If you’re a new mom wondering what needs to be done before your baby arrives, here’s a thorough list of exactly what to do before baby arrives to help you be as prepared as possible.
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Full disclosure: I am completely list-obsessed. I make lists for everything. Grocery lists, to-do lists, cleaning lists, yearly lists. You name it, and I’ve probably got a list for it. The one thing better than a good old-fashioned to-do list is a planner that has space for EVERY kind of list you could imagine, like this one.
Now that is my kind of list maker.
But I digress…
Before we go any further I want to quickly let you know that if you haven’t yet made a baby registry on Amazon, you SHOULD get on that – and soon! (You get tons of perks simply by creating the baby registry). Click here to create a free baby registry.
Since I love to make lists for, well, everything, (I might spend more time MAKING lists than I ever do completing the tasks ON the lists I make), you can bet as soon as I found out I was pregnant… I made a list.
I researched and made a list of everything that my husband and I needed to get done before this baby came, and everything we’d need after the baby came. And now, with this baby arriving any time, I’m realizing that we still have a lot of stuff to cross off our baby to-do list.
(So naturally, instead of getting to work crossing stuff off our to-do list, I decided to sit down and write this post for you so you don’t have to waste time creating a baby to-do list, you can just copy this one!)
What to do before your baby arrives
Here’s my baby to-do list of 17 things to do before baby arrives.
1. Create a baby registry
Creating a baby registry will allow you to easily let people know what it is that you still need for your baby, without having to tell every single person time and time again. Most people are extremely grateful when there’s a baby registry, that way if they don’t know what to get you they don’t have to guess what you’ll need, they can look on your registry and get you something from there.
You can create a FREE baby registry here. After you have created your registry you will receive a 10% – 15% completion discount, free returns on baby store purchases, AND you can add items to your baby registry from any site with the click of a button.
Even if you plan on having your baby shower after the baby arrives, I’m willing to bet you’re not going to want to spend time worrying about creating your baby registry when you have an adorable newborn to take care of.
2. Pack your hospital bag
Packing your hospital bag a good amount of time before you’re due is a good idea, this way it’s one more thing checked off your list and you’re prepared just in case your baby decides to make an early entrance to the world.
Once you’ve got your diaper bag, it’s time to get it packed. You can see everything you should be packing in your diaper bag by clicking here.
3. Get a breast pump
Even if you don’t plan on bottle-feeding your baby, you should still get a breast pump. (You might even decide that feeding your babe with a bottle every once in a while isn’t such a bad idea.)
Using a breast pump has a lot of benefits, including helping your milk come in, increasing your milk supply, and allowing you to relieve sore breasts if your baby hasn’t eaten in a while and you’re out and about. You can also pump and freeze your breastmilk so your baby can drink breastmilk even when you’re not around.
Breast pumps can be expensive, but some insurance companies will pay for breast pumps, so be sure to check yours out before you go out and buy one.
4. Get milk storage bags
If you’re going to be pumping at all you’re going to need somewhere to store all that extra milk. This is where milk storage bags come in handy. These are sterilized plastic bags made specially to store your breast milk, and they are made strong enough to be frozen and stored for long periods of time without breaking (they also include measurements on the bag so you can see exactly how much milk is in each bag).
You’ll want to have a couple packs of these on hand and ready for when your baby comes. These are the best priced milk storage bags I’ve seen.
THIS is something I’m doing like crazy before baby gets here, because I know I’m going to have a hard time balancing everything with a new baby. Since my husband and I are on a strict budget and can’t afford to order take-out every night, it will be super handy to have some pre-made meals in the freezer so I don’t have to worry about making dinner for a few weeks.
(Or months – if I can get that far ahead).
This is the freezer cooking course that’s helping me make a BUNCH of freezer meals on a small budget. (I made 20 freezer meals in one evening for under $100! Find out how I did it here!)
6. Stock up on Maxi Pads
I’m sure you’ve heard of maxi pads by now, and if you’re anything like me you’re stocking up on so many pads you’ve made your baby’s diaper stash look small.
(Speaking of diapers, you’re going to want to stock up on those, too. These are some of the cheapest newborn diapers I’ve found.)
After you deliver your baby you’re going to be bleeding pretty heavily for about 10 days, then light bleeding for up to 6 weeks (yup – SIX weeks). I’m most definitely not going to go into this postpartum phase unprepared… or un-maxi-padded.
I don’t want to have to make a trip to the store a week after delivering my baby because I didn’t stock up on enough pads. You can buy the Maxi Pads in bulk, here (make sure you get the ones with wings).
This is a trick I learned from another mama. She said she puts these Tucks pads on top of her Maxi Pads. This helps add absorption AND helps your lady parts feel better with a cooling touch.
These pads also have witch hazel in them, which is anti-inflammatory and antiviral.
Once you’ve got some Tucks pads you can put them in your fridge and anytime you go to the bathroom you can put a nice cool Tucks pad on top of your maxi pad for some pain relief.
This pain relieving spray is cooling and moisturizing, AND it comes in a no-touch application bottle, so you can spray it on without having to touch your tender areas.
I have heard AWESOME things about this spray, and it’s definitely something on my list of things to get before baby comes. You can get the spray here.
9. Get Vaseline
Going to the bathroom after delivery is one of the most daunting thoughts I’m facing right now. I can only imagine how painful it will be to PEE after giving birth if I tear during delivery and have to get stitches.
Not a nice thought.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of different creams and ointments out there that claim to help you heal faster after delivery, but none of them solved my problem of “but what about peeing?!”
Until I learned this trick somewhere along the way. One mama said she put VASELINE on her stitches before she went to the bathroom, and that helped keep the pee off of the stitches to avoid the burn.
So, long story short, you’re probably going to want to stock up on a BIG jug of vaseline. (I know I am.) Plus, if you get this baby vaseline you can also use it on your baby’s bottom (which is helpful to keep the first few day’s tar-like poop from sticking to their bum).
10. Get stool softeners
While we’re on the topic of going to the bathroom postpartum…
I can only imagine that straining to go to the bathroom after giving birth is something every woman wants to avoid – so in lieu of that, stool softeners are a must-have on my list.
As far as I understand, most hospitals will give you a little bit of stool softener after you deliver, but I know I’m going to want to have some at home so I don’t have to worry about getting backed up OR straining to go to the washroom.
On top of stool softeners, I’m also going to be stocking up on prunes to help keep things moving smoothly.
11. Get Lanolin cream
If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, dry, cracked nipples are something to look forward to.
Thankfully, this Lanolin cream can help relieve some of that pain. The cream helps soothe and protect sore nipples, it’s safe for baby, and it’s 100% natural.
It’s a safe way to try and prevent, and if not prevent, to soothe sore nipples.
12. Install the car seat
This one’s important! If you don’t have a car seat installed in your vehicle the hospital won’t let you take your baby home.
Since it’s hard to know whether baby is going to make its appearance early or late, your best bet is to get your car seat installed with plenty of time to spare. (A month in advance is probably a safe bet.)
If you don’t have a car seat yet, it’s definitely time to start thinking about getting one. Here are a couple of the top-rated infant car seats.
13. Wash baby’s clothes
Whether you’re buying new or used clothes, you’re going to want to get them washed and put away nicely in the drawers so it’s all ready for when your baby comes home.
Since my husband and I are still in the midst of moving (yikes – let’s hope baby doesn’t come too early), I got all the clothes washed and separated by size and put each size/gender of clothing into individual bags so as soon as we get fully moved into our new place it’ll be easy to get all the clothes organized quickly.
14. Stock up on diapers
Diapers are something you are not going to want to run out of once you have that precious baby at home.
My husband and I are cloth diapering, but for the first couple of months we are going to be using disposable diapers while we get the hang of everything.
Whether you’re using cloth diapers or disposables, it’s important to have enough on hand so that you’re prepared for when the baby comes – and so you don’t have to make any emergency trips to the store to pick up more diapers.
But, of course, you won’t know whether your baby is going to be in preemie diapers or newborn diapers just yet, so don’t stock up on too many diapers – have just enough to get you by for a while, so that once your baby is home you can figure out what size you’re going to need and go buy more of that size. If you prefer online shopping, you can buy diapers here.
15. Get nursing bras, tops, and pads
If you plan on breastfeeding your baby you’re going to want to have a handful of nursing bras and tops on hand.
You will also want to have nursing pads (whether or not you plan on breastfeeding) on hand to be prepared for when your milk comes in.
16. View the hospital
If you’ve never delivered at your hospital before, it’s a good idea to go there and take a walk around.
This way when you’re rushing to the hospital in labor, you know where to park, where to go in, and where IN the hospital it is you need to go.
Some hospitals will even let you pre-register, this way you don’t have to worry about filling out forms and paperwork when you’re at the hospital in labor.
17. Get a baby book
If you are planning on having a baby book for your baby (which I think is a GREAT idea), now is the time to go out and get one so you are ready to start filling in the important stuff as soon as your baby is born.
HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST
Not sure what you should pack in your hospital bag? I wasn’t, either. Here’s a quick list of things you’ll want to pack in your hospital bag.
- Pajamas (for you and your hubby)
- Comfy bathrobe
- Comfy shoes (for your hubby)
- Flip flops (in case you need to use the hospital showers)
- Loose pants
- Water bottle
- Going home outfit (for you and your hubby)
- A plastic bag for the dirty laundry
- Nursing pads
- Big, comfy underwear (the hospital should provide you with some, but you can pack your own just in case you don’t find the hospital ones comfortable)
- Nursing bras
- Lip balm (my lips ALWAYS get dry, so I’m definitely going to be packing this in my hospital bag)
- Boppy (click here to get a free one with the code deliberatelyhere1)
- Pajamas x2
- Diapers (the hospital should provide enough, but it’s better to be safe rather than sorry)
- Wipes (again, the hospital should provide enough, but just in case…)
- Burp Rags
- Baby mitts
What about you? Do you feel prepared to have this baby? What is on your list of what to do before baby arrives?
I’d love to hear your experience. Are you a first-time mom trying to figure everything out, or do you already have kids and are simply looking for a refresher?
What would YOU add to this what to do before baby arrives list?