Things to Do Before Your Baby Arrives

12 Things to Do Before Your Baby Arrives

Written by: Alyssa Larsen



Time to read 12 min

As your due date approaches, preparing for your baby’s arrival plays a major role in creating a smooth labor, delivery, and postpartum experience. But where do you start when there’s so much to do? You’ll feel confident and at ease when you follow our to-do list and check all the boxes before your baby arrives.

Explore The Nursery

12 Things You Should Prepare Before Your Baby Arrives

The birth of your baby is a big change for you and everyone in your household. The excitement of the third trimester of pregnancy is usually matched with hectic days of getting things ready. Prep and planning before welcoming your little one will make the first few weeks postpartum less stressful.

Add these things to your to-do list:

1. Buy the Basics

Keep it simple. You won’t need every piece of baby gear the first day you come home with your little one. Get prepared with the basic baby items you’ll use every day.

Once you’ve established new routines in your parenting lifestyle and gotten a better sense of your little one’s unique needs, you’ll have a better sense of what other baby products would be useful.

Stock up on the essentials for your newborn baby like …

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Burp Cloths
  • Baby Clothes
  • Pacifiers
  • Baby Bottles
  • Swaddles.
Baby basics

2. Meal Prep

Quick and easy meals will be your go-to for at least the first couple of weeks after you bring your baby home. Prepare slow-cooker freezer meals, casseroles you can pop in the oven, or leftovers in smaller portions you can quickly reheat later. 

Remember, meal prep isn’t just for dinner. Put together some breakfast burritos with your favorite fillings and keep a stash of no-bake lactation cookies in the fridge for an anytime snack.

3. Pack Your Hospital Bag

It’s a good idea to have your hospital bag ready a month ahead of your due date. Babies come on their own time, so keep everything you’ll need during your hospital stay all in one bag.

You might need …

  • A change of clothes —for you and your husband or partner.
  • Baby clothes/Going home outfit
  • Toiletries
  • Birth plan
  • Phone charger
  • Nursing pillow.

Check out our complete hospital bag checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

4. Install the Car Seat

You may have purchased the car seat months ago, but now is the time to take it out of the box and set it up before you go into labor. Read the instructions to install the base of the infant seat in your car correctly—this isn’t something you want to do for the first time as you’re rushing out the door.

5. Sterilize Breast Pump Parts and Baby Bottles

Before you use them for the first time, breast pump parts and baby bottles need to be cleaned and sterilized. You can sterilize baby feeding supplies in a large pot of boiling water, or put your pump parts and bottles in the dishwasher or bottle sterilizer for steam cleaning. Always read the maintenance instructions for proper care of your particular brand of breast pump and bottles.

Baby bottles

6. Prepare Your Older Children and Pets

Children of any age may have trouble adjusting to life with a new baby in the house. You can ease into this transition by talking about it often, spending quality time with your older children, involving them in setting up the nursery, and offering love and understanding throughout the change.

Your pets may have some adjusting to do, too. Introduce your cat or dog to baby items in the nursery as early as possible to temper some of their curiosity when you bring a new family member home.

family in furniture

7. Make Childcare Arrangements

For second-time parents, this is a new aspect of preparing for your baby’s arrival. Discuss childcare with your family or friends who can keep your older child while you’re in the hospital. Prepare your helpers by discussing possible scenarios like if you go into labor in the middle of the night or stay in the hospital for multiple days.

8. Prepare for the Postpartum Period

In the immediate days and weeks after giving birth, your main focus should be bonding with your baby and allowing your body to recover. You should apply ahead of time for maternity leave if necessary and your partner might schedule family leave or vacation days around the same time to ensure as much time at home as possible. Schedule optional appointments and outings well before your due date, or prepare to put them off until much later.

9. Stock Up on Household Necessities

Don’t let running out of toilet paper interrupt your rest and healing time at home. In the last months of pregnancy, start buying extras of things you use every day to avoid trips to the store with your newborn baby.

Make sure you have plenty of …

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap
  • Tissues
  • Toiletries
  • Pet food
  • Cleaning products
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Refilled prescriptions.

When something comes up that you realize you forgot, lean on your supportive family and friends to stop at the store for you.

household products

10. Organize After-birth Supplies

As a new mom coming home from the hospital, you now have to care for a newborn baby and yourself. Prepare postpartum supplies to help you manage pain, breast changes, and postpartum bleeding. Whether you give birth vaginally or via c-section, you’ll need plenty of pads on hand for postpartum bleeding.

Consider keeping these things in your bathroom:

  • Maxi pads and liners
  • Peri bottle —for gentle rinsing when there is soreness or stitches
  • Postpartum underwear—for belly support and to prevent leaks
  • Cooling pads  or  Padsicles  in your freezer
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever
  • Breast therapy packs—to ease engorgement and encourage milk flow while breastfeeding.

11. Establish Guidelines for Visitors

Family and friends are often eager to visit after the birth of a new baby. Some parents love to have visitors right away in the hospital and some prefer to wait days or weeks before introducing their little one to others.

Whatever you are comfortable with is okay, and it’s helpful to have a conversation with your loved ones ahead of time so everyone understands your wishes. If you change your mind when the time comes, just make a phone call to let them know there’s been a change of plans.

12. Get in Touch with Your Hospital or Birthing Center

Wherever you plan to give birth, there is likely paperwork to do. Call ahead to see if you can pre-register and avoid filling out forms while you’re in labor. This is also a great time to schedule a tour, attend any birthing classes they offer, and address your questions or concerns about the big day.

Things You Should Start Preparing Early in Pregnancy

Much of the work to prepare for your baby’s arrival comes at the end of your pregnancy, but there is plenty you can do in your first and second trimesters. Getting some big things done earlier in your pregnancy can make the later decisions less stressful.

500+ 5-Star Reviews
Meet The Glider Plus
Ships immediately!
All the features
you need in our
Award Winning glider

Make a List of Baby Names

This is a task that may take your entire pregnancy to accomplish! Luckily, it’s one of the most fun things you get to do before your baby arrives. Even in the first trimester, expectant parents can discuss baby names together and make lists of possible names for a baby boy or a baby girl.

Equip the Nursery

Decide early on where your baby’s room will be. You may need to clear out an office or update a guest room to make space for your little one. Give yourself plenty of time to work on your nursery design so you won’t have to rush to put it together at the last minute.

Remember to complete the room with these nursery essentials:

  • Crib. A baby crib is the safest place for your baby to sleep through at least the first year of their life. Consider a convertible crib that can be changed into a toddler bed when your child is older.

  • Glider or Rocking Chair. A chair in the nursery provides a comfortable spot to breastfeed, bottle feed, snuggle, and soothe your baby. A high-quality glider with stain-resistant fabric, power recline, and adjustable support features will make sitting in the nursery your favorite thing to do. If you prefer a classic look, a rocking chair with a spacious seat and convertible options may be perfect for you!

  • Storage. To keep your nursery tidy, find creative storage solutions to put away all the baby supplies. Use a bookshelf to line up baby books and keep bins of small toys. Consider a storage ottoman to hide a stash of blankets and add extra seating in the room.

  • Diaper changing station. Use a dresser and changing topper to create an organized changing station that keeps all your diapering supplies in one area. Diaper changes are easier when you have diapers, wipes, creams, and extra onesies within reach.

  • Baby monitor . You’ll find peace of mind with a baby monitor that displays video and audio of your baby’s nursery. You can check on your sleeping baby without fear of waking them up and be alerted the moment that they do.

  • Bassinet. This small baby bed is perfect for newborns and can easily be moved from room to room for all nap times and bedtimes.

Create a Birth Plan

Birth doesn’t always go according to plan, but it’s helpful to have a guideline. Outlining a birth plan will give your care team and support people a cheat sheet of your ideal birthing experience. You can include things like whether you want an epidural, who you want in the delivery room with you, and your preferences for newborn and postpartum care.

Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

Even before you find out that you’re pregnant you can prepare your body. If you’re trying to conceive or suspect that you might be pregnant, you can make health and wellness choices that support your body and baby through a healthy pregnancy.

Make it a priority to …

  • Take prenatal vitamins every day.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
  • Attend prenatal appointments.
health and wellness of a mom

Choose Your Baby’s Healthcare Provider

Some of the best advice you’ll find when choosing a pediatrician or family doctor comes from other moms and dads who live nearby. If you’re new to the area, scout some healthcare providers online and request to meet with them before your baby is born to compare their values and policies with your expectations as a patient. Once your baby is born, you still have the option to switch to a new doctor if you change your mind.

Pamper Yourself before Your Baby Arrives

The work of baby planning plus pregnancy fatigue equals a mama who needs some relaxation. Make sure to take time for yourself during your pregnancy and do things that are physically and emotionally refreshing .

Plan a Girls’ Night

Catch up with friends over food and mocktails, or whatever you enjoy doing together! After your baby is born it can be harder to spend time with friends, so take the opportunity now.

Visit the Salon or Spa

A fresh haircut or manicured nails can leave you feeling your best. Schedule a prenatal massage—or two—to melt away your pregnancy aches and pains.

pregnant in the spa

Take One-on-one Dates with Your Older Children

Your newborn baby will require most of your attention, so take time now to put your older children first. Going out for a meal or activity just the two of you is a great way to let your child know how much you love them and how important they are to you even in the midst of preparing for the new baby’s upcoming arrival.

Fun Things to Do With Your Partner Before Your Baby Arrives

Keep the bond with your significant other strong by spending some fun time together before the birth of your baby. Preparing your home and life for a new baby can be stressful for both of you. Do fun things during your pregnancy that you might not get the chance to do with a newborn at home.

Take a Babymoon Trip

A babymoon is a vacation expectant parents plan before the birth of their baby. The goal is for couples to have fun and bond before entering the trenches of new parent life. Your babymoon can be simple and local or lavish and far from home. 

Finish Up Home Projects Together

Check some things off your list that you’ve been wanting to get done. Spruce up the flower beds, hang new shelves in the home office, or paint the kitchen cabinets a new color. Completing home projects is a great way to spend time together and even the small tasks will probably be put off until much later once your baby arrives.

Get a Couples Massage

The only thing better than a prenatal massage is a couples massage. You and your husband or partner can benefit from releasing tension with a relaxing massage. Make a day of it and cancel any other plans or distractions.

Exercise Together

Always check with your ob-gyn before starting a new workout routine during pregnancy, but it’s usually safe to continue your pre-pregnancy activity level as long as you’re comfortable. Synchronize your gym time with your spouse or go on evening walks together as you share the details of your day.

Go to a Concert Together

Attending a show with live music is a fun distraction from the work of preparing for your baby. Score tickets to a concert with music you both like and enjoy a night out.

Schedule Date Nights

Make weekly or monthly date nights with your partner a habit during your pregnancy. The upcoming responsibilities of parenting can be consuming, but it’s important to make time to focus on your relationship with your significant other. Use date nights to reconnect after a long week and enjoy the things you love about each other outside of parenting .

Plan for Your Future

Whether it’s pillow talk of the far-off future or making lists of things you want to achieve this year, discuss your dreams for your family’s future together. It’s fun to imagine where you’ll be as time passes and keeps you and your partner on the same page when you’re working to accomplish your goals.

Couple planning their future


When Should I Start Preparing for My Baby’s Arrival ?

Right now! You can start planning for your new baby before you’re even pregnant. Prepare your body with prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive. Write a list of baby names in your first trimester. Start buying baby clothes in your second trimester. Discuss a birth plan with your doctor during your third trimester.

No matter where you are in pregnancy, you can start preparing for your baby’s arrival. The more you get done ahead of time, the more at ease you’ll feel as you approach your due date.

What Nursery Furniture Is Essential to Preparing My Baby’s Nursery?

The nursery furniture you choose is essential to the flow and function of the room. Start with a glider or rocking chair, a dresser with a changing topper, a crib, and a bookshelf for storage. Nurture& offers premium nursery furniture designed to make new parents’ lives easier.

What Should I Do Two Weeks Before Giving Birth?

The last two weeks before your due date are crunch time. Labor could start any time during the last two weeks of pregnancy, so be prepared. Pack your hospital bag, test out your car seat and other baby gear, and finalize childcare arrangements with trusted family or friends. And don’t forget to rest!

What Should I Do to Prepare for Labor?

At the end of your second trimester or the beginning of the third, start preparing physically and mentally for labor and delivery. Take childbirth and breastfeeding classes, create and discuss a birth plan with your ob-gyn, and stretch and move your body daily.

What Should I Pack in My Hospital Bag ?

Pack anything you’ll need during labor and your first day or two postpartum. Check with your hospital or birthing center first to see if they provide anything for postpartum and newborn care. If they do, you’ll have less to pack.

Your hospital bag might include your ID and registration paperwork, a copy of your birth plan, a change of clothes, your baby’s coming home outfit, newborn diapers, wipes, nursing bras, toiletries, and postpartum pads and underwear.

Check out Nurture&’s  online store  before your baby arrives! You can find more advice for pregnancy and life as a new parent in our Journal.

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing. Before starting her career as a freelance writer, Alyssa devoted all of her time to her family and raising her young children. The evolution of her motherhood journey and parenting experience inspires her work. She strives to always tell a story that is helpful and relatable to the person reading it. Alyssa lives in Ohio with her husband and four hilarious kids.