Holy cow – this pregnancy has flown by! I just entered month 9. Luckily I saved everything from Wyatt’s infant days (which were basically yesterday) so I am feeling very prepared this time around. I compiled a third trimester checklist – for both first time moms and repeat moms. Although SO MANY girls I know are pregnant right now and they asked me for tips, I am also doing this because pregnancy brain has taken over my life and I will probably benefit from this list more than anyone! The struggle is real you guys…
MATERNITY & NEWBORN PHOTOS
If you planned to take maternity photos, you probably scheduled them for some time this trimester. A lot of women like to do this the 7th or 8th month for a few reasons. First, you are probaby sporting a nice round basketball by now so you’ll really look pregnant in your photos. It is easier to feel beautiful and glowing before those final few weeks that feel like years. Secondly, should you deliver early, it is nice to know your photos are done before it was too late! If you planned on scheduling professional newborn photos, make sure you have done this by now! Many photographers book WAY in advance and only accept infants within the first few weeks of life while they are still sleepy and squishy and scrumptious.
PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
I packed our bags as we entered month 9, just in case. I am working on a blog post about what we included. Remember, hospital food is gross and depending on your time of delivery (not to mention earlier stages of labor) the kitchen may be closed. I packed energy drinks for hubby, water bottles, an assortment of protein bars, and granola mix. I asked my mom and sister if they had any requests so everyone was energized and happy. As I purchased or received items that I wanted to bring with me, I added them to our bags, which I had by the nursery door.
PURCHASE A BABY MEMORY BOOK (and bring it to the hospital)
My favorite baby memory book is the First Year Photo Album by Milestone. I love this book because it is blank, allowing me to fully customize each page. It comes with cute milestone stickers to allow you to craft the book throughout baby’s first year. I really struggle with the premade books because they don’t always offer a page for the memory I am trying to capture. The First Year Photo Album by Milestone features very high quality acid free photo paper with protective sheets over each page. Make sure to pack the book in your hospital bag so you can ask the nurses for tiny hand and foot prints right on one of the pages. I also got a few gel pens for recording and will leave them stored with the first year memory book. Back up pens are a must to make sure everything matches.
ENJOY YOUR BABY SHOWER
Many expectant moms enjoy a baby shower in the early third trimester. Around 7 months worked well for me – I had a nice round belly for photos but could still breath! Again, if you deliver early it is nice to have the items you registered for ready to go.
This may be the last thing you feel like doing with sore feet and a big bump in the way. I have little bursts of energy where I get SO much done in half an hour – a load of laundry, put cleaner in the tubs and toilets, empty and fill the dishwasher, scrub the windowsills, Swiffer the floors, then BAM! I’m pooped. If you are struggling with energy, hire a service to scrub your house. Look for deals on Groupon or Living Social if you plan on hiring someone. Order some pizzas and mooch your friends and mom to help. I actually look forward to my weekend cleaning binges because I just picture being upright for a few hours helps baby get into position and one step closer to labor. At least I keep telling myself that…
MAKE FREEZER MEALS
I will be doing a separate post on recipes, but I cannot stress this enough. I failed to follow through with this plan the first time around and it was a struggle to get dinner together every night. And I am a food blogger who genuinely loves to cook! Prep slow cooker bags, make big batches of soup to freeze, and throw together some egg, Canadian bacon and cheese muffins. You won’t regret it!
MAKE THESE PADSICLES
This may be one of the most important items on your third trimester checklist. Trust me on this. Have these ready in the freezer so you are not scrambling for comfort once you are home from the hospital. See my post for DIY Postpartum Padsicles here.
INSTALL THE CARSEAT
Safety is key here. You can even have your local police department check the install.
TOUR AND PREREGISTER AT THE HOSPITAL
Sign up online for one of the offered time slots at your hospital. We turned this into a fun date night. First, we grabbed dinner near the hospital (so we could take the route we would be taking when it was go time) then we did our tour. They showed us the delivery rooms, the different equipment, recovery rooms, the c-section area, and explained what to expect in different scenarios. You can also preregister so your check in is quicker.
CHOOSE A PEDIATRICIAN
Ask family and friends for local suggestions. You may want to choce a provider close to your home, or perhaps closer to your childcare facility or work. The pedi will visit you and baby before you leave the hospital. If you have a boy and choose to circumsize, the pedi will most likely perform the procedure too.
HAVE IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR FIRST DECISIONS
Circumcision? Pierced ears? Baptism or other religious ceremony? Maternity leave? Extended leave? Daycare center, home daycare, grandparents? Are you sweating yet? DON’T’! Remember, every single parent to ever have parented this day in age has had to make these decisions and you will figure it all out. Think about what is best for your family and go with that. After the birth, when you are consumed with awe and emotions, is not always the best time to make decisions, especially if you and your partner have differing views.
PREPARE YOUR BIRTH PLAN
or don’t! I’ll be honest – I did not create a formal written birth plan because I did not want to get too hung up on certain things. My goal was unmedicated labor (only because I get very claustrophobic when I am numb). I also knew I wanted to breastfeed and wanted that uninterrupted skin to skin time after birth. Many women want the epidural as soon as they can and know ahead of time that they will be using formula. Whether you choose to write these things down or not, be sure to communicate to your partner and whoever else is going to be present at the birth.
COMPILE A “WHO TO TELL WHEN” LIST
Everyone has a different comfort level with making the big annoucement – some friends have “checked in” on Facebook the second they get to the hospital, others have waited until baby is safely at home a few days to let the world in on the news. Whatever works for your family is best. Discuss a plan with your partner, and communicate that plan to your loved ones so no one is offended. I personally think it is really important to allow the parents to make the first social media photo introduction. I know someone close to me who was robbed of that experience and as silly as it may seem, it is pretty unfair and just bad manners. Always ask the parents their preference.
PLAN SOME DATES
Plan activities with your significant other, your friends, your mom, your sister. Surround yourself with people you love. Most blog posts I see focus solely on date nights with your honey. Remember the other important people in your life because let’s be honest, soon you won’t have the freedom or energy to up and leave whenever the opportunity arises. I have also seen the suggestion of planning dates with your other children if you have them. Take extra care to cuddle your pets too – they are very sensitive and can sense the impending change.
SPEND SOME TIME BY YOURSELF
As a stay-at-home work-at-home mom, I can say this is super important especially this second time around. I am very rarely alone, and I am ok with that for the most part. I am lucky to be friends with my APRN at my OBGYN’s office. She is also young mom of 2 boys under 2. Her best advice was to spend some time JUST being pregnant, by yourself. You cannot be on all the time and you want to slow down to bond with your baby.
GET A MANI & PEDI
Your hands will be on display in countless photos as your snuggle your new tiny human. Make sure your nails are on point. Get a pedi too because I am pretty sure you, like me, cannot reach your feet. And by feet I mean cankles attached to mini party sausages. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY FEET? I digress…but really, spoil yourself. You deserve it.
MAKE CARE PLANS FOR YOUR OTHER CHILDREN (AND FUR BABIES!)
I will say not to stress – things tend to fall into place during crunch time. But if you are like me there is some peace knowing what your plans are ahead of time.
PREPARE FOR BREASTFEEDING (IF THAT IS YOUR GOAL)
Most if not all insurance plans cover breastpumps. Talk with your doctor to have him or her complete the necessary steps for you to do this. Other moms advised me to bring this to the hospital so I could learn how to properly use it from the lactation consultant (and as back up if baby had a hard time latching.)
LEARN ABOUT YOUR POST BABY BODY
First off, way to go mama! You made an actual person! I mean really…how cool is that? Keeping in mind every woman is different, every pregnancy is different and every body is different before carrying children, your post baby body will be different too – different from what it was before, different from what it was last pregnancy or your future pregnancies, different from your mom, sister, cousin, or friend. It’s perfectly ok and expected. We are much harder on ourselves than anyone else will ever be. But I do think it is important to learn about your potential post baby body so you are not consumed with negative feelings or unrealistic expectations. Your body will still be beautiful! I promise! Your partner will gaze at you with adoration for what you just did for your family. Trust me – it will be a beautiful time to embrace.