I’d like to preface this post with the following disclaimer, you’ll probably look through these lists thinking I am a little crazy and a control freak, and you’re probably right. I am a planner at heart and love the process and thinking about the process almost as much as the end result. Babies are no different in my book. Bulleted you will find the items I planned before having my second (I really had no clue before my first) and italicized you will find my review of those items and also what I am doing to prepare for my third baby. Also, these items most definitely DO NOT pertain to everyone and every situation, just sharing what has worked well for me! It’s also been important for me to examine why I make these lists, if my intent is to control every outcome of events that I want to go a certain way, I will be disappointed. My goal is to do my part in preparing for things to come but also remain flexible in the event that something does happen that I didn’t plan for. Now that I have older kids I also don’t want my planning to get in the way of enjoying the current special family dynamic before a new sibling arrives.
Before Getting Pregnant:
- Reach ideal weight: I can’t tell you how thankful I am that this happened finally for my third! This pregnancy has been my most active and comfortable and I’d like to think starting fit and healthy had something to do with it.
- Purchase and start taking a prenatal vitamin: as soon as I got that positive pregnancy test I started taking them!
- If needed, do a pap smear now: if you can use the word “comfortable” with this procedure, it is more comfortable before you are pregnant!
- Health insurance check: It’s wise to know how much a new addition will cost during pregnancy (things like ultrasounds and blood tests) and for the birth.
- Buy: My “morning sickness friendly foods” weren’t quite the same with each pregnancy, but it sure was nice to have something in the house the second I started feeling sick!
- Ginger Ale
- Maternity shirt for pictures: If you want to use the same shirt for the whole pregnancy make sure it will accommodate a large pregnant belly…made this mistake with my second.
- Frozen Meals: This was a life saver and doing this before I felt sick was important!
- Dinners: Chicken Enchiladas, Lasagna, Pulled Pork. I’ve found that covering a dish with wax paper, taping the sides down, then adding foil on top helps preserve freshness in the freezer.
- Breakfast: Pancakes, Waffles, Muffins
- Cleaning routines:
- Stock up on disposable dishes/silverware
- Get maternity/comfy clothes out of storage
- Minimize commitments for 14 weeks: This is because of morning sickness and fatigue, if you’re lucky enough not to experience these things carry on living your normal life. 😉
- Try to avoid vacations: That didn’t happen this time and it was tough!
- Organize a list of necessities from the store, have the husband shop
- Schedule a nap: Doable only if your kids sleep at the same time!
- Clean out closet and drawers, garage, and basically do all the stuff that has been piling up during the first trimester: This is the stage when I had the most energy and the smallest belly to accomplish these things.
- Older Sibling Preparation: Start reading “big brother” books, talk about ways they can be helpful (hand me wipes and diapers, blankets, and pacifier for new baby) and what our life will be like with a newborn. We also moved our boys to a “big boy bed” and got them well established in their new room before they could feel like a new baby was “kicking them out of their old room.” This is also a good time to start building age appropriate independent skills (climbing into and bucking themselves into carseats, getting used to holding hands instead of being carried around, wiping their own bottom ;), getting their own water, etc)
- If you know what you are going to do for the nursery, do it now! : I always seem to underestimate how long things take me to do during the third trimester.
- Think through where the baby will sleep, how the baby will eat, how you will transport the baby in the car, what the baby will wear, and what type of birth is ideal for you and prepare for these first: having these things done will ensure that you have the “essentials” accomplished and allow you enough time to think through these decisions.
- Older Sibling Preparation: Talk about guidelines/boundaries with baby gear (we don’t climb in baby beds or touch swings or bouncers in this house), practice holding a baby and what they can touch (feet, hands, kiss the top of the babies head, etc) and what to say when they are done holding the baby and then to WAIT for the adult to take the baby from them (newborns are amazingly resilient). Gather “nursing time” toys or special activities that they can do only while mom nurses the new baby (books, puzzles, color wonder marker sets). Think about anything in your daily routine that requires your immediate attention from your kids and work on their patience with these things.
- Get out the “next size/season” for the older siblings, store/give back clothes that are too small: ideally this would be done in the second trimester when you have the most energy and ability to lift storage bins, but you want to do it closest to the birth as possible to make sure you will have the right season/size in their closets.
- Pick out and wrap presents for older siblings and new baby to exchange with each other: This time I made the gift from the “baby” to her older brothers the special items to use during nursing time. It was fun to see the things the boys wanted to buy for their new sister (a soft blanket to hold her in and an owl car seat toy)
- Blow up exercise ball: So helpful to sit on during Braxton hicks contractions, but it was never comfortable during “real” labor for me.
- Put together “nursing friendly” outfits in drawers: It was so nice to come home from the hospital to a home already set up for life with a newborn.
- Set up “stations” with diapering and nursing necessities: living room, baby’s room, master bedroom. It was so nice to have everything I needed in each room instead of trying to remember…where did I use that last? with my sleep deprived brain. I also liked keeping a nursing cover in the living room for when guests were over.
- Coordinate and pass out schedule of who will watch the older siblings: Haven’t had to do this before but it is helpful for me to already have people lined up to take care of the boys/get me to the hospital in case Mel is too far away. I won’t have to try and coordinate all of this while in labor.
- Create a list of people to update on the way to the hospital.
- Plan loose goals to accomplish for the next six months, balance projects/fun activities for last few weeks of pregnancy: This was very helpful and this time I am adding some healthy eating/exercise goals.
- Organize Desk with folders: “Urgent”, “Check weekly”, “Can wait until whenever I want” for incoming mail and paperwork
- Get thank you cards ready for gifts in hospital/for those first few weeks
- Create and Print labels for Birth Announcements
- What holidays or birthdays are coming up? What can you plan/do ahead for these?
- Pictures: Line up hospital photographer, newborn photographer
- Freeze meals for post pregnancy
- Create a “Helper Friendly Routine” list for where to find clothing, meals for, and activities with older kids for family or friends helping out during the postpartum period. Including things like special instructions for appliances, TV, remote, etc.
- Pack for Hospital: My babies have come at 38 weeks so I like to have this done no later than 36 weeks.
- Birth Plan: I like having one but have veered from it a little each time and that is OK. Flexibility is key with these! 🙂
- Shuffle and speakers: I like to a have a mix of calming music ready to play during labor, but once I got an epidural I found that I didn’t need ANY extra help relaxing, I felt great!
- Toiletries: Whatever I would pack for a night away and make sure I have hair ties and chapstick, oh and I loved have feminine wipes for after the delivery.
- Nursing friendly PJs (dark colors are ideal), warm socks or slipper, and a nursing cover/pillow: I never used my boppy in the hospital.
- “Going Home Outfits’ for myself and baby: “Make sure mine is “nursing friendly.”
- Baby’s clothes/blanket/socks/hat in a couple of different sizes that you can use based on how big the baby ends up being: This time I’m also bringing my own chemical free shampoo, diapers, and wipes
- Pack for older siblings: Anything they would need overnight including any special outfits for when they first meet their new sibling.
- Make list of “items to grab last minute”: My Glasses, make up bag, phone charger, security items for older siblings, camera
- Install car seat
- When in labor:
- Have “items to grab last minute” list easily accessible
- Make sure camera/shuffle batteries are charged
- Let the people on your “people to update on the way to the hospital” list know what’s happening!
I’m excited to try out the “RockNPlay” this time around! Also, in the bin on my nightstand I have a changing pad, diapers, wipes, and my favorite discovery for the middle of the night diaper changes…a book light. It is a small but bright concentration of light for a specific area, meaning that you don’t have to turn on a bright room light to see what you are doing. I’ve found this promotes getting back to sleep faster for everyone in the room!
Below: A picture from “Older Sibling Bootcamp” I like to set up the swing and get other baby gear out a while before the baby comes to get them used to it and what our guidelines are with these fun new “toys.”