Here are the things to do before the baby arrives, a checklist to help you prepare for the day baby comes home. From fun things to do to preparing for delivery!
Despite the 40 weeks many of us spend before welcoming a new baby, expecting moms can often feel overwhelmed.
What do we need to do to prepare for delivery? Which baby things should we buy before birth (and which ones not until long after)?
Perhaps you’re on a tight budget and don’t like idea of getting something you don’t need. At the same time, you want to feel prepared so you don’t have to worry about it once the baby arrives. It doesn’t help if you feel like you’re way behind, hopelessly lost on what you need to do.
And if you’re a first time mom, you’re also facing this with fresh eyes, with no experience to guide you.
Things to do before the baby arrives checklist
We all want to make sure we have everything together before The Big Day, no doubt.
Rest assured friend, we’ll get you on track. As someone who relied on lists long before I had kids, I know how much being prepared helps. But I also don’t like to plan too much to the point of feeling overwhelmed.
The key is to cover your basics and know that not every list is for everyone. One person’s “must have” item might be completely useless for another. Saving for maternity leave or preparing older kids for the baby won’t apply to the first-time mom who plans to stay home.
Do what works for you and take the tips that can make a difference. Just the fact that you’re planning ahead is already progress enough.
So, what can you do to prepare for the baby? Here are things to do before the baby arrives, a checklist of fun activities and practical tasks:
1. Save for maternity leave
Are you expecting a pay cut during maternity leave, or unpaid bonding time after the baby is born? Now is the time to begin saving for those several weeks or months when you’re on maternity leave.
Factor in how much your income will be reduced, then set aside a little each month to pad your savings. That way, you don’t feel guilty or stressed that you’re not bringing in money while you’re caring for the baby.
Free printables: Plan ahead for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Join my newsletter and download your Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet. Estimate recurring expenses and typical costs of raising a baby and have a better sense of how much to expect to spend:
2. Buy baby items
Some of your biggest expenses will come from buying baby items, from cribs to pacifiers. During pregnancy, you’ll have more time to space your purchases than cramming them in the first few weeks. You’ll also need several items from day one, like the car seat and diapers.
And don’t forget to install the car seat correctly and practice using your baby gear ahead of time. You’ll want to know how to open and close the stroller before you find yourself out and about and unsure of how to fold it.
Take a look at these articles with even more details of baby items to buy:
- The Ultimate Newborn Shopping List for Expecting Moms
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- Essential Things You Might Be Missing On Your Second Baby Registry
3. Buy feeding and postpartum items
Are you planning on breastfeeding the baby? Come prepared with essential breastfeeding supplies from day one. You’ll want to get a good pump to increase your milk supply right away. You’ll also likely need comfort items like nursing pads and lanolin cream.
If you plan to formula-feed, grab a few formula samples and bottles (along with a bottle drying rack). And don’t forget about your postpartum needs. You’ll need sanitary pads and numbing spray as your body heals.
Take a look at these articles for even more tips:
- 7 Postpartum Changes You Probably Didn’t Know
- Essential Breastfeeding Supplies You Need to Have
- How to Qualify for a Free Breast Pump
4. Find a pediatrician
Use these next several months to interview and find a pediatrician for your baby. You’ll need one as soon as your baby is born so she can examine and discharge you from the hospital. Plus, you’ll be going into her office for frequent check-ups those initial days and weeks.
5. Buy maternity clothes
At some point, you’ll outgrow even your largest t-shirts. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune on maternity clothes. Buy them on sale, and pick styles you can still wear after you deliver. (Tip: Even after delivery, you’ll be at the size you were at six months pregnant.)
6. Prepare your older kids
If expecting a baby feels overwhelming to you, you can imagine how it’ll feel to your older kids. This is especially true if you only have one other child, or for your youngest who has never experienced having a baby sibling.
Explain the idea of having a new baby once you start showing and when you begin rearranging your home. Reassure him that, however different things might be, you’ll always love him no matter what.
Get more tips on how to prepare your older child for a new baby:
- Helping Your Child Adjust to a New Baby Is Possible—Here’s How
- How to Survive a Pregnancy with a Toddler
- When You Feel Guilty about Adding to the Family
7. Stock up on household items
With all the focus on the baby, don’t forget your household needs. After all, the rest of the family still needs to eat, clean, and use the bathroom, regardless of the baby. A few weeks before your due date, stock up on household items to free up your time after the baby arrives.
Stock up on cleaning supplies, bathing and sanitary needs, and pantry staples to make for easier meal prep.
8. Choose baby names
Choosing baby names is one of the most exciting parts of expecting a baby. From new and trendy to honoring people in your lives, picking the right name can start right now. Even if you want to decide after meeting the baby, you can still have several contenders to choose from.
Here are a few ideas for baby names:
- Boy Names from Literature
- Top Vintage Girl Names that Are Still Cool Today
- 50 Classic Boy Names That Are Still Cool
9. Pack your hospital bag
As you gear up for the big arrival, don’t forget to pack your hospital bag so you have it ready to go. While we all want our pregnancies to go smoothly, we still have to prepare for complications that might bring us to the hospital right away.
Besides your own hospital bag, make sure your partner also has his or her bag ready to go. And if you have older kids and plan to have, say, grandma stay with them, make sure she has her bag packed as well.
Not sure what to pack? Take a look at this list of hospital bag essentials.
10. Prepare for delivery
As a first-time mom, I felt anxious about delivery, from the potential pain to caring for the baby those initial few days. What really helped is to prepare for delivery and what I might expect during the process.
You might want to take a hospital tour and get familiar with when you should head there during labor. Take classes on birthing and baby care, and pre-register your information with the hospital ahead of time.
11. Do pre-baby fun things
With all this preparation, don’t forget to use this time to do fun things, too! Many couples take a “baby moon” or a mini vacation while they still don’t have baby duties to think about. Consider going on a date night, or pampering yourself with a prenatal massage.
Fun things can also mean making crafts for the baby, from handmade baby announcements to knitting a blanket. You can also visit museums, bookstores and restaurants before putting a temporary hold on these favorite spots.
Expecting a baby—especially your first one—can feel daunting for even the most organized mom. Still, having this “things to do before the baby arrives” checklist can be helpful. You’ll know exactly what you still need to do, and by when.
Buy items, from baby gear to maternity clothes, breastfeeding supplies to household staples. Use this time to save for your maternity leave so you don’t feel as crunched for money while you’re caring for the baby.
Interview a few pediatricians and select someone who can examine your baby at the hospital. Prepare your older child so he knows what to expect and feel reassured that he’ll always be loved. Choose baby names, even if just to whittle them down to a select few.
Pack your hospital bag so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice, and prepare for delivery to make labor as smooth as possible. And lastly, don’t forget to use this time to do fun things for yourself as well, before the baby takes up most of your time.
Now you’ll feel better prepared to welcome your baby home, long before that 40th week marks the end of your pregnancy.
Wondering what else to put on your baby things to do before the baby arrives checklist? Here are more resources:
- 7 Things to Do After the Baby Is Born
- 9 Things to Do Before the Baby Is Born
- Top Black and White Baby Books for Newborns
- 10 Baby Items You Don’t Really Need
- 11 Crucial Pregnancy Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Don’t forget: Plan ahead for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Join my newsletter and download your Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet: