Preparing for Baby? Here’s Your Delivery-Day Checklist

April 2, 2018

Your pregnancy is winding down (finally!) and you’re more excited than ever to meet your baby. With those third trimester nesting urges in full swing, do yourself a favor and complete these important to-dos before your little one’s arrival.

Install the car seat.

A car seat is the one absolutely essential piece of baby gear. Most hospitals won’t let you leave unless you’ve got one. If you’re driving your own car, put the seat in now so you have plenty of time to make sure it’s installed correctly (following the guidelines in the seat manufacturer’s manual). Search online for a car seat inspection station (often located at a medical center, police department or fire station), for a free safety check to ensure the seat is properly installed for your precious passenger. If you’ll be getting a ride or taking a taxi rather than driving your own car, practice installing the seat in a vehicle so you’ll be prepared when it’s time to head home with your newborn.

Visit the drugstore.

To cut down on errands during the blissful, exhausting days after your baby arrives, stock up on maxi pads, newborn diapers, alcohol-free baby wipes and laundry detergent. Other postpartum comfort items recommended by veteran moms: a gentle laxative or stool softener, plastic bags or rubber gloves for filling with crushed ice (for applying to sore spots) and a comfy “doughnut” pillow.

Stock the freezer and pantry.

Cook up some easy-to-freeze meals that you can eat during those busy newborn days. While you’re at the grocery store, get some snacks like dried fruit, granola bars and healthy cereals for those times when you can’t sit down for a full meal.

Call in reinforcements.

Line up help for the first week or two after your baby’s arrival. All parents can use an extra pair of helping hands while adjusting to life with a newborn. If family members are willing to help, definitely recruit them. Other ideas: arrange for temporary cleaning help, hire a reliable teen to entertain the older kids or enlist a doula for postpartum visits. These ideas may sound like splurges now, but you’ll find that conserving your energy in those first hectic weeks is worth the extra dollars.

Make plans for your family.

Figure out who will care for your children while you and your partner are in the hospital, and let the siblings-to-be know the plan in advance. If they’ll be sleeping over at someone’s house, help them pack overnight bags. When they’re not looking, tuck a secret surprise—a new coloring book or a small toy—into their bag for them to find while you’re in the hospital. If they’re staying home with a caregiver, stock up on favorite snacks (to be hidden away until the big day), and maybe a new movie or game for them to enjoy.

Don’t forget a pet sitter.

It’s easy to let a pet slip your mind during this busy time. Recruit someone in advance to feed and/or walk your pet while you’re away, and remember to notify them when the time comes.

Have transportation ready.

Keep your car tanked up with gas. If you’re planning to call for a taxi or use a car service, try out the company beforehand to be sure it is fast and reliable.

Rehearse your hospital trip.

When labor begins, you won’t want to worry about which highway is under construction.  Take at least one practice run with your partner to the hospital or birthing center, and map out a backup route in case of unforeseen traffic jams or road closings.

Familiarize yourself with the hospital.

If you haven’t already, sign up for a tour of the birthing areas and ask about check-in procedures. Scope out the parking situation and find out which entrance to use if you arrive at 2 a.m.


Ask your hospital or birthing center about preregistration, which allows you to complete a portion of the paperwork ahead of time. Check with your insurance company, too, to find out how to add Baby to your plan as soon as he or she arrives.

Pack your bag.

A few weeks before your due date, pack your supplies for the hospital and place the bag in an easy-to-grab spot.Tape a note to the top listing any last-minute things you’ll need to throw in, such as your toothbrush,deodorant, etc.

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