Third Trimester Checklist
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It's almost time! Your due date is near, but really, baby will come when baby is good and ready. You don't want to find yourself unprepared in this situation, so it's time to start checking things off your third trimester to-do list.
After you deliver, you'll need to bring your baby home! Do not pull a Britney and ride home with an infant on your lap. But seriously, you don't want to have to send someone out to the store while you're in labor to get a car seat, and since baby can come early, it's best to prep the car now (installation can be a hassle). Plus, you can research a good brand and not just buy the only car seat available at Wal-Mart at 4 A.M. on a Tuesday.
2. Arrange maternity leave at work.
You've probably already let your boss know that you are pregnant, but if not, what are you waiting for? There's nothing to be nervous about. This part is exciting! Make sure you discuss your options and pick what is best for you and your family.
3. Prepare insurance paperwork.
Sounds awful, I know. You need to contact your health insurance company at some point to determine how to add a dependent to your policy. You may need to switch plans, so if you arrange it ahead of time, it will save you a headache later on.
4. Find a pediatrician.
You'll be back in the doctor's office to check up on your baby's well-being after the first month of delivery—even if your baby is completely healthy. In the first year, you'll be back again for check-ups at least five more times. I don't need to stress about how important it is to find a doctor you trust. Start searching...
Picking a name off the top of your head after hours of being in labor and you're extremely hormonal... what could go wrong?
Choose a name ahead of time... or at least have a list ready. Whether you know the gender or not, you and your partner should probably have a few ideas in mind before it's time to deliver.
Whether you're the type of of person who brings five pairs of underwear on a two night vacation, or if you prefer to keep it simple, everyone should have a bag prepared to go for when it's time to head to the hospital. What you pack is up to you, but you'll likely be in the hospital for at least 24 hours.
7. Research a recovery plan.
You are going to want to make yourself your own care package for postpartum recovery. Although the hospital will give you some supplies, it's best to do some research on at-home remedies that will ease your pain in the weeks following birth. For example, definitely buy some big comfortable underwear that you don't mind ruining.
8. Clean the house.
Therapeutic or a nuisance? Well, it can actually keep your mind busy while you're impatiently waiting baby's arrival. You'll probably have company visiting you shortly after you give birth, and if you don't want the stress of a messy house, then take care of it while you have some free time.
9. Stock up on staple items.
Family essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, and soap are just as important to have in the house as anything on your baby checklist. I recommend buying in bulk that way it's the last thing you have to worry about for weeks after your new baby is born.
10. Double-check your baby shopping list.
Did you get everything from your registry at the baby shower? Go back through the list of essentials for baby and make sure you aren't forgetting anything. This is your official excuse to go shop to Target!
One helpful hint is buy baby formula whether you plan on breastfeeding or not.
If you are planning to breastfeed, listen up: your milk supply doesn't actually come in for a few days postpartum. In the first 2-3 days, your breasts will produce colostrum—which is completely sufficient for your baby's needs to start—but if your milk supply doesn't come in after that, your baby might be at risk of losing too much weight or jaundice.
You will know when your milk supply has arrived. Hello engorged breasts.
Anyway, you can ask your doctor on what's the best course of action, but they may recommend using formula as a temporary supplement to make sure your baby is getting the necessary nutrients.
While we're on the topic... do you need a breast pump? If so, add it to the list.
Did you know most insurance companies will cover the cost of your breast pump? It's one of those things that no one likes to tell you... Ask your doctor for a prescription and make a phone call—it really is that simple. And it's free, so why not?
Another tip is figuring out what you want to do about newborn baby photos. If you're into that sort of thing, you can hire a photographer or take your own pictures, in which case: make sure your own camera is charged and ready to go!
If you do decide to send out birth announcements, start putting together a list of addresses and stock up on stamps.
My last tip, which you may or may not choose to do, is stock up on freezer foods. Many new parents enjoy the simplicity and convenience of having quick meals rather than cooking.
So there you have it. It's the final countdown! Hold on a little bit longer, you're almost there!
- Samantha Colandrea