When a pregnant woman is waiting for her new baby to arrive, she does something called nesting. Her instincts are to prep for the new baby as much as possible. The great thing about nesting is that if you do it right, you can get completely organized and be ready for your baby so you can focus on bonding with your baby once he or she arrives.
If you have that “nesting” feeling and don’t know where to start, here are 40 things to do while you nest and prep for your new baby.
1. Register with your hospital. Most hospitals allow you to pre-register during your second trimester. This allows you to get a lot of the paperwork out of the way so that you can focus on important stuff like breathing.
2. Journal about your pregnancy. Keeping track of your symptoms, cravings and pregnancy progress is a fun way is a great way to remember the journey as you get one week closer to the big day.
3. Take weekly belly photos. It can be fun to take pictures as you progress through the months. You can find so many cute ideas on Pinterest where you can jazz up your photos.
5. Create a backup plan for who will babysit or house sit while you’re in the hospital having the baby.
4. Create your registry and plan what you’ll need for your baby. You can spend hours upon hours looking into the gear and items you’ll need for your baby. Take a look at my baby registry must haves here.
5. Create a budget for the weeks you’ll be off of work. Make sure to set aside enough money for this time.
6. Set up a sleeping area in your room for the baby for the first couple of months.
7. Set up a game plan for feeding your baby, whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding.
8. Prepare everything you will need for the baby’s first bath at home.
9. Set up the nursery. Take advantage when nesting is at its peak and start slowly setting up the nursery. I loved doing a few things each week so I wouldn’t be so overwhelming, and I was able to enjoy the project much longer.
10. Read over the information you received about what you will do once in labor.
11. Plan a babymoon getaway with your partner. Once the baby arrives, it will be quite some time before you’ll be able to get away, so take advantage and plan a fun trip to relax, reconnect and enjoy some tie for just the two of you.
12. Sleep as much as you can. Nothing passes the time like sleep does and since you won’t be getting much when you welcome your new baby, take full advantage now. Sleep in whenever you can and try to take as many naps as you’re able to. Trust me, once the baby comes, you’ll wish you had slept more while you were pregnant.
13. Write a letter to your unborn baby. If you’re feeling extra emotional and maternal, writing a letter to your baby is such a sweet idea. You can set a time when your child would read it—like when they're 13 years old—and it will be extra special because it was written before they were even born.
14. Wash and organize your baby’s clothes. Your baby’s skin may be sensitive to clothes, either store-brought or hand-me downs. Wash the baby clothes with a baby-friendly or sensitive-skin laundry detergent so they are ready to go.
15. Get your diaper bag ready. I remember being about 20 weeks pregnant and spending hours preparing my diaper bag. It’s fun to indulge and enjoy filling the diaper bag that you will soon be taking everywhere. Here’s a list of what you need for your bag to keep your baby cozy and comfy while you’re out.
16. Tie up any loose up at work and look into your maternity leave options. Have a meeting with Human Resources or your boss to discuss your time off before and after delivery.
17. Take a tour of the hospital you plan to deliver at. This is a great time to see the behind-the-scenes of where you’ll giving birth and is helpful in relieving any anxiety you may have about the birth (especially for first-time moms). Make sure to come prepared with any question you have.
18. Declutter the house and get rid of all unnecessary items. This will help make room for everything you need for the baby.
19. Set up baby stations throughout your home. Having necessities in several places throughout your home will make things much easier once you bring your baby home. Placing small baskets with items like diapers wipes, burp clothes, swaddle blankets, pacifiers and an extra change of clothes is a great place to start. And don’t forget to add some bottles of water for yourself.
20. Watch YouTube videos of deliveries. Before having my first baby, I found myself streaming tons of videos of women’s labor. Since I didn’t know what to expect, it gave me a strange sense of comfort watching other women do it and how each delivery can be different.
21. Watch videos of breastfeeding moms. Watching women nurse their babies and seeing the different positions made me feel more comfortable when trying to nurse that first time after my baby was born. While it was still foreign to me, I felt like I had at least some familiarity.
22. Go on a lot of date nights. Plan fun things to do with your partner. Cross off a few things you’ve always wanted to do (pregnancy approved of course). I remember going to shows, concerts and a lot of dinner and movie dates when I was pregnant with my first. You never get this time back, so take advantage.
23. Give your house a thorough cleaning. Whether you do it yourself or enlist some help, having a clean home to bring your baby home to will feel so nice.
24. Self-indulge a bit and get a manicure/pedicure and maybe even a massage.
25. Go to a La Leche League meeting or breastfeeding class
26. Bring out comfortable clothes for your postpartum body. You can still wear your maternity clothes for however long you want post baby, but bringing out some looser, more comfy clothing will make things easier once you get home from the hospital.
27. Get your camera ready. If you’’re planning to use a nicer camera other than your phone, make sure it’s charged and that you have an empty memory card ready to capture all those precious newborn moments!
28. Make freezer meals. Having prepped meals in the freezer is a big lifesaver those first few weeks with a newborn. Taking a Saturday or two to make up a dozen or more will get you through that first month when cooking is the last thing you want to do.
29. Get rid of anything in your vehicle that’s not needed to make room for the baby seat, etc.
30. Take a prenatal class with your partner. Check with your hospital to see if they offer a prenatal labor & delivery class. It’s really helpful to have an expert tell you what to expect and bond with other couples that are in the same boat.
31. Find a pediatrician. Find your list of potential pediatricians through referrals and your insurance network. Once you’ve selected a few candidates, schedule a quick meeting to ask them questions. If you need ideas on what type of questions to ask, I wrote a post on that here.
32. Pack your hospital bag and place it in your car so you do’t have to think about it at the last minute.
33. Talk with your doula or doctor about any last minute concerns.
34. Install your baby’s car seat. Learn how to install the car seat correctly, as well as how to secure your baby in place. It’s also a good idea to have AAA or a local car dealer inspect your car seat for safety.
35. Make a birth plan. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it’s a good idea to think about the type of birthing experience you want.
36. Review your baby checklist and make sure have everything you need. I have a checklist here if you need some help creating your own.
37. Look up newborn photographers or DIY ideas. A quick search on Pinterest will yield many adorably cute newborn poses and ideas. The newborn stage goes by so quickly and you’ll want to make sure to capture those precious moments.
38. Do some baby reading. My two favorite baby prep books are The Happiest Baby on the Block and On Becoming Baby Wise. Knowledge is power and you’ll be so grateful you read these books once you bring your baby home.
39. Go to a bulk store and stock up on household items (cleaning supplies) and personal items (soap, shampoo, etc.)
40. Relax. Even if you only do a few things on this list, make sure to relax, breathe, and enjoy these weeks before your life changes forever—in the best way!