Inside: The most thorough list of exactly what to do before baby arrives for every new mom and mom-to-be so you can be as prepared as possible.
Tossing and turning, my protruding belly keeps me awake as I run a long list of everything I still need to do before giving birth through my head.
I should be sleeping, but thinking of how unprepared for this baby I am, there’s no way that’s happening.
Questions bounce through my mind keeping me awake:
- What should I buy before baby is born? Am I missing anything?
- What stuff should be on the list of things you need for a new baby?
- What about a babymoon? Do we need to take one?
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Things to Do to Prepare For Baby
Eventually, my son arrived and I still felt as unprepared for parenthood as the day we found out we were expecting.
But, we made it.
To this day we’ve successfully kept our little human alive for over a year, and I think that’s something to raise a toast to.
All this to say, no matter how prepared you get, you’re never going to be fully ready.
You can have all the boobie shields and burp cloths in the world, but having a baby is still going to throw you through the wringer.
However, one thing you can – and should – do to get prepared for your newest arrival is…
Create a baby registry on Amazon.
Why? Because simply by creating a baby registry, you get:
- A free welcome box (worth 35$ and filled with goodies for new parents and babies)
- 10 – 15% off items on your registry that you didn’t receive
- 20% – 40% off diapers for your baby’s first year
- To add anything to your one baby registry (even from sites other than Amazon)
- Free 365-day returns
(You don’t even have to buy anything off your baby registry, you can simply create the free registry still receive the free welcome box and discounted diapers.)
Ready for the perks? Click here to sign up for a free Amazon baby registry.
Now that we’ve got the most important task out of the way, let’s move on to 17 things you’ll want to do – and get – before baby arrives to be as prepared as possible.
What to Do Before Baby Arrives
Here is the ultimate pre-baby to-do list of things to do before baby arrives so you can finally get rid of the stress of feeling unprepared.
1. Pack Your Hospital Bag
“What should I pack in my hospital bag?” is the one question many moms-to-be all have in common. Coming in second is, “when should I pack my hospital bag?”
You don’t want to pack it too early, but you don’t want to wait until your contractions are five minutes apart to pack it, either.
Ideally, you should aim to have your hospital bag packed by 35 to 36 weeks pregnant.
Many people recommend putting it off until 37 weeks, but to me, that’s just asking for trouble.
Now, the much-dreaded question: what should you pack in your hospital bag?
Here’s a real-quick breakdown of the generic items you’ll want to pack in your hospital bag…
First, you’ll want a nice diaper bag to pack your baby’s clothes and items in. I recommend this type of diaper bag as it’s easier to balance carrying a baby along with a backpack diaper bag rather than the kind of diaper bag that slings over one shoulder like a purse, I find.
Once you’ve got your diaper bag, here’s your hospital bag checklist:
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom:
- Comfy bathrobe
- Slippers (a must)
- Going home outfit (comfy clothes)
- Comfy shoes (for you to walk around in while getting labor moving)
- Flip flops (for in the hospital shower)
- Water bottle
- Toiletries (hairbrush, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste,
- Bag for dirty laundry
- Nursing pads
- Big, comfy underwear (my hospital provided me with some, but I still packed a pair just in case)
- Comfortable nursing bras
- Lip chap
- Boppy (a must-have)
- Labor ball (I used one like this)
- Phone charger
- Book/Magazine (you likely won’t read it, but just in case)
- Hair tie
- Nipple cream (if you plan on breastfeeding)
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby:
- A car seat
- Going-home outfit
- Baby toque
- Scratch mitts
- Onesie pajamas (likely won’t use in the hospital, but it’s a good idea to be prepared)
- Pediatrician’s contact information (write it down in your phone or on a piece of paper – you’ll likely be asked for it a number of times)
- Philips Avent Soothie
- Burp cloths
- Bottles & Formula (unless you will be breastfeeding)
- Diapers and wipes (for the diaper bag. No need to bring any for your hospital stay as the hospital will provide them)
Hospital Bag Checklist for Husband:
- Very comfortable shoes
- Snacks and drinks
- Change of clothes
- Pillow/Blanket (the hospital may have extras, but it’s best not to count on it)
- Phone charger
Even if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding your baby, a breast pump is a good backup plan and just-in-case to have around.
I borrowed a breast pump because I didn’t think I’d end up even using it.
As it turns out, getting up every hour at night is exhausting. So, I started pumping extra milk and filling bottles so my husband could get up with our newborn every once in a while.
Using a breast pump can also help your milk come in, if you find it’s taking longer than “normal” to come in, it can help increase your breastmilk supply, and it can relieve engorged breasts if your baby slept through a feeding and you didn’t want to wake them to feed.
I used a breast pump mainly to pump and freeze excess milk so that if we got a babysitter, our son could still drink breastmilk when I wasn’t around.
Breast pumps can be expensive, so talk to your insurance company about covering the cost, or at least a percentage of it.
I used this breast pump and really enjoyed it. It freed up my hands so I could still do stuff while it was pumping milk, which was a huge bonus.
3. Milk Storage Bags
If you want to be able to leave your baby for any amount of time and still have time drink breastmilk – milk storage bags are a must.
Using milk storage bags are a safe, sanitary way to store the breastmilk until it gets used.
The bags I use include measurements right on the bag which made it easy to see how much milk my son was drinking at each sitting.
4. Prep Meals
Balancing everything from “me-time” (which is the 2 seconds I get when I wake up in the morning and walk over to rescue my son from his crib), to cooking, to managing the home (oh – the laundry), to raising a little human… can all be too much some days.
On those days, you’ll be glad you have a handful of freezer meals prepped.
This way, on the days when you barely have the strength to lift yourself off the couch, you can still feed your family a healthy and nutritious homemade meal without so much as lifting a finger.
(Okay – you’ll lift a finger or two, but I promise it won’t be a lot of work.)
When I was 8 months pregnant with my son, I spent 5 hours one evening making 20 freezer meals.
By the end of the night, I was exhausted.
But – we were set on meals for after baby came and I didn’t have the energy to do it all.
(Don’t want to have to worry about thinking of meals to cook? Neither did I. That’s why I use these done-for-you meal plans.)
5. Maxi Pads to the Rescue
Stack up on so many pads that you put your baby’s diaper stash to shame.
I mean it.
You’ll be so glad you took time to make that extra trip to the store before baby is born to stock up on these extra-heavy pads so that you don’t have to worry about it after baby is born.
It’s typical to experience pretty heavy bleeding for about 10 days postpartum, and then continual (but lighter) bleeding for up to 6 weeks.
(Yup. You read that right. You can say goodbye to your vagina for the next 6 weeks.)
Do yourself a favor and don’t go into the postpartum stage unprepared… or un-padded.
6. Tucks Pads For Relief
I learned this trick from another mama when I was expecting my son. She said she put these Tucks pads on top of her maxi pads for optimum cooling relief after delivering her babies. On top of intense relief, it also adds absorption to your maxi pad.
The witch hazel in the Tucks pads is anti-inflammatory and antiviral.
7. Pain Relieving Spray
Dermoplast pain-relieving spray cools and moisturizes the areas it sprays. Plus, it comes in a no-touch application bottle, meaning you can spray it on and feel relief instantly.
I remember before having my son how terrifying the thought of going pee postpartum was. It kept me up at night (granted, I was 37+ weeks pregnant… by this point, everything kept me up at night) and caused me way too much unnecessary stress.
If you get stitches after delivery, put vaseline on the stitches so that the urine doesn’t sting.
The vaseline will guard the stitches and the urine will flow right over them without coming in contact with the wound.
We got this particular kind of Vaseline so that we could also use it on our baby’s bum especially during those first few days to help keep his first tar-like poops from sticking to his bum.
9. Stool Softeners
While we’re on the topic of the horrors of postpartum bathroom trips…
Straining to go poop after delivery is the absolute last thing you want to do (particularly if you tear during delivery). So, in lieu of not struggling to go to the bathroom, grab some stool softeners to ensure everything flows smoothly and doesn’t get backed up.
You can also skip the stool softeners and opt for eating a handful of prunes a day, too.
10. Lanolin Cream
One of my clearest memories after giving birth was our drive home. With a very sore downstairs and a two-day-old baby, my hubby and I made a quick stop at the local pharmacy to grab lanolin cream because breastfeeding hadn’t gone as smoothly as I had hoped and I already had sore, cracked nipples.
As I waddled through the store desperately searching for the nipple cream, I remember thinking how much easier it would have been if I would have been thinking smart and just ordered some online.
But by that point, I couldn’t wait. I needed it yesterday.
This is the stuff I ended up getting and I was very h happy with it. Within two days, I went from having sore, cracked, bleeding nipples and really struggling to breastfeed because of the pain to having fully-restored nipples and breastfeeding pain-free.
(The secret ingredient in nipple cream is lanolin. So no matter what brand or kind you get, make sure it has lanolin in it.)
11. Install the Car Seat
This one is important… the hospital won’t let you leave unless you have a certified car seat installed in your vehicle.
You’ll want to install the car seat at least a month before you’re due date, just in case baby decides to make an early appearance.
12. Wash Baby Clothes
Whether you bought all your baby’s clothes new or they came through various hand-me-downs and buy-and-sell groups, you’ll want to run them through the wash before putting them on your baby.
Once all the clothes are washed, fold them and put them in the closet so everything is prepared before baby arrives.
13. Stockpile Diapers
You’re never going to want to run out of diapers.
Since you don’t know how big your baby will be at birth, your best bet is to grab at least one to two packs of newborn diapers, and one to two packs of size 1 diapers.
You can save money on diapers by signing up for subscribe & save through Amazon Prime. This service automatically ships diapers – you choose the size – to your door every week or month – you choose the frequency.
If you’re planning on cloth diapering, you’re going to want to learn the right way to wash cloth diapers so they don’t get wrecked. Here’s a handy cloth diaper washing guide.
14. Get Nursing Tops
If you plan on breastfeeding, you’re going to want some comfy nursing bras (like these) as well as a few nursing tank tops.
Don’t forget about the leakage. During the first few months of breastfeeding, you can expect your boobs to leak. A lot.
(Like, a lot a lot. My hubby has woken up more than once with a wet back because how much my boobs would leak.)
To contain leaks and stop the embarrassment of leaving the house in a shirt with wet marks over both boobs… grab a box of nursing pads.
15. Hospital Tour
If you’ve never been in the L&D unit in the hospital you will be delivering at, it’s a good idea to go there before you’re in labor to take a quick tour of the hospital.
This will help you get an idea of exactly where you need to go when you come to deliver. (Because the last thing you want to be doing when in the heat of a contraction is entering the wrong wing of the hospital.)
You can also ask your hospital if they allow pre-registering. This way you don’t have to worry about filling out any paperwork when you’re in labor.
16. Get a Baby Book
I didn’t get a baby book until a few months after my son was born, and then I had to play catch-up. I think this one is so cute.
17. Create a Baby Registry
If you already did this earlier, you’re all set – you’ve now done everything that needs to be done before baby comes.
You. Are. Ready.
However, if you didn’t create your free baby registry earlier, you’re going to want to do that now.
Here’s the thing: you don’t even need to share your baby registry with anyone if you don’t want to. You don’t even need to buy anything off the registry if you don’t want to.
Simply by creating a free Amazon baby registry, you’ll get a new parent’s welcome box worth 35$ filled with things for new parents and new babies, plus you’ll also get a year of returns on anything you buy off the registry, steep discounts on diapers for your baby’s first year, and 10 – 15% off anything on your registry.
(So if you plan on purchasing anything online for your baby… you’ll want to create a registry just so that you can get it for a discount.)
You can start your Amazon baby registry for free here. (It’s kind of like going on a shopping spree without spending any money. Now that’s my type of shopping.)
How to Get Prepared to Have a Baby… Your Turn
Do you feel prepared for the arrival of your baby? I’d love to know what’s on your “what to do before baby arrives” checklist! Share your thoughts with us in a comment below.