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  • Writer's pictureFFM

Things to do Before Baby Arrives: What Every Parent Should Know

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Are you asking questions like "What should I do before the baby comes?" and "How do I prepare for the arrival of my newborn?" Well here's everything I wish we would've known!!!

things to do before baby arrives

Congrats, soon-to-be parents! While this journey is incredibly rewarding, it's also full of surprises and challenges. So, before the big day, here are some key things you should know to help you prepare for the joyful adventure ahead. You're starting at the right place!

If you want to start checking off your todo list at home, download our Before Baby Checklist. Just download, print, and start checking things off!

What To Do a Month Before Baby Arrives:

It's the final countdown! Here's some things to focus on:

  • Finalize baby preparations: Ensure that the nursery is set up and stock up on all the baby items in my Newborn Essentials List.

  • Prepare for birth: Continue to learn about skills that will help you during labor and delivery. I always tell expecting moms that Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is a must-read before birth- it is incredibly encouraging. For other ways to prepare for birth, read my post The Third Trimester: Preparing Your Body for Birth.

  • Create a birth plan (if you want one): Discuss your birth preferences with your healthcare provider and create a birth plan outlining your preferences for pain management, delivery methods, and other important aspects of the birthing process. For more about birth plans, read our post What is a Birth Plan?

  • Pack a hospital bag: Prepare a bag with essentials for your hospital stay, and use this Hospital Bag Checklist as a guide.

  • Set up support systems: Reach out to family, friends, or support groups who can provide assistance and support during the early days of parenthood. Some people might want visitors right away, but others won't. Talk to your partner about what support systems feel right for your family after birth. Consider reading my Visitors After Birth post to help with this discussion.

  • Install a car seat: Ensure that a properly installed baby car seat is ready for use when it's time to bring the baby home from the hospital.

  • Stock up on food: Having a stocked pantry and fridge for your first couple weeks with a newborn is essential. Whether you homemake some meals and freeze them to have later, or you purchase ready-made freezer meals from the store, just make sure you're stocked up. Be sure to also have easy snacks to grab like string cheese, granola bars, body armor hydration drinks, protein balls, and others.

Fun Things To Do Before Baby Arrives:

Okay, as you're getting ready for baby to arrive, it's important to have fun too! These days are bittersweet as you grow your family in an entirely new way. Here's some ideas to cherish this special time and have some fun things to do before baby arrives:

  • Capture memories: Consider scheduling a maternity photoshoot to capture the beauty of pregnancy. You can also create a pregnancy journal to document your journey and feelings during this special time.

  • Prepare the nursery: Decorating the nursery can be a fun and exciting activity. Get creative with colors, themes, and furniture arrangements. It can be a bonding experience for you both.

  • Take classes or workshops: Consider enrolling in classes or workshops that focus on baby care, parenting, or infant CPR. It can be both educational and enjoyable, providing you with valuable knowledge and skills.

  • Pamper yourself: Treat yourself to self-care activities such as prenatal massages, spa days, or indulging in hobbies you enjoy. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is important during this time.

  • Travel and explore new places: Take advantage of this time to explore some new places. After all, yes, traveling with a baby is possible, but it can bring on some additional new challenges as well.

  • Engage in hobbies and interests: Pursue activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. It could be anything from painting, photography, dancing, playing a musical instrument, cooking, or joining a recreational team. Explore your passions and dedicate time to activities that make you happy.

  • Socialize and build connections: Attend social events, join clubs or organizations, and meet new people who share similar interests or perhaps might be expecting a baby too. Building a strong network of friends and connections can lead to meaningful relationships and memorable experiences as you enter this new phase of life.

Fun Things To Do With Husband Before Baby Arrives:

How about some fun ideas for you and your husband to spend time together before your newest family member arrives!

  • Babymoon: Plan a relaxing getaway or staycation with your partner to enjoy some quality time together before the baby arrives. It can be a great opportunity to relax, unwind, spend time together, or even to talk about baby names. For ideas of where and when to babymoon, visit my Best Babymoon Ideas post.

  • Date nights: Take advantage of the pre-baby period to go on regular date nights with your partner. Enjoy dinners, movies out, or activities that you both love, as it may become more challenging to have alone time once the baby arrives.

  • Enjoy quiet moments: Take time to simply relax and enjoy each other's company. Have cozy evenings at home, cuddle up for movie nights, or have meaningful conversations about your hopes and plans for your family.

What to Expect With a Newborn:

Here's what I wish we would've known about those first few days with a newborn:

  • In the hospital, the nurses may or may not help you out too much. We found ourselves using the "call" button many times, as our nurses did not provide much information and we were first time parents with not too much information.

  • If you've never changed a diaper, don't worry! The nurses will teach you or you can pull up a Youtube video, or, worst case scenario, you will figure it out.

  • If you are trying to breastfeed, the first few days (give or take) you will produce colostrum until it transitions to milk. Baby will want to eat constantly those first few days and nights, and it can be painful as you get used to it (at least it was for me). Something else I didn't know related to breastfeeding was that the first few weeks of baby's life, you have to offer a feeding every ~2 hours. I had no idea feedings were going to be so frequent, and wish I would've been more prepared about that! More on all of this in my How to Breastfeed and Pump post.

  • On the topic of breastfeeding, if your milk is taking a little longer to come in, or if you have a low supply at first, you can consider having the right foods, drinks, and vitamins on-hand when you get home from the hospital. To learn all about how to increase milk supply, visit my How to Increase Breastmilk Supply post.

  • Bring plenty of snacks and drinks to the hospital for those first few days. You need to keep yourself hydrated and fed so that you can support baby. More information on this can be found in my Hospital Bag Checklist post.

  • You will need to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for baby to be seen around 3 days after birth.

  • You are not going to get much sleep in the hospital as the nurses constantly check on you and the baby. Try to have your partner comfort baby between feedings so that you can get some sleep. Remember, parenting is a team effort!

  • It might be helpful to discuss your roles and expectations with your partner before baby arrives. Show them this blog post so they are prepared, too.

  • Always change baby's diaper before feeding them. This way, they can eat and go to sleep right after, instead of being woken up with a diaper change.

  • I was prepared to watch for signs of PPA and PPD, but I was not familiar with the "baby blues" (mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, etc.) which 80% of women experience! This took me completely by surprise the first few weeks after having a baby. If I would've known more about the baby blues, I might not have opted to have visitors right away. It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. If you're on the fence about visitors, read my Visitors After Baby post.

Parenthood is an incredible journey filled with love, laughter, and yes, a little chaos. But by knowing what to expect and being prepared, you can have even more confidence going into it. I hope this helps you have a bit of fun, enjoy time with your husband, and know what to expect when your baby arrives. The more you know, the more prepared you can be.

Remember to download, print, and fill out this Before Baby Checklist to help keep you on track. Congratulations, and welcome to this joyful phase of life!

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