The weeks leading up to your child’s birth feel like eternity. You are excited, exhausted and sore. While you might be ready for your baby to arrive, there are some things you need to have ready before the baby comes. Here are the most important things!

Install the Car Seat

Legally, the hospital cannot allow you to leave with your baby unless there is a properly installed car seat available for the baby. Babies can arrive anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. It is a good idea to have the car seat ready to go in the vehicle by 36 weeks.

Get the Baby Essential Items

Babies don’t require tons of items, but you want to have the essentials prepared before arrival. Essentials include clothes, blankets such as those made with fleece fabric or even muslin blankets, bottles, somewhere for baby to sleep and bath supplies.

Figure Out Childcare

Many daycares have waiting lists. It is best not to wait until the last minute to find childcare. You want time to interview potential daycares, whether they are a center or in-home. You may find a family member willing to take care of your baby. Waiting isn’t a wise idea. Start looking sooner rather than later.

Set Up a Sleeping Space

Your baby doesn’t need to have a beautifully decorated nursery. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you room share with your baby for at least the first six months of life to decrease the risk of SIDs.

That being said, your baby does need a safe sleeping location. A crib, a bassinet or separate co-sleeping surface are all appropriate choices. You will want to have your choice prepared before the baby comes. Make sure you have several sets of sheets available too. Babies love to blow out of their diapers after naps!

Pack Your Hospital Bag

Don’t wait until you are in labor to pack your hospital bag. You are likely to forget something, and you might not be home when you go into labor! It is a good idea to have it packed by 36 to 37 weeks.

What do you need in your hospital bag? The list is individual and up to you, but some favored items are:

  • Shower Supplies
  • Comfortable Clothing
  • Warm Socks
  • 2 to 3 Sleepers for Baby
  • Hat for Baby
  • Nursing Bra
  • Phone Charger
  • Boppy or Nursing Pillow
  • Blanket for Baby

Prepare Freezer Meals

The days after you come home are exhausting. You don’t want to live on frozen pizza and TV dinners. Making freezer meals help you eat well easily. Consider making some breakfast casseroles or burritos. Prepare rice bowls with chicken for lunches. Cook soups, prepare slow cooker dump meals, make casseroles and pasta dishes ahead of time. It is worth your time and effort!

Wash Baby Clothes

It is a good idea to wash your baby’s clothes before she arrives in a baby-friendly detergent. You can’t entirely be sure what touched her clothing before you purchased them. Babies tend to have sensitive skin, so washing ahead of time ensures your child doesn’t have a reaction.

Pick a Pediatrician

Your pediatrician is important. He or she will help you ensure your child is growing properly and answer any of your questions as your child grows. Most pediatricians are supportive of interviews beforehand. You want your personalities and parenting styles to match. If they don’t, don’t feel bad about picking someone else.

You have so much to do before baby arrives. The weeks might seem long, but they are just enough to get everything ready before the baby comes.