Third Trimester to-do list – these things need doing Mama!
The Third Trimester of Pregnancy is far from a walk in the park, but it’s also a very important time in terms of preparing for life after baby. It’s the obvious time to tackle that third trimester to do list. (If you deal with this stuff now, postpartum recovery will be WAY easier.)
I’m here now, in the third trimester, have been for a few weeks, and it’s already getting old. I generally bounce out of bed in the morning, no matter how much sleep I got (or didn’t get) – but not so for the last two weeks. The tired is here.
I’m also moving slower, the ground is farther away, and I’m sort of feeling the clock ticking on what’s left of my life as I know it.
(OK, that’s dramatic, but you know what I mean. A new baby changes things – regardless of if it’s your first or your second or your 8th. Things won’t be the SAME as they are now. That’s always hard for me.)
One of the things that makes the third trimester go a little faster and distracts me from all the uncomfortable-ness of it is throwing myself into my pregnancy / pre-baby to-do list.
Knowing I’m getting important things crossed off my third trimester checklist, things that will make my life easier in the coming months, DOES help a little with the general frustration of feeling like an exhausted hippopotamus, and it helps pass the time until I get to meet my new little babe. Plus I want this stuff done before I’m standing there at 3 am wondering did my water just break? Or did I just pee a little?
So what’s on my to-do list for this last few months of my pregnancy?
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Make Freezer Meals – as many as I can possibly make, and then a few more
I’ve already cross this item off my list! I got on these EARLY in the third trimester this time. Last time I made the mistake of waiting till nearer the end to make meals, thinking fresher meals would somehow be better…
But know what’s not better? A 10 hour day on your feet when you’re 8.5 months pregnant. That is not better than ANYTHING. (And the meals got used up so fast, a few extra months in the freezer will NOT hurt them.)
Last time, I ended the day in tears and tylenol. That much chopping and cooking on your feet with an extra 25 pounds hanging off your tummy is just HARD. Try to get on this task crossed off your pre-baby to-do list early if you can!
Take this one step farther and make a MEAL PLAN for the first month or two postpartum. If it’s all written out – exactly what to thaw or what needs to be added to the crock pot that night – someone else can be in charge of this.
I actually suggest making meal planning a way of life – use a meal planning program like Eat at Home Cooks to make this easy – for less than $15/month you get access to FOUR separate meal plans (Traditional, Slow Cooker, No Flour, No Sugar and Wholesome Traditional). Print the plans, color-coded grocery lists, and recipes you want for that month, and literally never worry about “what’s for dinner” again!
Your husband, older kids, or even a friend who stops by and asks what they can do for you will be 100% capable of getting dinner taken care of if you have it all written down for them.
Related: Printable Meal Planning Templates
Tackle the pesky “spring cleaning” tasks that are going to drive you nuts for six months if if they’re left undone
My BIG one was the pantry.
There was no way I could deal with the pantry the way it was for another 6 months. It took a whole afternoon, but I was SO glad I got to it. (It also was beneficial to do this before I did my meal plan. I knew exactly what canned and dry goods I had on hand and what needed to be purchased.)
The fridge and freezer also needed tackling, and it felt so great to get them clean!
Other areas that might want your attention before you literally don’t have it to give include the medicine cabinet, the cupboard under the bathroom sink, the closet in the baby room…
Maybe you want to get to some of those “things” that we all just don’t clean each week – tops of the fans, window tracks… maybe the baseboards (I’m not this picky – dusty baseboards postpartum bother me not).
Do some serious postpartum prep
Postpartum prep, on the other hand, is something I would NOT skip over. (I mean really, this whole third trimester checklist is postpartum prep, but this is first week mommy + baby specific stuff.)
You do NOT want to be stopping at the drug store on the way home from the hospital for those giant pads, or waiting on an Amazon delivery of those extra huge (and comfy) mesh underwear, or sending your husband to Costco for Epsom salts in bulk so you can take a sitz bath every day. (I also had to stop for pacifiers and chocolate bars. I know these things are ESSENTIAL, but maybe you want them around too!)
Make sure you have AT LEAST these items ON HAND:
- Giant absorbent pads (these are cheap, and they work)
- Breathable mesh undies
- Numbing spray
- Healing spray
- This magic cream for hemorrhoids (you can use it for anything else too – it’s GREAT for burns, and my sister used it in her kids eyes for pink eye!)
- Epsom salts (for sitz bath)
- Lavender essential oil (also for the sitz bath)
- Your favorite bottle of wine (yes, you deserve a glass of wine. You just had a HUMAN.)
- Tylenol and Advil
- Nursing pads (even if you’re not breastfeeding – the milk still comes in…and out!)
A few other things to consider as far as “third trimester postpartum preparation” are:
If this is your first baby, do a little reading on ways to heal faster postpartum – no one wants that experience drawn out!
Consider taking a breastfeeding class / joining a breastfeed support group if nursing is something you plan to try. (Breastfeeding is NOT always a “natural” thing to do, and there is much to “learn” about it that you can do before baby gets here.)
Think about /research about using a really good belly wrap – to help with healing postpartum and preventing “mommy tummy”. I decided NOT to get one last time, and I regretted it. This time I will absolutely be getting one.
Do a little bit of labor prep
I know a lot of women go all in on this one, because let’s face it, labor can be a little scary.
I personally choose to error on the side of trusting the people who I choose to deliver my baby, and preparing myself by knowing the basics of what to expect… I find it less stressful to NOT have a detailed plan that may or may not be what I need when I need it.
I find that extra details tend to make me anxious….
I think good labor prep is having a serious and detailed conversation with your doctor or midwife about what to expect and how THEY do things, touring the hospital and taking an online prenatal course. (This is the one that I’ve taken, and it is GREAT. I do NOT have time / desire to go down to the hospital or birth center for a long and drawn out prenatal course. Yuck.)
Pack that hospital bag, and pack one for daddy too!
Seriously. I didn’t bother to pack a hospital bag, and I ended up at the hospital with a lot of stuff I didn’t need and hardly any stuff I DID need.
And my husband didn’t eat for over 24 hours, and was still wearing the same underwear 2 days later. Knowing what I know how, I will be using this awesome hospital bag checklist to BE PREPARED this time.
Get baby’s stuff ready
Believe it or not, there’s not that much STUFF that baby actually needs at the beginning. (So don’t be fooled into thinking you need to spend a fortune on baby stuff right off the bat!)
But you do want to MAKE SURE you’ve purchased and installed a car seat, decided where baby will sleep, and collected the baby basics:
- Car seat
- A few outfits / sleepers washed + ready to be worn
- Bum cream (this stuff is amazing + quickly heals the WORST rashes)
- A couple good swaddle blankets (these are my absolute favorite)
- A baby monitor
- Some sort of baby bed (I suggest one like this for the first 2-3 months, or this one if you don’t want baby in bed with you. We have and love both!)
Pick out the perfect name for baby
This might SEEM like a given, but I have definitely been in the position of sitting on the delivery table waiting to be moved to a room… and reading lists of baby names to my husband.
We TRIED during the eight months previous to choose names, but failed both times.
It is just a little stressful to have to try and choose a name at birth. I’ve got this handy list of tips on how to choose the perfect baby name ready for next time. (If there is a next time, ha.)
Set up automatic payments for any and all recurring bills
Obviously this isn’t something you want to do if things tend to be a little tight in your budget – you don’t want to end up overdrawn – but you ALSO don’t want to end up like me…
Post-first-baby I became (for some reason) completely incapable of staying organized and on top of the bills. I, who never pay a cent of interest, paid interest on SIX different bills. I got MANY phone calls from collectors saying things like “Hey, why don’t you send us money anymore?”
Yes, this is bad for your credit. No, you shouldn’t let this happen. So set up automatic payments to go out of your account in you can, and then you won’t even have to think about paying bills.
Take stock of your financial situation and what it will look like AFTER baby
This will mean something different for everyone.
First, go over your budget and see where you can cut back. Determine if you have enough coming in while you’re postpartum – and for how long it will be enough.
For us it meant sitting down and figuring out if we could afford for me to take a maternity leave or afford to not go back to work at all – which was what I REALLY wanted. (Turns out no, I actually need to bring in some income. Thus the birth of this blog. THIS BLOG is how I earn a full time income as a stay at home mom now… and it was born from the desire to stay home with my baby.)
Try to BORROW as much baby stuff as you can to save, and practice flexing your frugal muscles!
Related: Preparing to have a baby on a budget
Spend a little quality time with your other kids + husband
You are GOING to be focused on your new itty bitty for a while… that’s not negotiable.
Really take time to just enjoy the other people in your life and spend a little special one on one time with each of them. One of the things I’m struggling with the most as I look forward to welcoming our new babe is that I know my attention will be divided soon, and I worry about how my FIRST baby will take that. (I also recognize that it’s ok that first baby learns the world does NOT revolve around him, and this will probably be a HEALTHY thing. It’s just hard for me.)
Take care of YOU
The third trimester is NOT the time to neglect yourself. You’re probably not sleeping well, and if you’re like me, eating well probably isn’t high on your list of priorities. Betcha don’t want to move around a lot either!
(I’m too tired to really cook, and I desperately just want to be left alone to eat cookies and drink tea.)
Help your body prepare to have a baby and then heal from having a baby by making sure you are drinking a TON of water, taking a good prenatal / postnatal supplement (your body heals faster with vitamins and minerals readily available believe it or not), and staying as active as possible.
Make time to get a massage or maybe a pedicure, read a book, visit a friend.
Whatever you do, MAKE SURE you get a haircut. Even if it’s just a trim for split ends. Then you can not think about it again for 3-4 months.
These things will all be taking a severe back seat in the coming months, and it’s nice to just enjoy a little bit of you time.