A Practical Pregnancy To Do List with 17 Ways to Get Ready for Baby
When I was pregnant the first time, I read all sorts blogs, books and advice for the best pregnancy to do list. There was a lot of good advice out there but planner that I am, I appreciated most the practical lists. Goodness knows expecting mothers are already tired by the third trimester when we’re ready to nest, so practical is good!
Now that I’m pregnant the second time and preparing for baby’s arrival in just a few weeks, I focused on a much more practical pregnancy to do list. (Here’s what my before-baby checklist when I was pregnant with Nathan, our first, looked like if you want to compare.)
In an effort to help all the other planner Moms-to-be out there like myself, I’ve put together this practical getting ready for baby checklist – a complete pregnancy to do list. It turned out to be longer than I anticipated but I think these are all helpful things to do. If you are looking for some ideas to help you get ready, these are the things I did to get ready for our baby. Consider this my third trimester to do list for baby. Are you ready? Here we go!
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1. Save up enough money to pay for initial doctor and hospital bills when the baby is born.
Look into your insurance and see what is covered and what isn’t. Do you have a high deductible where you know exactly how much you will have to pay? Or do you pay 20% of all your bills? Whatever it is, know your insurance and start saving money now. No one wants to be stressing over hospital bills when you can spend time cuddling your new baby!
2. Stockpile diapers.
For me, stockpiling diapers is one of the best and most practical ways to prepare for baby – and save a lot of money! Why? I started doing this before I was pregnant with my first baby and so far, have spent only $100 on the almost 4000 diapers he has worn! I wrote all about it here and shared a detailed step by step guide to show how you can stockpile diapers, too. I even included a chart of all the diapers I’ve bought, where and at what price so you can see the proof of how much I’ve saved.
3. Cook freezer meals.
I spent some time the other week making a list of foods that we like to eat and are easy to prepare for the freezer. Of course, it didn’t help that our freezer decided to quit on me after I started this process, but thankfully, we were able to get it up and running again so I could finish all my freezer cooking. Real life!
Nathan and I are big breakfast eaters, so I baked some quick breads and muffins for the freezer. We can snack on those during the day, too. I also cooked and diced chicken for my husband’s lunchtime salads. Dinner was the main concern and I prepared a couple freezer meals as well as prepped some hamburger and chicken so I can throw together a pan of easy enchilada casserole and homemade chili when we need it. I also have bags of shredded cheese in the freezer as well as frozen vegetables for healthy sides.
The important thing with freezer meals is to make sure you prepare what your family likes to eat! It’s okay to buy frozen meals in this busy new baby time, too. I’ve already bought a couple frozen pizzas to have on hand for when we need a quick dinner and I don’t feel like cooking. If you’re looking for more freezer cooking ideas, check out all my freezer meal plans and recipes here.
Here are are some of my favorite freezer recipes that I prepped this time around.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- Mini Peanut Butter Muffins
- Sausage Cheese Biscuit Bites
- Homemade Bread
- Poppy Seed Chicken
- Crock Pot Fiesta Chicken
4. Stock the pantry before baby is born.
For us, this means not only having food in the pantry so I don’t have to think about shopping during those early weeks, but also having a stocked pantry with toiletries. I made sure to have enough contact solution for myself (if I’m even up to wearing contacts in those sleepless early days), shampoo, soap and toothpaste. I also make sure we have paper towels and plenty of toilet paper because who wants to think of something mundane but absolutely necessary like that in the new baby days? I also make sure to have paper plates on hand so I don’t have to worry about dishes as much. One final thing it to stock your pantry with snacks for you and any children. I have the following on hand for quick snacks in those early weeks.
- Cheese sticks
- Granola bars
- Pita chips and hummus
- Baby carrots
- Chocolate (Let’s be honest, here!)
- Your caffeine beverage of choice
I go into more detail about stocking up on household items before baby here. I am always glad I do this!
5. Buy personal items for yourself post baby.
Make sure you have at least one nursing bra. The stretchy ones are great for those first weeks when you don’t know what size you will be. I also discovered this set on Amazon which are comfortable and a great value for the money. The disposable Lansinoh nursing pads are necessary to wear inside your nursing bra. I quickly learned you need to sleep in those too! You’ll need to wear pads longer than you think so stock up ahead of time.
Someone recommended Always Infinity to me (post-baby) and I found those a great purchase. Another little thing I learned is to splurge and buy the pre-moistened facial cloths (like these) for those first weeks when you are too tired even to wash your face. It’s a little thing but totally worth the money for a new mom! A nursing gown for night time feedings is very helpful as well. Finally, like I mentioned above, it’s helpful to have some granola bars and other snacks on hand for yourself because caring for a new baby takes a lot of energy!
6. Wash the baby clothes and organize baby things.
Now that this is our second time around, I’m much more laid back – especially since I have an almost 2 year old keeping me busy. It’s also a little tricky for organizing because we are planning to leave Nathan in the crib in his room until the baby is a couple months old. We’ll keep the baby in a bassinet with us. That will be convenient for night time feedings and less transitions for Nathan all at once. However, it also means I have to figure out where to store all the baby girl clothes until we switch rooms.
Make sure you have washed the baby blankets because you will use lots of those! These Aden by Aden + Ainas light weight swaddling blankets are my favorite. They are perfect for laying on the floor, swaddling and covering up when nursing. My two year old still loves them, too, so I bought a couple more for this new baby.
7. Set up the baby’s room as much as you are able.
Things don’t have to be perfect before the baby is born but you will feel better if you have things organized. We are borrowing a bassinet from a friend and have that in our room a couple weeks early. Since we won’t do the bedroom switch until after the baby is born, we’ll be setting up other areas of the house. For us, this means setting up our pack and play in the family room, where we spend a lot of time. I also keep a basket with diapers, wipes, Desitin and a changing pad in the family room. It’s where we do almost all of our diaper changes. If this is your first, you will find yourself tweaking things once the baby is born. Do what you can now and give yourself permission to adjust in the first months.
8. Buy gripe water and baby Tylenol as well as a digital thermometer.
You want to be prepared – just in case! Gripe water was one of those wonderful discoveries in those initial weeks of baby gas. Who knew so many little ones could struggle with this so much? Gas drops didn’t do anything for our son but the all natural Mommy’s Bliss gripe water actually did give him some relief. This time around, I’m buying a bottle ahead of time so I don’t have to send my husband out to the store late at night after googling other ideas for relief. No one wants to think their baby will be sick but they will at some point. Have a digital thermometer on hand and baby Tylenol for when the doctor instructs you to give it.
9. Request free formula samples.
Even if you don’t plan on using formula, request the free samples! You can do this at anytime in your pregnancy via mail. The main two companies are Similac and Enfamil. Be sure to ask at your doctor’s office, the hospital and the pediatrician for free samples, too. I wasn’t planning on using formula with my first born but after a rough start in the NICU, we supplemented with formula for a couple weeks as he transitioned to nursing exclusively. I was very thankful for all those free samples and the money it saved me!
This time, I will be ready again with samples just in case we need them. Remember, as mom, it is your job to keep your baby well-fed, however that may be! If you don’t use the formula samples, pass them on to a friend who needs them or your local pregnancy care center. Formula is expensive and the gift will always be appreciated!
10. Wash baby bottles and sterilize breast pump.
If you are planning to pump at all, you’ll need to do this. Since I was teaching music part-time when Nathan was born, I entered into that exciting world of pumping. I was fortunate to buy a new Medela breast pump from a friend who had an extra one. This really is a great pump! It took a bit of time to get into a routine but it was so handy to have milk in the freezer for when I was out. Even though I will be home with the baby, I still plan to pump a bit for those occasional times I’m away.
If you plan to pump, be sure to buy bags to store your milk after you pump. As for bottles, there are countless options available now! We used the Tommy Tippee ones and liked those, but I’ve heard marvelous things about lots of other bottles as well. Choose one or two now and try them out with your baby before buying more.
11. Install baby car seat in the car.
We use the Chicco Keyfit 30 carseat system and have bases for both cars. It was a little pricey but I absolutely love the ease of these seats! Even though we debated for months, it was worth it to purchase the extra base, too. We’ll have the bases in both our cars a couple weeks before baby is due so we are ready…just in case! We also have to move Nathan’s carseat to make room for the new baby.
12. Pack for the hospital.
There are so many opinions on what you need at the hospital! A search on Pinterest will turn up countless lists. I pack simply and am just fine. It is true that you will still wear your maternity clothes home so plan on that. I was also very thankful that I packed flip flops because most of my swelling came (surprisingly) after baby was born! I also found that the nurses were very willing to help out and had many of those personal items at the hospital for me already.
13. Charge the camera and keep it charged!
I have a Canon DSLR that I love. It has a back-up battery so during the final months, I keep the camera charged with the backup battery ready to go. It’s a little thing but you want pictures of those first moments so don’t forget to do this! The same is try of the video camera if you want to record any hospital moments. You want the camera to be ready whenever you need to leave for the hospital!
14. Make plans for any big siblings while you are at the hospital.
We are very fortunate in that my in-laws live in town so they will be taking care of Nathan when it is time for us to head to the hospital. Even though they watch him regularly, I will still type out his general daily schedule to send along. It will be my first time being away from Nathan overnight but I know he will do just fine – and I’ll have other things on my mind! I also need to pack his suitcase and some toys. We also have a small gift for the baby to give to Nathan at the hospital, so I need to wrap that as well. In addition to talking about the new baby (as we have been from day 1), we are also reading books about babies and watching “Daniel Tiger’s Big Brother Daniel” dvd. We love Daniel Tiger and the way he teaches about being a big sibling!
15. Make plans for the baby book.
It doesn’t matter what you are planning to use but if you are planning to fill out a baby book, go ahead and make that decision now. I created both a pregnancy journal and basic baby book on Shutterfly. However, if you have an actual print baby book, you can take it along to the hospital for those first footprints.
16. Create a baby registry and sign up for baby freebies.
Even if you are not planning on any baby showers, filling out a baby registry is still a good idea because it will give you coupons and freebies! Most baby registries will offer a percentage off completion coupon, which can be handy to use after the baby is born. Target gives you free samples when you register and completion coupons after. I also like Amazon’s baby registry because it’s easy to share and add. It helps me keep track of wishes for the baby, even if I don’t share it with anyone else! Also, with Amazon’s baby registry, you can add items from any website which is quite handy. That, and it’s so easy to set up from home! What expectant mom doesn’t like that?
- Free baby carseat canopy
- Free nursing pillow
- Free uddercovers / nursing cover
- Free baby sling
- Free baby belly button band
- Free baby leggings
All of these are completely free with the code PJBABY. You can use the code multiple times, just open up a new browser window to do so. You will have to pay shipping and handling but if you were planning to buy some of these things anyway, why not get them for free?
17. Sleep and relax as much as you are able.
I know. It’s really ridiculous that third trimester insomnia hits before the baby arrives so this is easier said than done. Still, try to rest as much as you are able. The first couple weeks – and months – with a new baby are a wonderful blur!
There you have it! These are 17 practical ways to get ready for baby. I’d love to hear from all the other Moms out there, expecting or not, what would YOU add to this pregnancy to do list?
Wow, this list is soooo helpful! My husband and I are trying for our second right now, so I can’t help myself from already wanting to plan a little 😉 I have been trying really hard to cut back on our expenses, but I haven’t started on diapers yet (and my son is still wearing them!) so I’m heading over to your diaper article right now! I’ve known for a while that I’m wasting so much on diapers, but I just didn’t know where to start finding good deals. Also, I can’t wait to try your freezer meals! That will be helpful too. I know one of the biggest shockers for me and my husband the first time around was the cost of prenatal care and delivery (I had assumed insurance would cover more than it did). Ever since then, we started a Health Savings Account and I’m really hoping that it will be able to cover most, if not all, of our deductible.
Thanks, Nikki! I’m a planner too, hence the diaper stockpiling! 🙂 Diapers are a great way to save lots of money on your baby! And yes, having the money already saved in your HSA is a huge stress reducer when it comes to baby.
If you are a primping type, schedule haircut, color, mani-pedicure — whatever you “need” to get done before baby. You will be glad your hands and hair look nice for those glowy birth photos. If you’re not fussy about your beauty regimen, you will have the best makeover of all — the fresh complexion that comes with pushing (hopefully) for a short, painless time.
Prep your guest room. Get all that bedding and such done now because soon Great Aunt So-and-so will descend upon your home to gaze upon the cherub and offer free advice to mom. In our home, we will have a houseful on the weekend of our baby’s baptism.
Other things on my list: dust off/launder//clean/repair all the baby items I saved from our daughter’s birth more than 5 years ago. That includes diaper pail, baby tub, stroller, car seat, monitor, linens, etc.
One unique item that is important to me is to go to the fabric store, buy a yard of flannel, and seam up the edges for a large, lightweight swaddling blanket. I bought a similar one from an Amish seamstress for my daughter years ago, and thought, “Why aren’t all the receiving blankets this size and weight?” The warm, thin fabric folds away easily, but in an instant you have a perfect piece for towel, play mat, bug cover, stroller liner, car cuddler, etc. If you’re not a sewer, check Etsy for many adorable options to fit your tastes/decor.
Good luck, ladies!
Those are all great pieces of advice, Mary! I love big swaddling blankets, too. They are so handy to cover up with nursing, wrap the baby up when you’re out, or spread on the floor. I especially like the idea of prepping guest rooms now. Ours is the same baptism weekend, so it’s good to do what you can now! Here’s to accomplishing lots in the final weeks of our pregnancies!
As much as I love having people over really the first few weeks it would have been kinder for others to leave me a heat up and eat meal as opposed to all the visits. Just growing it out there especially because I had no family support. When I was part of a moms group later I did make it part of our practice. I know that group still does that.
I agree completely, Corena! I try to remember that, too. When you’re exhausted in those newborn days, a meal dropped is easier to handle than having to entertain company.
Yes, to everything on this list! Stocking up on essentials like t.p., paper towels, is genius–I never thought to do that, but it’s for sure going on my list! We have very similar plans! One thing I am planning to do is get my hair cut and a pedicure about a month before baby is born. Those self-care things get put on the shelf so easily and hopefully then I can avoid a hormone induced haircut (and color job-super dark!) post baby. 🙂
Oh, yes, Kate. The stocking up on essentials is SO helpful! Because this time around, we’d have to venture out with a toddler AND a baby! I know it will take a bit to get into the swing of things. I just got my hair cut the other week, and need to repaint my toe nails, too! Sometimes the little things are just as important as the big! 🙂
What a fun read for me! It was like a trip down memory lane! 🙂 I’d say in your suitcase to include stuff the baby. With our second, we brought a swaddle and the noise machine and what a difference it made! I think with the second we were definitely more laid back about everything as well.
Yes! I was just unpacking baby clothes and the swaddles last night! Our hospital also gives us a swaddle too, which is lovely, because those really are lifesavers. I’m much more laid back this time around, too! Glad to hear I’m not alone with that, Vera!