The last few weeks of pregnancy can be surprising for a variety of reasons. Mom-to-be might feel overly excited about the arrival of her baby girl or boy, but she might also be frazzled with all of the things she needs to get done beforehand.
Every mom wants to make sure she is fully prepared before the baby comes home, but sometimes she doesn’t know where to start. We have compiled a list of 20 things moms need to do before bringing home the baby. Some of these ideas are surprising to others while others are super obvious to some.
Out of all of the things you must do before baby comes home (and there is a lot!) we have picked the 20 most important things. Some of these have to do with the baby, while some of these things have to do with you (and even the dog!) Whether you are a new mom or a rookie, with that pregnancy brain it can be normal to forget important things such as what we added to this list.
Read below to figure out what you need to add to you to do list. You will need this list, trust us.
Which of these suggestions totally slipped your mind?
20 Install The Car Seat
Before you leave for the hospital, we advise getting the baby seat set up in the car. Often time, your hospital will offer car installation appointments from a local professional. You can try to install the car seat yourself, have a friend/family member help or get it done professionally. Whichever you decide to do, use your best judgment to make sure you have the seat installed properly. The last thing you want to do is be fiddling with getting the car seat set up five seconds before you are about to bring baby home. It is best to have the seat in and ready for your bundle of joy.
19 Breastmilk Or Formula?
Some mamas are dead set that they will formula feed their baby, some mamas only want to pump, and while others refuse to give their newborn anything besides the breast. It is important to have a general idea of what you want to do before the baby comes home. It really is best to educate yourself on all of the options because you never know what will happen. For example, you may be 100% sure you want to formula feed and then once the baby comes home, you find that you couldn’t imagine giving him anything besides breast milk. Educating yourself, having a general idea, and having a backup plan can all set you up for success. Keep the baby formula samples that you get sent in the mail and don’t toss the breast pump given to you at your baby shower- you never know when you’ll need either.
18 Grab Freebies From The Hospital
In the hospital, you will be given diapers, formula, a nasal aspirator, wipes, and pacifiers to use while you are there. We advise you that before taking the baby home to grab all of the freebies you can. These hospital freebies are usually found in the drawers of your baby’s bassinet. Your nurse may have additional items to offer, so just ask! This varies by hospital and by your nurse, but more often than not, you will have items to bring home with you. We suggest not bringing your own diapers and wipes to the hospital for this reason, save your stash!
17 Prepare The Padsicles
Before mom gets home, it is important she has all that she needs so that she is comfortable. Mom may have constipation, hemorrhoids, bleeding, painful V, and fluctuating hormones. Having a stool softener, hemorrhoid cream, extra pads, and even some yummy treats ready for when mom gets home can be really helpful. According to GentleNursery, making padsicles for mom’s v can soothe pain and irritation following childbirth. You can find the recipe on Pinterest, and it is super easy to make and will make mom feel much better. Mom will appreciate coming home to a variety of items to soothe postpartum issues.
16 Wash The Baby's Clothes
According to TheBump, you should wash your baby’s clothes, blankets, and other wearable items that will come in contact with her skin. It is important to use a gentle, baby-friendly detergent that doesn’t include dyes or perfumes that can irritate her skin. Your little pumpkin’s skin is so fragile and sensitive, and her skin can get irritated by items that haven’t been washed properly first. It is also a good idea to skip out on fabric softener and dryer sheets too. Not every baby has a reaction to detergents and unwashed clothes, but it is important to note that you're maybe might.
15 Pack The Hospital Bag
According to BabyList, you should have your hospital bag packed by week 36 or 37 of your pregnancy. Having the bag packed ensures that you are ready for whenever Jr decides to enter the world. Packing things like your birth plan, toiletries, comfortable clothing, and nipple cream can be very helpful while in the hospital. Packing a diaper bag for baby is important too so that you're ready for just about anything on your ride home from the hospital. You will also be so busy the first few days home with your baby that it is a good idea to have a diaper bag ready to go for that first outing.
14 To Snip Or Not To Snip?
Whether you decide to circumcise or not, it is a big decision. If you have a little boy on the way, you will be asked in the hospital if you want to circumcise your little man or not. Having your facts straight, and a decision made before even getting to the hospital is a good idea. According to TheBirthHour, there are usually 3 things for parents to consider when deciding to circumcise or not, and those things are: aesthetic reasons, cultural/religious reasons, and health risks/benefits. This is a decision that you and dad must take seriously and weigh the pros and cons.
13 Finalize The Nursery
Before the baby comes home, you should have the nursery (or your room, if the baby does not have a nursery) set up and finalized. You should have diapers, wipes, clothes, burp cloths, blankets, bottles, and bath stuff (to name a few) put away and ready to go. Some mom already has this done by week 30 due to nesting, but if you are a last minute person, it is best to get on top of getting baby’s room situated as soon as you can. You will feel much better coming home to an organized and pretty space for your little one.
12 Find A Pediatrician
According to BabyCenter, many parents make a decision on a pediatrician for their baby when they are about seven to eight months along. Choosing the right doctor is a really important decision, and can get pretty stressful. To make the process easier, ask your friends who they recommend (or do not recommend) or simply look at reviews about the practice. You will normally need to take your baby to her first well-visit within the first few days you are home, so having your doctor picked out ahead of time is a must. Once you choose a doctor, we suggest writing down the name of the practice along with the phone number and the address so that once you have your little one you can call ASAP and make an appointment.
11 Prepare The Dog (If You Have One)
According to Pathways, it is a good idea to prepare your dog before bringing baby home. You can have a family member or friend bring one of the baby’s hats or onesies home while you are all still in the hospital. This will help your dog get familiar with your baby’s scent which can help make the initial meeting go smoother. You can even do this for your kitties as well. There is no saying how your dog will actually respond to having this new little human in the house, but trying your best ot get him used to her smell before he comes home may be helpful.
10 Stock Up The Fridge
Trust us when we tell you, neither you or dad will want to go grocery shopping right away after baby comes. We highly suggest stocking the fridge before the baby comes. It may be a good idea to buy ingredients for recipes or make freezer meals in advance for the days you will not be having visitors. Stocking up on drinks, snacks, and even toilet paper will be one of the best things you can do before the baby. Of course, people will probably be offering left and right to help you out, but its best to be as prepared as possible beforehand.
9 Clean The House
It will be stressful and probably annoying to come home from the hospital to a messy house. Although you may have the baby stuff put away, things can get cluttered and messy quickly with a new little person to take care of, so having the rest of the house clean can be helpful. If you and/or dad don’t have the time (or desire) to clean and straighten up, you can always ask grandma or hire a cleaning person to come help. From vacuuming the carpets to finally unpacking the moving boxes in the dining room from six months ago- there is a lot that can be done. It will feel nice to come home to a clean house, trust us.
8 Reach Out For Help
If you have other kiddo’s, scheduling some help from family and friends will be a lifesaver. Scheduling big brother to spend a few days at grandpa’s or having your friend take him for a play date can help you and dad catch up on sleep, get organized, and just settle into the swing of things. You might want to schedule help with laundry, cleaning, errands, dog walking, and even meals. If you don’t have older kiddo’s, you will probably still need a hand. People will be begging, or more than willing, to help- so take advantage of it!
7 Run Last Minute Errands
We know that the baby can come at any time, but your doctor will give you a basic idea about when to expect baby (depending on the health of you and her). We suggest running as many errands as you can before the baby comes. Getting the last minute things that you need before baby comes can be super helpful once she gets here. You will be so busy with baby that the last thing you will want to do is run a bunch of errands that could have been taken care of while pregnant. For example, picking up last minute baby items, running to the post office, taking a trip to the grocery store, or going to Target for baby gear batteries are a must!
6 Set Up The Baby Gear
Having the baby gear set up and ready to go before the baby comes home can be a life saver. The last thing mom or dad wants to do after coming home from the hospital is reading directions and putting batteries in the baby gear. Whether you have a swing, bouncer, pack-n-play, or a crib for your new baby, it is best to have it ready to go before you even get home. You may not use it the day you come home, but it’ll be ready for you when you need it. Setting up the baby gear is probably good for mama’s nesting desires as well!
5 Treat Yourself
Pregnant women are working hard to grow a sweet little bundle of joy, so we suggest treating yourself a little bit before the baby comes home. This can mean getting a mani/pedi, new hairstyle, a day at the spa, a weekend away with hubby, a girl’s night out, or buying yourself something nice. Once the baby comes, your world will turn upside down, and you will most likely not have the time, energy or desire to pamper yourself. Take the time to make yourself feel special before your little love enters the word. Spending time with a friend or taking a fun vacation will not be the same as a baby, so take the time to enjoy life baby-free.
4 Figure Out The Future
It is important to have an idea how long you or dad are staying home with the baby for (if one or both of you must go back to work at some point), and what type of childcare you will have for your child if you need it. Will grandma watch her on Thursdays or will she go to a daycare? These are things that should be figured out before baby comes home so that you spend less time stressing about that and more time focusing on your new bundle of joy. If you are not 100% sure, that is totally okay, but having a game plan is a good idea.
3 Soak Up Family Time
Once your little prince comes, life will become much busier. Really take the time to spend quality time with your hubby and other kiddo’s. This can mean monthly date nights or a fun family vacation. It can be hard for kids to adjust to a new baby, so spending time preparing older siblings for this big change and getting as much time in with them as possible can be helpful. Family dinners, day trips to the zoo, craft days and snuggle time before bed are all things you can do to squeeze in as much family time as possible before adding another child into the mix.
2 Add The Baby To Your Insurance Plan
It is important to understand how much coverage your insurance company offers. Before bringing home baby it is important to know how much you will be covered for your hospital stay and if your insurance company covers an at home nurse visit and/or breast pump. Insurance stuff can be confusing, but if you call them with specific questions you should have a better idea of what is covered for you and baby. It is also important to remember to add your baby to your health insurance plan. You have enough going on with a new baby, you will not want to be on hold with your insurance company, so make sure you figure it all out before the baby comes.
1 Get Enough Sleep
According to MamaNatural, your sleep will be changed once the baby comes home, so nap and sleep as much as you can. It is important to get the sleep you can now before you are up every two hours (or less!) feeding the baby and changing diapers. Sleep while the big kids are at school, or head to bed early on your day off. Trust us, it will be amazing. Pregnant women need their sleep, it is tough work growing a baby. It is important to get enough sleep for a healthy pregnancy as well. Sleeping is something that we all need, so take advantage of it before the baby comes home!
Resources: babycenter.com, Thebirthhour.com, gentlenursery.com, babylist.com, thebump.com, pathways.org, mamanatural.com