A List of Very Useful Things to Do on Your Maternity Leave / In the Last Month of Pregnancy

10 (3)Ahh, the final month. It’s here! I’m finding that whilst I have plenty I want to do, I’m just not capable of doing it all (energy levels, lack of sleep, that whale of a bump). I’ve come to realise that I should listen to all the people telling me I should “rest”, and then I use the times when  I do have more energy to be productive. I hope you can find this balance, too.

Taking this time is really important to set yourself up for success in the first few weeks / months after the birth, and ready yourself mentally, as well as physically and practically, for all the changes ahead.

Here’s a list of things to shop for, along with things to do in these last few weeks before you get to meet your little one and life changes for the crazy better!

1. Things to Buy for Baby:

  • A Crib / Co-Sleeper / Moses basket + sheets (or just use pillow cases – they’re just as good)
  • 4-5 Swaddle blankets, or 0-6 months GroBags / sleeping bags (you can find them at a good price in TK Maxx)
  • Room thermometer – we have the GroEgg
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.49.41 PMBaby thermometer / Baby first aid kit – I have this BabyAid one from Amazon, also available at JoJo Maman Bébé. (If you have a regular first aid kit, you may not need one)
  • A handful of outfits – 6 x all-in-ones, 2 x cardigans, 4 x vests, a few pairs of mittens, socks and a hat. You’ll probably get loads of clothes as gifts, so don’t go mad.
  • 10 x muslin squares – great for mopping up sick, burping baby, miscellaneous. These are cheapest from the big supermarkets.
  • Nappies (buy some with a wee indicator in case you’re worried about dehydration in the early days. Pampers’ version are available in Boots)
  • Nappy (diaper) sacks – to put dirty nappies in, especially if you have pets around. A nappy bin is also a good investment.
  • Changing table and mat – you can buy one to put on top of any chest of drawers, or buy a purpose designed one. We have the Rachel, from John Lewis.
  • Baby monitor, if video then preferably with night vision (optional)
  • A car seat – and learn how to install it before you get to the hospital as you’ll need to drive home with baby in it!
  • A pushchair / travel system. John Lewis offer a free consultation so you can understand all of the different options available.
  • Mirror for car – to face the baby seat so you can see him/ her from rear view mirror
  • Lots of wet wipes and cotton wool (for nappy changes)
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.49.32 PMA changing bag. I don’t like changing handbags all the time as I always lose things in the process, so I bought this ‘Suncrest Shopper Tote’ from Boots which can double up as a regular-looking handbag when I’m heading out without baby.

Recommended Reading: Is an “Almost” Pain-free Birth Possible? Here’s My Story.

2. Thinwhite noise app for babygs to Do for Baby

  • Wash baby clothes with non-biodegradable laundry detergent (it’s kinder on their skin)
  • Download a white noise app – this can come in handy when baby won’t settle
  • Write him or her a letter!
  • Put up the cot/ crib (

3. Things to Do for You!

  • Pack your hospital bag
  • Write out your birth preferences (plan) and discuss them with your birthing partner
  • Make a playlist for labour
  • Listen to some hypnobirthing relaxation CDs, or get this book (Pssst! Read about my hypnobirthing story here)
  • Choose a birth affirmation (or several), and print them out if you think they’ll be useful in labour (Tip! Here are 11 of my favourite here.)
  • Get your hair done, and then something relaxing like a pedi / mani / massage. Get your bikini line waxed if you wish.
  • Order a Hello Fresh delivery (UK) so you can cook some new yummy recipes to relax (and perhaps freeze). Get £25 off your first box by using this referral code: 62FD2X
  • Meet friends for coffee / lunch
  • Nap. Seriously, nap!
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My birthing affirmation!

4. Things to Buy for You

  • Breastfeeding pillowA breastfeeding pillow / extra cushions for various parts of the house (I love this pillow!)
  • Breast pads – disposable or washable – I adore these natural bamboo ones. 
  • Maternity pads (like sanitary pads but way thicker – you’ll need these in the first few weeks as your womb sheds its lining)
  • Disposable knickers – buy a size bigger to accommodate those mammoth pads!
  • Nursing bras and vests – these are like regular bras and vests but with removable straps to make breastfeeding a doddle.
  • An anti-burst birthing ball (great for pregnancy, labour and for settling a crying newborn). Like a gym ball but with anti-burst technology so that it lets down slowly and is much safer
  • Paracetamol / painkillers (for any aches and pains post-labour)
  • A sling or baby carrier

5. Things Your Future You Will Thank You For

  • Make some freezer meals, or at least stock up on easy to eat / heat up essentials (soups, beans, packets of lentils etc). Keep a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer and something to top it with – peanut butter perhaps.
  • Stock up on things like moisturiser, shampoos etc.
  • Learn how to use the push chair! Seriously, these things can be rocket science. It took me and Mum and sister 1.5 hours – and lots of YouTube videos – to figure out our Bugaboo!
  • Install the car seat
  • lucy atkins first time parentGet this book: Lucy Atkins’ First-Time Parent (I got a copy from the library). I also found Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care to be really informative and helpful.
  • Download Kindle books (they are easy to read with one hand during the long breastfeeding sessions)
  • Favourite some TV shows or films – perhaps consider a subscription to Netflix or Now TV for a few months. I recommend Modern Family – lighthearted and there’s a whole 8 seasons to watch while you’re tied to the sofa feeding!
  • Do some Kegel / pelvic floor exercises. (A total drag I know, but that future you? She’ll love you for it)
  • Seek out breastfeeding nooks and crannies, get set up with lots of cushions and a footstool
  • Tour some daycare centres / nurseries (if you are considering them), or interview child minders
  • Buy birthday cards / gifts for friends and fam in advance

Recommended Reading: Is an “Almost” Pain-free Birth Possible? Here’s My Story.

6. Just for Fun / Your Sanity

  • Go on lots of walks, with friends if possible. You’ll feel tons better for it
  • Join a pregnancy yoga class
  • Arrange Skype / FaceTime calls with friends around the world (the time difference is easier now you’re not on a 9-5)
  • Call / go visit your Grandma! It’s probably down to the old hormones, but I wanted to see every female relative ever when I was pregnant. Especially Gran
  • Write that novel or something else you’ve been desperate to find time for!kindle-381242_1280
  • Go on lots of dates with your partner. Fancy restaurants and cinemas will be but a distant memory soon, so pack them in when you can. I spent a lot of time in non child-friendly bars drinking mocktails and going to the theatre. Each occasion felt really special since I knew it would be much harder once little one arrives. Drink it all in!

Phew! That seems like a lot to do, but obviously you can pick and choose what’s important to you and leave the rest. Everything will get done and you’ll be amazed at how friends and family rally around to help you out in the first few weeks. But if you do nothing else, make sure to keep moving (walks! yoga! stretch!) and SLEEP. I’m so excited for you and what’s coming. And remember…

10-14

Recommended reading: 

 

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