During the third trimester, lots of moms go full force into nesting mode! Make sure that you are doing the things that count to set yourself up for smooth sailing (or hopefully something close to it) once your baby arrives. Here is a handy list of things to do during your third trimester.
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A quick word about our sponsor, Qalo
Qalo sent me a set of silicone rings a few months ago with no obligation on my part. I immediately put on the pearl scallop silicone ring and have been wearing it daily since! It's entirely comfortable and durable. Unlike other rings, I never need to worry about accidentally scratching my baby with it. They have lots of styles for both men and women. Mine has a beautiful pearlized finish and I get loads of compliments on it! Since I've been enjoying the ring so much, I decided to partner with the brand for this post. Head to the Qalo site and use code BESTBABY15 for 15% off your purchase.
Third trimester to do list
Finalize name choice
Choosing your child's name is a huge decision! My husband and I agreed on my daughter's first name easily but couldn't agree on her middle name until the tail end of my third trimester. Some helpful resources include the Social Security Administration's popular names site, which offers great data on trending names, and baby name books.
Pack Hospital Bag
I've done the hard work for you on this one by putting together a well-researched list.
Install Infant Car Seat
Installing a car seat is trickier than it sounds. Lots of brands have helpful online videos to guide you. Also make sure that the father or whoever is picking you up from hospital is familiar with the car seat. If you installed it with a base, he should know how to remove it from and insert it into the installed base. If you are taking a car service home from the hospital, he should know how to install it.
Remove your rings
My father-in-law in an obstetrics anesthesiologist and warned me to take off my rings in my third trimester as there are risks to wearing metal rings during surgery. I recommend taking them off early in your third trimester before your fingers really swell. If you don't like the idea of naked fingers, check out the Qalo site and use code BESTBABY15 for 15% off your purchase.
Order breast pump
Most U.S. insurance plans cover a breast pump. Plans differ in terms of how far along you need to be to order it. The Spectra S1 and S2 are the most popular pumps in my circles. I was able to upgrade to the S1 (identical to the S2, but rechargable so you can pump untethered) for a $40 fee. After a month I bought the new to market Baby Buddha pump on my own and found it to be way more efficient for me. Check out my video review and a 20% discount code.
Wash & sterilize pumping parts
Most lactation consultants recommend waiting a few weeks to pump unless you or the baby have some issue. My daughter was super sleepy and lost close to 10% of her birth weight in the hospital so I unexpectedly needed to supplement nursing with pumped milk. When I got home from the hospital, I had to quickly wash and sterilize pump parts. I regretted not doing it in advance.
Order nursing / pumping / bottle feeding supplies
You will want to have pumping supplies and other supplies on hand to keep yourself comfortable, as well as some easy one-handed snacks. I covered a lot of these items in my hospital packing list post.
For formula feeding
Even if you plan to exclusively nurse, I recommend having a bottle, sterilizing bags, container of formula and a bottle on hand just in case (see my exclusive promo post for a discount on Holle and Hipp formula). Also see my post on bottle feeding essentials.
Buy a couple of comfortable nursing bras and tanks (here is my favorite nursing bra and here is my favorite nursing tank). Nursing can be uncomfortable or painful during the first days, be sure to have nipple balm, cooling gel pads, breast shells, and a heating pad or booby tubes on hand.
Order post-partum care items
Prepare your older children and pets
If this is not your first child, think about how to make the older child feel involved and not displaced. Check out my blog post on preparing your older children and reducing jealousy.
If you have fur babies, I included a neat tip in my hospital packing list post.
Early in my first pregnancy, one of my friends advised me to take Colace daily to avoid constipation (my OB said it was fine). Between the Colace and the Squatty Potty, I never had an issue. Magnesium has a similar effect to Colace, so if you are taking it for insomnia or other reasons, you may not need the Colace.
Schedule OB appointments
Toward the end of your pregnancy, your OB will want to see you more frequently. Typically, she will see you weekly during the final weeks. It can be tough to get convenient appointments just a week out. If the office allows it, try to secure your coveted spot on the calendar well in advance.
Hospital tour / birth plan
Sign up for a hospital tour and consider creating a birth plan. Some hospitals require both, mine didn't require either. I trusted my OB and didn't have a lot of specific requests, so I didn't create a formal birth plan. I went on the tour only during my first pregnancy.
Stock up on baby basics
Don't go too crazy here as you can get anything you need within a couple of days using Amazon Prime. You'll want to have diapers, wipes (or use a soft cloth and water), a few outfits (this was my favorite), burp cloths, swaddles and a bottle on hand.
Wash and organize hand-me-downs/anything you can't return and gear
Don't remove tags from any new clothes that you can return as your baby may be larger or smaller than you expect. But do wash / organize (this is where that nesting really comes into play):
- any hand-me-down clothes or clothes that you can't return
- bassinet linen
- baby carrier
- changing pad
- covers of bouncer, Snuggle Me / Dock-a-Tot, Rock-N-Play, etc.
- stroller fabric, car seat and other gear (read manual first for instructions on how to clean, may only be able to wipe down).
Set up bassinet
Babies sleep a lot in the first weeks, so make sure you have your bassinet set up. I used the Snoo for my second baby and love it!
Get a haircut and other self-care
Once the baby arrives, it's hard to make time for yourself. I recommend getting your hair cut, manicure, pedicure, and whatever other treatments you enjoy! I painted my nails blue while in labor with my son!
Take maternity photos / book a newborn photographer
Neither of these are necessary, but I found them to be worthwhile splurges. Lots of photographers offer discounted maternity + newborn packages. Check out my Instagram page for some inspiration for your shoots.
Prepare paper goods
I generally try to be eco-friendly, but when caring for a newborn, washing dishes should be the last thing on your mind. I stocked up on microwave safe paper plates and bowls, heavy duty plastic cutlery and a caddy to keep the cutlery organized. I kept the caddy on our kitchen table as an obvious reminder to everyone.