How to prepare for a new baby the right way.
I enjoyed my last trimester of pregnancy, maybe because I was totally prepared for my baby’s arrival. I had prepared everything my little one and I needed ahead of the due date, just in case I started feeling early contractions and we received our bub ahead of schedule. I do recommend getting those last things ready ahead of time to soothe your mind and relax ahead of the birth (well as much as you can).
Here are some simple and achievable things to do to help you groove through the last stage of your pregnancy and to prepare for a new baby coming your way:
You are probably in nesting mode anyway, so being told to clean and tidy won’t be much of a stretch. There is a reason we get the urge to frantically clean and tidy before a baby arrives and that’s because we intuitively know they need a safe and healthy environment, no need for a doctor to tell us that babies are sensitive and delicate, we want to provide a clean place for our baby to nest. You will probably still feel a restless need to clean after the baby is born too but resist running to do the dishes as soon as they hit the sink, you need to rest!
Be sure to go easy on the cleaning products and choose those that are more natural and safe for pregnancy.
Of course, there are the fun things like laying out the changing table and setting everything up ready to use when Baby comes home, but now is also a great time to declutter and throw out all the things you don’t use regularly in your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom and hall stand, go through and donate or sell anything you no longer use. This will help give you more space so your items are easy to get hold of when you need them and it will feel tidier as well.
It’s also the perfect time to take the tags off all your baby items and baby clothes, check for loose threads and wash everything so it’s clean and ready for Baby to wear. If you have pets, washing all your clothes in the baby laundry soap will help them get used to the smell and the change to come.
If you are worried about air quality in your home you can look at purchasing an air purifier. Look for quality air filters that remove small particles (HEPA) filters and be sure to clean them as per manufacturer instructions.
Keeping active while you are pregnant is important (unless you have been instructed by your doctor not to). Being fit and having flexible muscles is going to pay off during birth and for a rapid recovery. A 20-30 minute walk every day is enough and there are plenty of gentle pregnancy exercises and yoga moves to help as well, so read up on what is right for you and look to move your body.
Exercise will also help regulate your breathing and is good for stimulating your blood flow which helps to nurture you and your baby.
Read up on SIDS prevention
It’s so essential that you read about SIDS. While it can be scary to think about bad things happening to your baby, the best way to prevent tragedy is to know what to avoid when your baby is sleeping. SIDS is preventable so make sure you know how to put your baby Back-To-Sleep-Alone so you can feel safe knowing they are breathing easy while they rest.
Set up your cot or have your co-sleeping arrangement ready and check that it is up to SIDS safety standards.
Know your safety features
While you probably don’t need to put baby-safe items like gates, powerpoint covers, toilet locks and fridge and cupboard locks on just yet, now might be the time you have to buy them and put them aside for later.
What you can do now is learn how to install your baby car seat and practice using it. So many families have a baby seat in their car but it’s not installed correctly or they don’t know how to adjust the straps easily to make it fit snugly in the correct position, making it unsafe. It’s one of those times when you really need to read the instructions from cover to cover, and probably watch a few online videos as well.
Pack your hospital bag
Is there anything more exciting than packing your hospital bag? Chances are you have already been thinking about this well before your third trimester (maybe you have started packing already). Now it’s time to really get serious about it.
Don’t worry too much about packing clothes for the baby, the hospital will provide everything you need and will specify anything, in particular, you need to bring for bub. Because of the umbilical stump, your baby probably will need a side snap or tie suit to start with so don’t get too caught up in adorable outfits just yet. You want Baby to be super comfy and safe for now (there’s so much time for dress-ups down the road).
If your baby is born with a full head of hair (so unknown at this point) you might want to pack a soft baby brush.
So that means the bag you pack will mostly be for yourself. Stick with large flowing clothes (you won’t snap back to your usual size just yet) and think about clothes that will be breastfeeding friendly. You may already have a maternity bra, if not expect that you will go up to about one cup size when full of breastmilk. For some moms, a breastfeeding tank top is enough to start with until they feel more set in their feeding routine.
Just in case your phone goes flat, have a list of names and numbers of people you want to notify. Some hospitals have messaging systems as well to make that task easier.
Bring lots of heavy-duty pads as you will make up for all those missed periods in one hit. Take plenty of spare knickers as well.
Think about adding an extra phone charger in right now as well as a bit of basic make-up (everyone will want to see you on a call!).
It’s also nice to have a little notebook so you can take down the names of the nurses who assist you. If you want to send a thank-you card or little gifts later on you’ll forget their names, no matter how much they might mean to you at the time.
Make sure to pack some small cash for buying things from the cafeteria or drugstore.
Write down essential information
You’ll never know what your situation will be when you are in the midst of your delivery or after giving birth so write down everything your doctor or nurses might need for your baby’s birth certificate and other important documents.
I found it helpful to use a folder with pockets to store my hospital records, ultrasounds, blood test results as well as a list of possible baby names, our address, and birth certificates for my husband and I so it will be easy for the nurses and doctors to get the details they needed from us.
This is also where I stored my list of phone contacts for people who I wanted to contact about the birth from the hospital.
Get your mindset ready for birth
No matter if you are giving birth or having a C-section there is plenty you can do to prepare your mind for the big moment. It might be some inspiring quotes on strength or overcoming fear that you love and write down, a playlist of soothing and beautiful songs you create or a mantra on how you are a great mom and everything you need is available to you. By practising being in a calm and relaxed state on command you create a memory that you can draw on to increase those feelings during the birth of your baby so say those mantras and listen to that music ahead of time to increase the calm when you need it later.
If you need to read pregnancy and birthing books for ideas on what to expect and what techniques or methods you’d like to go with. This is one of those cases when beats laid plans can go out the window as you really have no idea what will happen on the day so be flexible about your plans and be willing to change in emergencies.
People love to share birthing horror stories online so steer well clear of those, for the majority of mothers birth is straightforward and rewarding and there is no reason that won’t be the case for you too.
Stay connected with your friends and loved ones
Once Baby is part of your world you will want to be by their side as much as possible. You will also be catching up on sleep (please, please do this) and sticking to your baby schedule for sleep and feeding. That won’t leave as much time as usual for friends and family and getting out and about, so do this now. Enjoy your time and make those connections really count so that if you end up taking a few months out of your social circles, you know they love and support you.
This is especially important for your partner too, make sure the two of you snuggle and talk and stay close because you might not have so much time (or energy) for that in the weeks after birth).
Share your thoughts and fears with them too so you can know what you are each experiencing in the lead up to your bigger family.
My husband and I love to watch movies so we made sure to watch movies together when I was pregnant (although they did tend to be lots of baby comedy movies) because we knew it would be one of the things that would become a bit more difficult later one.
Be Kind to yourself
Because of changing hormones, pregnancy can be really emotional. We may feel more sensitive to criticism or loneliness, we may cry over not sad movies or get frustrated over not frustrating instances. There is nothing wrong with you, this is totally normal.
Food cravings at this point might also be ramping up and you may be sleeping less. Be kind. Allow your body to have what it’s craving and take naps through the day to make up for lost sleep at night.
Make sure you are fuelling your body well by eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water and make a point of doing things you love to do and take more time for yourself. Read books, take long baths, watch movies or play games, it might be some time before you get five minutes to yourself so enjoy your passions and be really loving and generous to yourself.
Cook and freeze
Finding time and energy to make healthy meals when the baby is here can be a challenge but eating well is so essential for your recovery and also for breastfeeding support. Make up some healthy meals and put them in well-labelled containers in the freezer.
The same goes for buying fresh fruit and veg when the baby arrives. Having healthy food on hand and easily accessible is the simplest way to stay healthy.
Prepare a care box
Newborn babies need frequent feeds that might take some time to complete. It helps to have a little feeding kit you can access easily (i.e. one-handed) that has things inside you might need during quiet feeding times. So some healthy snacks (especially if you are breastfeeding), some tissues, a burp cloth, maybe the remote control. That way you won’t feel so tied down when you are tied up with feeding.