What you should NOT do in your third trimester: pack up your first home, move into another place temporarily and then unpack and move into your new home.
What I DID in my third trimester with our first baby: exactly what I just said you shouldn’t do.
Needless to say, my third trimester was a whirlwind. In the midst of preparing for a baby, I was also taking care of packing and unpacking the rest of our lives and getting settled in our new home (including repainting the gorgeous striped wall above for our baby’s new nursery). One night, about 6 weeks before our due date, I finally sat down and wrote out a list of every single thing I wanted to (ideally) do before baby arrived. I scoured the internet for all the must-dos and came up with an exhaustive list, some of which got done and some of which I’m still waiting to check off.
So what SHOULD you DO in your third trimester? We’re so glad you asked! And of course, we couldn’t think of anyone better to answer that question than our Real Moms. We asked them to share what they were glad they accomplished and what they wish they’d had time to do before welcoming their babies.
You’ll find a printable and pinnable checklist at the bottom of this post to make all your list-making dreams come true. Print it off, add in whatever else needs to get done, hang it up where you can see it, and start checking things off!
For Your Home
1. Finish Nursery
First things first, start by preparing your house for that new tiny baby. Finish off the nursery with paint, decor and furniture setup. Then, do a good, deep clean of your whole house. Real Mom Jessica W. says “I wish I had cleaned my house more thoroughly!” and we couldn’t agree more. If you have the time and the budget for it, we suggest gifting yourself with a cleaning service, even if they just do the high traffic areas like the bathroom and the kitchen.
2. Deep Clean Your Home
For all you moms of moms out there or husbands, dear friends or sisters of moms-to-be, we love this suggestion from Real Mom Diane Z. “Deep cleaning was one thing I always wished I had /felt good enough to do and have thought many times that when my own children start having babies, I would like to offer them a housecleaning service for a one time thorough cleaning before the baby comes (if they would like–I don’t want to imply anything other than a gift.)” We love this idea! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the mom in your life, this might just be it! They’ll be so grateful to not be scrubbing a toilet or washing a comforter at 8 months pregnant!
3. Stock Up on Household Supplies
Speaking of cleaning, take a shopping/errand day to buy cleaning supplies, paper products and household goods. You won’t want to leave the house in those early days with your baby, so now is the time to stock up! We think it’s good to have extras on hand of:
- Laundry detergent (for both you and baby)
- Dishwasher detergent
- Dish soap
- Hand soap and hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper plates and plastic utensils
- Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, etc.
4. Prepare Freezer Meals
Real Moms everywhere agree that the third trimester is the time to fill your freezer with easy meals. Real Mom Brigitte F. suggests crockpot freezer meals that you can prepare ahead and then just throw in the crockpot when you want to eat it. We’ve created a Pinterest board with some of our favorite freezer meals for you to make right now! Real Mom Hannah T. says “Stock your freezer with meat and Trader Joe’s ready-to-eat meals.” If you don’t have time or energy in those last few weeks to cook, we think this is a great option.
5. Stock Your Pantry
While you’re grocery shopping for those ingredients, Real Mom Natalie M. says don’t forget to stock up on your favorite snacks as well! Those early days of breastfeeding will find you hungry at all hours of the day and night so have some healthy and favorite treats ready to eat. I was so glad my mom filled our kitchen with some easy snack staples like peanut butter crackers, granola bars, trail mix and fresh fruit.
For Your Baby
1. Organize Baby’s Clothes
Once you have your baby shower and do your last few baby shopping trips, you’ll probably have a lot of new baby clothes on your hands. Take a few hours to remove tags, sort clothes by size and do a few loads of baby’s laundry. Then fold those clothes or hang them up in the nursery, ready for baby! If this is your second or third baby, now is a good time to pull out those bins of clothes you kept from your first few babies and go through them as well. Decide what you need to purchase new and then wash and sort the things you’re hanging on to.
2. Create Changing Stations
If baby will be sleeping in a bassinet in your room for the first weeks or months, we suggest creating a changing station in your room so you’re not trekking down the hall to the nursery so frequently every night. Move the changing pad and a basket filled with diapers, wipes, burp cloths, clothes and sleep sacks right into a space on top of your dresser or nightstand.
If you live in a two story house, I loved having a changing station downstairs in addition to the one in baby’s nursery/our room. While I didn’t set up a full changing table, I did keep a basket with diapers, wipes and changes of clothes near our coffee table with a fold-out changing mat like this one.
3. Confirm Baby’s Name
Don’t forget to confirm baby’s name! We know some moms choose their baby’s name and announce it ahead of time, but if you’re keeping your name (and/or your baby’s gender!) a surprise, we suggest reviewing the names again.
1. Pack Your Hospital Bag
Do I need to state again the importance of packing your hospital bag early? Real Mom Natalie M. says she’s glad she got everything packed and ready in the third trimester. Looking for a list of must-haves for you, dad and baby for that hospital bag? Check out our post here and take my word for it: pack that bag sooner than you think you’ll need it!
2. Schedule Self-Care Appointments
Real Moms Christina P. and Sarah M. agree: fit in some self-care in the third trimester. Schedule a haircut, a massage, a manicure and/or a pedicure–any of the things you might not have time for in the first few months once baby gets here. When I was in my third trimester, my friend and Real Mom Hannah B. encouraged me to get a pedicure since I’d be looking at my toes so much in labor and delivery and we love that! My husband, Jon and I splurged on a couple’s prenatal massage the week before our son was born and it was such a treat! If you’re having end-of-pregnancy back pain or sciatic pain, a massage might be just what you need to relax and get comfortable in those final few weeks.
3. Date Night with Dad
Don’t forget about dad in the midst of all this third trimester planning! Plan a big date night for the third trimester as a celebration of pregnancy and a final night as just the two of you. Jon and I went to our favorite restaurant and shopped for our last minute baby essentials a few weeks before our son was born and it is one of my favorite memories.
4. Plan a Babymoon
Real Mom Ashton S. says she wishes she’d taken a trip somewhere or planned a babymoon during her pregnancy. The third trimester isn’t too late for a quick weekend getaway for some time as just the two of you. Stay close to home (just in case) and be sure to clear it with your doctor if your due date is fast approaching, but enjoy a night or two away!
While it may feel like the to-do list items abound in the third trimester, don’t let that steal the joy of the last few months of pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, soak up the these last few weeks as just the two of you. If this is your second or third or fourth pregnancy, enjoy these last days as a family of 3 or 4 or 5 and spend extra time with your kiddos before baby arrives. There will be plenty to do and plenty you wish you’d done, but the most important thing is preparing yourself and your family for this new addition and being present in the moments you have together.
If your baby shower is also happening in the third trimester, you can let guests know about all your registries through one place at RegistryFinder.com. You can find other helpful tips and tricks from our Real Moms (including what to pack in your hospital bag!) on our GiveIt blog.