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Preparing for Baby in 2024: Ultimate Pregnancy To-Do Timeline

Expecting a baby in 2024? This ultimate guide to getting baby-ready will outline everything you need to do to get practically and mentally ready for your due date. 

We’ll cover everything from nurseries to necessities for the mother-to-be. 

Preparing for baby

If this is your first baby then you may be feeling a little overwhelmed or unsure about exactly what it is you’re supposed to do during pregnancy to prepare for a baby. 

This guide will give you a step-by-step preparing for baby checklist and timeline to help you prep for the new arrival. 

Prepare for baby timeline 

My preparing for baby checklist includes a rough timeline. Don’t panic if you’re coming to this in your third trimester, just work through it methodically! 

Preparing for baby baby checklist and timeline

See a healthcare professional (ASAP after a positive test)

The most important thing to do after getting a positive pregnancy test is to focus on looking after yourself, and therefore your baby!

Make an appointment with your healthcare professional so you can start your regular antenatal appointments, including scans. 

In the UK you need to call your GP in order to get seen by a local midwife, who will then give you more information about future appointments.

In the US choose a doctor or midwife and make an appointment to see them. 

During your pregnancy you will be seen regularly for checkups that include measuring the size of your bump, test your urine for protein and measure your blood pressure. 

You’ll also want to start taking a regular prenatal vitamin. 

Announce your pregnancy (Week 12)

Most parents announce their pregnancy to friends and loved ones after the 12-week scan. At this stage the risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced.

However it’s very much up to you when you tell people.

You may want to plan a fun pregnancy announcement – you could try these cool pregnancy announcement quotes and these pregnancy announcement ideas.

Crunch the numbers on your finances (Week 12-19)

Once you are out of the first trimester it’s wise to plan how the money is going to work while you are on maternity leave. 

You’ll also need to figure out how much you need to spend on baby stuff, and what your budget actually is. 

There are tons of ways to save money on key baby items, such as buying expensive stuff secondhand from online marketplaces like Facebook and Vinted. 

Figure out what your budget is now and then you have a better chance of sticking to it when you get to ticking off the baby essentials. 

Also use this time to work out how you will afford your maternity leave. Check how any loss of earnings, if you won’t get maternity pay or your pay will be limited to only part of your leave, will impact your monthly budget. 

Discuss names and finalise a shortlist (Week 12-40)

Choosing a baby name can be a real challenge. 

You may be someone who has had their baby’s name picked out for many years, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to have a discussion with your partner about your name preferences. 

Begin by writing down a list of names that you love, and keep your eyes and ears open to names in your every day life. Ideas can pop up in TV shows you’re watching, books, at the office or when you’re out shopping. 

Once you have a list of names you love start trying to create a shortlist, and compare notes with your partner to see if you agree. 

If you choose, you can delay making the final decision until after the baby is born, which some people prefer to do so they can see the baby first. 

There’s lots of name inspiration here at The Mummy Bubble – why not start with our baby name trends for 2024 and these baby name themes

Book your antenatal class (By Week 20)

Your antenatal class is likely to take place from around Week 30 and take place weekly for around six weeks before your due date. 

It’s sensible to get it booked in the diary ahead of time so you have a place saved. 

Antenatal classes are a great way to prepare for giving birth, and to meet other parents-to-be in your area. 

Get the newborn essentials (Week 20 – Week 34)

Before baby arrives you’ll definitely need a few essentials – although possibly not as many as the baby industry would like you to buy!

I suggest you start buying baby stuff after your 20-week scan, but you could start buying smaller items earlier than this if you like.

A realistic list of newborn essentials, including the stuff you actually need from day one, looks something like this: 

  • Clothes
  • Bodysuits (vests that can be short or long sleeved with poppers to cover the nappy) x7
  • Sleepsuits (all-in-one outfits with long sleeves and legs that usually cover feet too) x7
  • Cozy cardigans or sweaters x3
  • Cotton hats x3
  • Scratch mits x3
  • Bibs x5
  • Winter/sun hat x1
  • “Smart” outfit x1
  • Muslins x7
  • Blankets x4
  • Sleep sacks/bags x2
  • Crib/cot/cotbed 
  • Moses basket/side sleeper (for when baby is sleeping in your room)
  • Fitted sheets x4
  • Waterproof mattress cover x3
  • Changing table 
  • Night light 
  • Baby monitor 
  • Nursing chair for nursery 
  • Towel 
  • Baby shampoo and bubble bath 
  • Baby moisturiser 
  • Hairbrush 
  • Barrier cream 
  • Nappies
  • Wipes 
  • Bottles 
  • Bottle brush 
  • Breast pump
  • Bottle & feeding equipment steriliser 
  • Nursing bras x3
  • Breast pads 
  • Baby books
  • Toys
  • Baby play mat 
  • Bouncy chair 
  • Pushchair
  • Changing bag 
  • Insulated bottle bag 

You can read up more about baby essentials here. 

Read up on caring for a baby (Weeks 20-40)

Much of baby care is fairly instinctive – for example when the nappy is full, change it. 

However certain elements of looking after a baby may be a little confusing for you in the early weeks – their body clock being one of them!

Babies are born without much sense of day and night, plus they need to feed regularly. So they will be up multiple times at night. 

I think it can be really useful to mentally prepare yourself for this behaviour, and recognise it’s totally normal. 

Get your hands on a good book about caring for a baby in the first year. 

I had What to Expect in the First Year, which was a great all round look at what having a baby would be like and packed with tips.

Tell your employer you’re pregnant (By Week 25)

Let your boss know you are expecting and when you will be going on maternity leave. 

In the UK you need to tell your employer by the 15th week before your due date. 

If you’re in the US then in some cases you do not need to inform your employer until 30 days before you’re due to give birth.  

It’s smart to also find out what maternity pay you are entitled to as early on as possible. Many workplaces publish this information on their website, but if you cannot find it then request it. 

This will help with getting your finances in order. 

Prepare the nursery (Weeks 25-35)

Get your baby’s nursery ready for when they arrive. It’s best to do this earlier in your third trimester as possible, as you may become more tired towards the end of the pregnancy.  

These are the steps you are likely to need to take to prep the nursery: 

  • Pick a colour scheme 
  • Decorate the room – paint walls and add decals or artwork
  • Replace the light shade with something that works with your scheme 
  • Purchase & build nursery furniture – crib, clothes storage (chest of drawers), changing table, nursing chair, shelving, toy storage (baskets)
  • Unpack baby clothes from packaging and put away in drawers 
  • Make the bed 
  • Set up your baby changing station – you’ll need nappies, wipes, barrier cream and a changing mat cover
  • Add personal touches – family pictures and decorative items

Read up on feeding (Weeks 30-40)

As part of your research into caring for baby if you intend to breastfeed then it’s smart to read up on this before you get started. 

Learning through doing is best, but in my experience breastfeeding didn’t come so naturally to me and I wish I had taken time to read more about things such as getting the latch right. 

I love the Milkology online breastfeeding class, which is packed with all the information you need to know about nursing your baby. 

Have your baby shower (Week 33-36)

Your baby shower is a fun way to celebrate your baby’s impending arrival. Plus it gives loved ones a chance to contribute gifts to help with your newborn. 

A baby shower is typically organised by a close friend or relative. 

Check out my guide to planning a baby shower

I recommend starting a baby registry with Amazon, so you can tell loved ones exactly what you need. This avoids the risk of receiving duplicates of essential items.  

Practice using the baby gear (Week 35)

You don’t want to be learning how to put the car seat into the car while the baby is crying. 

So practice using key items of equipment like the car seat and pushchair – which is likely to have a mechanism for collapsing and unfolding it. 

Also if you plan to use a sling or baby carrier check it out now to see how you put it on and adjust it. You may struggle to get the fit right while you have a baby bump, but you can take a look at how it works now. 

Go over your birth plan (Week 35)

Consider what your birthing preferences are and write a birth plan. You do not have to go into the delivery room with a birthing plan, but it can help. 

Discuss your preferences with your birth partner too so they are aware of any specific requests you have. 

You’ll find a birth plan template here. 

Pack your hospital bag (By Week 36)

Your hospital bag contains all of your essentials you need for when you’re in hospital giving birth. It needs to include things for you and your baby. 

Key items to pack are: 

  • Cash 
  • Phone charger 
  • Camera 
  • Birth plan 
  • Hospital notes (the notes from your midwife appointments)
  • Birth outfit (usually a nightie)
  • Dressing gown 
  • Slippers/comfy shoes
  • TENS machine (if using)
  • Wash bag – including shampoo, conditioner, body wash and deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, hair brush  
  • Nursing bra 
  • Change of clothes for after birth (PJs, comfy outfit)
  • Outfit for going home 
  • Outfits for baby x2 (sleepsuit x2, bodysuit x2, cotton hat x1)
  • Blankets x3
  • Muslins x2
  • Nappies 
  • Wipes 
  • Baby’s going home outfit

Dads may also find it handy to pack their own hospital bag. There’s a checklist for hospital bag for dads here.

Fill your freezer (Week 36-40)

In the early weeks after your baby has arrived you will want to spend as much time as possible resting and enjoying time with your baby. 

So make mealtimes easier with pre-made dinners you can take out of the freezer and cook without any fuss. 

There are lots of ideas for freezer meals here.

Enjoy time with your partner (Week 37-39)

As you countdown towards your due date now is a good time to do something fun with your partner. 

A night out for dinner or a day trip to somewhere relaxing is a great way to enjoy this quality time before baby arrives. 

There are more ideas for fun things to do with your partner in this couples baby bucket list.

Stock up on household essentials (Week 39)

Fill your fridge, kitchen cupboards and supply cupboards with the essentials you will need so that you can pull up the drawbridge and relax after bringing home baby. 

Items you may want to stock up on include toilet paper, coffee, favourite drinks and snacks, milk, bread (freeze a couple of loaves) and cleaning supplies. 

Final thoughts 

I hope you found this ultimate baby prep checklist useful and it’s given you a helpful timeline for getting ready for baby.

You may also like this nursery prep timeline, this final month of pregnancy to do list and this list of ideas of fun things to do when pregnant.

Preparing for baby checklist and timeline
Preparing for baby checklist and timeline

Vicky Smith is a mother of two daughters and a journalist. She has been writing and vlogging about parenting for over five years.