I’ve noticed that when it comes to pregnancy, there are typically two types of women: the ones who plan and prepare every detail and the ones who prefer to “wing it”. Some have the nurseries done in the first trimester while others don’t worry about it until baby is home. Some who are up every night researching every carseat and stroller until they’ve decided on the best one while others don’t really worry too much about which brand. Maybe you fall somewhere in between or maybe you’re at a far end of the spectrum.
For me, the unknown stresses me out and gives me anxiety. Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life is full of the unexpected and unknown. (Oh and the world — because here I am 9 months pregnant and I never expected to be giving birth during a pandemic). Preparing for what I CAN expect is what makes me feel more at peace and helps me feel less anxious. If you’re like me, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do throughout your pregnancy to help you feel more prepared and ready for baby’s arrival! Some of the things on the list I’ve written more specific blog posts for, so feel free to click on them for more information and detail! I’m not going to tell you what order to do these things in or which trimester to finish them during — you can decide what’s best for you on that. Keep in mind that I have a 21 month old, so some of these things may not apply to you if you’re a first time mom!
- Nursery: figure out baby’s space. I’d consider a crib, changing table/dresser, and glider/rocking chair the three essentials for a nursery. And if baby will be in your room at first, make sure you’ve got a safe place (like a bassinet) for baby to sleep. (We also had to transition Christian out of the nursery and into her toddler room!)
- Breastfeeding Caddy: we live in a smaller one-story home, so I don’t feel like I need a huge “station” for breastfeeding or pumping, but it is nice to have something portable to carry around the house (since you’ll be nursing everywhere) with some of the essential, such as snacks, water, nursing pads, nipple cream, a phone charger, and my Haaka.
- Make a “Car Kit”: I came across this idea thanks to pinterest — genius!
- Nurse Gifts: my nurse gifts have turned into “birth support” gifts since I’ve switched from a hospital birth to a birth center birth, but they still serve the same purpose. I made these during the second trimester, but just check the expiration dates on anything you’re putting in there so you know nothing will expire before your due date.
- Stock up on essentials: you know what you may need during the “fourth trimester”. For us, it’s dishwater and laundry detergent, trash bags, paper towels, non-perishable snacks (for me and my 21 month old), cleaning supplies, light bulbs, batteries, and disposable plates/utensils.
- Pack hospital bags: my hospital bag checklist did have to be altered to a birth center bag checklist. But a good amount stayed the same!
- Padsicles: I made these with Christian and they were amazing to have postpartum.
- Get out and assemble bigger baby gadgets: for us, this is mainly just our baby swing and Lovevery play mat. For you, it could be bigger toys, swings, rockers, etc. And make sure everything has batteries in it!
- Install carseat: if a carseat is in any kind of car accident (even a mild fender bender), it needs to be replaced. Because of this, I don’t like installing it too early. I’ll probably install ours this week.
- Freezer Meals: you will not regret making these! Don’t forget to also have a good amount of disposable plates and utensils if you want to skip the dishes most nights.
- Toddler Busy Bags: from other blogs I’ve read, it’s nice to have a handful of go-to activities for your older children to occupy themselves with when you need to attend solely to baby. I created a handful of different quiet, independent activities for Christian that are in the hallway closet. It will be so convenient to be able to just grab one out and hand it to her when I need her to occupy herself for a little while.
- Extra bin of newborn supplies: again, we have a small home so this wasn’t super necessary. But I did want to have a bin of newborn diapers, wipes, and newborn toys so that my oldest could help when we needed something. She’s about to be two, so I think one way to help her welcome baby sister is to let her help us with as much as possible. We’ll keep this bin under the living room TV so she can access it and bring us something we may need.
- Birth binder: I have a birth binder with the following: birth plan, contact list, “what to do when labor starts” list, bible verses, birth affirmations, and my bag checklist. It’s nice having everything in one place, and I also have page protectors in the back to hold any important documents you may be sent home with after baby is born.