To Do Before Baby Arrives, The Ultimate Checklist: 60 Items!

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to do before baby arrives, the ultimate checklist: 60 items!

(reading time ~10 minutes)

Dads and, of course, moms, we'll be running through the, "to do before baby arrives ultimate checklist: 60 items!" in this blog post. This post is not to make you nervous. On the contrary, it's to give you some equanimity.  

Hopefully, you're reading this sometime during your partner's second trimester or earlier. If you are reading it during the third trimester, there's still time, but depending upon the time remaining, you may have to prioritize some activities and let others slide. 

The truth is, there's an awful lot to do before the baby arrives, so let's get down to it.

To Do Before Baby Arrives: Work And Legal Stuff

Paternity And Maternity Leave 

1. Set yourself up comfortably for paternity or maternity leave. If there's a large project you need to accomplish before taking leave or someone you need to train as a temporary replacement, be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Your HR Department

2. Talk with your HR department about how much time you get for leave, paid and unpaid. Be sure to add your baby-on-the-way to your company insurance policy at the first opportunity.

Update Your Will

3. You will want to include your new one in your will (you can do that without having her name picked out yet) and discuss and provide for who's taking care of her should something happen to you and your partner.

You might do this with a simple online will, or you may need to work with a lawyer. It's not a lot of fun to consider, but it will bring you peace of mind once done.

To Do Before Baby Arrives: Your Home And Things To Accomplish

Household Projects

4. Finish household projects you're in the midst of or have had on your to-do list for quite a while. This may be your last chance until well into the future to get them done.

De-clutter your house

5. This suggestion may seem counterintuitive when you're bringing a ton of new stuff into the house, but that's just the reason you want to put away and get rid of things you don't need. You're going to want all the floor space you can get. 

Give Your House a Deep Cleaning

6. In the third trimester, you'll probably go into nesting mode. This is an excellent time to give your home a deep cleaning.

man deep cleaning house

Clean Carpets and Rugs

7. You would be amazed how much time you and your baby will spend on the floor between activity mats and tummy time. So rent a heavy-duty carpet cleaner or call in the professionals.

Clean Out Your Fridge, Freezer, And Pantry

8. Do it while you still have the time and energy. You will need the space for frozen meals you'll prepare, meals that friends and families will be dropping off, and extra freezer space for breast milk should you decide to go that route and pump. 

And replenish all the staples in your pantry.

Preventative Self-Care

Preventative Medical Appointments

9. If possible, have you and your partner knock out your preventative medical appointments during the second trimester when your partner is probably at her best.

This might include a trip to your general practitioner, the dentist, ophthalmologist, and dermatologist. This way, you don't need to be dragging your little one around to appointments.

Baby Clothes And Baby Gear To-Do List

A Place For The Baby To Sleep

10. Of course, you'll need a place for the baby to sleep, which means setting up a bassinet, crib, or both. Though you may not need the crib right away, it will be handy to have taken care of it now and have it set up and waiting, rather than dealing with it once the baby comes. Have a place for baby to sleep up to 6 weeks early in case she decides to arrive early.

 Wash All Of Baby's Clothes And Bedding

11. Do this in one detergent that's free and clear of perfumes and dyes. That way you'll know what detergent was used on all his clothing should he have an allergic reaction. You may want to wash the entire family's clothing in the same detergent for simplicity. Then fold or hang the baby's things to be ready to use.

Sanitize Miscellaneous Parts

12. This is an excellent time to get nipples, bottles, pacifiers, and pump parts sanitized and ready to use.

Changing Stations And Portable Stations

13. Have a regular changing station and a couple of extra mobile diaper changing caddies. All you need for the latter is a caddy or basket, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and a changing pad and cover. It'll make it easier on you to have these portable caddies.

Make A Baby First-Aid Kit

14. Gather together a baby thermometer, KY jelly, cotton balls, a bulb syringe, saline nose drops, fingernail clippers, and hand sanitizer. Done!

Install and Test Baby Gear

Assemble All Baby Gear

15. You're buying and getting a lot of baby gifts, right? Don't leave them sitting in boxes. Assemble and try them out. It'll be easier to return things now or get that missing part.

Get A Glider Ready

16. You'll probably want a glider, and if so, you want to get it ready. Keep a side table next to it equipped with burp cloths, nipple cream, and pads.

Be Sure To Have The Car Seat Installed Early

17. It should be rear-facing with the straps in the lowest setting. Since about 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly, it may be a good idea to call 866-SEAT-CHECK to ask for a seat checking location.

to install before baby arrives

Things To Do To Prepare For Labor

Prenatal Birthing Classes

18. There are so many advantages to taking a prenatal birthing class I wrote a whole post about it. You want to take one. They cover topics such as contractions, breathing, and pushing techniques.

These can be attended in person, virtually online, or using recorded materials online. Here's an excellent online course of pre-recorded materials. Most insurances cover a childbirth class. 

Breastfeeding Classes

19. If your partner decides that breastfeeding is for her, take a breastfeeding class with her. Here are some inexpensive online courses that will tell you everything you need to know.

Take A Tour Of Your Hospital Or Birthing Center

20. You want to know what to expect and where everything is.

Meet The Other Physicians At Your Practice

21. That way you'll be familiar with whoever is scheduled for your big day.

The Test Drive

22. Take a test drive to find the fastest route to the hospital.

Pack Your Hospital Bags 6 Weeks Early

23. Keep a list of everything you want and keep it in the bag. That way, you won't forget any last-minute items. Here's a great site with suggestions of what to pack.

The Birth Plan

24. Write a birth plan that includes information such as how you envision your labor, who will be in the room with you when you deliver, what you would prefer to do about pain medications, and if you want to breastfeed your baby after she is born.

Just remember that things happen, so be flexible about your plan. Essentially you're going to need to trust your doctors if your ideal plan goes awry.

When To Have Visitors

25. Let your family and friends know if you plan to have visitors in the hospital or if you'd prefer visits once you're back home.

The Labor Plan 

26. Make a labor plan. This is different from a birth plan. You'll have to have a plan to take care of your children and pets. Is there a family member or neighbor you can call upon who doesn't mind coming in the middle of the night to take over the children and pet responsibilities? 

Essential List Of Information

Make an essential list of information for whoever will be helping, including doctors' numbers, hospital numbers, vet number, school hours, and activities. Ensure your designated person/people have permission to pick up your children from school or daycare.

Download Apps

27. If you're technologically inclined, download apps that will help with timing contractions so you'll be sure to know when to call the doctor.

Waterproofing Car And Bed

28. You may want to keep a towel and waterproof matting in your car if your partner's water breaks on the way to the hospital. By the same token, you may want to keep a waterproof pad on your bedsheets if her water breaks during the night.

Vital Phone Numbers

29. Program your doctors' phone numbers and hospital or birthing center numbers into your phone, so you always have them at your fingertips.

Preregister With Your Hospital

30. Who wants to be filling out a bunch of paperwork once labor begins?

registering before baby arrives

Naming Your Child

31. I know you may not want to name your child until you see him or her, but try to narrow down your list of baby names to your top few choices. Again, it simplifies things and gives you less to think about later.

Charge Your Electronics

32. Be sure to have a fresh charge on your phone, camera, computer, or video camera.

Fuel

33. Make sure you have a full tank of gas. You don't want to turn your big day into a slapstick comedy.

Things To Do For Your Family, Pets, and Friends

Bond With Older Children

34. Soon, your little one will monopolize a great deal of your attention. Before your due date, perhaps in your partner's second trimester, make time for a memorable trip with your older kids, maybe a short road trip, camping trip, or zoo outing. Bond with them while you can.

Pets

35. Make sure your furry family members are taken care of. Stock up on any medications, food, and treats they may need.

Birth Announcements 

36. If you're planning on sending out birth announcements, now is the time to choose one, not when you're running on empty. Also, organize your addresses and print them out on a label template.

If you decide to do without birth announcements, write up a nice email ready in your drafts folder to send out to everyone.

Things You Can Do For You And Your Partner

Take A Babymoon

37. Getaway for a mini-vacation Babymoon, if you can swing it, particularly when your partner feels her best in the second trimester. This could be your last chance to be alone for a good while. 

Barring that, you can arrange to stay at a hotel nearby or have a staycation. Just make sure you don't try to get too much of anything done.

Date Nights

38. Arrange for as many date nights as you can now, as time by yourselves will become very precious later on. 

Things to Do For Yourself

Alone Time

39. Take some alone time, whether reading a book, spending time on a hobby, or vegging in front of the TV. The same goes for your partner. Let her catch up on her reading, journaling, and binge-watching.

Time With Friends

40. Have a guys' night out for you and a girls' night out for your partner. Or go fishing with a few of your buddies.

Pamper Your Partner

41. Arrange for a prenatal massage or two during her last trimester when she may be particularly achy. Encourage her to visit the hair and nail salon. This may be the last opportunity in a while that she'll get to have a haircut.

Stocking Up On Everything

Stock Your Freezer

42. In the month prior to giving birth, double up on your recipes, enjoying half for now and freezing half for later. Or turn it into a social event and have a cook-athon with some friends. Your stomach will thank you for it later.

Stocking Your Pantry And Fridge

43. Stock up on the essentials that may be used to quickly throw together simple meals. Also, stock up on snacks, veggies, fruit, nuts, cheese slices, and granola bars. These are things that you and your older kids can grab on the run.

Household Essentials

44. Stock up on household essentials such as toilet paper, personal care products, canned goods, shampoo, and soap. You can also stock up on over-the-counter medicine, first aid items, and prescriptions if your doctor allows it to avoid unnecessary runs to the pharmacy after your partner delivers.

Nursery Essentials

45. Stock up the nursery. Have some newborn-size diapers ready for the 1st week and have some size one prepared in case you have a big baby. You'll need them anyway. If you plan to go the cloth diaper route, have a variety of sizes and styles on hand.

Stock Up On Nursery Tank Tops

46. Your partner will need at least 3-5 of them.

Bills To Take Care Of

Labor And Delivery

47. Call your insurance company and find out roughly how much you'll owe for labor and delivery. Is it a co-pay or deductible? Try to find a reasonable estimate of what you'll need and start setting money aside to pay these bills. 

Prenatal Birthing Classes

48. Find out if your insurance company covers prenatal birthing classes. What about special classes like breastfeeding?

Breast Pumps

49. Ask your insurance company if they provide a discount on breast pumps. Many do.

Bills Due

50. Take care of upcoming bills due around your delivery date. You can also set auto payments for bills, so paying bills is one less hassle that you have to deal with.

Postpartum Things To Take Care Of

Choose A Pediatrician

51. Talk with your OB/GYN office, friends, family, and especially other moms in your area for referrals. Try to find a pediatrician you think will blend well with your parenting style. You can even book a prenatal consultation with your top two or three choices.

choosing pediatrician before baby arrives

Childcare

52. Select a childcare/daycare option if this is the direction you are going in. If living in an urban area, you may need to schedule your child early as spaces fill up quickly in some areas.

Guest Bedroom

53. If you plan to have a family member(s) visiting shortly after the baby arrives, clean the guest bedroom, change the sheets, and stock it with clean towels. You won't feel like doing this once you're home from the hospital.

Consider A Grocery Delivery Service

54. This will cut down on a lot of work and may be worth it while you get into a groove with your little one.

Amazon

55. You can also sign up for Amazon Family, which offers a 20% discount on Subscribe and Save baby items such as diapers and wipes.

Swaddling

56. This is an excellent time to practice swaddling your child before he arrives. Check out this how-to tutorial

Other Optional Things To Take Care Of

Get A Head Start on Baby-Proofing Your Home

57. If you have the time now, it certainly can't hurt. Find out more about childproofing your home with this informative article

Photoshoot

58. If you're considering a professional maternity or newborn photoshoot, it's best to book early.

Doula or Mid-Wife

59. If you're considering hiring a Doula or Mid-Wife, ask your doctor and other new moms for suggestions.

Consider A White Noise Machine

60. The relaxing sound it makes reminds babies of the gentle whooshing noises inside the womb. It also blocks unwanted noises that may annoy or wake your baby.

And there you have it. What To Do Before Baby Arrives, The Ultimate Checklist: 60 items!

About the author 

Dan Sperling

I'm the proud father of two great children. They are grown up now, and although I would have preferred to be a stay-at-home dad, I had to work. Luckily, I could work out of my home so I was around a lot. I ran a video production company, had a couple of great guys working with me and it allowed me to be around the children a lot. I was the "fun guy" for my kids and fathering was something I just took to.
When my daughter became pregnant, I was glad to see my son-in-law was doing everything right--or as good as it gets--we're always winging it, right? It got me thinking that so many dads would like to be more emotionally involved and knowledgeable when it comes to their wives' pregnancy and the first year of their children's lives.

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