No matter when you find out you’re expecting a baby, there’s lots of joy and lots of stress. Thinking about all the things there are to do before the baby arrives can be totally overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re a new mom, though every addition to your family offers more challenges and anxiety. 

Beyond cute birth announcements and making your first prenatal appointment, there are lots of things to do! But, don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve created a list of 27 things to do before baby arrives. This way you’ll stay on track AND stress-free while you await your new addition. Here’s our list:

27 Things to Do to Prepare for Baby

1st Trimester 

1. Take a look at your insurance. 

Once you find out that you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to‌ look at your health insurance plan. Figure out what prenatal and delivery services your insurance will cover, so you can plan for medical expenses. Additionally, you can look into your new insurance cost once you add your baby, to better prepare for that new expense as well! 

2. Start taking prenatal vitamins. 

Medical professionals highly recommend taking prenatal vitamins to support a healthy pregnancy! Folic acid helps prevent critical birth defects and iron helps the body deliver oxygen to the fetus. Prenatal vitamins will give your body the right amounts of these healthy nutrients. So, grab some prenatal vitamins and start taking them right away! 

3. Research baby products and start a registry

If you’ve browsed the baby aisle at any store, you know there are tons of products out there for new parents. There are both necessities AND nice-to-have items that will make your parenting journey much easier (and sometimes more fun!) 

Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist, you’ll need some baby stuff. So, start researching baby gear to get a sense of what you want. Then, go ahead and start a registry! This can act as a checklist for you, and it’ll be useful for your loved ones when baby showers or sprinkles come in. (Bonus tips: If you use Babylist, you can add items from anywhere and if you use Amazon, you can even add things that aren’t traditional gifts.) We also have Idea Boards and Livestreams to help!

4. Save up and budget! 

Though friends and family may give you gifts and plenty of help, kids are still expensive. Start saving up for medical expenses and baby supplies. You can budget for purchasing baby gear too, for anything you don’t get at your shower. 

Head over to our Car Seat Buying Kits to select a seat that fits your child, budget, and lifestyle!

5. Decide how and where you’d like to deliver. 

Many new moms are surprised by how many birthing options there are out there! Whether you want an unmedicated home birth or a voluntary c-section (or something in between), there are choices for you. Do some research and figure out how you want to deliver (and what restrictions your state might have on home delivery). Then, if you decide to give birth at the hospital, select a hospital in your area that’s linked to your OBGYN and provides the services you’re looking for. 

6. Confirm the terms of your family leave policy. 

You and your partner should both check up on your family leave policy at your respective workplaces. When you got hired, you may not have looked too much into the details. But, now that you’re expecting, it’s a good idea to review all the ins and outs of your maternity/paternity leave policy. You’ll need to know things like the duration of your leave and whether it’s paid or unpaid. Remember, all employers must follow the terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act. See what aspects of FMLA apply based on your employment status to ensure your company is in compliance with state and federal laws on parental leave. 

7. Consider childcare options. 

Yes, we know this is early, but childcare in certain cities is difficult to come by. Consider whether you’ll be staying at home with your child if a friend or family member will be watching them, or if they’ll be in a traditional daycare facility. If you do plan on enrolling in a facility, especially a sought-after one, call now. They have long waitlists! 

2nd Trimester

8. Buy maternity clothes.

By your second trimester, you’ll start rocking a baby bump! You’ll notice too because all your clothes will start fitting poorly. Don’t wait and don’t try to squeeze into your regular clothes. Get a small capsule wardrobe of maternity clothes that allows you to mix and match lots of outfits. You can even plan ahead and get transitional maternity clothes that transform into nursing tops or postpartum wear as well!

Now that you have a bump, make sure you’re buckling up safely!

9. Assemble the nursery. 

It might take a while for the baby to sleep in the nursery, but it’ll be a great place to spend time with your newborn and store clothes and gear. Plus, the time will go by fast, and soon your kiddo will be ready for their big crib! So, in the second trimester, you’ll want to start assembling the nursery. Look at Pinterest for inspo, buy your furniture and decor, and get to painting and decorating! 

10. Think about household organization. 

Your baby will take over your whole house. To prevent clutter and stress from disorganization, consider zones for your home. Maybe you need multiple changing stations for various levels. Maybe you need a comfortable place to nurse or pump. Or maybe you need a formula mixing station. The point is, take some time to visualize how you’ll use your home when the baby arrives, and make it as functional as possible. 

Check out our New Mom Must Haves for some ideas!

11. Decide how you’ll feed your baby. 

Speaking of pumping and formula mixing, it’s time to decide how you’ll be feeding your baby. There’s no shame in any type of feeding, so pick what’s best for you–though babies don’t always stick to our plans, so a little bit of flexibility is a good thing! If you plan on breastfeeding, research breast pumps and see if your insurance will cover the purchase. If you’ll opt for formula feeding or a combo of breast and formula, then take the time to research the different baby formulas available and think about any convenience items you may want to have on hand!

12. Plan your maternity leave. 

Your maternity leave is fast approaching! Plan how you’ll spend that time, and plan how you’ll transition back to work. Life will be different when baby arrives, so it’s a good idea to set out what’s expected from everyone. You’ll be on leave, but you won’t be the only one responsible for taking care of the new little one. 

13. Make your birth plan. 

You already know (in general) how you want to deliver your baby, but it’s time to add a little more detail. The day you deliver will be hectic. To help set things on the right path, write out a birth plan for your support people and your doctors. This way, everyone can work to create the most ideal delivery. You can discuss your priorities and desires with your doctor at a prenatal checkup to make sure you have a realistic plan that will make your little one’s birthday a little smoother!

14. Decide how you’ll diaper your baby. 

Feeding is a big decision, but there’s another decision to be made! How would you like to diaper your baby? You can choose modern cloth diapering methods or the classic disposable route. Make sure whichever option you choose, you make that choice clear to friends and family. This way, they can help you stock up on the right gear. 

15. Prep other kiddos for the new baby. 

If you have other kids, then you and your partner won’t be the only ones adjusting to life with a new baby! Before your newborn arrives, prep your other child(ren) for the whole process. You can do this by sharing the idea of a new baby through books and roleplay, letting them know what family member they’ll be staying with while you deliver, and allowing them to help you with preparations like assembling the nursery. You can learn more about prepping for life with a toddler AND a newborn here

16. Take a car seat course. 

93% of parents leave the hospital with their babies in car seats that aren’t installed or buckled properly. That’s so scary! And, the truth is, finding trusted car seat education is tough. This is why Safe in the Seat was born. We exist to help give you all the information you need to make sure your child is always as safe as possible in their car seat. 

The BEST way to learn everything you need to know about car seat safety is through one of our car seat safety courses. And, if you’re worried about buying a car seat, we have buying kits to make that easy too. At the very least, we recommend reviewing the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on car seat safety. 

Keep Baby Buckled!

17. Enroll in other baby courses. 

In addition to car seat courses, consider birthing, parenting, newborn, breastfeeding, and safe sleep courses. TinyHood is a great source for ‌these new baby educational resources! The classes are definitely worth the investment. 

3rd Trimester

18. Pack your hospital bag. 

As your due date approaches, you should pack up your hospital bag. This bag should include all your hospital essentials, so when baby decides to make his or her appearance, you can grab that bag and go! Here’s a complete list of everything you should have in your hospital bag. 

19. Meet with a car seat technician and install your seat. 

You need your hospital bag ready, but you also need your car seat ready! You’ve already taken your car seat course, so you know how to safely use your car seat once baby arrives.

But, installing your car seat correctly is just as integral to a safe ride. To help with installation, meet with a car seat consultant. They’ll help ensure the car seat is properly installed and ready to go.

In this sample lesson from our Infant Course, you will learn the different types of installation methods for your infant car seat. Whether you are starting your journey on Team Base or Team No-base, in this lesson you’ll learn about all the possible infant car seat installation methods and how to connect your car seat to a vehicle. Want to learn how to keep your child safe on every ride? Check out our Infant Course on the how-tos of installation, harnessing and troubleshooting.

How to install an infant car seat

Meet first-time parents, Jamie and Mike, who are just weeks away from the arrival of their little one. They used our Car Seat Buying Kits to find their best car seat for newborn. An important part to prepping for baby is to get the infant seat installed AND practice before the big day. Watch as I put them to the installation test, teach them proper harnessing and help them make critical adjustments to the car seat for infant to keep their baby safe from the first ride. Expecting? Take this free quiz!

Watch first time parents install a car seat

20. Make plans for the day of delivery. 

The day of delivery, what’s the plan? Who’s taking you to the hospital? Where are your other kids staying? Who do you want informed you’re in labor? All these things need to be planned out, so when baby says he or she is ready to come out, you’re ready too! 

21. Make plans for recovery. 

Once your new addition is born, the challenges don’t stop. (Oh, no. They’ve just begun!) Recovering from your birth should be part of the plan too. And, remember, lots can happen during labor and delivery, so plan for recovery with a vaginal birth and a c-section. Consider what products you might need for recovery and if you want anyone to stay with you while you heal. 

22. Receive and buy baby items. 

Baby shower time! Let your family and friends shower you with much-needed items for your upcoming family addition. If you’re not having a shower (or you did and just still need some things), now is the time to buy baby items yourself. Go down your checklist from the first trimester and make sure you have everything! 

23. Find a pediatrician. 

You’ll need a pediatrician out the gate! They’ll come to check on your newborn while you’re still in the hospital, and have you bring baby for a follow-up soon after discharge. Therefore, you’ll need to choose a pediatrician prior to baby’s arrival.

24. Make freezer meals. 

Cooking great meals is going to be the last thing on your family’s mind as you adjust to having a newborn. But it’s important that you eat well to keep up your health and energy during those early weeks. To help your future self, make and freeze a couple of weeks’ worth of meals. This way, when it’s time for dinner, you don’t have to do much! 

25. Stock up on supplies. 

Just like you won’t want to cook, you won’t want to leave the house to go shopping. Stock up on household supplies and baby supplies. Toilet paper, cleaners, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, and paper towels should at least be on your list! Sit down and consider items you won’t want to run out of and purchase in advance. 

26. Create a “figuring it out” fund.

You may have done all the research, got all the best products, and done all the planning possible, but a new baby might still throw a wrench in things. Maybe they don’t like the bottles you bought or they have a sensitivity to the wipes you stocked up on. When things like this happen, you’ll need to jump on Amazon and order something new to try! To ensure these extra expenses don’t stress you out, have a designated fund for when you’re “figuring it out.”

27. Wash baby clothes and items. 

Before baby arrives, you need to wash all your fabric baby items. Crib or bassinet sheets, blankets, clothes, and swaddles all need to be washed before you have the baby. It’s a good idea to use a free and clear laundry detergent to avoid irritation when wrapped around your little one. 

When to start preparing for the baby

Some parents start preparing for a baby before they even become pregnant, while some wait until a bit later in pregnancy. Do what’s best for you! There are smaller things you can do to prepare early on, but by the beginning of the third trimester its a good idea to have a plan for the bigger things (like choosing and installing your car seat!).

Preparing for your newborn doesn’t have to be stressful when you have a list and a plan! 

If you have a new baby on the way, congratulations! There is so much to be excited about. But, there’s a lot to prepare as well. When you consider all you need to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let yourself get stressed, though. Just follow this list and you’ll be as ready as you can be to bring a new life into this world!

We’d love to stick with you through this journey. You’ll need our resources on car seat safety for years and years to come. Plus, we share other helpful parenting information too! To stay up to date, bookmark our blog and check back every week for new content! Take advantage of all of our car seat safety services to stay primed on this need-know-topic. 

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