You’ve made it to the third trimester! While the first trimester feels like it drags on with uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms and morning sickness and the second trimester flies by while you’re feeling your best, the third trimester is when you’ll be finishing up the preparations for your baby’s arrival.
It can feel like there are so many things to get done in the short amount of time you have left before your baby is born. As you start thinking about the final things you need to prepare to meet your baby, the to-do list can get overwhelming – especially when that fatigue settles in again.
This 3rd trimester checklist is here to help you feel more organized and prepared as you get ready to welcome your baby into the world!
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3rd Trimester Checklist
Things To Do To Prepare For Baby
Research and choose a pediatrician
It’s a big decision to decide what pediatrician you want for your baby. You want to make sure they’re good at what they do and that their practices align with what you feel is right for you and your baby.
So, if you don’t already have a pediatrician it’s time to start looking! It will be much easier picking one before your baby is born rather than waiting until after and feeling rushed to find a good doctor before you have to make that first appointment.
A good place to start is by asking friends in the same area who have young children, looking online for reviews, and checking with your doctor for recommendations.
Finish the nursery
With that nesting instinct that kicks in during the 3rd trimester, finishing the nursery will be easy to do!
Assemble any furniture that needs it and put up the decorations. Finish any DIY projects you have for the nursery and don’t forget to set up and stock the changing station and feeding station.
Prewash baby clothes
Baby skin is sensitive. It’s a good idea to wash baby clothes with a gentle, baby-friendly detergent before using them to be sure it doesn’t hurt your baby’s skin.
Washing baby clothes will not only get rid of any lingering chemicals, but it will make them feel softer and better on your baby’s skin. We used Tide Free & Gentle to wash all of our baby clothes since it’s hypoallergenic and scent-free.
Prewash crib sheets, mattress pads, towels, and washcloths
Similar to prewashing baby clothes, you’ll want to wash pretty much anything that will be in contact with your baby. Things like crib sheets and mattress pads, towels and washcloths, nursing pillow covers and wrap carriers are all good to wash before your baby’s arrival.
Stock up on baby essentials
Make sure you have enough baby supplies on hand so you don’t have to go running to the store immediately after you get home from the hospital. Have a stash of diapers in multiple sizes (you never know how big your baby will be until they’re born!), wipes, and diaper cream.
Things To Do To Prepare Your Home For Baby
Clean and organize your house
Give in to that nesting urge! Have you ever had this strong of a desire to clean and organize? Take advantage of it. Clean out your fridge and cabinets, organize your closets, vacuum the floors – your mind knows it’s time to get things ready and organized for the baby.
You might as well take some time to clean out and vacuum your car so it’s ready to bring your baby home too.
When I was in the nesting stage, after I had satisfied all of my cleaning and organizing urges, I started doing laundry more often. I couldn’t stand the thought of having a bunch of dirty laundry waiting for me when I got home from the hospital!
Install car seat
Read the instructions for your car seat and make sure it’s installed properly. You definitely want this done in advance so you’re not rushing when it’s time to go to the hospital.
While you’re at it, make sure your car has gas in it. The last thing you’ll want to do is stop for gas on the way to the hospital.
Make a shopping list for freezer meals and easy snacks
Freezer meals will be a life-saver those first few months with a newborn. It’s so much easier to thaw something from the freezer and bake or reheat it than it is to make dinner from scratch every night. Make a list of your favorite meals and get the ingredients to double or triple it. Or you can do a quick online search for freezer meals and you’ll find tons of options.
Also, make sure you have a stash of easy snacks like granola bars, string cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, or crackers. You’ll be happy you have something on hand when you’re hungry, but too busy to run to the store.
Prep freezer meals
Take a day or a couple afternoons to prepare your freezer meals. I spread out my meal prepping over a few weekends so it was a little less daunting than trying to prepare everything in one day.
Another easy way to stock up your freezer is by doubling every meal you make and freezing half.
Stock up on household items
You probably won’t feel like running to the store for anything when you first get home from the hospital.
Stock up on household items like toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, and dish soap. Make sure you have enough shampoo, body wash, and laundry detergent to last for a while.
Another good thing to keep available is hand sanitizer. Keep some in the nursery by the changing table and close to your feeding station.
Things To Do To Prepare Mom and Dad For Baby
Prepare for labor and delivery
Take a class
If you’ve already registered for a class, great! If not, that’s okay – while in person classes tend to fill up quickly, a lot of classes are also offered online and there’s still time to sign up and take one. I took an online labor and delivery class through my local hospital that provided all the information I needed to feel prepared.
If your husband is up for it, have him take the class with you. Since he’ll likely be your support person during labor and delivery, it’s good for him to know what’s going to happen too!
Think about a birth plan
It’s nice to have some idea of what you want and don’t want regarding your birth plan, but just remember that things can change depending on the situation. So, it’s totally up to you if you want to write down a birth plan and how detailed it will be. Either way, it’s good to at least have a general idea of what you want.
Get a waterproof pad or towel for your bed
It seems like in the movies women’s water always breaks in the middle of the night and they have to rush to the hospital. I figured that wouldn’t be me, it’s only in the movies, right? Well, it was me. My water broke at 3am when I was only 34 weeks pregnant. So, if you’re worried about this happening and want to protect your mattress try a waterproof bed pad. Another option is just to put a towel on your side of the bed. It might not fully protect the mattress but it’s better than nothing.
Prepare for breastfeeding or bottle feeding
Take a class
Learning to breastfeed can be stressful (really, really stressful!). If you plan on breastfeeding and this is your first baby, it’s helpful to take a breastfeeding class. You’ll learn all the basics and feel much more confident about the process when it’s done!
Stock up on nursing supplies
Some things to include:
- Breast pump – check with your insurance because they will probably cover most of or all of the cost for this
- Nursing bras – my favorites are these racerback bras and this 3-pack
- Nursing pads – because your boobs will probably leak
- Nipple butter – and they might get sore and dry
- Haakaa – to catch the extra milk when nursing on the other side – it’s amazing how much milk you can save!
- Nursing Pillow – my favorites are My Brest Friend and the Boppy brand
- Water bottle – because breastfeeding makes you SO thirsty
- Snacks – and it also makes you hungry, so have a few easy one-handed snacks by where you’ll be nursing
- Burp cloths and wipes – sometimes it gets a little messy
- Bottles and nipples – when we started using bottles we got this Avent starter set and it’s worked well for us
- Breastmilk storage bags – I’m a fan of Lansinoh storage bags – they are easy to store and freeze
Sterilize breast pump and bottles
Cleaning and sterilizing pump and bottle parts before using them helps kill more germs and protect your baby from getting infections. Mine came with directions on the best way to sterilize the parts, so check the boxes for instructions.
Take a newborn care class
If this is your first baby and you’re feeling anxious about knowing how to care for them, sign up for a newborn care class. These classes teach you everything from safest sleeping practices to giving your baby a bath. Your local hospital probably offers this type of course and there are also lots of options online. It’s definitely worth the investment to feel confident and prepared!
Buy postpartum care supplies
Postpartum recovery can be rough. Having everything prepared for when you get home from the hospital can make it a little easier.
You can put a basket in your bathroom with all of the necessary supplies easily within reach. Here are some things to include:
- Pads – Find the biggest, most absorbent pads and get those. I used Stayfree overnight pads. You can also use something like these. They are great to use overnight when bleeding is the heaviest in that first week after delivery.
- Padsicles – I recommend making padsicles. All you have to do it get some pads, spread aloe vera (make sure it’s alcohol free!) and witch hazel over the pad, fold it back up and freeze it. You’ll be happy to have them ready to use when you get home from the hospital. If you don’t want to make your own you can buy similar medicated cooling pads and cold packs.
- Stool softener – as much as you don’t want to think about it, it’s a good idea to have some stool softener available to use once you’re home from the hospital
- Peri bottle – another thing you probably don’t want to think about…since you won’t be wanting to wipe down there after having a baby, a peri bottle is a must-have for postpartum recovery
- Pain relieving spray – to help ease discomfort, you might want to have some pain relieving spray available at home. Dermoplast is often recommended for postpartum relief or if you’re looking for something more natural try Earth Mama’s herbal Perineal Spray
- Underwear – make sure to have some comfortable, full coverage underwear for those first few weeks after delivery
Related Post: Must-Have Postpartum Recovery Essentials For New Moms
Make plans for other children and pets
If you have other children and pets, don’t forget to arrange plans in advance for their care while you’re at the hospital.
Pack your hospital bag
Speaking from experience – pack your bag early! If your baby surprises you and comes early, you’ll want to be prepared. Make sure to pack things for yourself, your husband, and your baby. It’s nice to have this packed before you go into labor so you don’t feel so rushed when you start having contractions. Things like toiletries, comfortable clothes, and snacks for you and your husband are essential. For your baby, pack a going home outfit in a couple different sizes since you won’t know how big they’ll be until they are born.
Related Post: What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Mom, Dad, and Baby
Download a contraction tracker app
Once those contractions start, you’ll need an easy way to keep track of them!
Download a newborn tracker app
These types of apps keep track of diaper changes, feedings, sleep, etc. Your pediatrician will ask you for this information and it’s really helpful to have an app to keep track of it especially when you’re in the newborn fog.
Preregister at hospital
Check with your hospital about preregistration. It’s nice to have all your paperwork filled out beforehand, so you don’t have to sit there through painful contractions trying to remember your insurance Group ID number!
Fun Things To Do Before Your Baby Arrives
Have a date night
Take some time to spend with just you and your husband. Plan a date night and go to your favorite restaurant or have a night in together. Do something you both enjoy. Your lives will be a little more hectic once the baby arrives.
Have a friends night
It might be some time before you have the chance to hang out with them again, so plan some of your favorite activities to do together and enjoy it!
Get a baby memory book
My parents got me this Mom’s One Line A Day book when I was pregnant. It’s such a cute idea to be able to look back at the first 5 years of your baby’s life. I keep it on my nightstand and jot down the most memorable thing that happened each day.
Pick a birth announcement
A birth announcement is a great way to share the news of your baby’s arrival with family and friends who live far away or can’t see you in person. If you plan on doing this, pick out a fun design ahead of time so when you’re in that newborn fog the first few weeks home it’ll be easy to add a picture and get them ordered.
I was told all the time as I got closer to my due date to sleep as much as I can now because sleeping habits drastically change with a newborn around. So, if you’re feeling tired take a nap and don’t feel guilty about sleeping late in the mornings. You might not be able to enjoy those things as much after your baby arrives!
Relax and wait for your baby to arrive
Finally, the last thing to do before your baby arrives is to relax and get excited for this new adventure!
I know it can seem like there are a million things to get done before your baby is born and it can be stressful not knowing what to expect. Just remember that you were made for this.
Soon you’ll be holding your sweet little baby and all of the time spent preparing for that moment will be worth it. Congratulations momma!