The third trimester of pregnancy: the bittersweet stage of feeling like you’re super prepared for labor and delivery, yet so far away from having it all together. For many women, the third trimester is where major nesting kicks in high gear in preparation for our baby to arrive. Your third trimester is the stage in your pregnancy when you experience extreme fatigue, anxiousness, and other demanding feelings that occur from growing a baby.

There are so many things to prep for in the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. When compiling your list of third trimester to-do’s, you can feel pretty overwhelmed.

For my first, I specifically remember making checklist after checklist throughout my pregnancy. I kept the checklist in my purse and every time we purchased a box of diapers or an outfit, I would cross it off my list. I kept a running tab of clothing items by size in my wallet, so we knew what we had, what we still needed, and what we no longer needed. It sounds crazy, but it was extremely helpful in preparing for the birth of our baby, especially if it’s your first.

Making a checklist of items to prepare for the birth of your baby isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do in your third trimester. You’ll need to prepare your house before bringing your baby home.

Below is a Third Trimester Checklist to help ensure you’re prepared for this special time in your life. This will give you lots of freedom to take care of your postpartum mind and body. You’ll be able to worry less about the nursery, the house and any other daily tasks. This is the time to pay full attention to your baby and healing yourself.

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Third Trimester Checklist | How to Prepare (+ FREE Checklist Printable) |

How to Prepare in Your Third Trimester

For The Home

Finalize the nursery

Mamas, your baby doesn’t care what his/her nursery looks like or if it’s complete or not. Set the nursery up so that it works best for you. I remember bringing our first born home and realizing that all those pretty decor pieces were put in a box in the closet and replaced with a basket filled with wipes, diaper rash cream, and Vasoline. Make sure it’s accessible and organized so you can find necessities immediately. Finalize the nursery for YOU.

Plan baby’s sleep set up in your bedroom

This prep tip is a must! For the first few weeks or months of a baby’s life, many moms prefer the newborn to have a bassinet of some sort set up in their bedroom. If you’re nursing, it’s way more convenient.

Clean and organize siblings rooms

We all know that our current babe’s rooms could use some TLC. You’re not going to want to do it when your newborn is only days old. Although it’s not necessary, it will relieve some stress when arriving home with your baby.

Deep clean the house

Between 3-4 weeks or so prior to your due date, you’ll want to do some deep cleaning (with the help of your significant other, of course!) The main area I care about deep cleaning is our kitchen. With my first pregnancy, I remember being in the kitchen consistently for washing my breast pump accessories, grabbing lactation snacks, rinsing bottles out, storing milk, etc. Two other areas I make sure are pretty clean for when I arrive home are the living room and our bedroom, since that’s where I’ll spend the majority of my time.

Prep your closet for postpartum recovery

This time around, I want to designate a specific area of my closet for comfy postpartum clothing. Because honestly, I know from my first daughter that it was not comfortable standing for long periods of time or shuffling through an entire closet full of clothes. I wanted to find what I needed and throw it on quick.

Designate a cabinet in the kitchen for breast pump essentials

I realized I needed an entire cabinet for all my breast pump essentials, bottles, lactation snacks, etc. AFTER I returned home with our first child. This time around, I’m suggesting you just do it beforehand and thank me later. 🙂

Sterilize your breast pump and bottles

Sterilizing your breast pump and everything with it is a NEED. If you don’t do anything else, make sure you sterilize your pump and accessories. You don’t want to be doing that once you get home with your babe.

Make freezer meals

I only WISH I would’ve done this with our first baby. We made a couple meals, ate leftovers for the first few days of our daughter’s life, and that was it. So, we’re definitely prepping meals this time around!

Stock house with pantry items and snacks

Trust me, you’re going to want some quick snack foods to grab in the house when you’re feeding a newborn, entertaining a toddler,  and trying to care for your postpartum body. This could be granola bars, yogurt cups, fruit cups, string cheese, premade salads… really anything that’s quick and easy!

Buy paper plates and plastic silverware

You DON’T want to be doing tons of dishes on maternity leave. Make it as easy as possible for yourself during this time! It’s all about enjoying your newborn, catering to his/her needs, and allowing your body to recover.

Baby-proof the house

You don’t necessarily have to baby-proof immediately, but I did just so that when the time came, or if we had friends with young kids that visited us, we didn’t have to hurry to baby-proof.

Designate a breastfeeding area in the living room AND nursery

I designated a corner of my living room for a rocking chair, foot stool, a small end table, space for my breast pump bag, and a basket for random items. Here are 16 Products that make Breastfeeding & Pumping 10x Easier.

Pay bills in advance, if possible

YES, yes, yes. I don’t suggest bringing your new baby home to sit at the counter and look through all of your unpaid bills. It’s just not ideal. Like I said before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, spend this time with your baby!

For Baby

Choose a pediatrician

The doctor that delivers your baby will most likely not be your baby’s pediatrician. Ask for referrals and learn more about your baby’s anticipated pediatrician. Luckily, I work at a healthcare facility, so I personally know the doctors, but that’s usually not the case. You’ll want to make sure you have your insurance card handy, driver’s license and anything else they suggest.

Buy final baby necessities

It sure seems like there’s never-ending necessities to accumulate before your baby arrives. After my first baby, I realized I didn’t need a lot of the stuff that are on most registries. Make sure you have the basics, but you don’t have to have everything on the market.

Wash and organize baby clothing

Wash all baby clothing, sheets, blankets, burp rags, etc. Something that’s often forgotten are the covers on the swing, boppy pillow, bassinet, bouncer, and anything else you may have used from the last kiddo.

Assemble and sterilize baby gear

Even though I washed all the padding and covers on the baby gear, I also cleaned the metal, buttons, and gadgets on them. This is probably part of your deep cleaning, but I figured I’d mention it again. You never know what you’ll find from your first baby’s usage. 🙂

Buy batteries for baby gear, if necessary

I made the mistake of forgetting batteries with our first baby, so my hubby had to make an extra trip to the store when I put her in her swing it ended up not turning on. Whoops. Buy LOTS of batteries. You’ll need them.

Pack diaper bag

Make sure you have all of your baby essentials in the diaper bag. AKA – diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, clothing, zip-up sleepers, lotion, thermometer, hat, socks, mittens, blankets, burp rags, etc.

Install the carseat

We’re using the infant car seat we used for our first baby, since the date on it is still valid. Ensure you’re car seat is up-to-date with laws and regulations in your state.

Plan going home outfit

This is the funnest part about going home, right?! (Actually I’m pretty sure the most exciting part is getting to sleep in your own bed and lounging in your own house, but… this is up there on the list, too.)

Finalize baby name

You’d be surprised at how many parents deliver their baby and still haven’t decided on a name (or a couple names, if you don’t know the gender). I won’t say much about this, because I truly believe it is your decision. I just know how relieved I felt going into the hospital with a decision made.

Schedule newborn photo session

OK, this is totally not on the top of the must-haves list. However, if you want newborn photos taken, the suggested time frame to schedule them is for your baby’s first 1-2 weeks of life.

For Mama

Finalize maternity leave plans at work

You’ve probably been anticipating maternity leave plans since your second trimester, but ensure they’re finalized and you and your boss are on the same page. You don’t want to get a call at home regarding questions about work.

Organize childcare following maternity leave

This is something I’ve had a tough time on, to say the least. We weren’t sure if our current provider could take the baby, so I called multiple places (like 9 to be exact) and still didn’t have childcare plans for a toddler and a newborn. I suggest getting this started as soon as possible, just in case you run into the problem I did.

Take childcare/labor classes, if desired

I never took childcare classes, but I’m also the one that designed all of the documents for the classes (I’m a marketing specialist/graphic designer for a hospital), so I read through them. I also researched using outside sources like Pinterest and motherhood blogs. It’s not absolutely necessary, but they are helpful.

Order breast pump, if you haven’t already

I love, love, love my Medela Pump-In-Style breast pump. I loved that the pump came with a microfiber bag and a removable bag for the pump itself.

Schedule final appointments

Schedule any hair appointments, manicure/pedicures, or massages a few weeks before your due date. PAMPER YOURSELF, mama! You deserve it!

Make lactation snacks

Lactation cookies are the best! I also ate tons of oatmeal because not only was it quick and easy, but it helps with increasing your milk supply!

Pack your hospital bag

I wrote an entire blog post on packing our hospital bag! I give tips and tricks about what I packed our first time around. Out of those items we packed for our first baby, I outline what we actually needed and what we packed just to take up space. You can find it here – The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist.

Make a labor music playlist

Dance it out, mama! Music helped me right away, but then I got focused and decided I didn’t want it after it was go-time. I was happy that I put together a playlist though just in case!

Fill a basket in the bathroom with postpartum essentials

You’ll need everything or at least you’ll want everything available to you when you do think you’ll need it. Make sure you put a basket in the bathroom so you have the essentials right beside you and easy access. For my suggestions on postpartum essentials you’ll actually use click here!

Have a plan for siblings and pack their bags

With our first baby, we obviously didn’t have to worry about this, but now we are definitely putting a plan in place ahead of time so that we aren’t scrambling last minute. That’s never fun, no matter what the situation is.

Take a hospital tour

Make sure you know where to park when you get to the hospital, where to enter, and how to find your way around the birth center. You don’t want to get to the hospital and not know your way around the huge facility.

Download breastfeeding app

LIFE. SAVER. Totally download a breastfeeding app so that you can pop in the date, time, ounces pumped, minutes fed, etc. You’ll save yourself the headache when you forget which boob you nursed from last time or how many ounces you pumped.

Plan a final date night with your spouse

DO IT. Whether this is your first baby or your third baby, plan a date night with the person you love. After your baby is born, you won’t have much time to spend just the two of you. So go on a date, throw your phones in the glove box and enjoy your time with each other.

Anything that I missed? Were you prepared when heading off to the hospital? What did you forget about?

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