As the final days of pregnancy wind down, you’re likely wishing for labor to start and scared stiff at the same time that it might. These last weeks are exhilarating and exhausting and will likely be remembered only vaguely once your baby is born. With this in mind, surviving these final weeks or days boils down to preparation and relaxation.
It would be very stressful to be told at a doctor’s appointment that you need to deliver right away only to realize that you have nothing packed and ready. Even if you’re not due for another month, pack up a basic suitcase or bag to be ready to go if you are sent to the hospital or go into labor away from home. A panicking partner or a well-meaning childless friend will likely have no idea what you really need if they are forced to pack the bag in your absence, so give yourself peace of mind and have it packed and ready to go.
Your baby will not be allowed to leave the hospital before you can show proof of having a
safely installed carseat to take her home in. Unless you’ve played with a carseat recently, amuse yourself one swollen evening by unpacking yours from the box, snapping it into the base and adjusting the straps to fit around a teddy bear or doll. Simply learning how to adjust the straps can be a huge headache saver in the hospital when you’re trying to leave.
Go ahead and install the carseat in the back of your car. A fire station or specialized baby store will likely have personnel trained in installing the seat correctly and can help you and check the overall safety as well. Driving with an empty carseat in the back might feel strange now, but it will feel far stranger when that carseat is filled in just a few weeks.
Your nursery doesn’t have to be fully decorated or even set-up to be welcoming when you walk in the door with your little one. Set up the bassinet or crib where she’ll be sleeping and be sure those first few tiny outfits are pre-washed and ready. Put a stack of diapers, wipes and diaper cream on the dresser for those first diapers and check to be sure you have at least enough supplies to get through the first week. The hospital will send you home with most of the supplies you need, but you’ll need clothing, blankets and a place to sleep right away.
A great way to fill your time in the weeks before pregnancy is to bake. Prepare meals and then freeze them to be ready for your homecoming. Label each meal in big letters with the freeze date visible so simplify dinner preparation. “Honey! Can you grab the chicken casserole from the freezer and put it in the oven?”
With enough exercise you might encourage labor, and a big spurt of housecleaning might be just what you need to get your mind and home ready for labor. A day of vacuuming, dusting and mopping might also be the catalyst you need when you’re a few days overdue. Use the nesting energy before labor strikes to be sure your ceiling fans are clean, your curtains are dust free and your floors are mopped and ready. Having a clean house to come home to from the hospital will be another boon in your first few days of motherhood.
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