The nine months leading up to your baby being born may seem to drag on, but before you know it, it will be over in a wink! There are a ton of things you may want to get done before your baby is born. Use this list to help create your own checklist to prepare yourself before baby's arrival.
16 Test Run to the Hospital
The last thing you want when you are in labor is to get lost on the way to the hospital! Get in the car with your husband or person who will be most likely bringing you to the hospital, and make that test run to the hospital.
Know the best way to go with the least amount of traffic. You may also want to scope out an alternative route in the event you run into a road closure or traffic accident. While it may seem silly to do so, especially so early on, you will thank yourself later when labor begins, as you will not have the added stress of trying to navigate your way to the hospital at the last minute!
15 Find a Pediatrician
It is very important to locate a pediatrician for your little one before they are born. You will be taking your baby to the doctor only a couple days after you both go home. You certainly do not want to be scrambling to find a good physician then.
Your best resource is to talk to other moms with similar ideas and feelings as yours when trying to find a great doctor. Pediatricians also will meet with the parents of prospective patients to see if you are a good fit for each other. You could consider it an interview for your child's future care.
Call around, do your research, and make sure you write down their number and address so you do not have to look for it later!
14 Buy Nursing Bras
If you plan on breastfeeding, pick out a quality nursing bra, or two. Regular department stores sell them, as well as maternity stores. The salesperson can help you choose one if you need. Chances are you will want to get one that is a little bit bigger than the size you are currently.
There are many on the market, so try them on and see which is the best fit for you. You will be glad you did when your milk comes in! Do not forget to get some nursing pads while you are at it, too.
13 Prepare the Nursery
Many pregnant women feel a desire to nest as time draws nearer to their due date. This feeling is normal, and a great way to relieve it is to start setting up baby's nursery.
Whether your space is big or small, you can take some simple steps to getting things ready for baby's arrival. Put together the crib and changing table. Find a spot for a rocking chair or glider, and put some favorite stuffed animals and blankets on top. Paint the walls and hang up some paintings or pictures. Wash those adorable newborn outfits and store them in the dresser.
Seeing the nursery ready for your sweet little one will not only make you happy, but make you feel accomplished too! Plus, you may not want to put the crib together after baby is born with all that sleep exhaustion! Get it done, now.
12 Inventory Your Baby Essentials
As we are sure you have been told, all newborns basically do is eat, sleep, and poop. Using those, make sure you have what baby needs. Eat- easy if you are breastfeeding, but stock up on formula if you are not. Sleep- have whatever you plan to use ready whether it is a crib, pack n play, co-sleeper, or bassinet. All baby needs (and all that is recommended!!) is a fitted sheet. Poop- diapers and wipes!
Watch for sales, and stock up! Some other items you probably want to get include baby nail clippers, baby bathtub with gentle soap and lotion, a baby carrier so you can “wear” your baby, and perhaps a swing, play mat, and some soft toys.
11 Infant Car Seat
You should not only buy an infant car seat before baby arrives, but install it as well. It will save you a big headache going home from the hospital if you can get that car seat properly installed in time.
Many police stations and other locations offer assistance with putting in a car seat the correct way. It may feel funny driving around with an empty car seat, but in no time your little one will be back there enjoying the ride!
10 Pack Your Hospital Bag
Once you make it to the third trimester, put together a bag to take with you to the hospital. You as a new mom, and as a person, need to decide exactly what you need in that bag. If you are fine wearing the hospital gown for the duration of your stay (as many new moms are!) do not bother packing any pajamas.
But if really want and need the coziness of your own pj's, pack them. Remember, you will not be there for very long, so try to not stress over packing. The hospital really has everything you need anyway, plus you can always send your partner or a friend to retrieve forgotten items! Just do not forget your phone chargers, camera, and baby's going home outfit!
9 Tour the Hospital and Delivery Ward
Your test drive to the hospital can coordinate with a tour of the hospital and delivery ward. The majority of hospitals offer pregnant moms the opportunity to come into the hospital and see where they will be having their baby. They will show you the labor and delivery rooms, as well as the maternity (recovery) rooms.
You may be pleasantly surprised to see that many of the recovery rooms look like hotel rooms in some hospitals! Seeing this first hand may ease your mind at the thought of being in a hospital when it is time to have your baby. You will also likely view the nursery and learn about what happens with your baby after she is born.
Many hospitals now offer (and prefer) in room bonding with your baby, he will be able to stay next to you in your room instead of going to a nursery.
8 Birthing Class
We are not saying to watch any birthing videos, unless you want to, of course! Just learn about the options and various birthing methods out there. You probably have learned much from your physician, but do your own research too.
If you are having a vaginal birth, research whether you want to go through the process naturally or if you want to have an epidural, and the pros and cons with each. Find out exactly what happens with a c-section, if you know you are having one. The more you educate yourself on the birthing process, the better you will feel when labor begins.
Many hospitals and doctor's offices offer baby classes or childbirth education classes, to prepare parents-to-be. Often they are given for free or at a low cost, so look into this if you think you would benefit from a class like this. Hopefully, you will remember everything you have learned once that labor pain starts, though!
7 Create a Birth Plan
You probably have heard the term birth plan thrown around. Well, what is it exactly? A birth plan is a document you create to inform doctors, nurses, and staff of your desires (plans) to deal with labor pain and delivery.
While it is good to create one so it is known of your wishes, try to not be completely married to your plan. Things can change in an instant, making your plans fly out the window. If your mind is already made up, that is great, but just remember, it can all change in the blink of an eye, so be flexible!
6 Get a Breast Pump
Even if you are not sure you will use one, look into whether you can get a breast pump for free or at a very low cost. Many insurance companies now cover 100% of the cost of a breast pump. Call your insurance company and find out what they offer.
If you are going to breastfeed and return to work, you probably want to invest in a breast pump so you can continue giving your baby the nutrients from breast milk. Sometimes new moms need to pump to stimulate their milk production. Other times, newborns have to unexpectedly stay in the hospital after mom goes home, but mom can bring in pumped milk.
There are many scenarios where a pump may be useful, making obtaining one before baby arrives potentially important. Plus, if you never use it, you can always donate it to a new mom in need.
5 Choose a Birth Announcement
Looking through the wide assortment of birth announcements is fun! So cute in either baby blue or pretty pink, you are sure to find dozens you love. It could be helpful to pick out the one you want to use (or a few) before baby is born.
That way, you can take that sweet newborn photo and order your birth announcements quickly, so they can get out to all your friends and family super fast! Making it one less thing you will have to think about, too.
4 Plan for When Labor Starts
You have a due date, but baby could come a few weeks before or after your due date. Ensure that you have a plan in the event you go into sudden labor. Some things to consider include who will drive you to the hospital, who will watch your other children in applicable, and who will be in the delivery room when you give birth.
Knowing who you can call to pick you up when your partner is not home or in the event you cannot reach your first person, will save you a lot of stress as your due date nears. Try to not drive yourself to the hospital while you are in labor!
3 Enjoy a Movie
Once baby arrives, it is a glorious time. But it is not a time to go watch a movie! Use those last few months to catch some flicks. Throw in a fancy dinner and you could have a terrific time! There will not be many opportunities to do something seemingly so easy once baby is born, so enjoy that time while it lasts. For fun, catch some of our favorite movies to watch when expecting!
2 Go On a Babymoon
This is highly recommended! Take a vacation. Doctor approved of course, before you have your baby. You do not even need to go anywhere too far, just somewhere you can get away from everyday life. A babymoon (taken from the term honeymoon), is a chance to have a last hooray as a childless couple before embarking on parenthood.
Sure, you will most definitely be able to go away with your baby, but it will not be the same. A vacation with baby brings lots of packing, and well, just lots of stuff! But we totally recommend you bring your baby on vacation once she is born, too, because that can create wonderful memories.
1 Buy a Baby Memory Book
Babies bring tons of memories and moments you will not want to forget. If you did not receive a baby book as a gift at your baby shower, consider purchasing one. They are cute and filled with pages to store precious memories and baby's firsts. Many baby books are designed for you to keep track of when baby has her first bath, tooth, step, and much more.
Even if you think you will remember when baby started crawling or when he said ma-ma for the very first time, you probably won't remember in years to come! With a baby book, you can easily scribble down these moments for future reminiscing. If you do not fill out the entire baby book, that is okay too! Just write down the things that are important to you, as you and your baby will want those memories one day.