There’s a lot of things on the to-do list before your baby is born.
You’ve got to furnish the nursery.
You’ve got to wash and fold all those teeny weeny clothes.
You’ve got to get a car seat purchased and installed, ready to go.
I honestly felt like pregnancy was one endless list of things to do. And a lot of my energy was spent trying to remember everything that I had to do and that still needed to be done.
Don’t do that! You can use my to-do list instead. I’ve got a printable and checkable version for your to download (you can add your own to-dos on the back!)
Here’s my list of 25 things to do:
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1. Take a Prenatal Class
It’s always a good idea to attend a prenatal class and consider going on a hospital tour before labor and delivery. It was helpful to know what to expect.
A prenatal class will take you through important info like when you should come to hospital, how to know if you’re in labor, how long labor is likely to last, pain relief options and some even include info on basic newborn care.
If you can’t attend a prenatal class in person, I highly recommend taking one online – this one is very thorough and created by a Labor and Delivery nurse. You can take it at home, whenever suits you without having to get dressed up and face the traffic to get to your hospital! Check it out here.
2. Get Informed About Breastfeeding
Do you plan to breastfeed your baby? Now’s a great time to prepare for the reality of breastfeeding!
The more you educate yourself before your baby arrives, the more likely you are to succeed.
I love the Ultimate Breastfeeding Course by Milkology – created by a Certified Lactation Educator, Stacey will take you through the ins and outs of breastfeeding from the benefits, to the technical ‘how-to’, to troubleshooting any issues that might crop up. The course even includes some stellar info on how to pump and start a freezer stash. If breastfeeding is something you want to do, don’t miss this course!
3. Pack Your Hospital Bags.
Starting from anywhere in the last seven or so weeks of your pregnancy, you’ll want to start packing those hospital bags. It’s great to have them packed in case you go into labour early or something else happens that you need to be in hospital for – here’s my all inclusive hospital bag checklist you can grab a free printable version to check off as you pack!
For me, I went to one of my last hospital appointments two weeks before my due date and… they didn’t let me go home! My husband had to bring the bags in. Luckily, I just finished repacking them that morning. I still forgot shampoo and conditioner, but I had everything else that I needed.
4. Get Your Carpet Cleaned.
One thing about babies … newborn babies, they don’t stay newborn for very long. By the time they’re just a few days old they’ll be doing tummy time and the next moment they’ll be crawling (it doesn’t seem fast, but it is). You don’t want to be worrying about how clean your carpet is or what chemicals are in your carpet cleaner that your baby is now rolling around on and playing on.
5. Choose a Paediatrician
Choose a paediatrician for your baby. Do your research before you need it and find the best doctor for your family.
6. Wash Your Baby Clothes and Linens
Some people don’t bother to wash their own clothes before wearing them when they’re brand new. But, it’s a good idea to wash baby clothes to get rid of any chemicals or residue. Babies are so brand new and precious and fragile that you really want to make sure that everything touching their skin is clean.
Some people prefer to get a special ‘baby-safe’, gentle laundry detergent like this one, however, it’s not an essential.
7. Get Nursing Bras
Nursing bras are essential for breastfeeding.
Honestly, the easiest way do this is to just buy nursing bras during in pregnancy. Your breasts get larger during pregnancy, so you’re going to need to buy new ones. Anytime you get new bras, make sure it’s a nursing bra. Problem solved!
Nursing bras are good because:
- They have quick access clips for feeding baby
- They are soft cup, so no underwire putting pressure on your breasts and potentially causing blocked milk ducts or mastitis.
- They’re supportive but also comfortable.
8. Get your breast pump
If your insurance company covers a free breast pump, take it with open hands. Make sure you do this well before you think you might need it. Honestly, if you can do it in the first trimester, go ahead and do it because when you need it, you need it right away. You don’t want to be waiting a week or two weeks or however long it takes for them to get sorted. You just want to be able to jump straight in and do it.
9. Make Freezer Meals
Get prepared for the newborn daze (days) by making freezer meals. You might make crock pot freezer meals or you just make a big batch of something and have leftovers in the freezer.
Either way, having meals in the freezer is an absolute life saver for those days when you’re too tired to cook (but still want to eat).
10. Decide How You Want To Announce the Birth
If you want to do a formal announcement, there’s some things you need to do first. Formal announcements haven fallen out of favor a little bit recently because everybody has access to a smart phone and they can instantly announce the birth of their little one via Facebook, text message or even a good old-fashioned phone call.
But, if you’ve decided to go totally old school and make formal (snail mail) announcements, then getting prepared early is key.
- To know where you’re getting announcements printed
- To choose a style
- To collect addresses of family and friends
11. Get your baby’s car seat installed professionally
…or do it yourself and get it checked. It’s critically important to get this checked professionally because so many parents think they’ve done it right but actually haven’t. There’s a scary statistic that 95% of babies are travelling in unsafe car seats because their parents either haven’t installed the car seat correctly or strapped the baby in properly.
Car seats are complicated. It’s worth it to get checked out.
12. Double Layer Bedding in Your Bassinet or Crib
Dreading those late night bedding changes? Not to worry! This one’s a real time saver and a half.
Double layer everything.
Get two waterproof mattress pads and double layer the bassinet. Two sets of sheets, two mattress pads so you can take the top layers off. If your baby wets through or spits up, you can take the top two layers off and have nice fresh bedding ready to go.
No fuss, very quick, very easy, back to sleep, hallelujah.
13. Make a Birth Plan.
Do you have a birth plan? It’s worth it to write down what you’d like to do (knowing that you need to be flexible with your birth plan if things go wrong). It’s helpful to write down a plan to know your options and to also let people know what options you’re considering using during labour and after the birth.
For me, I totally forgot about the gas. Ugh! I planned to use it but didn’t end up writing it down on my birth plan.
14. Make a baby folder to keep all your important baby papers in.
This is incredibly important.
You don’t want your baby’s birth certificate or important forms that need to go back to the government or insurance getting mixed up in with your tax files or whatever. You want to be able to put your hands on things straight away.
It will definitely reduce your stress levels to make one place to keep all the important papers.
15. Get Milk Freezer Bags
If you’re planning to pump, make sure you get breast milk freezer bags so you can store all that pumping goodness.
You could even start before your baby is born.
16. Book a Newborn Photographer
if you’re going to do newborn photography, arrange for a newborn photographer ASAP. Generally speaking, they want to take a photo of your baby within the first one or two weeks. You’ll need to be a little flexible because obviously no one knows when the baby is actually going to arrive. If you make a booking with the photographer, they can at least put you on their books and make sure that they have your booking for around that time.
17. Read up on labor.
You’re probably already doing this. Maybe you’re looking ahead to labour with trepidation. Maybe some fear. Get informed. Read up on it. That’s basically all you can do and it’s all you need to do. The more you know about it, the less scary it becomes. If you also want to, read this post on labor skills that you can use during labour to make things easier.
18. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Practise breathing techniques or even look into something like Calm Birth or Hypnobirthing. These relaxation techniques can help you stay relaxed and focus during labour.
Give it a go. That’s all I can say. Relaxing is never a bad thing. I found Hypnobirthing very, very relaxing. I was practising beforehand and it would, without fail, send me to sleep in the middle of the day, which was great because I couldn’t sleep at night.
19. Enjoy date nights with your husband.
Unless you get a babysitter or a family member to come and look after your baby, which let’s face it, isn’t probably going to be all that frequent, this is the last time when you’re actually just going to be able to go out and do things together without having to arrange anything.
Enjoy that. Enjoy those moments.
20. Enjoy a pregnancy massage.
Pregnancy is pretty taxing on your body. Treat yourself to a massage and relax. Or, try one of those sensory deprivation float tank things – they’re great!
21. Do a hospital tour.
If you don’t want to go to a prenatal class then doing a hospital tour is the next best thing. It’s good to see where to go so you don’t have to stress when you’re in the middle of labour.
22. Put your hospital bag in the car.
As your pregnancy gets close to the end, having the hospital bags packed in the car is a great idea. Especially if you need to travel very far to get to the hospital. For me it was just 10 minutes down the road. My husband was able to duck back home easily. If you’re further away, having the hospital bags in the car so you can’t forget them is a great idea.
23. Get a Waterproof Bed Pad.
Hollywood has a lot to answer for when it comes to pregnancy-labor-birth. It’s very unlikely that your waters are going to break in a flood in the middle of the shopping centre or restaurant.
You’re much more likely to experience a slow leak.
However, for your mattresses sake, you don’t want your waters to break in bed. It’s a good idea to get a waterproof bed pad to protect your mattress. Just in case. You can get these on Amazon quickly and inexpensively.
24. Finish the nursery.
You’ve been working on a beautiful nursery for your little one. Now’s the time to finish it.
Though, if you don’t quite get there, it’s ok. You may not even use the nursery for a few months if you’re following the SIDS guidelines to sleep baby in the same room as you for the first 6 months-1 year.
25. Turn Your Hot Water System Down
Generally, our hot water systems are up too high for little ones who might (possibly) grab hold of the tap and yank it onto hot and get burned. It’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible as it’s one of those things that’s easy to put off and put off until an accident’s already happened.
Are we there yet?
Phew! What a list! What a whirlwind ride!
How much of pregnancy has just felt like an endless to-do list? Am I right?
What else have you got on your list of things to do? Let me know!