Whew – you’re heading into the home stretch of pregnancy… and it’s been wild ride of checklists, appointments and a seemingly endless list of things you absolutely must get done!
You’re nearly there mama – but things are about to ramp up in the third trimester…
Well, your appointment schedule will most likely increase in frequency and the big day is ticking closer and closer… you’ve only got so much time and so much to organize and get done.
If you’ve got all the baby stuff figured out – now’s the time to consider how having a new baby will change your life.
Most first-time moms spend so much time thinking about what they need to do for the baby that they forget to prepare for non-baby related things that will make a world of difference when the baby eventually arrives!
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What You REALLY Need to Do Before Baby Arrives
As you read through these tips, you’ll notice that most of them relate to one of two things:
- Getting life sorted so you have a clear plate when baby arrives (minimize any non-essential obligations for the newborn period).
- Being kind to yourself by pre-preparing and stocking up on everything you need!
Ultimately, this is so that you can basically hibernate with your newborn while you recover from childbirth, adapt to motherhood and learn the ins and outs of newborn care. Trust me, you don’t want to be juggling vet visits and newborn sleep changes.
To help you keep life in order, here is the ultimate checklist for the non-baby related stuff you need to take care of:
Take a Prenatal Class and Tour Your Hospital
Sign up for a tour of the facilities. If your hospital offers prenatal classes, sign up! If they run classes for newborn care, breastfeeding, birth or anything like that, try to go along. The more familiar you are with the place the less intimidating it will be when you’re there and in labor.
Take a Class on Breastfeeding
How much can you really learn about breastfeeding before you have a baby here who’s actually doing it?
Quite a lot actually! You may be able to sign up for a breastfeeding class at your hospital, but I recommend signing up for the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology.
It’s a total of 90 minutes in video and you’ll get a complete overview of everything you need to know to start successfully breastfeeding – plus you keep access for life so you can easily review any modules you need to once your baby is here!
Pack Your Hospital Bag
I started packing my hospital bag at 30 weeks with my first. I was at that stage in pregnancy where it seems to be taking forever and I wanted to do anything anything! to get one step closer to the end.
So, I packed my bag. And repacked it. And packed it again.
It ended up working out well as I was induced unexpectedly at 38 weeks. I didn’t get to go home from my last appointment, and I was able to tell my husband to bring ‘the two diaper bags just inside the nursery door’. Mommin’ it like a boss! Yeah!
Read my guide to packing your hospital bag.
Prepare for birth (financially speaking)
A lot can happen in the time leading up to the due date as well as in the delivery room. You need to have your finances in order for the birth.
Go through the fine print of your medical insurance cover and identify the extent to which they come through for you in case of emergencies.
You can also talk to the staff at the hospital you’re going to deliver at and go through possible costs such as charges for either normal delivery or cesarean and add them into your budget.
Read up on Labor Techniques (or go to a class)
One of my biggest pregnancy fears was how I would cope through labor. Quite a few times I wished I could just fast forward the pregnancy part right to the ‘baby-put-in-your-arms’ moment.
But, you can’t. So the next best thing is to read up on labor and make a plan for how to deal with it.
This was my favorite book for giving real, practical tips that helped me feel prepared and ready to tackle labor.
Ok, I know I mention it a lot… but I loved it!
You might also like to look into hypnobirthing, calm birthing and how to use a TENS machine during labor. I found the hypnobirthing track I listened to in the third trimester so relaxing it put me to sleep every time. Take that, insomnia!
Automate Your Finances
New mom life is exhausting. If you thought you had baby brain during pregnancy, that’s nothing compared to the brain fog you have as a new mom! Do yourself a favor and set up as many of your bills and financial obligations as possible onto a direct debit.
Another great thing you can do for yourself financially is work out the sum total of all your essential bills for a year, divide this by 12 months and set up a monthly deduction from your main account into a new savings account or offset account – this way you’ll always have enough money to pay those large bills that only come around once a year.
Stock Up on Movies & Books
Most newborns sleep quite a lot. However, they make up for that by exploring all 24 hours of the day and taking up to an hour at a time to breastfeed.
That’s a lot of time that a mama is supposed to stay awake for… best thing to do is to stock up now on books, magazines and Netflix. You need something to keep your brain engaged and entertained. Feel like binge watching your favorite TV series? Why not!
I love my Kindle and I may have read the entire Throne of Glass series while
letting my newborn sleep on me performing essential newborn care. I didn’t get a Kindle Unlimited subscription, but I so wish I had!
Here’s a whole bunch of movies you might also like to watch: 35+ Best Pregnancy Movies
Get your career or business in order
How long a maternity leave are you planning for? After your baby is born you need time to heal, rest and recover. You also need time to bond with your baby and establish breastfeeding.
How long you decide to take off will depend on your finances and whether you return to work at all. If you’re employed, talk to your employer about your transition into maternity leave and back.
If you own your own business, hire someone for your business early on to bring them up to speed and have them settled in the business before your due date.
Spend quality time with family and friends
While some of your friends and family will visit after your baby is born, most of your time and any engagements will probably be centered on the baby. Make time to spend quality with those who matter most to you, including your husband in the months leading to delivery before your priorities change and your little bundle becomes the center of your attention.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Motherhood calls for a lot of adjustments. It’s not easy.
Breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum recovery… they take time to figure out.
You need to prepare yourself for your new reality. Read up on what to expect as much as possible, and most importantly know where to get help if you need it.
Organize Help Postpartum
Accept all offers of help for the postpartum period, for things that are actually helpful! If anyone offers to ‘hold the baby while you do chores’ feel free to turn it about on them and let them know they can do the chores in exchange for a cuddle :p Say yes to all meals too!
Set boundaries for visitors so you aren’t overwhelmed and don’t have people arriving right at (your) nap time expecting to meet the baby.
Stock Up On Household Supplies
You probably won’t be feeling up to grocery shopping in the first week or two after birth. (Which is totally why they invented Amazon Prime…) So, make sure you stock up on household essentials like:
- toilet paper
- hand sanitizer
- dish detergent
- laundry powder
- hand soap
- breakfast cereal
- canned tuna
- rice and pasta
- pasta sauce
Prepare Your Postpartum Recovery Kit
Postpartum recovery is no picnic.
Labor is tiring and then you’re immediately thrust into the new world of mothering a newborn.
Your body needs time to recover and repair.
Make sure you:
- stock up on these postpartum recovery essentials
- make some padsicles
- consider taking a postpartum sitz bath for the first week or two.
Clean the house
Have you gotten the nesting bug yet? No? Well, you might find you suddenly have the urge to clean EVERYTHING in your house from walls to skirting boards.
Take care not to overdo it, especially my ladies with pubic bone pain in pregnancy. You don’t want to put yourself out of commission with pain any more than you already are.
Get Your Carpet Cleaned
One thing I definitely recommend doing is a carpet clean – you don’t want to be worrying about the cleanliness of the carpet when your baby is doing tummy time. You can hire a machine yourself or get it professionally cleaned.
I wanted to get mine done relatively early so that any chemicals in the detergent used have time to dissipate. In the end, we hired a machine and DIY’d it with plain water. It worked pretty well too!
Take Care of Your Pet’s Needs
While you love your pet and can’t even imagine them being usurped in your heart’s affections, things will change a LOT once baby is here.
Is your pet due for any exams, tablets or treatments? Go get them done before your baby is here.
Is your pet on any medications? Stock up on their prescription as much as you can (and store their meds safely out of harms way of course.)
Then you won’t need to worry about them during the newborn period.
Consider Getting a Meal Box Subscription
I always thought those meal box subscriptions were overpriced… which is why I was a tad annoyed when my hubby signed us up to Hello Fresh when our little one was about 10 weeks old.
But, I changed my mind pretty quickly!
Yes, they are a little pricey BUT it saves you from having to meal plan and grocery shop which is absolute gold when you’re running low on sleep and energy. That little bit of mental energy saved from NOT having to meal plan or the fuss and bother of grocery shopping was a real life saver.
Stock Up On Freezer Meals
You need to eat, but it’s hard to find time to cook when you’re juggling round the clock newborn care.
Freezer meals are awesome for that! I like ones that freeze raw and you cook up in the slow cooker – they taste fresh cooked, like they were never frozen at all.
Even if you end up getting a meal subscription, I recommend putting a few freezer meals away for weekends and days when you just don’t feel like cooking what’s in your box.
Here are a few posts of recipes to get you started:
Don’t forget to think about breakfasts, lunch and snacks as well! You can cook up a batch of muffins, cookies (try lactation cookies, and increase your breast milk supply at the same time!) or energy bites.
Take Some Time For You
There’s no sugarcoating it: your life is about to change. Drastically.
No longer will you be able to drop everything and go out for coffee at a moment’s notice. Or take a sick day and lie in bed reading a delicious page-turner.
Take time out now and treat yourself.
It’ll also help you work out some of those first time mom nerves. What do you enjoy most, a massage, spa day or even a beach stroll? Go for it! And ensure you make the most of it.
You deserve it 🙂
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