This post includes affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase using my link, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business!
Getting ready for baby can be overwhelming.
you have names to narrow down...
a nursery to decorate...
gear to buy...
labor to prepare for...
and everything in between.
I am on baby number three and it's still overwhelming, getting everything ready for baby. To help you out, I have put together a list of 15 things you absolutely have to do before your baby is born. At the bottom of the post you can grab a printable version of the checklist to keep on your fridge so that nothing gets missed. Let's get you ready for baby!
15 Things To Do Before Baby is Born
1. Go on a date night
It will be awhile before you’re able to go on a date night again so keep your marriage a priority and enjoy some time with your hubby before baby arrives.
2. Read up about labor and delivery + make a birth plan
Prepare yourself for labor and delivery by maybe taking a birthing class and reading some books, I recommend [affiliate link] Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I didn’t have a natural birth at all and hadn’t planned on a natural birth, like the book talks about, but it helped me get in the right mindset for delivery and it gave an interesting history on childbirth.
I also recommend making a birth plan. Be sure to account for all possible complications, like if baby were to get stuck, if your doctor/midwife recommends a c-section, if your water doesn’t break on its own, etc.
3. Choose baby's name (or at least narrow down the list)
I know many people don’t like to choose baby’s name until they actually see baby but you can at least narrow down your list to two or maybe three names. My husband and I actually like to have the name picked out by the 20-week ultrasound where we find out the gender so we can really bond with the baby beforehand and can pray for baby by name.
4. Wash and organize baby's clothes and bedding
This is my favorite! As we prepare for Baby Audrey, we’ve been slowly buying adorable little girl clothes here and there and it’s so fun to see them in the laundry basket with the family’s clothes. You’ll want to make sure that all of baby’s clothes (newborn to 0-3 months sizes) are washed before baby wears them. Babies have very sensitive skin and you’ll want to wash off anything that could irritate them. And like I said, it’s fun to see baby’s clothes in the laundry before it’s born.
5. Pre-register at the hospital
Your OB will probably give you a paper to fill out, collecting your basic information, that you give back to your OB and they will pre-register you for the hospital. You need to do this so that when you are in labor and get to the hospital, you (or more likely your husband) don’t have to fill out paperwork while contractions are happening.
6. Pack your hospital bag
I am actually kind of excited to pack my hospital bag again because I’ve basically perfected what to pack in the hospital bag. And it’s fun because I get to treat myself to some new goodies to enjoy in the hospital.
7. Prepare for postpartum
Make sure you have your postpartum essentials all ready to go for when you get home from the hospital. Before having Baby #2, I prepared a little cart full of my postpartum essentials that my husband carried down to the living room when we got home (because I had to sleep on the sofa for the first night or two when we got home because I couldn’t go up stairs well after my csection). And no one had to run out and get things, we could just chill at home with the kids.
8. Do some research on breastfeeding (or formula feeding)
One thing I wish I had been better prepared for before having my first baby was breastfeeding. I did zero research and had zero idea of what to do. The lactation nurses at the hospital were awesome but I wish I had been better prepared. I am very lucky the we ended up having no issues with nursing but I felt like I was fumbling and I just wish I had at least known how it all works.
9. Install the car seat
Make sure your car seat is installed correctly and that you know how to correctly strap baby in.
10. Make sure you have a friend to set up a meal train
Often, churches will do this for you but if you’re not sure, just check with your pastor. Or if you’d prefer, you can ask a friend to set up a meal train for you when you go into labor. Whoever is setting it up should know your dietary preferences, any allergies, and your basic info to put in the meal train profile. My church uses Take Them A Meal and I’ve never had any issues with it.
11. Stock up on diapers and wipes (more than just newborn size!)
One mistake new parents often make is only stocking up on newborn diapers or only collecting one brand of diapers. Baby will grow FAST so you need to have the next sizes on hand so there’s no last minute running out. When you set up your registry, be sure to ask for a few different sizes of diapers (although most experienced parents already know to do this so they buy something other than newborn). And make sure you register for a few different brands. My first baby had a very sensitive bottom and weirdly enough the only ones that didn’t break him out in a diaper rash (and that didn’t break the bank) were Target’s Up & Up brand diapers. We also had good experiences with [affiliate links] Babyganics, Honest Co., and Parasol Co. Diapers.
12. Choose a pediatrician
This was super easy for me to do, my kids go to the same pediatrician’s office that I went to from birth through high school, they even see my favorite pediatrician for their well-child check ups (although I am sure that as the boys get older they will prefer a male doctor). If you don’t already have a pediatrician in mind, start by asking for recommendations on Facebook so you can hear some personal experiences. You can even set up visits with the pediatrician’s office to get all of the information you want to know.
13. Do something for yourself
After baby is born, it will be awhile before you’re able to go on outings without baby by your side so take some time to do something for yourself. My mom and I have a tradition of going for pedicures the week that baby is going to be born.
14. Clean the house + set it up for baby's homecoming
You DO NOT want to come home from the hospital and see dirty dishes in the sink or realize that you are way behind on laundry. Leading up to baby’s arrival, do your best to stay on top of the housework (or better yet, keep your feet up and ask your hubby to do it for you...it’s all about teamwork!). I also recommend that you have baby’s nursery ready before he/she is born. Some people say not to worry about it because for the first few weeks baby is likely to sleep in your room anyway. But trust me, you’re not going to want to finish putting together the nursery when you’re running on zero sleep. I also like to be able to introduce my babies to their nursery for naps during the day even though they usually sleep in our room for a few weeks.
15. Check in with your insurance
Be sure that the hospital you are planning to deliver at is covered by your insurance and make sure you know what they do and do not cover during your hospital stay. And be sure that baby will be covered when he/she is born. I used to be friends with a gal who was still on her parents’ insurance (because she was under 25 and it was cheaper) so she was covered by insurance but because of how insurance is set up, the baby wasn’t covered when she was born. You do not want to pay those bills if you don’t have to! If you’re having a scheduled c-section, let your insurance know ahead of time so there are no surprises for either of you.
I know, it seems like a lot but I think that's one of the reasons why God has baby cook so long. 😉Be sure to grab the printable version of the checklist so you don't miss a step. Oh, and congratulations on your new baby!