The third trimester of pregnancy is here and that mean’s it’s time to start preparing for labor. You have been preparing for the moment you will hold your precious baby in your arms, and now it’s more real than ever. The third trimester was one of the most exciting periods of pregnancy for me because the end was finally in sight. The third trimester also means intense preparation and organization, and a long to-do list that requires all hands on deck.
Here’s a look at some of the top line items on the to-do list.
Pack Hospital Bag
One way you can start preparing your mind for labor is to pack your hospital bag. I hate packing, but this is one bag I’m always excited to fill. Travel-sized essentials make my hospital stay as comfortable as possible, including items for my baby’s first few hours of life. Some of the top items in this bag include giant maxi pads, nursing tops, comfortable pajamas, underwear and socks. Don’t forget to pack baby’s bag too! I pack baby’s bag with a few outfit options, including a coming home outfit, newborn diapers, socks, burp cloths and swaddle blankets. I’m also packing a few pacifiers because I vividly remember the first sleepless night in the hospital with my son – a pacifier is key!
Get as Much Sleep as Possible
A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by as your body starts preparing for labor. Comfort is key and after a long day of chasing a toddler, all I want to do is relax. A hot shower helps to ease sore muscles, but then comes the challenge of getting comfortable in bed. I purchased a pregnancy pillow during my first pregnancy, but I don’t think it was worth it. Regular pillows can do the job, if you arrange them around your bump and back like a fort.
Prepare Freezer Meals
Preparing for labor also includes preparing for those first few days at home with your brand new baby, when you’ll be doing little else besides taking care of baby and resting. Plan out meals that will be easy to get from the refrigerator or freezer to the table with little effort on your part. Winding down in my first pregnancy, I bought, seasoned and packaged easy to grab portions of chicken breast and salmon so that my husband or myself could easily defrost and prepare dinner in little or no time. This time around, I plan to do the same, to make mealtime as simple as possible.
Wash and Organize Baby Clothes
This will probably be the easiest load of laundry ever. I love all the tiny baby clothes, and baby girl clothes are the cutest! Before my son was born, we switched over to fragrance-free laundry detergents and fabric softeners, so we are already prepared in that sense. The goal is to have all of baby girl’s age-appropriate clothes washed, organized and put away, ready for her arrival.
Get Comfortable with Car Seat & Stroller
This is a big one for me. My son’s first stroller broke the second time I tried to collapse it on my own. I called my husband crying (hormones), and the stroller was never the same again. Now that I’m entering the territory of double strollers, my husband and I both got familiar with the stroller, and even let our son try out his new toddler seat to make sure that everything is ready to roll by the time we need to use the double stroller.
Review Your Birth Plan
Make sure you and your partner are preparing for labor and delivery with a birth plan you are both comfortable with. Once those labour pains kick in, you may forget all about your initial plans, but having your partner informed and on-board can help you ensure that you get close to the birth experience you planned. Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to childbirth, but going into the experience with your mind in the right place can make a world of difference. This plan should also be discussed with your doctor, prior to delivery day.
Wash & Sterilize Bottles & Pump Parts
Cleaning bottles and pump parts can be done closer to your due date, so the sterilized items are not just sitting around the house. But I will be placing priority on the baby pacifiers I will be taking in my hospital bag, so that I don’t leave home without them.
Life. Changing. If you don’t know what padsicles are, google them. They make healing from a vaginal birth and episiotomy a little more comfortable.
Prepare for Healing at Home
I only spent one night in the hospital which meant the majority of my healing will took place at home. It is so important to me to ensure that I have space to allow this and make the process as comfortable as possible. This includes having somewhere comfortable to sit. Whether you have a vaginal birth or c-section, comfort will be key once baby is home and you’re pulling long hours while trying to heal from the inside out. A rocking chair or recliner may sound like a good idea, but recliners aren’t the most comfortable for breastfeeding, and a rocking chair may make a mess if you’re pumping. During my first pregnancy, I purchased a donut because my tailbone would throb during the hours at work. That donut became a saviour after I gave birth, making sitting on a regular chair a lot more bearable during those first few weeks.
I already know my time will not be my own again for a while, even more so as a mother of two littles. It’s worth it to invest some time in yourself and do something special for yourself before baby arrives. I’ve reached the point in my pregnancy where a pedicure is required, as I can no longer comfortably reach my toes. I’ll also get a simple manicure as I get closer to my due date so that my nails are short and neat for handling a newborn. But pampering myself also means negotiating time for myself, and thankfully I have family who can lend a hand and babysit my son when I just need to catch up on rest (even though I more often than not use that time to catch up on chores).