The 3rd trimester is a busy time. There is so much to do to prepare for your baby’s arrival, but to also get yourself ready – mentally, spiritually and physically. Here is a quick third trimester checklist of some things to do before your baby arrives that you may not have thought of yet.
The things on this list are not necessarily for baby, but for you so that you are ready to transition into motherhood, postpartum and breastfeeding with ease.
These are things that will help you get your body ready for labor and childbirth, prepare your life for postpartum and help you keep your sanity in the coming weeks and months.
What should I do before baby arrives?
1 – Make a master list –
This may seem obvious, but find one place – be it a note book, or a digital file, or somewhere on your phone. Just put everything you think of on this list that comes up that you want to/need to do or get. That way everything is in one place, rather than some here and there. Anytime something comes to mind add it to the list.
2 – Line up help –
In the weeks after having your baby you will need assistance, not necessarily with baby, but with managing everything else.
This really goes along with # 1 – make a list of all your normal day-to-day responsibilities – everything from feeding pets, to picking kids up, to watering plants, to making meals and start to figure out who is going to do those things while you are resting and recuperating.
When people offer help, give them something off the list to do for you.
Then make lists of your children’s daily routine, and maybe even a checklist of chores and activities for them to do daily. This can include everything from cleaning up, to reading 30 minutes, to brushing teeth and taking a bath. That way who ever is helping watching the kids can help them make it through the day more smoothly. Older children may even be able to self manage and help with the little ones by following the checklist.
Especially if you are a high functioning busy Mama, this is a thing you do not want to ignore.
It can be hard to ask for and accept help. But planning ahead and accepting that you can not do it all during the first few weeks will truly allow you to get the rest you need without worrying about all the other stuff you normally are on top of.
3- Stock up on food –
Towards the end of pregnancy and the first few weeks postpartum the last thing you will want to do is grocery shop. Start stocking up on your families favorites that are non-perishable, or can go in the freezer.
Which leads to….
4 – Make freezer Meals –
This is a total postpartum life saver. Having already made meals that can be put in the crock pot can mean the difference between an easy postpartum recovery and one filled with stress because you are constantly wondering what to eat.
Plan and prepare now, so that your family can be fed in those first few weeks with less stress.
Read these tips before you make freezer meals though because there are a few things you need to know.
One thing that can be really helpful about making your own food vs having a meal train is that you control the ingredients that you are eating. This is especially important for health conscious Moms and Moms that plan on breastfeeding.
Focus on eating foods that help with your postpartum recovery AND support breastfeeding. It can make a huge difference in how well you recover, as well as, how easily it is to breastfeed.
That’s exactly why I created my own freezer meal recipes that include healing and anti-inflammatory foods. The recipes also all include ingredients that help you produce a quality breast milk supply and avoid ingredients that could irritate your newborn’s gentle stomach.
To make it easy for you, I’ve complied it all into a digital download. No searching around Google or Pinterest. It’s all organized, all you have to do is shop, chop and freeze.
You can get your copy of Healing Freezer Meals for Postpartum and Breastfeeding here. It’s your guide to making meals that support healing and breastfeeding with recipes, instructions and tips to make it easier.
5 – Drink your tea –
There are 2 herbal teas that can help your body prepare for childbirth. If you are not already drinking them, you should definitely start now.
Red raspberry leaf tea and nettle leaf tea both have numerous nutritional benefits for pregnant moms and can even be helpful in the postpartum period. But the biggest benefit is preparing the uterus for childbirth.
Drinking just a couple of cups a day can help make birth easier, so its definitely something to consider. Read more about the benefits of red raspberry leaf here and see if its right for you.
6 – Boost your iron –
So when you have a baby there is a lot of blood loss. Many moms, myself included, struggle with anemia. Our iron needs go up by 1.5x during pregnancy. Being low on iron can lead to having postpartum iron deficiency or anemia which can cause fatigue, leg cramps, thyroid dysfunctions and even depression.
So making sure you are getting enough iron now is a high priority. The problem is iron supplements can be hard to absorb and cause unwanted side effects like constipation.
The best way to get more iron is to eat it!
Here are some foods with high iron to include in your late pregnancy diet:
- Organ meats – beef or chicken liver are good options
- Oysters – these smoked ones in a can are the perfect late afternoon snack
- Red meat
- Black strap molasses – high in iron and other essential nutrients. Try it as a sweetener substitute in your tea or coffee, or on top of yogurt. This one is the best brand to get.
- Yellow dock – historically used by midwives as an iron-building syrup for pregnant women. Talk to your care provider about it and consider taking a few squirts of a tincture like this one daily.
7 – Get postpartum essentials –
This is so important for Moms to do! Taking care of your body mindfully and with extra care in the first weeks postpartum is essential for recovering well.
This means stocking up on pads, but also some really helpful products that can help you body heal faster and naturally. This list of natural postpartum essentials will tell you everything you need to get.
8- Set up a postpartum/breastfeeding station –
This is super helpful because in the first few weeks you will be spending a lot of time in one spot feeding the baby. The first week you will be (NEED to BE!!) in bed, so set up a basket, or Rubbermaid, next to your side of the bed with items the following items:
- water bottle – drink water all day, but especially right before feeding, during and after. Staying hydrated will help ensure you are able to produce breast milk. This is a great cup to help you stay hydrated.
- Breast pads – have some of these for breastfeeding sessions or get one of these handy little things that catches the milk.
- Coconut oil – this is a nice natural alternative to nipple creams. Plus has so many other uses for yourself and baby. This brand is really good and pretty affordable.
- Snacks – you will be hungry ALL THE TIME. This is normal! You just had a baby and are producing breast milk to sustain another human. Check out this list of prepackaged breastfeeding snacks that you can stock up on and keep a few in your bedside basket.
9 – Download some audiobooks –
There will be lots of down time that first week with baby while you should be in bed. Have some good books to listen to so that you can have some entertainment without turning on the over stimulating TV.
Audio books are great to listen to while breastfeeding too as they are less of a distraction for your newborn than watching TV.
I encourage you to avoid TV and scrolling social media while breastfeeding! Take the time to make eye contact with your baby and bond.
But I know for some Moms sitting still for so long without a distraction can be a challenge. You need something else to make the time go by while breastfeeding. That’s why I think audiobooks are the perfect middle ground of having something to do and still being able to pay attention to your baby.
10 – Read positive birth stories –
The last weeks of pregnancy, we can all use some encouragement. It can hard to prepare for labor mentally. That’s why I love birth stories.
It is so encouraging and inspiring to read about other Mamas that have had incredible labors. It makes you feel like you can do it too.
Just make sure the stories that you are reading are positive. While all Moms births matter, when labor is getting close it is best to fill your mind with positivity to counter balance any worry, doubt or fear that may be coming up.
Here is a list of some amazing positive birth stories for you to read. There are hospital births, homebirths and water births all included so check it out if you are feeling anxious about your impending labor.
11- Get your house cleaned –
Clearing out any excess clutter before baby arrives can be really helpful. After all in the weeks (and months) after birth you will have little energy to focus on taking care of all your stuff. Remember if it doesn’t bring you joy, why hang on to it?
Plus you will be collecting even more STUFF for baby so making space by getting rid of unwanted, or useless items can make it way easier to make room for your new little one.
Now you could clean your own house, but getting someone else to do it is even better.
Consider hiring a cleaner to do a deep clean after you’ve gotten rid of some of your clutter. OR ask a caring family member, or group of friends, to come over and help you get things cleaned up. Especially, if they have been offering to help you out. This is a great way to take them up on their offer.
12 – Sage your house –
This one is for all the crunchy and semi-crunchy Mamas, but really is great for all Moms because sage has an ultra calming effect. And who couldn’t use some extra calming in the third trimester of pregnancy?
The practice of saging your house has many benefits. It can help to cleanse the air and is a great way to invite positive energy into your home before labor and your baby’s arrival.
It’s pretty easy to sage your house. Get a sage bundle like this one and set an intention before lighting. Something like – my birth will be smooth and easy. Or – I am ready and fully embrace this new phase of my life. Follow this guide on how to sage for more information.
13 – Take a breastfeeding class –
If you are preparing to breastfeed for the first time, OR you struggled with breastfeeding before, taking a online breastfeeding class can really help build your confidence and help you establish the skills you need to be successful.
This is a highly recommended breastfeeding class by my friend Stacey from Milkology who is a lactation consultant and Mom. It really is helpful for giving you an overview of all the basics. Plus, it’s super affordable too.
The course is broken down into small lessons so that you can learn what you need to know even if you have very little time. Plus learning in the comfort of your home is way more pleasant than an in-person class.
14 – Eat date fruit daily –
Did you know date fruit can help you have a faster labor? Eating just 6 date fruits a day has been shown to have a positive effect on how long your labor lasts. Plus they taste totally amazing, so consider giving them a try.
You can add date fruit to smoothies, oatmeal, homemade snacks and even dinner recipes. They are really great added to dessert recipes.
Need some recipe inspiration? Check out this post with 15 date fruit recipes for a faster labor.
15 – Stock up on household items –
There are a few things you just use a lot and want to make sure you have on hand so your don’t have the inconvenience of running out in the days leading up to birth or the first few weeks postpartum.
Stock up on these items:
- trash bags
- toilet paper
- ziplock bags
- paper plates
- dish detergent
- laundry soap
- paper towels
- pet supplies – animal food
- soap and shampoo
One thing that has been extremely helpful to me as a Mom is having an Amazon Prime membership. It makes life so much easier when you can just order these items in one-click and have them delivered without heading to the big box store.
Don’t have a Prime membership? Sign up and get 30 days free here!
Most important things to do before your baby arrives
So what’s the best thing to do before baby arrives? As a Mom of 4 (soon to be 5), my best advice is this –
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You will not be able to get “everything” done. There will be things you forget and things you simply don’t have time, or money for.
Try not to stress! Do everything you can to reduce stress in the final weeks.
Let it go (whatever it is that is bothering you most) and focus on taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Try to enjoy this time. It passes way too fast.
Meditate, walk, do some yoga, pray, breathe and stay positive Mama. You can do this!
Make sure to pin this for later!
More on preparing for baby from Birth Eat Love
Our goal here is to help make it easier for you to eat healthy and take care of yourself during pregnancy and postpartum. Here are a few more posts that you may find helpful in preparing for your baby’s arrival:
- Healthy Freezer Meals for New Moms
- Essentials for Natural Postpartum Recovery
- 7 Tips for Having a Natural Childbirth
Avoid being a hot mess after having your baby
Get Your Postpartum Prep List! This 1-page checklist has over 17 items to get now so that you are ready for a stress-free postpartum!