Pregnancy is a funny thing. It can feel like it’s taking forever to reach your due date until suddenly, it’s not. One minute you’re excitedly sharing your first ultrasound pics with your friends and then all of a sudden, random people are hitting you with the old “you look ready to pop!” as you waddle down the street.
Then it dawns on you. Holy crap, you’re about to have a baby!
Don’t panic, but we’re going to level with you; your life is about to become very busy and you’ll probably (definitely) be very sleep deprived. Getting organised now – before your baby comes – will pay dividends when you’re ankle-deep in dirty laundry, drinking an hour old tea, and ordering Uber Eats for the second time that day.
So where to even begin?
Your pregnancy to-do list will be unique to you and your life, but we’ve put together 40 ideas to help you get started.
HONOUR YOUR BODY
1. Take a long breath, SLOW DOWN and rest up
Let us start by saying we know you might feel scared or overwhelmed, but just know that you got this! Even though you may feel like you have a million and one things to do, now is the time to slow down and also take care of yourself. Making a baby is hard work and your body needs extra rest to provide the energy required to create a human being from scratch. So remember to take some long breaths, give yourself time to relax and unwind, and enjoy your pregnancy journey.
2. Eat nourishing foods and start popping those vitamins
While morning sickness and cravings can make it hard to stick to a healthy eating plan, try to eat healthily where you can. Your baby is now getting first dibs on all the vitamins and minerals you absorb, so it’s important to nourish your body as much as possible to not only support your baby’s growing needs but also make sure there’s enough left over for you too.
Start taking a prenatal multivitamin as soon as possible, ideally 3 months before conceiving – ask your doctor to recommend one that will suit your needs as well as provide your baby with all the extra nutrients they need.
3. Keep active
While you do have to take some precautions as your body changes to accommodate your growing bump, it is important to stay active during your pregnancy. This will look different for everyone at each different stage of pregnancy. It might mean a combination of resistance training and conditioning several times each week, or it might mean gentle prenatal yoga and afternoon walks. Focus on feeling good and don’t put pressure on yourself to exercise if you aren’t feeling up to it.
4. Treat yo’ self
Now is the time to indulge in getting your nails done, a pregnancy massage, or a whole spa day as you’ll have less time for yourself after the baby is born. Besides, stress isn’t good for you or the baby, so maxin’ that relaxin’ is good for everyone.
5. Start antenatal expressing
Talk to your doctor or midwife about antenatal expressing. This can help build the connection between your brain and your breasts to help with breastfeeding when the time comes, and also give you a chance to build a small supply of colostrum – the “pre-milk” your body produces once your baby is born, before your breast milk comes in – to take to hospital with you, in case you have difficulty breastfeeding in the first few days.
6. Sort out your postpartum wardrobe
After you give birth your uterus takes time to shrink back down to its previous size and your body will be in a weird stage where you’re too small for your pregnancy clothes but still a bit too big for your pre-pregnancy clothes. You’ll need some loose, comfy loungewear, especially if you’ve had a C-section and need to avoid pressure around your stomach area.
7. Stock up on postpartum gear
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, you’ll need lots and lots of maternity pads for postpartum bleeding, and potentially some ice packs for your breasts and vajayjay. After 9 months of pregnancy and birth, the poor gal has been through a lot.
8. Maternity photoshoot
A maternity photoshoot is a great way to celebrate the life you are about to bring into the world and to capture your strong, amazing body during this precious time. Your future self will love looking back at these photos. Aim to schedule your shoot when you are around seven to eight months pregnant – when your bump is nice and round and you’re still relatively comfortable!
9. Know how to deal with stress
Periods of stress are inevitable and SO completely normal when you have a newborn baby. Anticipate and accept that you’re probably going to feel overwhelmed at times and have some strategies in place to help you manage stress (e.g. getting some TLC from your partner, chatting with other new mums, doing a daily meditation to reset, etc).
PLANNING FOR BIRTH
10. Pack your hospital bag
Ideally, you want your hospital bag to be ready to go by 35-36 weeks. Check out our ultimate hospital bag checklist for some tips on what you need.
11. Plan your birth announcement
Doing a cute Facebook or Instagram post or sending out announcement cards to relatives? Organise as much as you can ahead of time – mailing addresses and any special outfits or props you’ll need for when you reveal your little one to the world.
12. Practice your hospital run
Which route is the quickest? How long will the drive take? Where will you park? Don’t leave these things to chance on the day!
13. Find a birth/newborn photographer
Perhaps you’d like a photographer in the room to capture your birthing experience or maybe you’d just like some photos of your baby while they are still in that precious newborn stage. Organise your photographer well in advance and have a plan for what you’d like your photoshoot to look like.
14. Make a plan for any other children or animals
Do you have other children? Make arrangements now for who will stay with them while you’re in labour, including whether they will need to pick them up or drop them to school. If you have pets, arrange for a friend or relative to care for them or organise pet boarding.
15. Enlist a doula
A doula can offer you physical and emotional support during labour, and advocate for your rights and preferences during birth. If you plan on having a doula, organise one ASAP.
16. Finalise birth preferences
Anything can happen when you go into labour, so it’s important to stay open-minded, but you should also have an idea of how you would like to birth. Once you enter your third trimester, start to talk to your birth support team about what would make you feel safe and comfortable and give you a positive birth experience.
PREPARING FOR YOUR BABY
17. Wash baby clothes & linen
Pre-wash all of those teeny tiny baby clothes, burp cloths, bibs, and nursery linen and have them sorted and ready to go. Keep it to just the things your baby will need in the first month, you can leave bigger sizes for later.
18. Organise the nursery/place for baby to sleep
If you don’t get this finished before the baby arrives, don’t stress! At the very least though you need somewhere for your baby to sleep and somewhere to change nappies (because you’ll be changing A LOT of them). Red Nose recommends babies sleep in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first 6-12 months of life. For further info on safe sleeping visit rednose.org.au
19. Choose a doctor for your baby
Once your baby is born you’ll have regular health checks to attend for the first few years. If you don’t already have a family GP, now is the time to find one you like and trust. Get recommendations from friends and family and don’t be afraid to try a few before making a decision on the right doctor for your family.
20. Install a car capsule
In Australia, car capsules must be professionally installed before you take your baby home from hospital. Ask your local baby store or mechanic whether they have a certified installer who can install your capsule for you.
21. Attend antenatal classes
Attending antenatal classes can help you feel more confident and prepared for birth when the time comes. These classes cover a range of topics from preparing for birth and birthing techniques, to breastfeeding and caring for your newborn baby. They usually run for several weeks so aim to begin any classes at around 30 to 32 weeks. You might want to book in early to ensure you get a spot! Consider also attending a first aid and CPR course to learn how to care for your baby should they need medical attention.
22. Invite a friend’s child to stay the night
Curious as to how you’ll go parenting a child? If you have a friend with a baby or toddler, offer to babysit for the night to give you some parenting practice. You’ll earn some bonus friend points by giving them a night off too. Hopefully, they’ll return the favour for you once you have your own rugrat!
23. Set up a nursing station
Newborns feed around the clock, so make sure you have a comfortable space set up in your bedroom, or in your nursery, with any supplies and snacks you might need within reach.
24. Plan regular romantic dates with your partner
It may be many weeks or even months before you and your partner are able to spend some alone time together, so don’t waste any opportunities for romance before your baby arrives. Make a list of all the restaurants and bars you’ve been meaning to check out and GO. Take long, luxurious baths together, sleep in on the weekends and go to the movies. These things may seem trivial now but you’ll be longing for them in a few month’s time.
25. Address any problems in your relationship that feel unresolved
With a lack of sleep and increased stress, there is a potential for tension to develop between you and your partner. Try and address any problems that may become inflamed before the baby arrives.
26. Spend time with your friends
Make time to catch up with your friends regularly while you’re pregnant and do a few selfless things for them. You’re about to become very selfish when your baby arrives (and rightly so), so it’s a good idea to earn some friend points now to cash in later.
27. Connect with other mums
During pregnancy and the postpartum period, one of your biggest sources of support is your mum friends. If you don’t have many friends with kids, start connecting with other women who are at the same stage of pregnancy as you and support each other on your pregnancy and postpartum journeys.
28. Go on a babymoon
We’re sure you don’t really need an excuse for a holiday but having a baby is a good one nonetheless! Take a week or two off or spend a weekend away alone with your partner and enjoy each other before two become three.
29. Reconnect with yourself
After your baby is born, you will experience a shift in identity. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything from your pre-mum life! Figure out what aspects of your current life are important to you to keep when you transition into life as a mum. Write them down so you can remind yourself when you begin to question who you even are now that you’re a mum.
SORT YOUR LIFE OUT
30. Figure out your parenting style
Discuss how you’d like to raise your child with your partner before your baby arrives. Talk about the values that are most important to each of you, and how you can support each other when you become parents. Will your partner help with the overnight feeds and nappy changes? How will cooking and cleaning be divided?
31. Finalise mat leave with work / Centrelink
In Australia, you must legally notify your employer 10 weeks in writing prior to going on maternity leave. Decide when you’d like to announce your pregnancy to your employer and the details of your maternity leave. How long will you be gone? Will you be coming back to the same role? Will you be coming back to a full time or part-time workload? Let your employer know your intentions upfront.
If your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, Centrelink currently provides up to 18 weeks of paid parental leave, if you meet eligibility requirements.
32. Do all the life admin
Get all of those annoying little life admin chores out of the way now and have less things to worry about later when your baby arrives. Get your car serviced, go to the dentist, and set up automatic payments for bills where you can, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of manual payments.
33. Upgrade your car
If your car is a little on the old side or is too small to fit a car seat and pram, consider upgrading to something a bit bigger or newer.
34. Finish any home renovation projects
If you have any home renovations in the works, now is the time to wrap it up! Juggling a newborn baby and home renovations is a recipe for stress.
GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
35. Purge the house/declutter
Most women start nesting towards the end of their pregnancy, but if you know that you have a lot of organising and decluttering to do, get a head start on it before that belly gets too big and getting down on your hands and knees becomes too hard. Before you know it, your squishy little newborn will be racing around on all fours. Baby proof your home and get your carpets and rugs steam cleaned now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
36. Any maintenance around the house
Once your baby arrives, you’re not going to have much time to fix that broken cupboard door or repaint the bathroom, so get it all done now while you can.
37. Lists, lists, lists
When your baby is born, friends and family will want to help out but this can become a burden if you’re constantly explaining how to use equipment or walking them through processes. Write lists for anything that might need instructions: how to use the washing machine, recipes for meals, other children’s or pet’s schedules, all of it. The less you need to intervene, the better.
38. Assemble your baby gear/get batteries organised
Babies come with a lot of stuff. Cots, bassinets, prams, car capsules, swings, bouncers, high chairs, and play gyms. All these things require assembling and many of them require batteries. Assemble all of your baby gear now and stock up on extra batteries. The last thing you need is a newborn who will only settle in the swing screaming because the batteries have died.
39. Prepare for visitors
Decide when you’d like to start having visitors over and who they will be. Will you have only close family members during the first few days or will you allow other family and friends to visit? Let people know in advance of any rules you’d like them to be aware of, for example, hand washing and cleanliness expectations, and whether you’re allowing holding or kissing the baby.
40. Meal prep
Spend time preparing some freezable meals and snacks now so that you have something quick and easy to eat when you and your partner are too tired and busy to cook or food shop. If you’re not much of a cook, organise a meal delivery service for the first few weeks. Read about how to meal prep for your postpartum here.
Well done Mama! You made it to the end of the list! And yes, there’s a lot to get organised but it doesn’t need to become overwhelming. Tackle your list one item at a time as you edge closer to your due date and don’t leave everything to the last minute.
We know you want to do everything you can to ease your baby’s entry into the world but don’t forget about YOU. Having a baby is a huge life change for you and your family, so make sure you prioritise taking care of yourself and put strategies in place to make this transition easier for you as well.
Know that whatever happens, you’ll figure it out as you go. All your baby really needs at the end of the day is its mum.
Experienced mamas – is there anything you’d add to this list?