You've made it - The third trimester is here, and while you're more uncomfortable and exhausted, you can also see the end in sight (even though you can't see your toes haha)
As you reach the end of your pregnancy, there probably isn't much on your mind beyond meeting your little one for the first time.
Evens so, you might wake up one morning with an unrelenting desire to do something. Clean, organize, bake. No matter what it is, your body wants to get ready.
This is called nesting, and it's an instinct most women experience in the weeks leading up to delivery (if you never experience it, don't worry. Plenty of women don't).
This instinct can be overwhelming though. What are you even supposed to do these last few weeks?
Use our third trimester checklist to put that nesting urge to good use in these last few weeks.
Chances are, you've already decided how you're going to diaper your baby. If you haven't, now is the time to make that choice. Cloth, Disposable, or a mix of the two. Maybe you want to skip diapers and do (EC) elimination communication.
There are tons of choices, and there are lots of ways to fit your budget and lifestyle.
No matter what you choose, though, now is the time to make sure everything is in order.
If you are using disposables, make sure you have packs of newborn and size 1 diapers ready. Some babies fit fine in newborns for a few weeks, while others skip them and go straight to size 1.
Disposable pro-tip: Resist the urge to open any packs of diapers before you actually bring your baby home.
The hospital will give you diapers to bring home with you, and you can return unused packs for store credit if it turns out your baby doesn't need the smallest sizes.
If you're using cloth, now is the time to finish your stash and prep your diapers. Remember that natural fiber diapers sometimes need to be washed 8-10 times before they are ready to go on a baby bum, so give yourself some time.
Make sure you have your wet bags and washing routine figured out and prepped now so that all that fluff is ready for your baby's bum when you bring them home.
Nothing seems to give new mamas more stress than the hospital bag.
Truth be told, it isn't as big a consideration as many first-time moms think, and there is no need to bring your entire nursery with you.
A good option for your hospital bag is whatever diaper bag you will be using.
A good third trimester checklist for your hospital bag:
You'll be spending a lot of time in bed while you're at the hospital, and while wearing the hospital issued gown for the duration is an option, it isn't the most comfortable.
Wearing your own clothing will help you feel more like yourself, especially when people start coming to visit. Find some nursing tanks and tees that you will want one or two of to bring with you. Styles that not only work for feeding, but postpartum everyday wear, and even well beyond are great investments especially if you plan to nurse a lot or do pumping when you return to work.
New babies pretty much all look like potatoes, and while hospitals have great security systems, it's nice to have something that differentiates your baby from all the others on the maternity floor.
Pack a few onesies or sleepers to dress your baby in while you stay at the hospital.
This is a given. Keep in mind that you will probably still need some of the same clothes you were wearing, so pack an outfit you might have worn in early second tri. Stock up on functional, transitionary tops that work for nursing and while you are in the postpartum stages such as the Bun Maternity low neck swing tank or Relaxed Daily Nursing Hoodie.
You'll want to take a shower, so bring your own products.
Also, the hospital provides pillows, but they aren't exactly the picture of comfort, so having your own might help you stay comfy.
There are more things like paperwork, camera, money, disposable pads/undies, etc. etc. that you will need so Read more on how to Pack your Hospital Bag like a Pro.
Most hospitals don't like you to leave the hospital without a pediatrician ready.
Take the time to start researching and choosing a pediatrician in these last few weeks.
Make sure their philosophy on child health matches yours and that you agree on things like vaccinations, medication, behavior, and discipline.
While you're checking out pediatricians, start looking into who your support system will be, especially if you will be returning to work.
Not everyone has help or family nearby, but having an idea of a few occasional options may save you some hassle in the long run. You will be surprised how many people would love to help out, even if it means hanging out at your home while you take a few hours to take a nice bath and do something good for yourself.
If you are thinking about childcare, know that many quality childcare centers are on a wait, so make sure you get in early.
Yes, if you plan to breastfeed or pump you will find much success designing a space in your home with a few essentials. Water bottle handy (you must stay hydrated while breastfeeding), a comfy rocking chair, a blanket and nursing pillow, a few burp clothes, and a book or music nearby will really elevate your nursing experience.
Add more needs as you think of them that will create this area as a peaceful and relaxing designated spot for feeding. Dad can even use this area for cuddles, bottle feedings, and skin to skin time with his child.
When mommy is happy then baby is happy too, and that will make for a successful bonding relationship for you and your new baby.
If you haven't taken a childbirth class, now is the time.
You can also use this time to learn more about breastfeeding or babywearing. Check into what your local offerings are.
These classes can also be an awesome time to meet other moms in your area. Start building your mom tribe now.
In Los Angeles, The Pump Station & Nurtury offers tons of lactation expertise and classes.
The last thing you want to do while you're in labor is sign forms and fill out paperwork.
See if your hospital offers a pre-registration option. This may come with a third trimester checklist for your health from your providers, and often this will come with a hospital tour as well so you can see the maternity facilities.
If you have a birth plan, you will also want this ready and discussed with your doctor as necessary.
Wash baby's clothing before he or she arrives. We recommend more garments with less frills, glitters, and dyes as baby's skin is extra sensitive to rough textures or chemicals. Just like the cloth diapers, you may want to wash your soon be bundle of joy's clothing in advance and more than once as needed.
While you are doing laundry, pump up the jams on your sound system and do a good sweep of the house by throwing away and donating unused items and clutter that you haven't used in years. Have the carpet cleaned, or do a through dusting to rid allergens and cobwebs that may have been missed. Coming home to a clean home will be relaxing and starts your baby off in a calm, clutter free environment.
Some moms have the luxury of a village that will bring them home-cooked meals in the weeks after their baby is born.
If you don't, or if meals from other people's kitchens just aren't your thing, take a weekend to put together some freezer meals.
Soups, casseroles, and pasta sauce all freeze great and will keep your family fed while you are recovering and bonding with your new baby.
If you have grocery delivery such as Amazon Prime Now, Instacart, or DoorDash in your area...take advantage of it. It's a total lifesaver and timesaver, especially if you are city mom where there are lots of stairs, less parking, and traffic. Skip it all with a press of a button.
As you go through the last few weeks, remember that the most important thing is to understand that there is no pressure here.
Do the things on the third trimester checklist if you like, or leave them to later. Read the entire "like a boss" list of our Third Trimester Checklist here.
Use this last trimester to reconnect with yourself and your partner, and get ready for your life to change in the next few weeks.
If you can make it happen, take some time for you and your partner. Get a massage, go on a babymoon, or just take a weekend to breathe and do nothing. Self care IS VERY essential to be balanced. Read our tips of self care before baby arrives here.
Life is about to get crazy, and taking some time to relax will help put you in the right frame of mind to welcome a new life.
Keep going mama! You are doing amazing!