12 Things You Have to Do Before Baby Arrives

Are you currently in your 3rd trimester? If so, congratulations, mama, you’re almost there! But here’s the truth: getting prepared for the new baby is no easy task! And since your life won’t ever be the same after you enter motherhood (and that’s a good thing!), now’s the time to get everything prepared before baby arrives. From car seat installation to finding a pediatrician you feel good about, these must-do’s should be taken care of before you deliver the baby. Check these 12 items off the list before baby arrives.

Install the car seat in your car

Did you know that most (if not all) hospitals will not let you leave with the baby unless you have the car seat properly installed first? And it’s no easy feat either, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that more than 80 percent of all parents get it wrong initially. If you need help, or want it checked well before delivery day go to seatcheck.org and a technician will go over yours to ensure it’s properly installed.

Pick a name

Unless you’re the couple who wants to wait and meet baby before deciding on a name, the last few weeks of pregnancy is the perfect time to nail down a name. Grab a baby book or browse some popular baby names on the web and hash it out now while you’re waiting for the baby to arrive!

Pack your hospital bag

Do you have the essentials ready to go? Now’s the time to pack your hospital bag and include things for not only you and baby, but for your partner as well. You might be surprised by the things that some moms can’t live without during the delivery and after. Be sure to check with your hospital or birthing center for any suggestions or requirements they might have.

Familiarize yourself with breastfeeding

If you’re planning to try breastfeeding at first, knowing the basics can go a long way toward being prepared once you have your newborn in your arms. Some moms experience trouble with getting the baby to latch on, so expect a learning process for both you and baby.

Sign up for a childbirth class

The benefit to attending a childbirth class (even a virtual class) is to learn breathing and relaxation techniques with an expert prior to delivery. You can also take the time to ask personal questions like, “how do you push out the head and shoulders?” (Every mom wants to know!) Brush up on your labor basics now before the baby arrives.

Get the nursery ready

Is the nursery set up and ready to go? Have you picked out your theme and feel good about it fitting your baby’s personality? Whether your baby will sleep in a crib or bassinet at first, make sure you have everything set up and ready to go before the baby gets home.

Confirm your birth and delivery plan

There are so many options when it comes to delivery and your birth plan. Are you going with a midwife, doctor or doula? Do you want to deliver at a hospital or birthing center? Drugs or no drugs? You’ll see your OB quite a bit the closer you get to delivery. And those visits are the perfect time to ask questions and make sure everyone is on the same page. Figure out the best fit for you before the baby arrives so there are few surprises on delivery day.

Create birth announcements

Do you have a special way in mind to announce your baby’s arrival to the world? While you’re waiting for contractions to kick in, get the birth announcements mostly ready so all you have to do is plug in the birth details when the day comes.

Choose a pediatrician

The best place to start with choosing a pediatrician is to ask friends and family for their recommendations. From there, verify the pediatrician is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and then schedule consultations with each one. You’ll want to prepare a list of questions beforehand that you can ask while you’re there. Knowing who will take care of your little one before baby arrives is one less thing to worry about later.

Plan a date

Before the two of you become three (or more), plan a special date night for you and your partner. You’ll appreciate savoring that time together as a twosome and the sweet anticipation of meeting your baby girl or boy. Once the baby gets here, everything changes and you won’t have the opportunity again.

Wash the crib sheets and baby clothes

Have the crib sheets and at least a week’s worth of clothes ready and washed before you get home from the hospital. Wash items with a baby-safe detergent that’s free of perfumes or dyes. That way the items that come into contact with baby’s skin won’t cause any irritation.

Have meals prepared for the first weeks home

Take some stress off your recovery during those first few weeks home and have some meals prepared and ready in the freezer. You’ll appreciate your pre-planning more than you know.

What needs to be done before baby arrives?

In preparation for your baby’s arrival, planning for the birth and organizing the home are both important. Consider doing the following before the baby arrives:
• Make a birth plan
• Pack a hospital bag
• Install the car seat
• Assess your house for safety issues
• Give your house a good cleaning
• Stock up on necessities (personal care and food)
• Schedule help (including for other children and pets)
• Make sure your car is ready for the trip to the hospital or birthing center
• Know your plan for getting to the hospital or birthing center
• Prepare the baby’s room (e.g., crib assembled, clothes washed)

What should you not eat before Labor?

In general, foods to eat before labor should offer energy and not cause gastrointestinal distress. Although spicy foods are thought to induce labor, they can cause discomfort during delivery. Stick to healthy foods that are easy to digest, and avoid unhealthy foods such as items high in sugar.

Can you get pregnant the day before you go into labor?

Generally speaking, the earliest pregnancy can occur is around four weeks following birth. Pregnancy can happen prior to the initial postpartum period after giving birth.

What should I do to prepare for labor?

There are multiple options to help you prepare for labor. Childbirth or Lamaze classes are great options, as well as knowing what you want your birth experience to be. Other preparation steps are:
• Focus on the positive rather than fears (but discuss any fears you have with your partner or healthcare professional)
• Look into labor supports, such as doulas
• Research and prepare for labor (e.g., ideal birthing positions)
• Practice relaxation and pain reduction strategies
• Keep moving (no extreme exercises, but walking or other low-intensity movement)
• Massage