If you’re considering a home birth, there aren’t as many resources available for planning out your pregnancy. In my own ninth month I was making a list of tasks for home birth – I searched Pinterest far and wide for things to do before baby arrives, but none of the lists were very helpful – particularly since I won’t be packing a hospital bag! For women who home birth, the process of baby preparation is a little different. So in today’s post, I’m sharing ten things I did this month (I’m 37 weeks!) to get ready for my second baby.
My first child, Adeline, was born at 37 weeks 5 days. Last time, I barely had time to unpack our moving boxes before her arrival – much less make freezer meals! I started prepping for baby two a lot earlier. So while I recommend doing in these in the ninth month, it can’t hurt to get them done in the eighth in case of an early arrival!
Order Your Birth Kit
Each midwife will direct you to her preferred supplier for your birth kit: The collection of supplies you need available at the house for labor and birth! Your midwife will bring her own supplies, but you will need to have extras on hand with easy access for your team. Both my midwife with Adeline and my current team prefer In His Hands for birth kits.
Your midwife will give you instructions for setting out the materials upon their arrival, but I really like how my current midwife suggests setting it up. Here’s what I did once it arrived:
- Put all materials in a clear rubber maid with a checklist of contents on the lid
- Get paper bags for:
- Two sets of sheets and shower curtain liner (for the bed)
- Receiving blankets (6-8)
- Newborn clothes, diaper, pajamas for mama and underwear (you’ll probably get the netted ones in your birth kit)
Label each paper bag and keep them with the rubbermaid for easy access during labor!
Make Freezer Meals
With my first child, we moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania five days before she was born. I was 37 weeks pregnant at the time and thought I had time to make freezer meals – but the stress of the move and all that walking brought an early arrival! Fortunately there is nothing like Lancaster hospitality, and I was brought meals by our new church family for six weeks after Adeline was born. This time, I got a jump start on freezer meals in my 35th week.
Josh and I eat a gluten free/Paleo meal plan using either Trim Healthy Mama recipes or Paleo ones. I used Mixing With Michelle’s recipes, grocery and prep lists to make 20 freezer-to-crockpot meals. It took me about three hours (one afternoon nap for Adeline!) and I’m confident the time spent will be completely worth it!
I used Aldi and Meijer (our local grocery store) and spent a total of $100 on all 20 meals, which will each feed us at least twice.
Wash Newborn Clothes
With Addie, we knew exactly what we were having. As anyone with a baby girl knows, there are a LOT of clothes involved! This time we are finding out the gender upon arrival – which is super exciting, but also means I have a fifty-fifty chance of not needing all these pink clothes!
I decided to wash the 0-3 month girl clothes anyway and washed the 10-15 gender neutral clothes items I have in case it’s a boy. Since I prefer to hang up baby clothes (you use less, have more space, and have easier access to them) I bought new hangers at Marshall’s and will be making these size dividers in the next few weeks.
Make a Baby Announcement Draft
Due to Addie’s arrival and being caught off guard, I never put together a baby announcement. This time I drafted a boy and girl announcement on Shutterfly and bookmarked the pages! I’ll be uploading the baby photos as soon as my sister (our birth photographer!) sends one my way. Since we already decided on names I’ll just have to add date and time of birth, weight and length – and place the order.
Empty the Photos Off Your Phone
If you’re like me, your phone has hundreds of photos clogging up your storage. As a blogger I am constantly using them in posts and on social media, forgetting to download them onto my computer so we can actually make them into something lasting – like a photo book or prints. With a new baby soon to arrive, it is super important to have space free for all those new baby pics! Take time to empty your phone into appropriate albums for future use, and free up your phone for those new baby smiles.
Set Up a Nursing Station
Though I give birth at home, breastfeeding is not my favorite. Last time I had extremely low supply which no resource was able to resolve. With less stress this time around, we’re hoping things go better – but I’m not heartbroken if we forgo the whole process. That said, part of enabling a good experience is having a spot to relax and fully focus on feeding your baby. A nursing station is a great way to do this! Last time this was my favorite living room arm chair. This time around, I’ll have multiple stations set up – one in our room, one in the nursery, and one in the living room. Since I work from home and have a toddler, I need to have multiple spots to feed baby throughout the day.
My nursing station includes:
- A chair or glider
- A boppy or nursing pillow
- A side table with nightlight or lamp
- A basket of reading material, lanolin, Kindle or iPad, nursing pads, and snacks
- Water bottle
Get Ahead on Work and/or Line Up Help
With Adeline, I left my five year career in higher ed the day before moving to Pennsylvania. Five days after that, she was born. I didn’t return to work until five months postpartum, and even then was working from home. This time, things are a little different. If you’re working, take time get ahead on any projects that may stress you out during maternity leave. If you work for yourself, this is even more important! We tend to be bad about boundaries when acting as our own boss. Don’t overschedule yourself for postpartum, even if you feel great.
Since I work for myself now, I had to be intentional about this. A few ways I did so:
- Contact 10-15 fellow bloggers and writers to guest post during my leave
- Talk to my editor about getting ahead of schedule on posts
- Write all of September and October’s columns by September 15th (my due date is October 1st)
- Schedule social media for all of Sept and early October
- Find replacements for any committees, classes or events
It’s also good to line up help for post partum. Now that we live near my family, I have my parents and a horde of wonderful friends I can call for assistance. If you don’t have family nearby – which was the case for us last time – talk to friends in your church community. Last time, we only knew one couple in the entire state of PA, but the church we attended the week after Addie was born became our support system!
Continue Nutrition and Exercise
I thought I was pretty healthy with my daughter, and by normal standards I probably was. But since having Addie, Josh and I have made some big lifestyle and diet changes that made this pregnancy a dream compared to my first. Though I worked out my entire pregnancy with Adeline, I didn’t know then what I do now about nutrition. Josh and I have now been gluten and (mostly) sugar free for two years. In my first pregnancy, I gained 50 lbs (even with working out). This pregnancy I have gained 20 lbs at 37 weeks. The only thing I did differently was change my diet – even with working out less intensely!
My workout of choice is Erica Ziel’s Knocked Up Fitness, which I rotate with walking three times a week, three miles each time.
My midwives are great about nutritional accountability. I have a laminated chart of daily food recommendations which I can mark off with a dry erase marker, and a weekly food journal to turn in with my protein log (80-100 grams a day). Nutrition is important throughout pregnancy, but shouldn’t drop off in the last month! It’s been great for me to have this accountability since I always want ice cream more in the ninth month than any other time!
Exercise can and should also continue if your midwife approves it. Since I had Adeline early last time, I had to cut back on my usual 3 mile walks from 35-37 weeks, but I’m back at it again!
Pick Up Birthing Tub
If you want a water birth, or simply want to labor in a tub, it’s time to pick up your birthing tub and get it set up in your home! With my first home birth I didn’t get to labor in a birthing tub. This time – unless I decide I don’t want to! – I get that privilege! My midwife had an awesome tub she let me borrow, which we set up in our bedroom. Ask your midwife for instructions when she comes for your home visit.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
Finally, talk to your pediatrician (if this is your second or more child) or find one you plan to use. Ask them the process of adding the new baby to your account. You’ll also have to add them to insurance. If you’re having a boy and planning to circumcise you’ll need to discuss with your pediatrician where to take the baby for that procedure, since most midwives will not do it for you.
I hope this list was helpful to you! If you need more encouragement for your pregnancy, don’t forget to download my free ebook on praying through your pregnancy and labor – complete with birth affirmations and verses to pray.