READY, Set, Go!

from Melissa at … great advice re: what about-to-be-moms really need to get ready.

A candid list of things to do in the last weeks of pregnancy.

I spent way too much time worrying about how many outfits I had, and that her nursery was in tip top shape, and that the shelves were full of things like diaper ointment, baby sunscreen, and 4 different kinds of pacifiers – and most of it didn’t get touched for months and months after she was born. I basically refused to go into labor until I was satisfied with the pile of onesies and hair accessories I had for her. This go round, with lessons learned, I’ve been thinking about what I really, truly need to be doing to prepare for those first insane weeks after we bring Arlo home:

1. Bring in a cleaning service to do a good deep clean. I am always on the lookout for half price house cleaning services on Groupon and have been saving one of them specifically for this purpose. I want them to focus on those things that probably won’t get too much attention for the next month or two – scrubbing our tub and toilet, wiping down baseboards, and dusting everything.

2. Clean out the fridge and freezer. Friends and family are always so kind and thoughtful in the days and weeks after a baby is born and often bring over meals to heat up and ones to toss in the freezer for later. Having lots of space available to store prepared meals will be required.

3. Stock up on hand soap. With Everly, I was always asking “Do you mind washing your hands first?” to anyone who visited and wanted to hold her. Between guests, and ourselves, we went through hand soap like crazy the first few months! So this time, I’ll have a few extra bottles stored in advance.

4. (TMI – but truth) Load up on big, giant maxi pads. Yes, the ones you wore in eighth grade. Depending on where you deliver, they may send you home with a good amount after the baby is born – but trust me, you’ll go through them faster than you think. I had to send Brent to the grocery store several times in those early weeks with instructions to “find the biggest ones they have” and bless his heart, he always did it… but this time, I’m making sure I’ve got plenty stored up in advance.

5. Put a waterproof crib liner under the sheets on my side of the bed. Look, I know this one is weird too – but I’m hitting 37 weeks on Wednesday and I don’t want to have to trash our feather bed if my water breaks in the middle of the night.

6. Put together a folder with all contact information for both our insurance and my maternity paid leave.  I had to sit on the phone way too long in the first days after Everly was born trying to navigate who I was supposed to call to let them know that Everly needed to be added our insurance policy and what documentation and info was needed for me to start receiving my maternity leave pay. This time I’m putting all the documenation in one place and making those “what do I do next?” calls in advance so I’ll know just what to do once Arlo arrives.

7. A “go-time” email to friends and family. We’re designating a person on each side of our family to contact everyone else and let them know when I go into labor. We’ve got a friend lined up to check on the dogs, and friends/grandparents on standby to care for Everly when I go into labor. This week I’ll send out an email laying out what the plan of action is for each person so everyone is crystal clear and we don’t have to worry about it while I’m huffing and puffing through contractions.

What would you add to the list? What was the one thing you wish you’d done in advance to make your adjustment easier after your new baby was born?


I want to add some of the best recommendations from other moms as they come in. This is just a handfull – there are more in the comments, be sure to read them all!

8. Full bottomed, comfortable cotton underwear or boy shorts that you won’t mind tossing later. Actually – just go ahead and buy them in black. Have at least 6 pairs. Maybe more.  Your super cute bikinis just won’t cut it in those early weeks, and you don’t want to ruin them anyway.

Oh readers. You guys are good. I love these reccomendations. BRING ON THE TMI, I SAY!!!!

9. Make a few padsicles! (Thanks to Meg for this terminology) Pour witch hazel on some of those monster pads and pop them in the freezer. So amazing in those early days when your lady biz needs some relief.  Plus it’d be really fun to yell out from the bathroom “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE BRING ME A PADSICLE!!!!” And while I’m thinking out loud here – make sure you place them on the opposite side of the freezer from Aunt Suzie’s casserole, no need to intermingle dinner with your frozen feminine care products.

10. From Imperfect Bird:  For second time moms: have a date night with your older child“I did this with my first son in the last couple weeks of my second pregnancy.  I was feeling so tired and miserable, I knew he wasn’t getting the best of me and I really wanted to make him feel special!  So we went out to Sonic one night to get slushies…I let him stay up a little late since he was going to be a big brother ;-) and we talked about our favorite memories and what it was going to be like when the baby came.  Hands down one of my BEST memories of pregnancy! “  –  I LOVE this recommendation! I’m making a note to schedule some extra special one on one time with Everly.



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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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One response to “READY, Set, Go!”

  1. Yosefa

    #5 – for sure! But also keep it their for when you’re bleeding from one end and leaking from the other. And even more so if you’re sleeping with your baby, they might spit up, leak, etc.

    #4 – I actually had too many in the end. I recommend some decent pull-up tear off adult diapers for the first couple days. After that I prefer an ultra-thin overnight pad. I find that a QUALITY pad (like StayFree overnight with wings) hold more and makes you feel cleaner and more comfortable than a chunky cheap maxi, like what you get in the hospital.

    Also – try to take home an extra sitz bottle to spray your undercarriage, and as many of those hospital-grade padsicles as you can. Just keep asked for more on each nurses shift :-)

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