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Important things to do before baby arrives

Wondering what the really important things to do before baby arrives are?

Pregnant woman writing out her important things to do before baby arrives

If you’re keen to get organised ahead of your due date I’ve got the ultimate checklist for pregnant ladies. 

Exactly when you get all of this stuff done is up to you, but if you’re someone who likes to be prepared it’s a good idea to get most of the practical stuff done by week 37 of your pregnancy. 

The fun stuff – such as catching up with your friends and spending quality time with your partner – can be done in the final three weeks ahead of your due date. 

However you choose to get all the important tasks and to-dos done before your baby arrives, you can download the checklist to help keep you on track at the end of this post! 

You may also like:

Ultimate pregnancy to-do list

What needs to be done before baby arrives?

Before baby arrives you need to get organised and make time to enjoy your life before you add a new little person to your family. 

So there’s a need to be practical but also to make the most of the final days before your baby is born. 

If you’re anything like me on the countdown to baby being born you’re probably feeling pretty impatient – and if you’re in the final days of pregnancy very uncomfortable too! 

But looking back now I wish I had made more of those final days before becoming a mother. 

If I could have done anything differently I think I would have gone to the cinema a few more times, gone out for dinner at least once or twice more and made the most of lazy Saturdays. 

It’s not that all of these things are off limits to you once you have a baby, but it does become a bit trickier to do grown-up stuff like dinners and lie in bed when there’s a baby needing your attention. 

One thing you won’t find on this list is sleep. Many people suggest you get extra sleep in now to cope better when baby is born and you may face a lot of sleep deprivation as they feed through the night. 

The thing is no amount of extra sleep ahead of a period of sleep deprivation is going to help when you’re in the thick of sleepless nights. It just doesn’t physically work that way!

However there is something to be said for adding a daily nap to your routine during pregnancy, so that when baby is born you body clock is used to getting extra sleep when the baby is asleep during the day. 

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Things to do before baby arrives checklist

Important things to do before baby arrives

Check you have all the baby essentials 

If you don’t have a full checklist of the baby essentials then you can download a free PDF over on this post which features all of the newborn essentials you actually need. 

It’s a good idea to get the main stuff purchased early on in your third trimester. 

Pregnant mum organising baby stuff before baby is born

Certain items of furniture and big ticket items such as a pushchair may take a little while to be delivered so organising these things early in your third trimester is a good idea. 

When you have everything that you need you can start getting it all out of packages and boxes so that it’s ready to use when baby is born. You won’t want to be dealing with piles of cardboard packaging after the baby has come!

You can use Amazon to set up a baby wishlist which you can share with family and friends so they can avoid buying duplicate gifts. You will also get a free welcome gift for setting up your wishlist.

Practice using the baby gear 

Once you have all of the stuff you need for a baby it’s a good idea to figure out how it all works! 

Some things are easy, but others are a little more challenging! 

The key things to practice using or read the instructions thoroughly before baby arrives are: 

  • Pram. Figure out how to collapse and unfold the pram because every product is slightly different. Also practice getting it in and out of the car boot too. Allocate a space for it in your home where you can leave it when it’s not in use – some people like to leave it in the hallway, I used to leave mine in the garage. 
  • Car seat. These can be really easy to use, but there’s normally a knack to getting them in and out of the car. Some car seats need to be secured with the seatbelt and others are permanently fixed to the car using what’s called ISOFIX points (the car seat clips to hooks in the car). My personal favourite car seat for newborns is where you have a separate base that fixes to the car with ISOFIX points, and you simply clip the car seat into this base. It means that if baby has nodded off in the car you can simply lift the whole car seat out of the car and bring baby inside without having to lift them out and disturb them. It can make it easier to move your baby indoors without waking them from a nap. 
  • Formula. If you are not planning to breastfeed then have a read of a formula box ahead of baby being born so that you are clear on the process for mixing up a feed. It’s easy when you know how, but the first time you do it can be a little nerve wracking as you need to measure out the powder exactly and use the right water temperature. To make things easier you can buy a bottle prep machine that does the work for you! Make sure you get it set up in your kitchen before baby arrives! You may also like my bottle feeding hacks post!

Decorate the nursery 

This is a seriously fun part of getting ready for baby! 

Figure out how you want the nursery to look by browsing through images on Pinterest. 

If you want a change of colour or to freshen up the walls then now is a good time to get that done. 

A really nice finishing touch for nurseries can be using wall stickers. These should go on three to four weeks after fresh paint has been applied to a wall, so bear that in mind when you’re deciding when to get started with decorating. 

It’s a good idea to get this job done before baby arrives even if they will be sleeping in your room for the first six months. 

You may find the room useful for nappy changes and playtime or late night feeds. 

Organise the nursery 

Once the nursery is decorated it’s time to organise it. 

Put away clothes and stock up the nappy changing station. By the way I have a whole post on how you can organise your nappy station right here. 

Make the baby’s bed with a waterproof sheet on the mattress and then a fitted sheet on top and have blankets out and ready to use. 

If you have a bouncy chair for the baby then get it out of the box and follow the instructions to build it so that it’s there ready for use. 

With toys snip off any labels and remove any plastic so that your baby can have it right away when they are home. 

Complete DIY projects around the house 

Is there a job you have been putting off for ages? Now is the time to get it done!

Whether it’s fixing a squeaking door or adding fresh grout to tiles, you will find it much easier to get it done before baby arrives. 

Once the little one is here the days tend to pass by in a whirlwind. 

Although you will still have time to yourself to do odd jobs after the baby is born, you may be pretty tired in the early months. Getting these chores out of the way means you can rest more instead of dashing around the house doing DIY jobs. 

Organise your home 

Once the nursery is done you can then turn your attention to other rooms in the house which may need reorganising to make way for baby stuff. 

It can help to have a nappy changing station on every floor of your house. This means you don’t have to run upstairs to baby’s room to use the changing station every time they have a dirty nappy. 

The easiest thing to do is having a small changing mat stashed on the floor under the sofa with nappies and a pack of wipes. 

You will also need to have a look at the kitchen and clear space on a shelf for things like bottles and bowls for when they start weaning. 

If you are planning to breastfeed then make space in the fridge or freezer for expressed breastmilk. 

You may also like: Nesting checklist

Pack your hospital bag 

Getting your hospital bag sorted at least three to four weeks ahead of your due date is a good idea. 

You will need to include stuff for you and your baby, as well as a few items for your partner such as snacks. 

Some key things to remember in your hospital bag are: 

  • Nightie or PJs for giving birth for you
  • PJs for after birth 
  • Maternity pads
  • Outfits for baby x3
  • Nappies
  • Wipes 
  • Phone 
  • Phone charger 
  • Change 
  • Going home outfit for you 
  • Going home outfit for baby 
  • Your medical notes 

Get your postpartum kit ready 

When you’re pregnant you think a lot about getting ready for the birth, but it’s also worth thinking about how you will look after your body after giving birth. 

There are a few comforts and products that can really help you heal and avoid too much discomfort after giving birth. 

I have a whole post guiding you through what you actually need for your postpartum care kit, but some key items are: 

  • Maternity pads – you need a lot as you will bleed for a few weeks after birth. Buy at least 100 to start with. 
  • Nursing pads – even if you do not breastfeed your milk will come in naturally. These go in your bra and soak up the milk that can leak from your breasts. 
  • Comfy underwear 
  • Peri bottle – this features an angled spout that you can use to squirt water at your private parts when having a wee. It means it’s less likely to sting if you have stitches. 
  • Water bottle – so that you have a drink with you wherever you go to stay hydrated. 

Download a contraction tracker app

A contraction app helps you figure out how advanced your labour is when it begins. 

You tell it every time a contraction starts and stops and it will calculate the average duration of your contractions and how far apart they are. This is really useful information to give to the hospital when they are assessing you over the phone. They will use this to inform their decision of whether you are far enough along in your labour to be admitted. 

There are tons of different apps on the app store that do this and most of them are totally free to download and use. 

Get your hair done 

Try to have a hair appointment reasonably close to when your due date is so that you have a few weeks before you need to go again. 

See your friends 

Of course you will see your friends after the baby is born but you may want to hunker down at home for at least a few weeks. 

Now is a good time to go out and enjoy yourself ahead of this new chapter in your life. 

Enjoy a babymoon

A babymoon is a holiday with your partner before baby is born! 

This gives you a chance to make special memories with your other half before you add a new person to your family. 

It could be a whole two weeks abroad or just a long weekend away somewhere close to home. 

Whatever you do make it relaxing and make the most of this quiet time together. 

Double check your finances 

However much time you might be taking off of work it’s a good idea to be completely clear on where you stand with money. 

Check how much you have saved, what you expect to come in in terms of maternity pay and when that will end. 

If you need to make a few savings to balance your budget then figure out some ways you can achieve this. 

Saving money after a baby can be easier than you think as you won’t be going out as much on expensive nights out, certainly not in the first few months anyway! 

You may also like: Surviving the salary drop on maternity leave

Other ways you can save cash to stick to your budget are: 

  • Switch supermarkets. Start using a budget supermarket. This can save you so much money on your weekly shop. 
  • Meal plan. Avoid expensive multiple trips to the supermarket by planning exactly what you will eat each week and sticking to it. 
  • Cut back on subscriptions. Do you have subscriptions to TV services that you don’t use much? We ditched Sky TV years ago and do not miss it at all but it has saved us hundreds of pounds. 
  • Ditch memberships. If you pay a monthly fee to a gym it may be a good time to review and ditch that. You could try alternative means of exercise such as running with the buggy after baby is born. 
  • Use cash back. When making baby purchases use cash back sites! There’s money right there for the taking and many online stores offer cash back through sites such as QuidCo. 

Know where you stand with your employer 

Have a final chat with your employer so that they are clear on when you plan to return to work. 

You can also discuss things like KIT (Keeping In Touch) Days and whether you want to use these during your maternity leave. These are paid work days and you can use a few ahead of your return to work to ease you back into the job gradually. 

You may also like: Guide to returning to work after maternity leave

Clean your whole house 

Now is the perfect time to have a deep clean of your whole home! 

I have a great guide to cleaning your whole house in just two hours, but here is a checklist for the stuff you will want to cover when cleaning the house: 

  • Wipe kitchen surfaces and cupboard doors 
  • Disinfect and clean kitchen sink
  • Put dishwasher cleaner into the machine and run on a hot cycle 
  • Sweep and mop kitchen floor 
  • Dust 
  • Vacuum
  • Clean your washing machine – I tend to use a cup of Soda Crystals and run on a 90C wash
  • Clean showers and sinks
  • Clean windows 

Baby-proof your home 

Your baby won’t be crawling for a few weeks but it is amazing how they suddenly get to grips with rolling over and getting themselves around the house. 

Baby-proofing your home ahead of baby being born makes it much easier and you can rest assured they will be safe. 

There’s a whole baby-proofing checklist on this post. 

The key is to get down to baby’s level on the floor and figure out where the hazards are. What ornaments or furniture could they knock over?

Also think about safe sleep as this is important throughout the first year. 

The bed where baby sleeps should be clear of hazards such as cables and inside the bed avoid using cot bed bumpers and stick to simple blankets and fitted sheets. 

Try not to fill baby’s bed with toys as this can be another potential hazard. There are lots of great safe sleeping tips on the Lullaby Trust website.

Stock up on essentials 

Big supermarket shops will be the last thing you want to do once the baby is here so get stocked up on the essentials right now! 

The essentials you need to make sure you have include: 

  • Toilet paper 
  • Washing-up liquid 
  • Hand soap
  • Milk 
  • Kitchen roll 
  • Bread 
  • Butter 
  • Freezer meals – have at least seven dinners ready to go 
  • Tinned soup 
  • Pasta 
  • Rice 
  • All your favourite beauty and haircare products that you use regularly (these comforts will be a huge help to you!)

Take a prenatal class 

Many parents choose to take NCT classes. These are great because they give you important information about the birth and also connect you with other expectant parents in your local area. 

People who take the NCT classes often find they make friendships with people on the course. 

However you can also take a prenatal course online that can give you all of the basics you need. 

Make your final midwife appointments 

Get organised with your final midwife appointments. 

If your local hospital where you will be giving birth offers it, then have a tour of the maternity ward so you can get a feel for where you will be giving birth. 

Go to the cinema 

This is a luxury that you may miss after baby is born. 

Just to add that many cinemas run parent and baby showings on weekday mornings where you can take your baby to showing without worrying about disturbing others in the theatre. 

But there’s something about relaxing while watching a film at a cinema that is just so much fun. So definitely add this to your checklist and get a few trips in ahead of your due date. 

Enjoy a meal out 

In fact enjoy a few out! Whatever your favourite restaurant is try to pay it a visit in the final weeks before baby is born. 

You could organise a dinner for you, your partner and other close relatives to celebrate the last few weeks of your pregnancy. 

Take final bump shots 

It’s nice to look back on pregnancy pictures after the time has passed. It all feels so long ago once the baby is born. 

Plus your child will love looking back on pictures of themselves in mummy’s tummy when they are bigger. 

There are tips for taking beautiful bump photos in this article.

Sterilise bottles

Whether you are bottle-feeding or breastfeeding you may use some bottles at some stage. 

Get the bottles washed and sterilised before their first use. Baby bottles all come with instructions on what to do with them before use, which usually include placing them in boiling water first. 

You can get sterilisers that work in the microwave or are standalone and connect to the mains for power. You can also get cold water sterilisers which are basically a big bucket you fill with water and then add sterilising tablets to before submerging the bottles in the water. 

Fill up the car with petrol 

A last-minute dash to the petrol station for fuel before you can get to the hospital probably wouldn’t be so much fun! 

Make sure your car is always close to full during the last two weeks before your due date. 

Have a chat about baby names 

Finalise a shortlist of baby names with your partner. 

It may be that you are not quite seeing eye-to-eye on a few choices, so be sure to veto the ones that either of you really hates and leave the ones you both love or think are cute on a shortlist. 

If you are looking for baby name inspiration I have lots of posts full of baby name ideas! 

Modern baby name ideas

Cute middle names for girls

Baby names inspired by nature

First and middle name ideas

Plan your birth announcement 

How will you tell people about your baby’s birth? A birth announcement is a fun way to send out the first photo of your baby to your friends and loved ones. 

You may choose to do it on social media or send out cards. 

You can find templates for birth announcements on greetings card websites which make the job easy. 

Your birth announcement cards could also be used as thank you cards for people who have sent a gift after baby is born. 

Make sure phones and cameras are charged

There will be a lot of moments that you want to capture when baby is born!

Make sure all of your devices are charged or have batteries in so that you can photograph all of those special memories. 

Free things to do before baby is born checklist 

To keep organised before baby is born here is a free PDF downloadable checklist of all the stuff you need to get done before baby is born! 

Things to do before baby is born PDF download checklist

There’s space here for you to add your own notes too, such as items you need to pick up at the shops or people you need to thank for gifts. 

Important things to do before baby is born

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