I’m sharing my ultimate list of all the things I accomplished before I had my baby. It’s the list of what to do before you’re due!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was elated. Totally overjoyed. Then I got to work. Got to work figuring out what the heck I needed to do to prepare. I was looking for that huge laundry list. A laundry list of all the little things that I should get done before the baby is born. All the things, as a first time parent, I didn’t think of. Well, let me tell you folks …. that list didn’t exist. I looked and looked and looked. Yes, I found a couple ‘here’s 10 things you didn’t think to do before you’re due’ type lists. Which are awesome. Heck, I wrote one too.
But that huge master list didn’t exist. So I did what any crazy to do list obsessed person would do. I created my own.
A Couple Notes First
A. This list may seem a little nutty, I realize this. Most people don’t love to-do lists as much as I do. I really love them. Really. Some moms to be want to relax and kick back to enjoy their pregnancy. I. Don’t. Relax. Happiness to me equals a to do list.
B. You’ll notice that I break down some to-dos to very specific tasks. For example – plan birth announcements gets broken down to several steps including make list of everyone to send announcements to, obtain home addresses of everyone, research photographers online, select photographer, find announcements templates that I like on Minted.com, etc. I find that breaking down a project to the smallest task is the most effective way to ensure it gets accomplished. It also makes for a HUGE to do list.
C. Just because it’s on MY list doesn’t mean it needs to be on YOURS. We all have different things we want to accomplish before our baby is born. Think of this long list as inspiration and ideas to help you write your own list.
D. I organized this list based on rough categories, not by date. As you read through you’ll notice that some tasks are more appropriate to do when you first get pregnant, while others won’t happen until towards the end (installing car seat).
100 Things to Do Before You’re Due
1 Stock up on dog food, bones and toys. Prevent yourself from running errands after the baby is born. Plus, your pup will appreciate having some extra toys to entertain them while you’re extra busy!
2 Figure out what you’ll do with your dog when you’re in the hospital. Can friends or family watch your pup? Or utilize an overnight doggy daycare?
3 Teach your pup to ‘drop it’ …. for all those times she grabs the baby toys!
4 If there’s any shots that your dog is due to have in the near future get those taken care of. Since we were planning to send our dog, Reagan, to daycare once in week, I also made sure that we were up to date on any shots that the daycare required.
5 Reagan used to sit in the backseat when in the car, but since we’ll have the car seat in the backseat, Reagan gets upgraded to the front seat. We did a couple practice drives so that she was used to sitting up front before Declan was born.
6 Play crying baby noise to get Reagan used to it. This task is about as fun as it sounds.
7 Decide which rooms, if any, will be off limits to your dog and start enforcing it.
8 Deep clean house to hopefully get rid of as much dog dander as possible.
9 As silly as this sounds, practice walking your dog pushing your stroller. Reagan was pretty overwhelmed by the stroller so I’m glad we got her used to it ahead of time.
10 Find a blanket that you’ll wrap your baby in after he’s born to show your dog to smell before introducing baby and dog. Add this blanket to your hospital bag.
11 Dogs can get a little upset once the baby comes home as they’re getting less attention than usual. Joe & I decided that we would periodically allow Reagan to sleep our bed if we’re taking a nap and that Joe would spend extra time with her when he was off on his paternity leave.
Hospital / Medical
12 Sign up for birthing classes at your hospital.
13 Find an OB Dr.
14 Do a trial run driving to the hospital so that you know how to get there (and know the best route).
15 Decide on a pediatrician.
16 Fill out hospital paperwork ahead of time (so that you don’t have to fill it out when you’re in labor).
17 Put doctors phone numbers in your phone (OB, hospital #, pediatrician).
18 Make a list of everything you’ll need in your hospital bag. Ask your new mommy friends what they found helpful. For the record, the hair dryer and straightener that I insisted on bringing with me were never used 🙂 .
19 About a month before your due date, start packing your hospital bag. Better to be ready as you never know when the baby will arrive.
20 Get some cute newborn outfits to put in your hospital bag for those first photos with your baby.
21 Decide if you’re going to donate your extra umbilical cord blood.
22 Decide if you want pain medication when in labor (epidural).
23 Make sure you have your spouse’s work phone number in case you go into labor during work hours. Yes, I’m embarrassed, I didn’t have Joe’s work phone number in my phone, only his cell phone.
24 Our health insurance open enrollment occurred one month before Declan was born. We spent some time determining which plan would be best for us after Declan was born (there were over 8 plans to choose from). Yes, once he’s born we could have researched the multiple plan options then, but I was happy we spent time figuring this out beforehand. Then when Declan was born, we just added him to that plan.
25 While we’re thinking about insurance, we made sure we knew HOW to add Declan to our insurance after he was born. This made it super easy to just log on to Joe’s account (we’re on his employer insurance) to add Declan.
26 Download an app that helps track your contractions. Wat easier than watching a clock and writing it down. Plus, these days isn’t there an app for everything?
27 Inquire about circumcision process. In Seattle I learned it’s common for the OB to perform the circumcision about a week or so after the baby is born.
28 Get tdap shots. Joe and I both got ours along with my parents, as they were going to be spending a lot of time with Declan. Tdap shots can make your arm sore for a couple days and it takes a couple weeks to kick in. My doctor recommended that everyone gets a tdap by the 32nd week of pregnancy.
29 Make a list of baby medicines that are good to have on hand (email friends, google). Nothing’s worse than driving to CVS in the middle of the night for a sick baby.
30 Medical bills can be confusing. Medical bills when you’re pregnant can be overwhelming. I kept a list of every doctor appointment (big or small) and documented what occurred during the apt (Ultrasound, flu shot, etc). That way when you receive a bill, you can cross check it with your list to ensure everything looks correct (hey, hospital billing make mistakes too).
31 Download movies on your tablet to watch at the hospital. We never ended up watching the TV in our hospital room because we had enough shoes on my iPad to keep us entertained before Declan arrived.
32 Our medical bills started coming in the mail quicker than most congratulatory cards. It’s wise to have a system to track and pay for the bills as they arrive. I simply created a Google doc listing all the appointments/hospital stays/procedures along with the date and a little detail about the appointment. Then as I received bills I cross referenced with my list and marked down the date that I paid the bill.
Non Baby Related
33 Clean out the inside of our car.
34 Get a new family room rug (our current one has SO much dog hair that just won’t get out via vacuuming).
35 Get rid of our old coffee table. It was sitting in our family room taking up space and I knew it would drive me crazy. Remember you’re going to spending a lot of time in your house. Make sure you like the space 😀.
36 Clean out fridge and freezer.
37 Stock up on stables for the home (toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, etc).
38 Buy gifts for any upcoming holidays, birthdays, weddings and showers. One last thing you’ll want to deal with.
39 Keep your house clean. This is an ongoing task that I tried to do every day starting three weeks prior to my due date. My rational was that I didn’t want to come home after delivering a baby to a dirty house.
40 Do laundry before it starts piling up (for the same reasons as above).
41 Pay your bills and go through mail as it arrives (for the same reason as above).
42 When I first found out I was pregnant I started nesting. And by nesting I mean some serious purging of stuff I just don’t need anymore. And there’s over 100 things we didn’t need anymore.
43 I did another home purge session in my 3rd trimester after we had most of our baby items.
Nursery / Baby Registry
44 Research and buy crib. We bought this one because of the extra storage at the bottom.
45 Put the crib together. Set aside a couple hours. This is NOT a one person job.
46 Order breast pump. Mine took a while to ship so it’s best to get this ordered before the baby arrives. Most insurance will cover this.
47 Once we found out the gender, I decided on the nursery theme and put together a collage of ideas.
48 Wash all baby clothes and blankets with dye free detergent before organizing and hanging up.
49 Buy baptism outfit.
50 Buy fragrance and dye free detergent. There’s detergent marketed specifically for babies, but we bought generic fragrance and dye free bottle.
51 Decide the initial sleeping arrangement for you, your spouse and baby. It’s recommended that the baby sleeps in your room at the beginning (and it makes it a heck of a lot easier for night feedings).
52 Make sure baby bed is ready to sleep in, whether that’s a crib, pack & play, bassinet or co-sleeper. We used this pack & play which I can’t recommend enough. It has a bassinet attachment for the early months and is relatively small in size so it doesn’t take up too much space.
53 Clean all the baby toys you have (we were given lots from friends and bought some second hand).
54 Test out all baby toys to make sure they’re working with new batteries. Just a warning: there will be a time (many times) that you’ll wish the batteries ran out!
55 Install car seat. Joe is WAY better at this than I am. Make sure your car is parked on a flat surface before installing. The street we live in is on a hill so we had to drive to the grocery store to install ours. Learn from our mistake: watch a YouTube video on installing a car seat before you try yourself!
56 Get blackout blinds for the nursery. (Note, we never got this accomplished before the baby was born. Another rookie mistake. So we ended up buying these temporary ones that might not be so temporary 🙂 )
57 Make clothes hanger labels for baby clothes. Both totally unnecessary and necessary at the same time. (I bought these on Etsy)
58 Organize all baby clothes by size. Make sure newborn sizes are the most easily accessible.
59 Ask friends about their favorite baby items (stroller, monitor, carrier, etc) to go on your baby registry. I relied heavily on recommendations from friends.
61 Create your baby registry. We registered on Amazon and Target.
62 Closer to your due date and as more items on your registry get purchased, add some additional items that you’ll need when your little one gets a little older. If you don’t have enough items on your registry you’re just asking for people to buy you stuff that you may not need.
63 Purchase thank you cards. You’ll be getting a lot of gifts 😀.
64 Also buy postage stamps (for thank you cards and baby announcements).
65 Make a list of gifts you receive and who gave them to you. I made a Google doc and shared with Joe so we could both enter the information.
66 Using my google doc, I kept up to date on sending thank you cards by writing them weekly. I knew once the baby was born I would likely get behind writing thank yous.
67 Determine how many baby clothes you want to have of each size (newborn, 3 month, 6 month, etc). There’s no magic number. I think it’s good to get an idea of how much you want. I went a little nuts and created a spreadsheet to track how many pieces of clothing we were receiving at each size. #notnecessary
68 Sign up for Amazon Family. It’s free and you get discounted baby stuff.
69 Stock up on diapers. You’ll go through these way faster than you can imagine. We had a lot of size 1, but not as many newborn size as we heard that babies outgrow the newborn size quickly.
70 Stock up on other supplies for baby (wipes, diaper cream, baby shampoo, etc).
71 Instead of buying a sound machine I installed this app on my iPhone and iPad. We really didn’t end up needing to use sound that much for Declan to go to sleep so I was glad we didn’t end up buying a sound machine.
72 If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you’ve got the essentials: creams, breastfeeding bras, bra pads, etc. you won’t want to be running around to baby stores to pick these items up after the baby is born.
Family / Visitors
73 With your spouse, decide when you want family to come visit. My parents were in town when Declan was born and Joe’s parents came a week later. We were SO grateful for the help and wished they could have stayed longer. On the contrary some of our friends chose to wait a couple weeks or months before family visits.
74 If family will be coming shortly after your child is born, stock up on things your family members will like. Think groceries, toiletries, prepare guest room, clean the guest bathroom, etc. While your family is likely coming to help, it’s nice to have the essentials for them when they arrive.
75 If you’ll be baptizing your baby, decide who the god parents will be.
76 If family is going to be visiting with you for a while, consider asking them to get a tdap shot.
77 Work with your church to schedule baptism. Our church had a short class we needed to take ahead of time.
78 Find a fun way to tell your family that you’re pregnant. I took this opportunity to make a cute little DIY.
79 Make a list of friends and family to inform once the baby is born. I went as far as to prep an email and save as a draft with all the email addresses I wanted to send it to. Then all I needed to do was attach some photos and add Declan’s measurements and date before going hitting send.
80 Talk to your partner about when you’ll want visitors (local friends & family) after the baby is born, keeping in mind that your opinion may change drastically once the baby arrives, but it’s good to chat about it ahead of time. We ended up having a lot of our friends come visit shortly after Declan was born (mostly because we wanted some non baby adult conversation), but I’ve heard that many parents need a couple weeks to get adjusted.
Baby Announcements / Thank Yous / Photos
81 Select a baby announcement design. I ordered this one from minted.com.
82 Ask local friends for photographer recommendations.
83 Book a photographer for newborn photos or see if your hospital has a photographer on site.
84 Find photo example ideas for your photographer. Pinterest is a great place to look for newborn photo inspiration.
85 Make a list of everyone that you want to send baby announcements to. Get a list from your spouse, your parents and your in-laws.
86 Obtain mailing addresses for everyone you want to send an announcement to.
87 If you’re thinking of taking monthly photos of your baby, come up with the photo ideas / theme. Again, Pinterest has some great inspiration.
88 Find an app to use to track baby feeding & sleeping (We use Baby Connect and love it. We chose not to track sleep, but we track feeding and diapers.)
89 Make a list of potential baby names. Both first and middle names. We waited until we knew the gender before Joe and I made our lists.
90 Decide in baby’s name!
91 Maybe a little silly, ok a lot silly, reserve an email address for your kiddo. Email addresses go quick. Especially gmail.
92 Sign up for a moms group to attend after your baby is born. If you can’t find one by doing a quick Google search, ask you OB for recommendations.
93 Determine how much time you and your spouse are taking off of work.
94 Make a list of child care options for when you go back to work. In Seattle, most daycares have huge waitlists so it’s best to start this process early.
95 Tour daycare options. You’ll want to tour any facility that you’re considering.
96 Finalize child care.
97 Make diaper changing stations around your home. We have a three story townhouse so to prevent having to run up and down the stairs we packed diaper changing supplies in baskets and placed one on each floor.
98 Two words: freezer meals. Now I don’t typically love frozen casseroles, but post baby is no time to become a gourmet chef.
99 Put extra baby supplies in your car just in case! Think diapers, outfit change, wipes, formula.
100 Make a list of things you need to do right after the baby is born. My list included: schedule first pediatrician apt, schedule circumcision, add Declan on to our insurance, confirm photo session. All of these items depended on WHEN Declan was actually born. It was nice to have a list handy since I really wasn’t thinking about all this stuff the day he was born!
and one more just because ….
101 I wanted to remember all the little things that Declan started to do – when he first started opening his eyes, sleeping through the night, rolling over, etc. The easiest way for us to document these things was through a shared Google Doc. I denoted each week with the dates and then list interesting things that happened that week (ex. Week 8 June 24th).
And that’s it! Everything I did before our son was born. I’d love to hear what you did to prepare before you’re due! List any of your to-do’s in the comments!