Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, the month before the little bundle of joy arrives can be a hectic one. There are so many things to do and you don’t want to forget a thing. Keep our list handy and you’ll be prepared with time to spare!
1. Plan one last date night with your husband or partner.
Sure your belly is huge and you may not be the most comfortable you’ve ever been, but it’s important to make time to do something special with your significant other before baby arrives. If you’re having your second baby (or more!), you might want to include your older children too, and plan one more special family outing before the new member of the family arrives.
2. Prepare baby’s sleep area.
Babies truly don’t need a ton of gear. Of course things like swings and bouncy swings can be helpful, but don’t panic if you don’t have them yet. Just be sure baby has a safe and comfortable place to sleep, like a crib, pack ‘n play, bassinet, cradle or co-sleeper.
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3. Install the Car Seat.
Be sure to read the manual and install the car seat according to all safety regulations. Don’t hesitate to go to your local police station and ask for help: they likely have officers who are trained in car seat installation and will install it for you, for free. As for when to put the car seat in, it’s best to wait until a few weeks before your due date. Why? If you get into a car accident and the empty car seat is in the car during the crash, its integrity has been compromised and you’ll probably need to replace it with a brand new car seat.
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4. Learn all you can about feeding your baby.
If you plan to breastfeed, read about it. It will also help to have the phone number for your local La Leche League on hand so that you don’t have to go searching for it after delivery, if you need it. If you have a breast pump, read the manual and familiarize yourself it with all its parts and mechanisms. If you plan to formula feed, sign up for coupons on formula websites. And, have a few different types of bottles on hand–you never know what kind your baby will like best.
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5. Wash linens.
When you go into labor, you’ll need someone “on call” to take care of other children and pets. Think about where the kids will sleep, who’ll get them to school or daycare, and who will be able to bring them to the hospital to see you and their new sibling! And don’t forget about your furbabies. Pets are quite a bit easier to plan for than children, but they’ll still need someone to look in on them while you’re gone.
7. Be prepared with diapers, diapers and more diapers!
If you plan to cloth diaper, you’ll want to have about 30 diapers on hand. (That allows for about 10 diapers a day and laundry every third day.) It’s also helpful to have a few different brands on hand so you can test out the ones that work best for you and your baby before you commit to buying many of that one kind. If you plan to use disposables, it’s also helpful to have a few different kinds around. Certain brands work better for some babies than others.
8. PreRegister with the hospital
Many hospitals allow you to preregister with them. Usually done online, this is a great way for you to get all the paperwork out of the way before you arrive to give birth. It’ll save time when you’re in labor and — hopefully — eliminate a few steps. No searching for insurance cards or answering medical history questions while trying to breathe through a contraction!
9. Pack your hospital bag.
Dig out your overnight bag or small duffel bag and start to gather things like your robe, pajamas and slippers. If you’re still using much of what you’d like to pack, make a list. That way, when you go into labor, even if you aren’t fully packed, you can quickly grab all the items on your list and get out the door.
10. Prepare some freezer meals.
Set aside one day to do some grocery shopping and cooking. Those first few days at home with a new baby are hectic and it helps to have quick and easy meals on hand–things you can just defrost and eat. Freeze foods in single-sized portions, which cuts defrosting time to a minimum.
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For more information on freezer meals, check out Tips and Tricks for Preparing Freezer Meals.
Photo Credit: Sara Eden Photography