I think having a baby is as overwhelming as you make it. Hear me out. There are a million things you COULD do before that baby gets here. You could cook and clean until you’re house is full and spotless. You could wash, organize, and lay out every item of clothing your baby MIGHT wear. You could read every article on every major baby website (let’s face it, there’s probably at least 20 popular baby/mommy sites) and every book recommended by your doctor, friends, and family.
However, in all the hustle and bustle that leads up to having a baby, I think the most important thing to do is enjoy the moment. While 40 weeks seems like forever, it really does go by very fast. If taking out your baby’s clothes every day makes you happy, then do it. If sitting in your little ones nursery makes you happy, do it. If you need to act like labor isn’t really going to happen, that’s okay (just don’t ignore your contractions!). I think every mom handles pregnancy different. I think every pregnancy is different. Even the same mom during the same pregnancy, can vary from day to day!
Personally, my 1st trimester was the worst physically, my 2nd trimester was the worst mentally, and my 3rd trimester was tough emotionally. WHY?? The 1st trimester I was nauseous for a solid six weeks, tired, and my body HURT. The 2nd trimester I struggled because we already knew the sex of the baby and she was moving, but it was too early to really start buying anything or even getting too into the nursery. Those weeks, while very easy, were very long. The last trimester I just am IMPATIENT! I know, I know, she should cook till she’s ready to come out, but I want to see her now! I am also ready to wear my prepregnancy clothes and stop seeing the scale go up!
Don’t get me wrong, I think my pregnancy has actually been very easy. I see posts and hear stories from other moms and I know that I’ve had it pretty good. We’ve had no real medical scares, I’m feeling and moving pretty good, and I’ve been told I’m still on the “little” side. I feel like a whale, but apparently I’m not. 😉 However, some days are better than others and I think that’s important to remember for ALL moms.
Anyway…I’m getting sidetracked. Here are the things I think you should DO before you’re DUE:
Create Baby Registry: We decided to register at Target and Babies R Us around 22 weeks. This gave us time to know the sex, think about what we want and need, and have a good idea of what we want for the nursery. Don’t do this too early or too late. If you are having a baby shower, make sure this gets done at least a month before the shower so people have time to shop and get you what you want. Also, I know it’s tempting, but try and keep the registry to important items and put very little “cutesy” items on it. People are going to buy clothes and blankets regardless. Make sure you register for the expensive baby equipment and be selective about what you want. I know it’s easy to go crazy with the scanner, but being selective about what’s on your registry will help you get important and useful items and not just a bunch of stuff that will never get used.
Think about your little ones nursery: The most important thing is that you have a safe place for baby to sleep. If you are buying a crib/bassinet/play yard that’s used, make sure you check the cpsc.gov website for recalls. If you are buying it new, the crib itself should be safe but review the recommendations on bedding, mobiles, etc so that you aren’t worried about your little ones safety. Everything else is fluff, though very fun and cute fluff! We put a changing pad on top of the dresser and got a glider so that we could have snuggle time in her room at night. If you are an organized freak like me, it may be a good idea to put some sort of shelving or dresser in the closet itself so that you can organize all the baby stuff without having to look at it every day!
Get necessary baby supplies: I would wait until after your shower(s), if you’re having one (or many) and then fill in the gaps. To me, the necessities to have on hand are diapers, wipes, ointment, infant Tylenol, and a few clothes. Depending on what your plans are, also having bottles, formula, and/or nursing supplies are also important. Don’t buy too much of any one thing, since you aren’t sure how your baby may react to products. I bought a small pack of Luvs diapers, a single bag of generic wipes, generic sensitivity formula, Avent classic bottles, and generic zinc oxide ointment. If she doesn’t show any sensitivities to these things, I will buy them in bulk next time. 🙂
Wash at least a few outfits: Personally, I have everything washed, sorted by size and seasons, and tucked away in drawers. Most of our stuff is 3-6 months, since many babies never wear newborn clothes. It’s also important to wash the bedding or other surfaces you may be putting baby on, such as changing pad, bouncer, swing, etc. Trust me, you will thank yourself later for having done that load of laundry before baby came.
Carseat: Get one! Read the manual, play with it a little bit, and try installing it. If you’re like us, that carseat won’t be permanently installed until baby arrives, but it’s important that both you and your partner know how to install it quickly and safely.
Do a little bit of reading and research: I think it’s important to mix it up and read stories from other moms and from professionals. I recommend Baby Wise as a important tool for sleep and schedule training with a newborn. It’s not long, I read it while relaxing in the bath tub one night. Also do some basic research on labor and delivery so that you can be informed going into it.
Childbirth Class: I know it’s not for everyone, but talk it over with your partner and doctor. If anything, hopefully you at least get to tour the hospital or birth center where you will be delivering. I think it’s important to at least be somewhat familiar with such an important place.
Preregister at the Hospital
Pack a hospital bag: There are A TON of resources and lists for this so I won’t get into it here.
Clean your house: You’re not going to have the energy or want to do this the first few weeks after birth, so do it now. If you’re having trouble, ask your partner or a family member for some help. When you start putting your little one on the floor, you will suddenly be aware of all the places that dirt and grime lurks in your house. At least get it under control now so you aren’t overwhelmed later.
Put away some extra food: Just like cleaning your house, your energy will be low after having a baby. When you are cooking, make a double batch and freeze half. Buy extra nonperishables and have them stored away. Take a afternoon and make a week’s worth of quick and easy meals. Whatever works for you, but make sure you have some food in your house for that first week or so.
First year baby pictures: That first year flies by SO fast, so have a plan now for how you want to document it. Maybe you are just going to take pictures at home once a month with cute little onsie stickers, maybe you want to have professional photography done. How often are you taking pictures, with who, where? These are all things to think about. Newborn pictures are best done in the first two weeks of life, so there isn’t a lot of time to think about it AFTER. At least have a idea of what you want to do and make sure your partner is on board. If you want to do professional pictures, start looking at prices now and start budgeting for it, if necessary. Depending on what you do and who you use, photography can add up fast!
In my opinion, these are the most important things to do before you’re due! The list could go on and on.
- Buy a baby book and start filling it out
- Take a babymoon or at least get out on a few dates
- Choose a pediatrician or family doctor for your baby
- Decorate your nursery
- Wash and sort all of your baby clothes so you don’t have to dig later
- Pack your diaper bag
- Write a birth plan
- Consider a postpartum fitness plan, belly wrap, nutrition plan, etc.
- Decide on a name!
- Wash bottles, nipples, pacifiers, etc.
What else would you add to the list?