Preparing for the birth of your baby? Here’s a list of 25 things to do before your baby is born to help make the transition easier and help you feel ready! Great ideas for things to do in your third trimester!
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I am a list person. I make grocery lists, to-do lists, lists of things I want to buy, lists of things I want to make. I’m a list person. So needless to say, I had a whole big list of things to do before while I was pregnant before my first baby was born.
It was actually super helpful because not only did it keep me busy until he got here, the things I did were things that helped me out once he was born, too. I wasn’t rushing around trying to get addresses for announcements or worrying about little things like what we were going to have for dinner once we got home, because I had prepared before he was born. I was able to stay relaxed and enjoy the time with our new bundle of joy!
This list I’m sharing today has 25 things to do before your baby is born to help make having a newborn easier and more enjoyable for you! These are 25 things that I personally did that you may or may not find helpful. They aren’t in any particular order, and if you have anything else to add, feel free to leave a comment and contribute! (Or check out my post that has 15 more things to do before your baby is born!)
25 Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born
1. Pick a birth announcement
If you live far from family and friends, or if you just want to show off your perfect new baby (who doesn’t want that?), a birth announcement is a great way to introduce your newborn. You can either do something simple yourself by copying something on Pinterest or you can use a photo website with premade layouts (Shutterfly is a great one!).
If you decide what you want before your baby is born, you won’t have to stress about picking a birth announcement after they’re born.
2. Gather and print addresses
If you do decide you want to send out birth announcements, it can be even more stressful to gather all the addresses and figure out who you want to send them to after baby is born.
The solution? Gather them all before! You can compile them all into a Word document with a label template and print them out while you are pregnant so once you get your announcements, you just have to put the sticky labels on the envelopes and pop them in the mailbox.
Plus if you work on it while you are pregnant you can have time to think about who you want to send them to.
3. Get a waterproof bed pad
Not for baby, for you. My husband and I have a nice pillowtop mattress that my parents bought us when we got married, and I was not about to have my water break on it and ruin it. I was very worried that if my water did break in the middle of the night, we would have to leave fast and the amniotic fluid would do some serious damage to our mattress while we were away at the hospital. So instead of being nervous to fall asleep as your due date approaches, invest in something like this waterproof bed pad that you can just put under the sheets on your side of the bed.
And don’t try and be cheap and think you can get one of those plastic drop cloths that you use for painting. I tried that at first and it made way too much noise for me to even be able to fall asleep. Which at that point in your pregnancy you need to try and get as much as you can between the ten bathroom trips each night. And even if your water doesn’t break until you are at the hospital, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
4. Pack your bags
Since you never know when baby is going to come, the sooner the better with this one. You should pack a hospital bag for you, a hospital bag for baby, and if your husband is smart, he will let you pack a little bag for him.
I had my bags packed and sitting by the front door a month before my due date. Yes, I was excited, but I was also prepared!
5. Get your carpets cleaned
Now this may not be appropriate for everyone, but living in an apartment that has nasty carpet and weird stains from the previous tenants made me really want to get our carpets cleaned because I knew we were going to be spending a lot of time on the floor with our new baby.
So, about a month before my due date I went and rented a Rug Doctor machine and cleaned our carpets. Not only did they smell amazing and look amazing after, I felt much better about our Little J rolling around on the floor. Plus, if you haven’t done this in a while, it might be a nice thing to do before baby is born because after, you are not going to have time (or energy) to do this.
And here’s a tip: I did a Google search for some coupons and called around at a few stores to get the best deal. So if you are going to add this to your list of things to do before your baby is born, do some research and get the best price!
6. Pick a pediatrician
If you don’t have a pediatrician yet, ask friends, look online at websites like healthgrades.com (but be cautious of how many people have reviewed them), and see if your hospital has contracts with any local offices so they can come to the hospital and visit your newborn right after delivery.
It’s much easier to have this done before you have your baby because you don’t want to be at the hospital holding your perfect little baby and have a minor panic attack when the nurse asks you who your baby’s pediatrician is and then tells you how soon you need to schedule your first appointment. Having a pediatrician picked out prior to your baby’s birth is nice because you can get home and immediately schedule their appointment without worrying about if you are calling a good one.
Some pediatricians actually will let you come meet with them while you are pregnant for a kind of “meet and greet” appointment. I actually did this the month before our first baby was born and felt very good about the pediatrician my friends recommended. One less thing to worry about!
7. Pre-wash baby’s clothes
Again, this is something you don’t have to do and which won’t be for everyone, but I did it with all three of my babies’ clothes (especially after I got all my first son’s clothes out of storage!). I used Dreft because it’s hypoallergenic and I loved the way it smelled. It was really fun to wash, fold, and put away all of their tiny clothes!
8. Invest in a nursing bra (or two)
If you decide you are going to nurse your little baby, you will want to get a few nursing bras. You aren’t supposed to use underwire until you’ve been breastfeeding for three months, and I personally like ones without because I can use them when I’m sleeping and still be comfy.
I would definitely recommend getting at least one nursing bra because trying to put nursing pads in a regular bra and readjusting them every time you feed baby is pretty tough and it’s just easier to have an actual nursing bra that clips and makes things easily and quickly accessible for when baby is screaming because he’s hungry.
9. Check to see if your insurance covers a breast pump
If you are going to nurse your baby, a breast pump is really nice to have for the times that you won’t be able to nurse baby or for when baby decides to sleep through the night and you wake up engorged and crying in pain because you have two rock-hard lumps on your chest.
This particular point was very important for me, because the hospital called and got the wrong information from someone at my insurance, and after being told it was covered, we got the fancy breast pump, only to find out four months later that it was not covered at all and we owed like $300.
I would recommend calling yourself (maybe even a few times to verify information) to see if your insurance covers a breast pump. If you aren’t sure what kind of breast pump you want to try, this post of the best breastfeeding products talks about both manual and electric pumps.
There’s also a company called Aeroflow Breastpumps that does a lot of the work for you, and while I haven’t personally used them, I’ve heard great things about them making the process of getting a breast pump through insurance easy!
10. Make freezer meals
My best friend and I were due two weeks apart with our first babies, and we got together a month before our due dates and made a ton of freezer meals. This is a fun idea because it can take one day or it can take a few days (and when you are getting close to your due date you want to keep yourself busy). Our tiny freezer had almost no room for anything else after two days of making freezer meals, but it was so worth it.
My husband and I found out that the recipes that we liked most were actually not crockpot ones, but ones that were casserole-like and were baked in the oven. Lasagna, pasta, chicken fajitas, those types of meals were our personal favorites.
And making freezer meals is really nice for after baby is born because once your family goes back home and you are left alone, the last thing you want to do is make a hot meal for you and your husband. Here’s a great post about freezer meal tips and recipes to make before your baby is born!
11. Attend classes at your hospital
Most hospitals offer free baby classes for expectant parents. I would highly recommend checking to see what kinds of classes you can take.
My husband and I signed up for three, and even though he only went to one and I only went to two, it was really helpful. I took a notebook and filled up multiple pages with things like how to give baby a bath, how to care for a circumcision, breastfeeding tips, how to swaddle baby, and how to change a diaper (somehow I made it through life without changing a single diaper until my first baby was born).
Plus you can ask the teachers/nurses any additional questions you might have. And you may even make some pregnant friends who are due around the same time!
12. Install baby’s car seat
I seriously think I drove around for about five weeks with an empty car seat in the backseat of my car before my first baby was born. Car seats aren’t super hard to install, but you don’t want to get to the hospital and realize that you left your new baby’s ride at home.
A lot of places will offer car seat installation checks where you can bring your car in and they will check to make sure you’ve installed the car seat correctly. I was going to do this with our first until my husband made fun of me and told me he knew what he was doing. I did however go and do this with my second baby, despite him mocking me. I also took our our convertible car seat in to get checked when we got that. Very helpful.
For more information about keeping kids safe in their car seats, check out this post about 8 Car Seat Mistakes You Are Probably Making.
13. Bake cookies to thank your nurses
I know this one is kind of silly, but it’s a nice gesture! And this obviously shouldn’t be done until pretty close to your due date, but it is really nice to have a bag of cookies that you can give to the nurses once you are officially checked into the hospital.
And if more than a few days goes by and you aren’t in labor, it’s always nice to have a bag of cookies waiting for you to make you feel better. You can make more for the nurses after you eat the first batch.
14. Get 2 waterproof mattress pads for the crib
I think most people probably only have one waterproof mattress pad on their crib, but we layered a waterproof crib mattress pads and then a fitted sheet, and then another mattress pad and another fitted sheet. That way, when your newborn wets the bed or throws up in the middle of the night, you can just pull the first layer off and they still have another protective layer there in case it happens again. You don’t want to be trying to wash and put on a new mattress pad and sheet in the middle of the night!
It’s definitely worth the extra bit of money to have a spare mattress pad on the bed. Trust me, you’ll be grateful in the middle of the night!
15. Paint your nails
This may seem silly, too, but you are going to be taking a lot of pictures at the hospital holding your new baby, and since you probably won’t feel your best after your baby is born, it’s nice to have a little bit of glam to make you feel better!
I painted my nails a nice baby blue color (since I was having a boy) and it actually turned out really nice for the pictures that we had taken at the hospital.
16. Buy some “in-between” clothes
One of my friends actually suggested this and I didn’t do it the first time around and I regretted it.
As much as you want to be your pre-pregnancy size after your baby is born, it will not happen immediately. And since you won’t be pregnant anymore, you probably won’t want to wear your maternity clothes. So before you have your baby, go buy some “in-between” clothes that you can wear until you fit back into your regular clothes.
I really wish I had done this the first time because I couldn’t fit back into any of my jeans or shorts until my baby was about 2-months-old, so I ended up wearing sweatpants or my maternity pants until then. And without a large, round belly, the band on my maternity pants sagged and wasn’t the best self-esteem booster.
So, before you have your baby, just get a pair or two of in-between pants, and maybe a few looser-fitting tops. PinkBlush Maternity has some great clothes for looking good during and after pregnancy.
17. Look through your baby’s baby book
If you haven’t gotten a baby book, I highly recommend it. There are usually sections you can fill out before your baby is born about you and Daddy, the day you found out you were pregnant, the ultrasound, and things like that.
Plus you can see if there is a spot for a newspaper clipping from the day they are born and baby hand and footprints. Otherwise you might not remember to get a newspaper or baby’s footprints in the actual baby book. And it’s cute to see the pages that talk about baby’s birth and you will cry and be excited and scared and thrilled all at the same time while looking through them (yes, that is from personal experience).
18. Charge your camera battery
I know that everyone has a smart phone and can take pictures on their phones, but I’m old-fashioned and I love taking pictures on my DSLR rather than my phone.
My camera takes really nice pictures, and it was nice to be able to have my phone as a backup instead just in case. Plus, you will be taking like a million pictures at the hospital of your perfect new baby so you want to make sure your camera can handle all that pressure.
19. Do a test run to the hospital
If this is your first baby, or you haven’t delivered at the hospital you are planning on, it is always a good idea to do a test run and see not only how long it takes you to get there, but to make sure you know exactly where to park and go once you get there.
I didn’t think the signs outside of our hospital were super clear and it was nice to go and make sure we knew where to park and then where to go in and what floor to go to and everything. Because once you’re in labor, you don’t want to waste any time.
20. Stock up on hand sanitizer
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about having a baby, it’s that people will ALWAYS ask to hold them. It’s nice to have some hand sanitizer stashed around your home (especially by the changing area!) and in your bag so that when people do ask to hold your baby, you can politely have them sanitize their hands first, since there’s not always a sink around to wash hands.
21. Make your birth plan
Some OBGYNs or hospitals will give you a sheet to fill out, but some don’t, so it’s always nice to be prepared and at least feel like you are going to be in control. Your hospital may provide you with one when you pre-register, or you can check out this helpful post with things you should include on your birth plan.
It’s important to remember that your birth plan is Plan A, and sometimes, for your health or the health of your baby, things will have to change. Your birth plan should discuss your ideal birth situation, but you also need to remember to be flexible when the time comes and not panic if you can’t do everything the way you wanted. The most important part of a birth plan is that you cover all possible situations so you can prepare ahead of time and you won’t have to make decisions when you are in the moment and your nurse is asking you what you want to do.
You can fill in things about how you want your labor to go, what you want to do during labor, who you want in the room with you when baby is born, and if you want the chance to breastfeed right after baby is born. It is a really handy tool to have, and it can help put your mind at ease about delivery, even if you don’t completely stick to it during labor (which you probably won’t!).
22. Get a special baby notebook and folder
Both before your baby is born and after, you’ll probably get a lot of handouts and a lot of information. It’s really helpful to have a special place to store papers and write down all of the things you are told, because you’re most likely not going to remember everything they tell you right before you are discharged and sent home.
I also decided to use my notebook to write down questions that I might think of at home so that I wouldn’t forget to ask them while we were at the pediatrician. And for the first few months, I also recorded when my babies ate, when we bathed them, and how many wet and dirty diapers they had.
The folder is really handy because you get a lot of paperwork at the hospital and instead of shoving it all in your bag, you can nicely store it in your folder and keep it organized so that when you get home you know exactly where to look for that handout on immunizations. If you decide to go to baby classes at the hospital you can also use the notebook and folder for information you get there.
23. Get a package of milk freezer bags
I actually didn’t even think about using these for what I’m going to tell you, but I wish I would have because it would have helped a lot. If you are going to have a pump, having a box of milk storage freezer bags is really helpful.
Sometimes baby decides he doesn’t want to eat on one side and you get engorged and it’s miserable. It’s super handy to have some milk freezer bags so you can pump and then save the milk that you pump so that later, if you are going to be away from your baby, there is some milk for him ready in the freezer.
Sometimes you’ll get engorged and need to pump just a little bit so that you can sleep at night. It’s a waste to pour milk you pumped down the drain, so go ahead and freeze it! These 1 oz milk trays are the perfect way to freeze just a little bit of milk so it won’t go to waste!
24. Look up a newborn photographer
Some hospitals have contracts with baby photographers and they will actually come around to your rooms while you are there and take pictures. We were lucky and had the chance to get our first and second babies’ pictures done while we were still in the hospital. Check to see if your hospital has something like this, and if they don’t, you might want to start looking around for a newborn photographer. Or, if you want to save money but still want pictures of your perfect baby, you can look on Pinterest at the many tutorials on how to photograph babies on your own.
If you’re doing baby announcements this is especially handy, because once your baby is born you don’t want to have to try and look around for a photographer last-minute. The last thing you want to do after giving is birth is to stress about finding the perfect photographer and getting good pictures. It’s nice to plan ahead and have that all set up before.
25. Make Daddy feel special.
A lot of times the mom gets pampered and showered and the dad can feel left out. Let him know how much you appreciate him and the support he has given (and will give you during labor) by putting together a special “new Dad” kit for him.
I put in some soap, some Pop Rocks, tissues, a few books about daddies, a sports onesie, some Sour Patch Kids, some Diet Mt. Dew, air freshener, earplugs, and a few other little personal things to make life as a new dad easier. Not only was it fun for me to put together, it was nice to be able to be able to recognize his part in all of this, too!
Most importantly, just get excited! I know it is the worst waiting around for your baby. Then once your due date passes you are just trying to do everything you can to pass the time. Just enjoy it and try to relax. Babies come when they are ready, and when they do, it is an incredible experience.
This post was originally published in August 2013.