As the clock ticks down toward your due date, there are so many things you need to look after. I know how hard it can be to keep track of them all, and that’s why I created this must-read list of 27 things you should do before you take your trip to the hospital!
Prepare Baby’s Sleep Area.
Have a crib (if not, get one!)? Enlist the help of your hubby and get it setup and ready to go.
If you have a bassinet, you should get that set up, too. If you have a humidifier (and you should), find a good place to set it and make sure it’s working properly.
Get the Car Seat Installed.
Hopefully you have a good car seat already. If not, you better get one, because you can’t bring your baby home from the hospital without one.
Read the instructions thoroughly, and don’t hesitate to take it to the local police station and ask for help; they will be glad to help you out for free!
Pack Your Hospital Bag.
Get your hospital bag in order.
You’re going to want things like pajamas, a robe and slippers. A water bottle might be good too, although the hospital might supply you with one. Don’t forget your iPod!
Learn Everything You Can About Feeding Your Baby.
If you’re going to be breastfeeding, read everything you can on the subject.
If you’re going to be using a breast pump, read the manual and get used to how it works and how to clean it.
Get Your Diapering Situation Figured Out.
If you’re going to be cloth diapering, you should have at least 24 on hand, which will give you enough to change 8 diapers per day and launder them on the 3rd day.
If you’re going to be using disposables, have a few different types on hand to try out and see what works best. Don’t forget to learn how to change a diaper!
Charge Your Camera Battery.
Make sure your camera battery is charged up and ready to go.
I know that everyone has a smart phone these days with the capacity to take photos, but why not have your camera ready to go, too?
You’ll want to take tons of pictures at the hospital so having the extra space and ability to take more pictures never hurts!
Make Some Freezer Meals.
The last thing you’re going to want to do after you get home from the hospital is cook, so you should pre-cook and freeze some meals ahead of time.
That way you can simply defrost them and eat. Trust me, you’re going to appreciate being able to do this, especially if your husband can’t cook! Need some inspiration?
Just search on Pinterest for freezer meals and you’ll have more than enough!
Pre-Wash Baby’s Clothes & Bedding.
You don’t necessarily have to do this, but some people might be into it.
Having the peace of mind in knowing that your baby’s not going to have any reactions due to sensitive skin.
You might want to get some baby laundry detergent to use, too. Guess what, it’s actually kind of fun to wash and fold baby’s tiny little clothes!
Pick a Pediatrician.
If this is your first child, you’re not going to have the bonus of having a pediatrician you already know and trust.
You’ll have to go through the task of finding a good one, in which case it’s a good idea to ask family and friends who might be able to give you a recommendation.
Sites like HealthGrades can also be a big help, as they allow people to rate and review doctors, but just make sure to pay attention to how many people reviewed each doctor.
It’s a good idea to have this sorted out ahead of time so that you don’t have to rush and panic to find a doctor after your baby is born.
You’ll also not have to worry that your doctor is going to be mean and grumpy and not open to questions, or that they’re just not good. Do yourself a huge favor and just get a pediatrician ahead of time!
Get a Waterproof Bed Pad.
And I don’t mean for baby; I mean for YOU. You’re going to be kicking yourself if your water breaks while you’re in bed, because you’re not going to have the time to clean it up.
Do yourself a favor and get a waterproof pad to use when you’re getting close to your due date. Don’t try to cheap out with a plastic drop cloth or something; it’s going to be way too noisy and you’re going to hate it.
Program Important Numbers Into Your (and Your Partner’s!) Phone.
No one really memorizes numbers these days, so make sure you get every important one plugged into both you and your partner’s phone.
Doctors, hospitals, family and friends; everything you might possibly need; get it in your phones. Your partner is going to probably be making a lot of calls on your behalf the day of the labor, so don’t forget him.
Make a Labor Playlist.
A lot of moms find soothing music (or even not-so-soothing if it’s their favorite!) to be a huge help during labor.
Put together a playlist of your favorite songs and pack it on your iPod or even your phone. If you have some portable speakers, bring those along too.
See If Your Insurance Covers a Breast Pump.
You might actually be able to get a free breast pump through your insurance company!
Read our other guide on how to get a free breast pump to see how.
Paint Your Nails.
This might sound silly, but you’re going to have a lot of pictures taken of you in the hospital without any makeup, and having a little bit of glam makes you feel a lot better. I like doing blue for a boy, and pink for a girl!
Get Some In-Between Clothes.
When you get out of the hospital, you’re not going to be quite as skinny as you used to be, but your maternity clothes aren’t going to fit anymore, either.
It really is a good idea (and helpful to your emotional state) to get some “in-between” clothes to wear. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but when I had my son, none of my old jeans fit until he was about 2 weeks old.
Do a Hospital Trial Run.
If you’re anything like me, doing a test run to the hospital so you know exactly how to get there and where to park will make you feel a lot better about the whole thing.
Sometimes it’s a little confusing, so it’s worth taking the time to figure it all out ahead of time. You could also look around the hospital and maternity ward, to get an idea of what you’ll be facing and where things are.
Visit the Drug Store.
A gentle laxative will probably be handy, and a nice trick is to get some rubber gloves to fill with ice to apply to sore spots.
Ask For Help.
Now might be a good time to ask friends and family for help for the first week or two, especially if your partner won’t be able to be around. Take any help you can get!
Make plans for older children and pets.
Find out who can watch after your kids and pets during the time you’ll be at the hospital, and let your kids know the plan, too.
Help them pack their overnight bags, and maybe even get a fun DVD or two to keep them occupied, and don’t forget the snacks! If you have pets, find someone who can watch them for you.
Get a Baby Book and Folder.
There is going to be a lot of new information, names and numbers to keep track of, so get a book & folder to make the job easier.
It’s also a good place to write down any questions you might want to ask the nurses and doctors, too. The folder is for all of the paperwork you’re going to be handling, so you can pull it out when you get home and have everything organized.
Lookup a Photographer.
If it interests you, you can hire a photographer who will come and take pictures of you and your baby. Some hospitals have contracts with photographers, so you could start there, or take your search to the internet.
Have Your Transportation Ready.
Make sure the car is ready to go, full of gas and reliable. If you don’t have a car, make sure you have a reliable ride to the hospital for when you need it!
Pre-register at the Hospital.
Some hospitals will allow you to pre-register before you give birth. This allows you to take care of the paperwork and insurance ahead of time.
For that matter, check with your insurance and find out what you have to do to get your baby under your coverage as soon as possible.
Clean Your House.
Most moms wish they had their house cleaned before they came home from the hospital. It’s just nice to have everything super tidy and nice and not have any clutter or messes around.
Think about hiring a housekeeper or have a friend or family member come over to help.
Stock Up on Household Supplies.
Get everything you’ll need: toilet paper and paper towel, medicine, pantry staples, etc. Anything that will keep and not spoil in the refrigerator: get it.
Make a Plan For When Labor Starts.
When those first contractions start, you’re going to appreciate having everything planned.
Your doctor should give you firm guidelines on when to call the hospital and when to actually come.
Stock Up on Entertainment.
You’re not going to want to read War & Peace, but having your favorite magazines or a lighthearted book or two will be nice.
Once your baby is at home you’re going to be way too tired and sleep-deprived to get into any heavy reading or deep movies, but some light stuff is nice.
Do you have any other suggestions for things you should do before you give birth? Let us know in the comments below!