Can you believe your pregnancy is almost over? Likely, it’s felt like the longest, shortest time of your life so far. If you are SO done being pregnant, then this third-trimester to-do list was made for you. I remember, at this point, feeling like that girl from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory who turned into a GIANT blueberry and they had to roll her out of the room.
And besides feeling akin to The Blueberry Girl, you may also feel mounting anxiety and stress. Labor day is drawing ever closer.
Now here’s what you need to know (and the best thing to alleviate that stress): having ALL the ‘preparing for baby’ stuff DONE way before you start Googling “am I having contractions?”. That means putting a final check on you third-trimester to-do list.
I remember feeling like an actual, physical weight was lifted from my shoulders when ALL the to-dos were done. I could breathe again, I slept better and most importantly, I was confident going into labor and delivery.
This third-trimester to-do list is your finale. But it’s beyond ANY typical trimester checklist. THIS to-do list is the final scan before you leave a hotel room or the whipped cream on the top of your decaf mocha. It’s the items you may have forgotten to do.
So let’s calm your fears and dive into this final third-trimester to-do list that covers those easy-to-forget, last-minute items to help you FINALLY feel ready for your new baby.
Preparing for Baby: Third-Trimester To-Do List of 9 Items You’re LIKELY Forgetting!
1. Prepare Your Postpartum Care Kit
I was SO anxious about labor and delivery (so much so that I thought I may not have kids) BUT in hindsight, I should have been nervous about postpartum.
And I’m not here to scare you, but give you some honest and real expectations. Labor and delivery can definitely be an event (especially the first time) but honestly, it’s not all that it’s chalked up to be. It goes by in 20 hours-ish (some of which you might be sleeping through if you have an epidural).
But then you have a newborn AND a recovering postpartum body for three months. It takes up to a full year for your body to recover from childbirth. And those first three to six months are hard, friend.
There’s no way around it, you need a postpartum recovery kit. It will help you recover quickly and it will give you a measure of comfort NEEDED to care for a newborn (along with your recovery).
Postpartum recovery kit essentials (for comfort and healing):
- Large pads – that has the least discomfort
- Medium pads – because large pads are necessary but SUCK
- Light pads – for final leaks
- Solid peri bottle – the one from the hospital is just terrible
- Tucks medicated cooling pads – to cleanse, give relief and help heal faster
- Perineal spray – Earth Mama (natural) Dermoplst (cooling helps sooth pain) or both to fight any sort of infection and help you heal faster
- Sitz bath seat + Epsom salt – to help cleanse and reduce pain
- Medicated wipes
- The comfiest underwear – that’s cute and you don’t mind throwing away
You can check out the full list of postpartum care products on Amazon, here!
2. Take a Prenatal Class
I know what you’re thinking: “Do I HAVE to take a prenatal class?” In fact, you may be wanting to skip over this point entirely. You may have come to the conclusion that your labor and delivery fears are worth having as long as you don’t have to put hours or money into a class. (If so, I feel you – fellow class hater and penny pincher).
Know this: a prenatal class is the number ONE thing that relieves women’s fears of labor and delivery as well as bringing baby home for the first time.
And Hilary’s prenatal class is NOT just one of those courses (she even has a FREE prenatal class!). She’s relatable, funny, down-to-earth and She’s an RN with over 16 years of experience in labor and delivery. So basically, she KNOWS her stuff. Best of all, you can take Hilary’s classes at your own pace within your schedule. I HIGHLY recommend this class. Check out Hilary Erikson’s prenatal (labor and delivery) class here.
Hospital classes fill up FAST if you can even get in. To make matters more stressful, you may have to take time off work and sit for eight hours at a time (nearly an impossible feat in your third trimester). Skip ALL the stress and inconvenience and instead check out Hilary’s fantastic courses.
Also, if your partner is SUPER stressing about this whole labor and delivery thing, I HIGHLY recommend Alice Turner’s Supporting Her class. She has more than 13 years of experience as a doula and seven as a Lamaze certified childbirth educator and has supported more than 200 births. She created this class because she found that having a prepared partner is INCREDIBLY powerful.
3. Have Your Master Bedroom Baby Ready
Do you plan to turn your master bedroom into a shared space for the baby? Most people do add a crib or bassinet next to their bed so that baby is close (just like they are at the hospital). This length of time was actually recently changed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s now recommended that your baby sleeps in the same room (but not in the same bed) for at least the first six months.
This has proven to decrease SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by as much as 50%. (Source)
That said, you may not have a gigantic master bedroom (we didn’t either). In fact, most people don’t have a lot of space to spare. We lived in a tiny Denver apartment and had to get creative.
Here are some tips to finalizing your master bedroom to be in tip-top baby-ready shape:
- Consider a bassinet with storage options like these.
- Or a mini crib (some are even portable!)
- My favorite bassinet is this one from MiClassic. I love that it’s portable and just the right size so that it WILL fit a baby in it for longer than two months.
- Add a good baby changing pad to the top of your dresser and exchange a drawer or two out for baby things. Add drawer organizers and dividers (baby clothes are small!) This portable nursery storage bin is also SO adorable and would great atop your dresser.
4. Have Each Room In Your House Baby-Ready
As you’re going through your third-trimester to-do list, you’ll want to check that all the rooms in your home are baby-ready. Being baby-ready means everything is set up, batteries in, turned on, and ready to go.
When the baby comes through the door, you’ll want to focus on their needs (and your sleep) and little else.
I’ve found doing a walk-through of your entire house is super helpful WITH the right checklist.
Here’s your ULTIMATE checklist to ensure you have everything in your home and nursery baby ready! Feel prepared to walk through your front door into your home with a newborn for the first time.
Further, go through the checklist here to make sure everything is taken care of and you’ve prepared your house for your newborn.
5. Be Locked & Loaded for Labor Day (Besides Baby)
Know the specific hospital unit phone number (not the general line but the hospital’s labor and delivery triage) you need to call when contractions hit (here’s what they feel like) when it’s 5-1-1 time. That’s when contractions come every 5 minutes, each lasting 1 full minute, and have been that way for 1 hour. Your doctor might have a different preference though (like 4-1-1 or even 3-1-1). Mine just told me when the contractions hurt bad enough that I couldn’t talk, then to give the hospital a call!
The last thing you want to do is start Googling the number to your hospital and feel panicked because you’re not sure who to call!
Further, I HIGHLY recommend adding a practice run to your calendar right now. Plan to do a FULL test-drive, which includes finding the fastest route to your hospital, finding the parking lot and a parking space, and going up to the floor where you’re delivering. I can’t tell you how much stress this alleviates!
If you haven’t already, schedule a tour of the labor and delivery area of the hospital, and scope everything out BEFORE the big day. This preparation will ease the stress of wandering around a hospital, searching for parking, or getting lost while having the most painful contractions you’ve ever experienced.
If you want to wave this step off due to weirdness (or discomfort), don’t. I’ve taken three childbirth-centric classes and a hospital tour – in EACH one, they recommended doing a trial run just like this!
6. Add Stockpiling to Your Third Trimester To-Do List
You know those trips to Target when you leisurely wander up and down the aisles without a list? Or those moments when you’re fixing dinner and run to the store for the parsley you forgot? Yeah, those days are over once your newborn arrives.
Prepare by making sure you have EVERYTHING you regularly use, times two. That means storing extra toilet paper, lotion, coffee filters, frozen meals, etc. I find that new moms are often so focused on the needs of their baby, they forget to prepare the other aspects of their lives.
Go through this list of all the items to stockpile before baby arrives, and check that you’ve got extras of EVERYTHING, especially the things you might be forgetting.
Freezer Meal Prepping
This includes meal prepping at least 10 but ideally 20 freezer meals a few weeks before your labor day. We LOVED the Living Well Spending Less (LWSL) 10 Meals In One Hour plan when we prepped for baby number 2. Find it here.
After using the LWSL 10 Meals In One Hour plan, my husband and I were hooked. This year, that’s the ONLY way we cooked (batching dinner making on only TWO Sundays a month). We’ve used ALL kinds of essentials and here are our favorites.
Preparing For Baby Freezer Meal Essentials:
- Hefty Slider Freezer Bags
- Jokari Baggy Rack Storage Bag Holder, 3 Pack
- Size Deep Foil Steam Pans with Lids 10 Pack
- White and Red 1 x 2 Inch Freezer Labels, Set of 100
- Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
7. Put Your Hospital Bag By The Door (Or In The Car)
Having your bag packed and ready to go will alleviate SO much stress as your baby’s due date draws near. Here’s the list I used and came back to again when our second was born nine months ago.
A friend of mine kept her “go bag” in the car after she ended up going into labor while on the road for the first child. I had a 26-hour labor, giving me PLENTY of time to get to the hospital (but of course, I didn’t know it at the time). Keep your bag by the door (or yes, even in the car) in case you need to rush.
One hot tip: PACK A SNACK BAG. When you rush out the door, you’ll forget to grab food, especially if it’s in the middle of the night when the hospital cafeteria is closed. You might be in for a long haul. Don’t forget snacks for your partner and family who are there with you. Toss in a drink and a pack of gum too. You’ll thank yourself later.
Here were my FAVORITE life-saving things, I made sure to pack in the hospital bag with baby number 2 a few months ago:
- Delivery Robe – For pictures after labor because the one you wear during delivery will be toast. If you do want to wear a special robe during, just make sure it has an opening designed into the back if you’re opting for an epidural.
- Amika Dry Shampoo – The best dang dry shampoo ever invented. Bye-bye labor sweat and crazy hair. You can thank me later.
- Nursing Cover – Because nursing while visitors around without one is awkward.
- Small, cute wheeled bag – I know, I know, wheeled bags can be seemingly geeky BUT they are far more useful than the cute weekender bag. Most likely, the trip from your car to the delivery unit will not be short so wheels are the way to go. We use this Samsonite one AND best of all, I use it ALL the time as a travel hack (it counts as a carry-on for all airlines).
8. Introduce Siblings The Right Way
If this isn’t your first rodeo, you already know this pregnancy was NOT a replica of the first. So, you likely already know the “been there, done that” idea is all a lie. Each pregnancy is different, and labor and delivery will be different too. Most importantly, bringing a home a new baby will bring the MOST change for your family.
There is the right way, and lots of wrong ways, to get your family ready for your new baby. Here’s how to prepare your toddler for a new baby. When the big day arrives, keep in mind it’s pretty scary for your toddler. Mommy’s been away, and now she’s in a hospital gown in unfamiliar territory. Our oldest was two when our second arrived, and it was definitely a BIG change.
The first meeting between your kids is so significant and special. You’ll want the experience to be as comforting and low-stress as possible. What we did was ask the nurse to take away the baby for a few minutes. We talked, read a book, and played with the buttons on the hospital bed. We even had a treat. Then when we brought the baby in, we let them get to know each other a bit.
I always advise moms not to worry too much about reminding their toddlers to “be gentle” or “don’t touch.” Instead, reassure them they’re doing a great job. Teach them about safety, but let them hold or help with caring for the new baby so they bond.
The BIGGEST thing that helped our oldest with having a new baby: books. Here’s the top 5:
- Eat, Sleep, Poop
- Waiting For Baby
- Little Miss Big Sis
- You Were The First
- I Am A Big Sister (I Am A Big Brother)
9. Schedule Time To Do Absolutely Nothing
This is the MOST essential tip on this special third-trimester to-do list (of things you are likely forgetting): DO NOTHING! Take time for yourself. Seriously, treat yourself with some fun activities. Eat crazy over-the-top foods (yes, ice cream with potato chips is a THING). Get completely lost in your favorite book for like, an ENTIRE day. Treat yo’self to a prenatal massage. Basically, just indulge without guilt!
Carrying around a baby is exhausting. Being pregnant is tough. Your body changing and feeling different really takes a lot out of you emotionally—so pencil in pampering time and non-baby activities. You will get far less “me time” or couple’s time post-baby (in fact, brushing your teeth and showering become a luxury), so enjoy it right now.
You want to feel ready to welcome new mommy life. Having a baby is BY FAR the most rewarding and demanding experience you will ever go through. So, for now, in the third trimester, pamper yourself and revel in being YOU before your life changes forever.
You’re almost there. If you still feel anxiety or stress about having your baby (I was there too), make sure to take a prenatal class if you haven’t already AND check off all those preparing for baby to-dos.
Make sure you’ve prepped your postpartum kit, readied your room properly for a newborn, checked-off your room-by-room list, added the hospital labor triage number to your phone, scheduled a trial run or hospital tour, packed your hospital bag and prepped your current humans for baby number 2. Most importantly, schedule time to de-stress and take time to be happy being baby-free.
Once you’ve crossed off the majority of your third-trimester to-do list before baby arrives, a HUGE weight is off of your shoulders. Celebrate and take it easy.
You’ve got this.