Getting closer and closer to your due date and wondering what all you should be doing to prepare for your baby to arrive?
You’ve taken the birthing and newborn care classes, the nursery is all painted and ready to go, and you’re stocked up on diapers, wipes, and baby stuff galore.
But, now it’s crunch time mama. It’s time to complete your third trimester checklist and get all the last-minute things in order to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
In this post, we’ll cover 21 important last-minute things to do before your baby arrives to help make the end of your pregnancy and initial weeks postpartum a little smoother.
Pin this checklist, so you can come back to it later!
21 Last-Minute Things to Do Before Baby Arrives
Feeling overwhelmed as you get closer to your due date? Let’s lay out everything you should be doing towards the end of your pregnancy to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Of course, some babies do make early surprise entrances, so it’s best to do these as soon as you can.
1. Create a Postpartum Recovery Kit
Whether you deliver vaginally or have a c-section, childbirth can take quite a toll on your body. Ease your postpartum discomforts by having all the best recovery tools at hand.
The last thing you’ll want to have to do after giving birth is to run to the store, so be sure to stock up on these essentials before your baby arrives. If you’re having a hospital birth, you may want to check and see what all the hospital provides to save yourself some money.
Some of the postpartum essentials I found most helpful included:
2. Make Some Freezer Meals
Caring for a newborn is like a full time job with tons of overtime.
You’re quickly knee deep in dirty diapers and feel like you’re constantly feeding your precious new bundle. And, what little time you do get in between feedings and changes, you’re sneaking in all those newborn snuggles and trying to catch some zzz’s.
This time is just too precious to have to waste hours in the kitchen. Not to mention, your baby always seems to get hungry the moment you start to cook or sit down to eat.
Give yourself plenty of time to recover and bond with your baby by stocking up on all of your favorite freezer meals during your third trimester.
After people stop bringing you food and you run out of freezer meals, you may want to consider signing up for a few different meal delivery services. You can usually get a pretty good discount on your first orders!
*You may not want to make too many meals early on, as many are only good for up to 3 months in the freezer.
3. Stock up on Household Essentials
Minimize postpartum trips to the store by stocking up on all of your essential household items. Load up on:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels (or consider cloth)
- Dish soap
- Paper plates/bowls/cups (super nice to have for those first few weeks)
- Trash bags
- Hand sanitizer
- Laundry detergent
- Disinfecting wipes
- Toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, soap, razors, deodorant, makeup)
- Pet food
You may also want to consider purchasing a Costco or Sam’s Club membership to save yourself some money by buying in bulk.
4. Install & Inspect Car Seat
Don’t forget this one! Installing a car seat can be trickier than it looks.
Be sure that you and your husband both know how to properly install your car seat and are familiar with all the do’s and don’ts of car seat safety.
For example, the straps need to pass the pinch test, the chest clip lies against your baby’s chest bone, puffy coats are a big no-no, and please don’t place your car seat on top of the shopping cart.
It’s also a good idea to have your installation inspected by a certified car seat technician.
Consider keeping the base installed in the car, but grabbing the infant seat as you head to your birthing place. That way if an accident unfortunately happens before then, you’ll only have to replace the base and you can still install the seat with the seatbelt.
5. Download a Baby Tracker
Keeping track of your baby’s wellbeing is your number one job as a mom.
During those first weeks, it’s crucial to keep track of how often your baby is feeding and the number of wet and dirty diapers they are having. This will help to make sure your baby is getting plenty of breast milk and staying well hydrated.
Of course, you can always keep track by pencil and paper, but there’s also some great apps out there to help you keep everything in order.
Some of the tops baby tracking apps include:
6. Create a Breastfeeding Station
You guys, newborns eat like all the time, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
It’s pretty common for breastfed babies to eat every 2-3 hours during that newborn period. And, those cluster feedings can be brutal sometimes.
The point is, is that you’re going to be spending a lot of time nursing, so take the time to create a comfy station for yourself, with all your breastfeeding essentials in arms-reach.
Here are some things I kept in my nursing station:
- Coconut oil (used as nipple cream)
- Nursing pillow
- Water bottle (serious must!)
- One-handed snacks
- Spare nursing bra
- Reusable nursing pads
- Burp rags (we just used prefolds)
I didn’t keep diapers or wipes at the station, because if baby did need a change, daddy would take over, and I’d get a chance to go to the bathroom, eat something, or freshen up.
7. Finalize Child and Pet Care
As you’re getting closer and closer to your due date, be sure to keep in touch with your child and pet care providers. Be sure that everyone is still on the same page and knows the plan for when you go into labor.
It’s a good idea to have bags packed and ready to go if your other kids are going to be staying with a friend or relative. Be sure that they’re familiar with your child’s needs, allergies, and doctor’s information.
Have directions written out for your pet sitter and have the phone number for your veterinarian posted on the fridge.
8. Keep the House Clean & Organized
You’re probably going to be in nesting mode anyways, but just take a half an hour to an hour each day to keep everything spick n’ span.
Keep the counters clear, sweep and mop the floors, keep the sink clear of dirty dishes, and do a quick wipe down of the bathroom.
It’ll be nice to give birth in a spotless home if you’re having a home birth, and you won’t be as overwhelmed when you come home if you’re having a hospital birth.
9. Prep Baby Clothes
You’ll have enough laundry as it is after adding another member to the family, so help minimize the loads by prepping all of your baby clothes and cloth diapers before hand. It’s also just smart to do because newborns have such delicate skin.
The downside to doing this before hand is that some babies don’t wear newborn (NB) size clothes for very long (and sometimes not all). If you tend to have bigger babies, you may want to consider waiting to wash the NB clothes and returning them if you don’t end up using them.
10. Catch up on Other Laundry
Did I mention that babies amplify your laundry exponentially? Seriously, how can such tiny humans create so much laundry?!?
Try to keep up and do one load of laundry a day while you’re on baby watch. This will help minimize the laundry monster and ensure that you’ll have some clean, comfy clothes to wear postpartum.
11. Have a Baby Watch List
Take the time to sit down with your spouse to discuss who all will be notified when you go into labor and when your baby is born. Decide on how you’ll spread the word or if you’ll want to keep the exciting news to yourselves for a bit.
If your partner or friend will be doing the communicating for you, be sure that they have a list of all the names and phone numbers that will need to be notified.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that whoever will be driving you to the hospital starts to have their phone nearby at all times.
12. Start a Birth Announcement
If you don’t have a newborn photographer lined up, I highly recommend hiring one ASAP. Many hospitals also have photographers that come by before you leave to take pictures (if you wish), so you could take advantage of that instead.
Start creating a birth announcement during your pregnancy, that way you can just slide your newborn picture(s) in the slot(s) and be done.
I know this may be a hard thing to do if you’re having a #teamgreen baby though!
Have envelopes addressed and stamped to all the people you plan to send the announcement to.
13. Look Through Your Baby Book
Baby books are such a great way to commemorate your pregnancy, birth, and baby.
Be sure to look through yours ahead of time, because there’s usually pages where you can enter your pregnancy cravings, feelings about meeting you, and fun facts about mommy and daddy. Sometimes they ask you facts about the day you delivered and have a special page for your newborn’s foot prints, so you may want to pack the book in your hospital bag as well.
14. Double Check Hospital Bags
Your hospital bags should be all ready to go in the third trimester, as you never really know when baby will decide to arrive.
Go through and double check yours and your husband’s bags to make sure you have everything you may need.
Of course, try to not overdo it though. I found that I really didn’t use much of what I packed for both births.
I ended up using:
- Copies of birth plan
- Nursing bras
- Essential oils (in personal inhalers)
- Coconut oil
- My birth affirmations banner
- Phone and charger
- Comfy clothes (lots of button and zip ups for easy nursing)
- Towel (the hospital towels are tiny)
- Flip flops
- Going home outfit for baby (we pretty much just do skin-to-skin or keep our babies double swaddled while they’re in the hospital)
Daddy ended up using:
- Lots of snacks
- Blanket and pillow
- 2 changes of clothes
- Phone and charger
15. Do a Practice Run
Be sure to tour your hospital or birthing center during your third trimester and do a dry run of how you’ll get there on your birthing day.
Knowing which route to take, where to park, and where to check in, can alleviate so much stress and pressure the day of. I’m sure your partner will be more worked up than you!
16. Prepare for Labor
Seems kind of like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to prepare for the actual birth. I know you’ve probably taken a childbirth course, but there’s lots more you can do to prepare yourself for labor.
If you’re hoping to avoid an epidural, be sure to familiarize yourself with and actually practice all the natural ways to cope with labor pain. Make a little cheat sheet to remember these on your birthing day, and be sure to ask your hospital, midwife, or doula if they have some of these tools available to you.
Help alleviate some of your fear and boost your confidence about having a natural birth by reciting pregnancy and birth affirmations to yourself daily.
There’s also several things you can do to prep your body for labor and increase your chances of having a shorter, easier birth, such as drinking red raspberry leaf tea late in pregnancy, doing lots of squats and hip openers, and eating dates.
Dad and birth partners can also prepare for labor by learning what their role is and how to best support you on the big day. There’s even an online course they can take over at SupportingHer.
17. Get Familiar with Postpartum Symptoms
I feel like this one is often over-looked, but yet SO important.
You really should take the time to familiarize yourself with all the common postpartum discomforts that happen after birth and learn all the best recovery tips to help you heal faster.
But you also need to know what’s not normal, when you should call your provider, and when you need to head to the emergency room. Because unfortunately, there’s still a lot of complications that can happen after you deliver. This guide covers what to expect postpartum, how you can heal quicker, and many signs of postpartum complications.
It’s best to get familiar with these now, because that sheet they give you at discharge can be overwhelming.
Plus, it can be easy to brush off symptoms of postpartum depression as the baby blues. Know the difference, so you can get the help you need when you need it. Postpartum depression is nothing to dink around about.
18. Make Any Necessary Changes to Your Birth Plan
Unfortunately, complications are known to arise late in pregnancy for many women, including myself. These complications may alter your plans for labor and delivery.
You may need to go in and adjust your birth plan accordingly, so it’s up to date for your birthing team.
For example, if your breech baby won’t turn, you may need to adjust your birth plan for a gentle cesarean. Or, if you develop preeclampsia or gestational hypertension and have to be medically induced, you may need to remove the “no pitocin” and “intermittent fetal monitroing,” as pitocin may be unavoidable and your baby will need to be watched closer now.
If your GBS+ and planning on doing the antibiotic, be sure to put if your allergic to penicillin and let your provider know.
Place any new condition and all of your allergies at the top of your birth plan.
19. Spend Quality Time with the Hubs/Family
Be sure to spend some quality time with your hubby and other kids during your pregnancy. You’re not going to get a whole lot of it once your baby is here.
Take your toddler on a mommy-daughter date. Surprise your son with a special trip to the go-kart tracks.
Have a family movie night or go on a cinema date with your spouse.
Make your hubby feel special and get creative with sex positions in your third trimester.
20. Pamper Yourself
Let’s be real, it’s hard enough to even get a shower in when you have a baby!
Take this time to pamper yourself with a nice, long bubble bath. Go get your hair done, give yourself a facial, or treat yourself with a shopping spree.
Have a night out with your friends, indulge in your favorite hobbies, or just enjoy the SILENCE.
I feel like this needs to be on the list twice, but for real, sleep while you can.
Sleep, sleep, sleep…Did I say sleep?
Go take a nap mama. You’ll need to be well rested for the big day…and the next 18 years.
Baby Will Be Here Before You Know It
It’s crunch time mama, and baby will be here before you know it.
I know you’re probably, excited, nervous, and a little overwhelmed, but I hope this checklist of last-minute things to do makes the rest of pregnancy and initial weeks postpartum a little easier on you.
What About You?
Did you find this checklist helpful? What are some of your must-dos before baby arrives? Share your best advice in the comments below and be sure to share this post with all of your expecting mom friends.