Your Pre-Birth To Do List: 12 Things You Must Do

If you are expecting your first baby (or even a second or third), your head, your handbag and your planner will be full of lists.  There are names to argue over discuss, things to buy, things to pack, techniques to remember, books to read, arrangements to make, it's lists, lists, lists...  I'm afraid we've got another one for you mums-to-be, but this one is all about the most important part of this equation: YOU!

Here's your ultimate pre-birth to do list:

1. Sleep

Ignore those who say you can't stock up on sleep because, as any new mum will tell you, you absolutely can.  And when you're up in the middle of the night with a newborn, or feeding on-off all night, your body will be glad of all that pre-birth rest.

Plus you need lots of energy for your amazing labour, so stock up on your shut eye now.  Lie-in, go to bed early, hell even spend the whole day in bed, you deserve it!  (Just make sure the magazines and chocolate are within easy reach...)

2. Don't worry

Take a Hypnobirthing class, listen to relaxing music, read inspiring natural birth books, recite mantras, paste inspiring thoughts and ideas on the mirrors and doors.  Surround yourself with positive birth stories, mantras and words.  Tell friends, relatives and strangers to keep their negative stories and theories to themselves.  Just stay calm and chilled, your birth is going to be AMAZING!

3. Exercise

Keep active with gentle swimming and walking throughout your third trimester.  Just 30 minutes a day will help reduce aches and pains, relax you, and keep your body fit for labour.  Try to walk in nature every day, whether forest, park or beach, the endorphins and fresh air will do you and your baby good.

4. Relax

Get a pregnancy massage, ask your partner for a foot or back rub, have lots of long, warm baths (not too hot), and chill as much as possible.  Even five minutes with your legs elevated and your eyes closed every hour or two will help.

5. Learn

Learn how to use your car seat, tie your sling, or put up your pram.  You don't want to be battling with them when baby's crying or it's pouring with rain.  And don't forget things like how to attach the footmuffs to your pram or buggy.  Seems crazy now but you'll be glad you practised when the time comes!

6. Prepare

Prepare for breastfeeding by finding your local La Leche League group, they will welcome you to meetings even when pregnant.  Read their books too, and anything published by Pinter & Martin.  Try to block out all the tales of woe and negativity around breastfeeding.  It really is the best thing for your baby, and you will be able to do it if you are determined enough and have the right support from day one.

7. Shop

Make sure you have all the basic baby clothes, and nursing bras and tops, you need.  You may not want to face the shops for several weeks, so stock up now.  And online post-partum shopping can result in some very dodgy acquisitions!  Make sure you have a good stock of muslins, 'sposies or cloth nappies, cotton wool and maternity pads too.  Check our list of what babies really need.

8. Entertainment

Record lots of great TV, populate your subscription service with some great box sets, buy a couple of bags full of magazines and books.  Gazing at your baby will of course be your number one hobby, but you may need to do something else while they sleep for up to 18 hours a day, or whilst breastfeeding.

9. Build Your Nest

Invest in a breastfeeding cushion, or requisition a couple of pillows from the bed.  Set up an essentials basket with water bottle, remote(s), tissues, muslins, snacks, mags/books etc and position near your favourite sofa spot or nursing chair.  Nesting is fabulous, just you, baby and all your bits, bobs and boobs: perfect.

10. Stock Up

Spend a day or two cooking some easy meals and freezing them.  Lasagne, casseroles, chillis etc all work perfectly.  Stock your cupboards with rice, pasta, couscous, pasta sauce/pesto, and anything else you use regularly.  And don't forget the snacks to keep your energy levels up all day too.

11. Get to Know Your Camera

If you don't know how to get the best shots on your camera yet, learn.  And if yours is past it's best, maybe you could upgrade it?  Get into the habit of taking endless photos every day, you won't regret it.  Newborns change by the hour, let alone by the day!

12. Enjoy it!

Make the most of being pregnant, it is wonderful feeling your tiny baby moving and growing inside you, as you have the privilege of getting to know them before they're even born.  Try not to focus on the negatives and the pregnancy niggles, and make the most of every day.  It will be gone all too quickly, but then the real adventure begins.

Have fun with the rest of your pregnancy, and have a wonderful birth!

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