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Your mind may be so full of thoughts about labor and delivery that you haven’t given much thought to preparing for baby. Or maybe baby prep has filled your thoughts with no room for anything else! Either way, there is a lot you can do to be ready for baby before she comes. And, you’ll thank yourself later when you are in the haze of life with a newborn.
Go Ahead And Nest
The urge to nest is your body’s way of encouraging you to prepare for baby. This natural desire to get everything ready for your newest little love is so great when it kicks in! It means it’s time to prepare for all things baby!
Get baby’s bed ready
If this is your first, you may not have every decision made about where you want baby to sleep. In your room? In her own room? Co-sleep? Crib? Bassinet? Don’t stress yourself over this. Some decisions are best made when you finally meet your little babe and figure out what works best for all of you.
With that said, you’ll still want to have something ready by way of a place for baby to sleep. So, go ahead and prepare the crib or bassinet…get it put together in whichever room you think you’ll prefer (it can always be moved) and get all your bedding and swaddle blankets washed. Also put them somewhere you can easily access anytime of day or night. Trust me, you’ll want to keep them close to baby’s bed for nighttime spit ups and overfull diapers.
Something that might help you decide where to sleep baby at first is this article about how wonderful bassinets are for newborns. I’ve also reviewed five different types of bassinets to help mamas find one that will work well for them. Additionally, I have written an entire article dedicated to the DockATot…my personal fav! Check it out if you think that might be a good option for you!
Organize baby’s room and items
Now is the time to get your changing table and dresser put together. You can get things organized so they are on hand when you need them. When arranging things in the dresser and changing table, I always like to think about what it will be like to need something during a middle of the night feed.
So, burp cloths should be easy to get to and even have a stack in a basket by the chair where you’ll feed. Diapers should be in ample supply on or near the changing table. Baskets come in real handy for things like this…I always had a basket full of burp cloths and another one for diapers. And baby’s top dresser drawer is a great place for a stack of onesies and sleepers. Your lower drawers and closet can be arranged more carefully, but just make sure the things you’ll need to get to with little to no fuss are super easily accessible.
Wash baby clothing
You’ll likely have so many adorable outfits ready for baby, especially if this is your first. And if it’s not your first, your baby clothes have likely been sitting in a box for quite some time. Make sure to get them washed so you can use them right away. Newborns can do a fair bit of spitting up, requiring several outfits a day sometimes. So, you’ll do yourself a favor by having these ready. A lot of sleepers and onesies make outfit changes a lot easier those first few weeks, too!
A note about sizing. I always had newborn outfits ready in case my babies needed them. Two of my babies lived in newborn sizes for the first several weeks and two were out of them a bit sooner. Needless to say I had small babies. No matter the prediction of your baby’s weight, having enough newborn outfits ready for the hospital and your first day or two at home is a good idea. After that, if you won’t want to take tags off and wash in case baby doesn’t need them for long or at all, go right ahead and tuck them away until you know what you’ll need. You will definitely want to have a good amount of 0-3 month clothing ready and washed!
One last thing to point out about clothing is to pay attention to season. You’ll get plenty of clothing gifted to you at showers. Oftentimes these items are picked out because of how cute they are and not because they will be the right size in the right season for baby. Your baby may not exactly follow clothing sizes based on age since all babies grow at their own rate, but you may want to keep the tags on some items that you question if they will fit in the right season.
Learn How To Get Your Newborn To Sleep
Just as important and being able to breastfeed your baby will be the need to help baby sleep well. For many new mamas this seems to be a mystery. However, it is something you can most definitely learn and have great success with!
Mama, do yo’self a favor and get my newest ebook, Every Mom’s Guide To Nap Time-The Ultimate Handbook For Getting GREAT Naps Everyday. This book is unique because not only will it help you understand the biological, scientific elements of your newborn’s sleep needs, it will also help you set up amazingly healthy sleep habits from the beginning. When you put these healthy habits in place, you will see your baby sleep through the night with much less effort. You will be amazed as I teach you how I got my four babies to sleep through the night between 5-13 weeks. It’s possible!
Before baby comes is a great time to sterilize breast pump parts, bottles and pacifiers. You’ll not want to do these things in the moment you actually need them, so take just a bit of time now to get it done.
Make Freezer Meals
This will 100% be worth your time! Your days and nights could be flipped around as you follow baby’s cues at first and you’ll be so hungry while breastfeeding. Despite your hunger, you may not feel like or have the energy to do much cooking at first, but you’ll need some good, energy giving food. Being able to pull something out of the freezer and have it ready when you need it will be your saving grace when your stomach starts to grumble.
I find it’s worth it to get the small disposable tins and get your meals prepped in those. Then, there isn’t even a casserole dish or Tupperware to wash. Also, you can make a variety of sizes easily. If it’s just you and the hubs, you can make mini lasagnas or any of your fav freezer worthy meals. By doing this you can also make a few larger meals that could last for a couple days or would be ideal for larger families.
Pro tip: stock up on some paper plates and make your life real easy for a week or two!
A Little Deep Cleaning
Definitely don’t overdo this or put any strain on yourself with this one. But, just take some intentional time at some point to consider what you’d like to get done shortly before baby’s birth that you probably won’t get to for a bit after delivery. Focus on what will bother you if left undone as well as what will be most important to have really clean for baby.
Some areas I have focused on for deep cleaning include the bathrooms and kitchen. These areas can get out of control quickly in our house! They are also areas that bother me when not kept in check. I also like to get the floors really clean, though you may need some help if vacuuming, sweeping or mopping aren’t comfortable for you!
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Time To Prepare For Labor
As if you haven’t been already, right?! You’ve likely spent a lot of time thinking about labor. Now it’s time to actually prepare. You can do this by keeping a list of questions for your next doctor appointment as well as get your birth plan details ironed out. Also, if touring the hospital is an option, do it! I had three of my four babies in the same hospital so it was quite familiar to me in the end. But, I did tour it before giving birth there the first time and I was glad I did.
Another great way to prepare is with a birth class. It seems that most traditional birthing classes are no longer the norm. I have found this online course by Haley of Let’s Mama to be an excellent option!
Another way to prepare for labor could include talking to some friends who will give you the real deal without scaring the baby out of you. I found that a lot of women love to tell their birthing horror stories. Steer clear of those. Find the mamas who will tell you what goes down during birth but keep it encouraging.
Learn About Breastfeeding
I wish someone would have told me a bit more about what to expect when it came to breastfeeding. Alas, I floundered quite a bit and really struggled. With that said, there are so many awesome resources out there that I wish I had known about. Some awesome online classes I have found come from a gal named Stacey and I wanted to share what she has to offer with you! Here are her classes, which range in price from $14-19, making them super affordable! Click on any of the classes to check them out!
Pack Your Hospital Bag
Since we never really quite know when baby will make her appearance, it’s a good idea to get your bag packed and ready earlier in your third trimester rather than later. I have a full post on all the necessities and how to pack them here.
Have A Baby Shower
This is a fun celebration during the third trimester. Not only do you get to be pampered and eat some yummy food, you’ll be showered with helpful items for baby. Your friends and family will show you just how excited they are for your soon to be arriving little one.
Get Your Baby Gear Organized
After your baby shower is a good time to deal with all the baby gear. You’ll know what was purchased from your registry, what to return/exchange and what you still need.
If you are wondering what you really need to buy when your little one is on her way, check out this post where I go into a lot of detail about what you may want to consider having. This is a great list to consult when creating your baby registry, too!
I know it can feel overwhelming when you think about keeping your new tiny human alive and happy. Take heart in this truth. Baby really only needs you, milk, and a place to sleep. Everything else is just a bonus or adds to our own convenience as mamas (and there is a lot to be said for that!).
Install The Car Seat
You don’t want dad to be trying to install the car seat base or putting the car seat into the car for the first time in the hospital parking lot. If it’s not inconvenient, install the base now so it’s ready. If you won’t be using a base, check out the manual for how to properly install the car seat using the seatbelt and anchor system. Finally, check out those straps! You’d be surprised how many new moms and dad’s can’t figure out how to get the straps adjusted just right on the first try. So give it a little looksy and make sure you’ll know how to adjust it correctly when your baby is in it.
Get Payments Set Up
Another really helpful and practical piece of advice is to get your bill payments that will be due around baby’s due date set up. If you can schedule them or write out the checks, do so. Or, put them on the calendar (on the wall or in your phone) to remind yourself in a really noticeable way. This isn’t something I usually see on ‘preparing for baby’ checklists, but I think it’s really helpful!
Maternity Leave and Baby’s Care
Start preparing for maternity leave now. You don’t need any extra stress towards the end of your pregnancy. So, get maternity leave plans nailed down so that everyone who needs to be in on the details is.
Also start to look for daycare or a nanny for when you’ll return to work. This way you’ll be able to go with your top choice. It will also make the end of your maternity leave easier as you’ve got this major decision already made.
Prepare For Postpartum
The fourth trimester is a big deal. A really big deal. During the first few months of baby’s life both of you are getting used to a new normal. Baby is learning about life on the outside. You are learning about a body that has birthed a human. And is keeping her alive. To make things easier on your new body, there are some helpful items to have on hand.
This is something I did not consider using after my pregnancies that I really wish I had! Especially because I had three c-sections! I have read the stories of so many women who highly recommend a girdle to help your body recover after birth.
If you haven’t already, make sure you have some really comfortable nursing bras, tanks and tops. You’ll spend a lot of time doing this, so have a variety. This website has helpful information on finding your size in nursing bras.
Get a recovery basket ready
There are some product that will greatly add to your comfort after delivering baby. these items can be tucked into your hospital bag and kept in a basket, ready to use when you get home. Here’s a helpful list!
Tucks medicated cooling pads
Dermoplast pain relieving spray
Herbal perineal spray
Perineal cold packs
Mesh knit undeware
Before baby comes, enjoy a last hurrah that includes some special time before you’ll be at the mercy of your tiny babe. Spend a little time by yourself if you can, doing something you really enjoy that you may not get to again for several months. You could also capitalize on this last trimester to have a special date with your partner or other children. You’ll be giving your little babe a lot of your attention when she arrives, so enjoy some time with your other loved ones before this happens.
Hair and Nails
This may not be for every soon to be mama, but if you enjoy having a fresh cut and color, get that done during the third trimester. I always took the time to get my hair cut a few weeks before my due date. This made me feel better towards the end of pregnancy and during those first few months with a newborn.
Also, if you can’t reach your toes but wish you could, let someone else! If you’ll want to see some cutely painted toes while you labor, get a pedicure! It’s a small thing that you might really enjoy doing for yourself.
Alright, mama! That’s my list of what you might want to think about getting done during your third trimester to prepare for your baby. Don’t take this as a hard and fast list of things you must get done. Instead, use it to see if there are things that would be helpful to you that haven’t gotten done yet. Before you know it, your little love will be here and you’ll be lost in her baby blues! And that, my dear mama, is really all you need to be fully prepared for.