Yay! You’ve made it to the third trimester, mama.
And if you’re here, I know you are feeling ready to get everything done before baby arrives. Maybe you’ve been bit by the nesting bug, or maybe the reality that you birth is going to be here before you know it has you ready to get things done!
Well, mama, you are in the right place! I’ve created the ultimate third trimester to do list that will leave you completely ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ll find to dos related to preparing your home, things for baby, birth, and yourself.
With the use of this list, you can rest assured that you’ve thought of everything, with time to spare. You’ll be able to go into birth and postpartum with an organized sense of calm and clear mind. You’ll be able to focus fully on bonding with baby, recovering from birth, and transitioning into motherhood.
Finish the Nursery
Finishing baby’s nursery before your due date is a great goal for the third trimester. Usually, this task is best done after your baby shower because many mamas receive a lot of their baby gear and items during the party.
However, there’s a lot you can do in the nursery before your shower to get it prepped and ready for organizing and finishing. Things like getting it painted and positioning big furniture that you already have and plan to use.
Once you receive your baby registry items, you can start putting things where they belong. As you finish up your nursery and organize baby’s things, here are a few tips to help with the process:
- Put smaller bins or baskets in the drawers of your dresser or changing table. Baby clothes are so tiny, you’ll suddenly have a black hole of items. By dividing the drawers, you can create a bin for onesies, pants, and sleepers (or whatever makes the most sense to you!)
- Definitely add a nightlight, sound machine, and blackout curtains to your nursery. These essentials really help with sleep. And while baby won’t be in their nursery from day one, having them ready for the transition, or to use for naps during the day is a great idea
- Use the top drawer of the changing table or dresser for diapers, wipes, and other diapering supplies so that they are easy to grab
- Keep a stock of burp cloths in the top drawer of the dresser, too
- Think about the layout of the nursery. Make sure outlets are going to be where you need them for things like the monitor, sound machine, and lamps. Make sure a rocker or nursing chair isn’t too far from the crib to make for easier transitions into bed
- Create a good organization system from the beginning for clothes in the next sizes up. Your baby will grow faster than you can believe, and you don’t want to miss out on utilizing bigger clothes
Create a Space for Baby in Your Room
While creating the perfect nursery is a fun project for many mamas, really baby will probably be sleeping in your room for quite some time. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing with baby until they are 6-12 months old.
That means baby is sleeping in your room, but in their own safe sleep space. For a sleep space in your room you can use a pack and play, bassinet, or even their crib. Additionally, having some swaddles, a nightlight and sound machine in your room will make for the perfect sleep environment.
To make your life easier, you might also want to set up a little diaper station and nursing area in your room, too. This way you don’t need to go back and forth to the nursery in the middle of the night for the first few months.
Make a Diaper Caddy
Newborn babies need their diapers changed a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Some breastfeed babies poop many times per day! To save yourself a bunch of trips up and down the stairs, or all through the house, create a diaper caddy basket to have with you in the main living area.
In your diaper caddy you will need:
- Clean outfit
- Burp cloths
- A mat or blanket to do diaper changes on
Gather Breastfeeding Essentials
As you prepare for the birth of your baby, stocking up on breastfeeding gear and essentials is a definite for your third trimester to do list. Having the supplies you need to make nursing more comfortable at the ready will help you succeed.
Here’s my list of recommended breastfeeding items:
- Nursing bras for day and night
- Washable nursing pads
- Organic nipple cream
- Nursing pillow like the boppy
- Breast pump
- Breastmilk storage bags
- Nursing cover (optional)
Just like I recommended creating a diaper caddy, you can create a little portable nursing basket to bring with you around the house, too. You’ll want to include nipple cream, burp cloths, water bottle, and maybe even some easy to eat snacks (like bars or trailmix).
Take a Birth Class
No third trimester to do list would be complete without taking a childbirth class! Seriously, taking a birth class is one of the best ways to approach birth with a greater sense of calm. What’s more, if you’re hoping to have a natural birth, childbirth education is going to help you make that goal a reality!
Every mama has some sense of anxiety about birth, even those of you who’ve had a baby before. That’s because every birth is unique and full of unknowns. By learning as much as you can ahead of time you will feel so much more in control. This goes for your partner as well.
In addition to taking a childbirth class, make sure to practice the pain coping strategies and advice you learn from the class. This will be things like breathing techniques, stretches, and different positions to help promote dilation and counteract the pain.
Take a Newborn Care and Breastfeeding Class
While most third trimester checklists say take a birth class, too many leave out newborn care. Remember, birth is one day, but taking care a newborn will be your new reality for quite some time. You can approach motherhood with more know-how and less doubt with some education ahead of time.
Newborn care classes are perfect for first time mamas, especially if you haven’t spent a lot of time around babies. You’ll learn about things like diapering, bathing, burping, and newborn baby sleep. You’ll be surprised how much there is to learn and how much worry you can save yourself by learning ahead of time.
Breastfeeding is another aspect of newborn life that is hard. In fact, breastfeeding often takes a ton of perseverance in the beginning because it come with a steep learning curve. I always recommend a breastfeeding class to pregnant mamas as one of the most important ways to prepare to breastfeed before baby arrives.
Create a Birth Plan
Now that it’s your third trimester, it’s time to start thinking more seriously about birth and what you want for your birth. You’ll want to think about things like:
- Pain management (both natural and medical)
- Ambience of your labor room
- Fetal monitoring
- Laboring positions and pushing positions
- Newborn care procedures
- Skin to skin immediately after birth
For my full advice on creating a natural birth plan, and a free template, head here!
Learn About Postpartum Recovery
I always want to make sure mamas don’t focus too much on the birth alone. Postpartum is a challenging time for many mamas. You are recovering from birth, often surviving on little sleep, and learning about your newborn all while on a crazy roller coaster of hormones. Whew.
Learn about what to expect from your postpartum recovery by talking to your provider about it ahead of time. Find out what the red flags are for things like postpartum depression and anxiety. Most importantly, go into the first few weeks after birth with a focus on rest.
Mama, you need to rest as much as possible to let your body heal and allow your postpartum bleeding to stop. No one benefits from you overdoing it.
Gather Postpartum Recovery Supplies
In addition to learning about what to expect from your postpartum recovery, be sure to stock up on the supplies you’ll need to heal and be comfortable. I recommend creating a little basket of things you’ll need in each bathroom of your home (are you sensing a theme with the baskets).
This is what you’ll need:
- Sitz spray
- Sitz bath salts
- Panty liners
- Witch hazel pads
- Padsicles or Perineal cold packs
- Peribottle (read about my favorite ones here)
See my full article with all the details on what you need for your postpartum care kit.
Pack Your Hospital Bag
Nothing makes birth feel more real (or imminent) than packing your hospital bag! It’s best to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go around 37 weeks. At this point, you’ll be full term and really baby could come at any time.
I like the idea of packing separate bags for labor and postpartum, that way it’s easy to find what you need. Don’t forget to pack a few things for baby and a bag for dad, too. You can keep your bag at the ready in the house or put it right into your car. Just put a little list on top of things that need to be added when it’s go time, like chargers.
You can grab my free printable hospital bag checklist here.
Install the Car Seat
Just like you want to have your hospital bag packed by 37 weeks, aim for the same with your car seat. Installing car seats will quickly become one of the most frustrating things about parenthood, but is a necessary evil.
Not only do you need to install the car seat, but you need to make sure it’s done properly and that you feel confident using it. Most towns or counties offer free car seat safety checks at town hall or the local fire station. Call your town hall to find out if there is a way to get your car seat checked for safety after you install it yourself.
Additionally, utilize YouTube! Look up your exact make and model of car seat (and even your car!) for advice on how to get in safely with the least amount of frustration.
Pack Up the Diaper Bag
I kept this third trimester to do separate from the hospital bag, because I wish someone had told me to do this! Seriously, have the diaper bag ready to go and bring it along with you. I had no idea how to pack a diaper bag before my first baby was born. Here’s what you need inside:
- 2-3 change of clothes
- Ziplock bags or wet/dry bags for soiled diapers and clothing
- Burp cloths
- A changing mat
Take the Baby Gear for a Test Run
Don’t make the mistake of waiting to use and learn about your baby gear until after baby arrives. After you receive the items from your baby registry, open them up and figure them out! This is totally a third trimester to do that will make your life as a new mama so much easier.
I know I already gave this advice with the car seat, but if there’s anything you can’t quite figure out, go to YouTube! Things like putting on baby carriers, opening and closing strollers, wall mounting your monitor, even how to use different functions on the baby swing––you can get advice for your exact product and save yourself a ton of time.
Do a Dry Run to the Hospital
If you are unfamiliar with the hospital where you plan to give birth, go ahead and do a dry run during your third trimester. You want to make sure you know where to park, what entrance to use, and how to get to labor and delivery quickly.
Also be sure to ask if there is a separate entrance for after hours, or how protocol might change in the middle of the night. Learn about parking fees, which lots are free and not, and anything else that will make the task of getting to and into the hospital easier once you’re in labor.
Send Thank You Notes
Sending thank you notes after your baby shower is good etiquette, and a definite third trimester to do. You don’t want to leave this hanging over your head until after baby is born, believe me!
If you haven’t had your shower yet, be sure to ask someone to keep a gift log with names during the shower. This will make it easier to remember exactly who gave you what. Electronic registries can also help with this (and even generate addresses!).
You can get cute personalized thank you notes on a site like Snapfish, or go with a sweet blank inside thank you card to fill with a personal note.
Make Meals for Your Freezer
Once you are a month or so out from your due date, definitely take some time to stock your freezer with some premade meals. Your postpartum self will be so grateful! Focus on making healthy foods with real ingredients. Things like stews, soups, and casseroles all freeze well. You can also pre-assemble meals that can be easily thrown into your crock pot or dutch oven.
I also always like to bake a few batches of healthy muffins and quick breads for easy snacks and breakfasts. Breastfeeding hunger can be intense, and healthy foods will keep you fuller and fuel you better.
Clean and Organize Your Home
There’s nothing quite like the bite of the nesting bug to get you motivated to clean your house! Take advantage of that urge to clean. Having things cleaned, but more importantly organized and streamlined, really will make your transition into motherhood easier.
Eliminating extra work and frustration around the house ahead of time is always a good idea. If you’re not feeling up for the task, you can consider hiring a cleaning service to come and get the job done right before you’re due.
Stock Up on Non-Perishables and Household Products
In addition to cleaning your home and stocking the freezer, don’t forget to stock up on non-perishables and other household products. Eliminating the need for extra errands or trips to the store makes a big difference once baby arrives.
Pantry items like cereals, bars, snacks, cans, broth, nuts, dried fruit, etc. are all good to have on hand. Also stock up on paper products, cleaners, personal care products, and anything you might need for baby.
Relax and Pamper Yourself, Mama
Mama, I couldn’t create a third trimester to do list without finishing it off with this one: pamper yourself and make time to relax! Seriously, growing a baby for nine months is no easy task. The light is at the end of the tunnel and baby will be here before you know it.
Take the time to treat yourself to some pampering or do an at-home spa day. Consider getting your hair done, getting a pedicure, prenatal massage, or whatever else makes you feel good! Maybe it’s taking yourself out to lunch or going to your favorite spot in nature to read your favorite book.
Whatever it is to you, do it! Prioritize relaxation and pamper yourself, you deserve it.