My Before-Baby Checklist

My Before Baby Checklist - Projects to Accomplish in the Final Weeks of Pregnancy

It’s hard to believe I’m in the final weeks of pregnancy already. This pregnancy continues to pass so quickly. Every day is drawing us closer to the day when we hold our baby in our arms!

My doctor told me at my last appointment that once I reach the 34 week mark (which comes in 2 more days), if my labor starts, they won’t stop it. Of course, we obviously want the baby to stay put until the full-term 39 week mark but that comment from the doctor made Andy and I both think. We have quite a bit to get done yet!

For a little bit of extra motivation, I thought I’d share my ongoing “Before Baby” checklist. I am hoping that the nesting urge helps me accomplish everything on my list. I know the baby will arrive whether we are ready or not…ready being a relative term, of course! Planner that I am, I am still doing what I can to make sure we are as ready as can be.

1. Buy and install a new dishwasher. (DONE)

Our dishwasher stopped working last summer. Well, it worked but left my dishes so spotty that I was rewashing almost everything. For the last six months, I’ve been washing our dishes by hand as we set aside money for a replacement. We took advantage of our last snow day to venture out and purchase a new dishwasher. My handy father-in-law installed it later that week. Yay! It’s nice to have this household project accomplished before the baby.

2. Set up the baby’s room. 

I’ve already washed and sorted all the hand-me-down baby clothes we were given, and organized all the diapers and wipes. We still need to get the baby’s crib put together and hang some things on the walls. We are borrowing a bassinet from a friend for the first few weeks and have a Pack ‘n Play ready to go but the baby’s actual room needs finishing touches.

3. Finish my preschool plans through March and plan for maternity subs. 

I already know all my themes for the rest of the year and have my religion plans finished through March. I still need to fill in books and activities. I plan to spend the next couple of nap times at school finishing up my plans for February and March. This way, if the baby comes early, my plans will still be finished.

I also need to plan for and meet with my maternity subs. I have three different subs covering my various roles at school. One teacher (Christa) is teaching my four-year-old class, while another teacher (Jeni) is teaching my three-year-old class. The former music teacher (Elaine) is coming back to teach my music class. They will do most of the planning necessary but I still need to meet with all of them in preparation. I also need to go through my library and lay out picture pictures for the rest of my preschool themes this year.

4. Prepare for and direct the school musical. 

This is a key one for me! We moved our music date up two weeks (to March 14th) with the hopes that I can direct the musical before the baby is born. If not, I have capable fellow teachers who will step in for me – and the show will go on. Until then, I am busy teaching all the songs from “Rescue in the Night” to the Kindergarteners through 8th grade. With so many snow days in January, we’ve already lost quite a bit of practice time so we are staying quite busy in music class!

5. Cook freezer meals and organize the freezer. 

My mom is flying up after the baby is born, and my mother-in-law is minutes away in town. I know the two of them will help me keep the house running smoothly in my first weeks home with the baby. Still, I want to have some freezer meals ready so Andy can help me cook dinner. I plan to cook baked oatmeal, poppy seed chicken, and a couple other freezer recipes to be determined. I already have sloppy joes, chili and cooked hamburger meat in the freezer, so that’s a nice start. Any suggestions on what else I should cook? In addition to cooking freezer meals, I need to clean out and organize my upright freezer.

6. Buy the baby’s car seat and install it in my car. 

Obviously, we can’t leave the hospital without a car seat so this is certainly high on our list in importance. The local hospital where I will be delivering has car seat checks so I need to stop by and get the car seat checked by them, after we install it. We are planning on getting an extra base for Andy’s car so we can easily switch the baby between our cars depending where we are going.

7. Make website plans for during my maternity leave. 

I haven’t quite decided what to do on this one yet. I’m debating whether I schedule some advance posts or whether I take the time completely off from blogging. I know you, my faithful readers, will be supportive either way. Still, do you want to weigh in on this topic?

8. Attend baby showers and write thank you’s. 

Two teacher friends from school, Allison and Tonya, graciously threw me a baby shower last Saturday. The gifts are lovely, but it is even more lovely to know that everyone shares our excitement for this baby! My sister-in-law, Kara, is hosting a family baby shower for us at the beginning of March. I am a firm believer in the importance of promptly written thank you notes, so I will endeavor to stay on top of this task.

9. Pack for the hospital and keep the camera charged. 

I know there is still plenty of time but I am the type who would rather pack sooner than later. Of course, I don’t quite know all of what I should truly pack since everyone seems to have so many different opinions on this. The easier task is to keep our camera charged. I also have a back-up battery but I am committed to recharging the camera battery every other week because I don’t want to miss any of those new baby moments!

10. Update my pregnancy photo book and start our 2014 family album. 

Speaking of pictures, I have decided to continue with my online photo albums. I’ve been creating a pregnancy journal at Shutterfly with my weekly bump pictures and journaling about this pregnancy. I want to keep that updated by adding pictures every other week or so.

I’ve also decided to create one large yearly photo album for our family. I still plan to create smaller vacation albums since those free codes abound. However, I’d like to create one large 12 by 12 album for all our family pictures in the year. I have January’s snow pictures in the album and plan to add to the album monthly.

Because a baby is only a baby once, I decided to create a smaller 8 by 8 album with one large monthly picture and a page of journaling about the baby’s monthly growth. I spent some time creating the entire format for this album already so now I just have to add the picture and journal each month. I hope this will make it easier to complete this book for the baby.

There you have it. That is my to-do list that I want to accomplish before the baby is born. I’m sure there will be lots of other tasks that keep me busy in the evenings when I’m not teaching preschool or piano. I’m trying to get what sleep I can but this active baby of ours makes it a challenge some nights. I guess it really is true that this final trimester of sleeplessness eases you into getting up to feed the baby? Are there any other pre-baby projects that you found helpful to accomplish? I’ll keep you updated with my progress!

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  1. Getting excited to meet Baby Whirrett! Take your time getting back to the blog and enjoy these precious moments. I spent too much time with my first getting ready for the next stage instead of enjoying the stage we were in. For food and meals, I found with both boys that they were sensitive to tomato sauces. So, you might keep that in mind when people ask what they should bring (or not bring). Also, even though I still loved my slightly spicy mexican, it was about four months until the boys digestive systems could handle that.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! We’re eager to meet him, too! Good advice. I’m trying to slow down right now and enjoy these final pregnancy moments, too, before entering the newborn stage. Good to know about the foods, too! I’ll keep an eye on that. I can’t believe your boys are as big as they are already!

  2. I’ve never commented here but you said you were still confused about what to pack for the hospital. I recently just had baby #2. My advice for your bag would be to pack the stuff that is important to you. Truthfully the things that mattered the most to me were my toiletries (shampoo, shower gel, lotion etc…) it is nice to feel clean the way you like to when you are able to take a shower. Also, with everything people tell you to bring they never tell you to make sure your husband has a bag to take also. With our first my husband was ill prepared (as in he went with the clothes on his back) and although this makes for a funny story of his mother bringing pants just a tad too small and a shirt he hadn’t worn since high school; for #2 I added a pair of sleep clothes and a change of day clothes along with his basic toiletries to my bag. That way, your husband only has to leave if he wants to. Also, it’s not necessary but my husband really likes to have some kind of food (such as granola bars or energy bars, something portable and quick) with him as he doesn’t really like to leave me when I am in labor. I hope this helps. Also, my grandma told me with my first to listen to everybody that gives you advice, thank them and then use what works for you and your baby. And truthfully that was the best advice I ever received. Also, Congratulations!!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I like your Grandma’s advice…and yours is great, too! 🙂 I hadn’t thought about adding a change of clothes for my husband to the bag. I will add that to my list. Congratulations to you and your family on baby number 2, as well!

  3. Some advice that you didn’t ask for- Hopefully you will have a newborn that sleeps like a newborn is supposed to, but just in case….
    1. If baby has trouble going to sleep turn the vacuum on for a few minutes. It really worked for my #1.
    2. People told me this one but I didn’t listen. If you breastfeed and baby is often fussy limit your dairy products and see if it makes a difference. Our #1 ended up being sensitive to both dairy and soy. He never slept and when I gave up dairy at lunch he slept through the night that night. I was upset with myself for not even trying this one because people gave me that advice at the baby shower.

    1. I am hoping (and praying) that our baby sleeps like a baby is supposed to sleep. Until he’s born, I guess we’ll have to wait and see! I will indeed remember that dietary advice – as well as all of your other advice. Quite helpful indeed. Thank you!

  4. #2 Don’t rush-as long as you have diapers, clothes, and a place for baby to sleep, you can always decorate babies room more and organize more later. We didn’t even put the crib together until #1 was about 10 months old!
    #3 If you only get one thing accomplished on your list, do this one. You really don’t want to worry about your preschoolers while you want to snuggle with baby.
    #5 You can make a few meals but don’t worry about this. You really will be able to cook after mom goes home. You’ll be amazed how fast you get back to regular activities.
    #6 We bought our infant car seat/base/and stroller at Menards of all places. You might check if they have any deals.
    Have you checked when you are on one income if you qualify for WIC? Because we qualified for WIC we also qualified for free car seats. I don’t know if this is a MN only program, but we chose to buy the infant car seat and then got all the rest of the car seats/booster seats free until we moved to ID. We did have to watch a movie about car seat safety and sign a bunch of papers but it was worth it to get free car seats. I had a friend that both worked but while on maternity leave she qualified for WIC on one income so she used WIC then. I know people don’t agree with using WIC, but I figure it is one place the government is supporting families/mothers/babies and life. We only got what we actually used, not the tons of milk and juice that we were allowed to get. It may be something to look into. It would also help your grocery budget.
    #7 Please feel free to take some time off and don’t blog in advance. Pop in a few times and tell us about baby-or even just post a photo of baby without any words. We’ll be fine until you feel like blogging again.
    #8 People will understand if you are not prompt with thank you notes, especially if baby shower is close to baby’s birth or after baby is born.
    #9 Don’t stress about this, Andy can always go home if you need something.
    #10 I think you should save this one for after baby is born. Once you are used to the routine of being a new mom, you need something to do while Andy is at work! Out of your list this would be the least important to get done before baby but I know it is also one of the most fun ones to do.

  5. I completely agree with Lisa, what ever works best for you….just an update about your beautiful baby is all that we would wish for! We will be here when you come back to us. As always I am so impressed with your planning! Don’t forget to rest somewhere in there 🙂

    1. Thanks, Barb. I’m a planner by nature, but am thankful for all of you understanding the changes to come. The updates will be coming! 🙂

  6. As long as you let us know when the baby comes, a picture and details….I think we all just want you to do what works best for you and your growing family. I feel so blessed to share this journey with you.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I will be certain to post an update (complete with pictures of the baby) whenever that special day arrives. Thank YOU for sharing the journey with me!

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