure you have enough supplies, it is better to shop for everything in advance.
So, go ahead and start stocking up on things that you’ll use often. Think about laundry detergent for you and the baby, cleaning supplies, paper towels, trash bags, deodorant, lotion, and toilet paper.
You can skip stockpiling the fabric softener unless you want a clumpy mess in your washing machine. No one told me that fabric softener thickens overtime and I was left with globs of softener that I had to manually clean out of my washer.
Remember, getting out of the house with a baby is no joke – you’re not going to want to load up the car with the diaper bag, stroller, milk, pacifier, and crying baby just to buy some essentials. Do yourself a favor and load up on everything now. You can thank me later!
Start planning date nights
Right now you have the freedom to do things at the spur of the moment. There’s not much planning that has to take place for you and your spouse to have alone time. That will change when the baby comes.
It’s important that you don’t neglect your marriage because you’ve become a parent. By creating a plan now to ensure that you guys are still able to have consistent date nights, your relationship will be that much stronger after parenthood.
Try to have date night at least twice a month using some of these creative date night ideas for new parents.
Book your babymoon
Please don’t take for granted the free time you have right now. Take advantage of your lack of obligations and plan a babymoon.
Here are the best baby moon locations for expecting parents.
You probably won’t take your trip until the third trimester but it’s best to get the planning out of the way now.
Choose a pediatrician
Start talking to other moms and see what pediatrician they use and if they are happy with them. See which of the recommended pediatricians are close to your job, home, or your chosen daycare.
From here you’ll need to call and see which ones are accepting new patients. After that, there’s not much more to do until the baby comes.
Check out what to ask when choosing a pediatrician.
Third trimester things to do before baby arrives
There is so much to get done in the third trimester but a lot of it is fun too. At the end of this, you’ll be meeting your little one. That thought alone makes your third trimester checklist that much more doable. Let’s get started!
Get your breast pump
Do you plan on breastfeeding? If your answer is yes, you want to go ahead and get your breast pump.
First, though, check here and see if your breast pump is covered through your insurance. If your breast pump is covered by insurance, you will need your doctor to write you a prescription to be able to get it. Most won’t write it until the third trimester.
Just let your OB doctor know at your next appointment that you plan on breastfeeding and need a prescription for your pump.
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Take a breastfeeding class
Learning how to breastfeed is definitely something you want to do before the baby is born. The good news is you don’t have to go anywhere to make this happen. You can learn how to breastfeed from the comfort of your own home and have something you can review if you forget somethings along the way.
Have your partner take the class with you too. That way they can help you troubleshoot if you run into any issues breastfeeding your newborn.
This is hands down my favorite breastfeeding class. It will leave you well prepared to breastfeed for as long as you choose.
I was able to breastfeed my daughter for 2 years because of the foundation that was set from the breastfeeding class.
Take a childbirth class
Unless you already know that you’re going to have a scheduled C-Section delivery, a childbirth and labor class is an absolute must. Taking it towards the beginning of your third trimester gives you an opportunity to practice what you’ve learned before the big day.
My favorite childbirth course is actually taught by a labor nurse with over 20 years of experience. She breaks down the course into 3 parts: before labor, labor, and after delivery. And you and your partner can take it at home together!
Schedule hospital tour
Are you a person that likes to know what to expect? If so, you definitely want to take a hospital tour. It can be comforting to see in advance where you’ll be during labor, the space designated for your spouse, and where you all will go after delivery.
I worked at the hospital I delivered at and still needed a tour!
Write your birth plan
A birth plan is a great thing to have figured out before giving birth. But, you have to understand in advance that if there are changes in your baby’s condition, some things may be skipped in order to keep you both safe.
You’ll want to discuss labor options with your doctor ahead of time and then you and your partner need to sit down and have a conversation.
Always keep your partner in the loop so you can always rely on them in case of emergencies. Spend a good amount of time looking at all options you have and choose the most beneficial one.
Also, keep in mind that birth plans aren’t just for moms having a vaginal delivery. You can also have a birth plan with a scheduled c-section delivery!
Not sure what to include in a birth plan? Get a sample one here.
When you get home with your newborn baby, things will be hectic and a little chaotic. While you’re trying to figure out new mom life and get into a groove, you’re not going to want to think about what to cook for dinner.
That’s why it’s so important to try and cook and freeze as many meals as you can beforehand. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!
Have your baby shower
You can’t let that perfect baby registry go to waste. You need to have a baby shower! Of course you shouldn’t be throwing your own baby shower. Usually your co workers will give you a work shower and your closest friends or family members will you give you one too.
If no one has talked about giving you a shower by the time you reach your 3rd trimester, it’s time to start asking some questions.
Not sure of about baby shower etiquette? Check this out.
Pick out birth announcements
The first couple of days after your baby is born will be a whirlwind. Between the lack of sleep and the stress of learning how to care for a newborn, there’s not much time for anything else.
So go ahead and pick the design for your baby’s birth announcement now. Then when your baby is born, all you’ll have to do is fill in the personalized info, add photos, and hit submit.
I went with a magnetic version from Shutterfly and I’m amazed by how many people still have them on their fridge 3 years later.
If you’re not interested in the magnetized announcements, I’d go with this one.
Finish baby nursery
You started working on your baby’s nursery earlier in your pregnancy. Now it’s time to bring it all together and tie up and loose ends. Your baby will be here before you know it!
Take maternity photos
Your photographer is booked and your belly is growing. Finalize the look you want for your photoshoot by doing some simple Instagram or Pinterest searches. Also, make sure to have all of your outfits ordered by now.
Take advantage of your registry completion bonuses
After your baby showers, take inventory of everything you’ve received and see what’s still missing.
Out of the items that you didn’t receive, are there any that you truly don’t need? If so, cross them off your list.
The things that you will need and use, purchase them now using your registry completion bonus. You don’t want to get so bogged down with new mom life that you let your savings discount expire.
That’s why it’s best to just use it now.
Buy a baby book
Once your little baby arrives, you’re going to want to remember every little milestone they reach. The best way to do this is with a baby book.
Make sure to pack it in your hospital bag so you capture those first footprints.
Buy a belly binder
You’re pregnant and your abdominal muscles are stretched. They won’t just miraculously snap back into place once the baby is out. You will have to help. The best way to do this is with one of these.
This will be beneficial for both vaginal deliveries and c-section deliveries.
Organize the house
Did you know that clutter and chaos can cause anxiety? That’s the last thing you want to be dealing with when you come home with your newborn.
You will want to start decluttering and organizing your home now so that you can avoid unnecessary stress later.
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Have a girls night
I know you’re tired and don’t quite feel like yourself, but try to fit in some time with your besties before the baby arrives. Once you become a mom, it won’t be as easy to fit in these spontaneous girl nights.
Create a will
Not trying to scare you or anything, but having a baby changes things. You’re about to be responsible for an entire human being for a very long time.
In my line of work, we are always taught to over-prepare, and that way the “bad” stuff doesn’t happen. The same thing goes for motherhood. Over prepare and create a will stating who you would want to care for your child in the event something happened to you or your partner.
There’s a lot more to this process but creating a will is step 1.
Pre-wash baby’s clothes
You’ve probably heard all of the horror stories about the chemicals and insects your clothes come in contact with before you purchase them. For most adults, it’s not a big deal but it’s a different story when it comes to a newborn baby.
Infants have very sensitive skin and you want to protect them from the unknown. The best way to do this is by pre-washing their clothes.
This is what I used to pre-wash my baby’s clothes and I still use the same brand today.
If eczema runs in your family, you may want to consider using this instead.
Buy a nursing bra
Have you had to purchase bigger sized bras since you’ve become pregnant? Well, you have another round of bra purchases to make. If you plan on breastfeeding, nursing bras are a must!
This was one of my favorites and I think you’ll like it too.
What should I do 2 weeks before my due date?
Pack your hospital bag
This is the one thing you HAVE TO make sure you have ready at least two weeks before your due date. Whether you decide on a C-section or natural birth, you are going to need stuff in the hospital.
Your hospital bag should include two types of necessities – the things you’ll need and the things you’ll need for your baby. This includes clothes for both of you, hygiene stuff, and other daily necessities.
After you pack your bag, put it in your car! You never know where you’ll be when labor starts.
Make thank you gifts for your nurses
Of course, you know you’ll have your husband as a part of your support team and maybe even your mom and sister. But, you know who else will play a major role in your delivery?
Can you guess who it is?
Your NURSE! And in many cases nurses. You’ll have a nurse for the labor portion and a different nurse after delivery. Oh and immediately after delivery, especially with a c-section, your baby will have their own nurse too!
Don’t forget that nurses work 12 hour shifts and they don’t always work consecutive days. For a 3 day stay at the hospital, you could very well end up with 6 different nurses.
Before you start getting antsy about making that many thank you gifts, let me share something with you:
The nurses were a savior o me and my newborn baby. My baby was born 4 weeks early and struggled to maintain her blood sugar after delivery. Her pediatrician wanted to send her to NICU which had me stressed out and scared. My nurse could sense my anxiety and had the charge nurse come sit in my room and bottlefeed my baby formula while waiting for my milk to come in. When my baby failed to drink enough formula to maintain her blood sugar, the nurse suggested trying a higher calorie formula. This way, my baby wouldn’t have to drink as much to get the desired outcome.
My nurse singlehandedly kept my newborn baby from being separated from me and avoided having her stuck with needles in the NICU. I’ll be forever grateful.
If you need gift ideas for your labor and delivery nurses, be sure to check here.
Take a video of the baby moving inside of you
Someone gave me this advice when I was pregnant and I thought they were crazy. But, you know what? I did it anyway and I’m so glad that I did.
Right now you have gotten used to feeling your baby move as well as seeing them move inside of you. They are literally a part of you. After you deliver your baby, things will change. Of course, you’ll be overjoyed finally meeting your baby and getting to hold him or her. But guess what? You’re going to miss being pregnant and the closeness that comes with it.
The video will be a way to preserve that memory and it’ll be a lot of fun to share with your little one when they get a little bigger.
Have your home professionally cleaned
Right about now, you’re in your nesting phase. You’re trying to get everything in its place and just right for your baby. But, there are some things that you should probably avoid, like deep cleaning and dealing with harsh chemicals. Leave that to the professionals.
Hire someone to deep clean and disinfect your home before the arrives. You’d be surprised at the places dust hides and you’ll feel so much better knowing that your home is ready for its newest member.
Get carpets cleaned
Along the same vein of getting your home professionally cleaned, you’ll also want to get your carpets cleaned. You’re probably wondering “Why would I do that, the baby isn’t going to be laying on the carpet”.
According to Drchemdry, cleaning the carpets before your delivery will remove harmful dust and allergens from the carpet as well as improve the overall air quality in your home. You’ll feel better knowing your baby is breathing clean air.
Stop wearing shoes indoors
Again, I know your baby won’t come out crawling but it’s good to get in the habit of not wearing shoes indoors now. You don’t know what kind of germs you’re bringing to your home. Besides, a lot of your baby’s favorite toys will end up on the floor at some point.
Get postpartum essentials
You have done a lot to prepare for your upcoming delivery, but make sure you’re prepared for what comes after too. Go ahead and get your postpartum essentials now. You don’t want to wait until you’re home with your newborn to start getting the things you need for postpartum recovery.
Install car seat
Yes, you have a due date but according to the bump, 12% of babies are born before their due date. It’s best to go ahead and get that car seat installed now so you can be ready whenever your baby decides to arrive.
Learn about the different ways you can feed your child
Though most mothers prefer to breastfeed, there are other options available for those moms who don’t want to do the same. You just have to spend enough time reading about them.
If you are leaning towards breastfeeding, make sure to look into this class. It will teach you everything you need to know to breastfeed for the first time and how to troubleshoot some of the common breastfeeding problems too.
Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and at the end of the day, fed is best. If you want to use formula or supplement for your baby, search for some good brands that you can buy for your newborn.
I would do this even if you intend to breastfeed. You just never know how your breastfeeding journey will go.
To minimize your stress once the baby arrives, try to be ready for the feeding part regardless of if you decided to breastfeed or bottlefeed.
Spend some time pampering yourself
Once the baby gets here, you will be way too busy taking care of him/her and making sure everything is going correctly with them. On top of that you’ll be exhausted from your late-night feedings and early morning risings. So you won’t find a lot of time to be by yourself and relax for the first few weeks.
That’s why I’m suggesting that before you go into labor, you take out some time for yourself and do things that you love to do. Be it going for a spa day or spending time with your best friends, allow yourself to take a day to yourself and prepare mentally for the new baby.
This will keep you in a good mood and make you feel better about the adjustments you’ll have to make with having a baby as well.
What needs to be done before baby arrives?
If you didn’t know before, now you know all of the things to do before baby arrives. Remember to make it easy for yourself by using our checklist and crossing things off trimester after trimester.
I know that preparing to give birth and meet your new baby can be an extremely tense time for a mother. You want everything to be perfect and you don’t want to forget anything.
It’s my hope that this article helps to decrease your level of anxiety and increase your excitement about preparing for your new baby.