At this point in your pregnancy it is time to slow down, and think about making a third trimester checklist: a list of things you want to do before the baby arrives, and what you should be getting ready.
In my case, about a week before the due date my cervix started to dilate and my doctor figured that I would probably go into labor pretty soon. I loved that last week of preparing and waiting. It was so sacred and probably one of my favorite parts of being pregnant. Here are some things I highly recommend including on your third trimester checklist:
1. Go on a special date night with your partner
We took this so very seriously and splurged and spoiled each other that week. Some nights we got fancy and dressed up and some nights, we just went for an ice cream or mango loh. It was so much fun and felt so illegal and so nice to spend some alone time together soaking it all in!
2. Take yourself out for a date
I would do this in the afternoons. Part of trying to encourage labour is to walk walk walk so I would take an Uber to a mall, shop, eat at a favorite restaurant (banana leaf rice!), go for a pedicure/manicure, wax, massage… Or just stay in with a good book in a nice warm (not hot!) bath – basically, anything I knew I probably wouldn’t have time to indulge in at least the next month or so.
3. Go on a date with your best friend
This is a very important point on your third trimester checklist! One day, we played hooky and just spent the whole day together laughing and loving and dreaming. Realistically, when the baby comes, a lot of your friendships will change, not in a bad way but just in a different season of your life type of way. Investing in friendships will also help keep your sanity. Who else is going to go drive across the city to find Sangkaya ice cream and also fabulously layan you while you get your hair and massage done together. Good for your friendship, good for your soul!
4. Write a letter to your husband
I wrote one right before we were going to check in to the hospital as I was waiting for him to come home. Dream big dreams and remember that you are a team.
5. Write a letter to your baby
I wrote this and just cried and cried because it was so special to finally be here and to be able to welcome her into our world. It really made me feel like a mama and I think really prepared my heart to mother her.
6. Take an Infant CPR and First Aid class BEFORE baby comes
No one wants to think of the what ifs but it’s good to be prepared and equipped for the worst. Even if you’ve already taken it before, at least refresh your notes. Remember, you only have a critical few minutes to act and you’ve spent your whole pregnancy trying to keep him/her safe, why would this be any less important?
7. Stock up like it’s the apocalypse!
Hubby calls this my crazy nesting, I call it being prepared! Before the baby came, I went out and bought all the supplies I thought I might need in the next 2-3 months. Things that I am normally “in charge” of like toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, my skin care stuff, etc.
I didn’t want to try and explain to my husband how to buy maternity pads without wings (and you will need so so much more than you ever imagined!) because the poor boy would probably be in the aisle for hours just reading each label.
I also bought stuff that I knew the baby would need in large supply: cotton wool, nappies, diaper cream, antibacterial wipes, laundry detergent, etc. Part of this was also getting her nursery ready which was also such a neat way to prepare our hearts for this crazy new season.
You can also stock up your fridge. I made casseroles, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, soups, anything easy that I could freeze so all we needed to do was just heat it up in the oven or microwave for dinner. Stock up your pantry with shelf stable comforts too like favorite cereals, granola bars, snacks, etc.
8. Make a breastfeeding caddy
Oh honey, for the next few weeks, you’re going to feel like your life is consumed with breastfeeding and poop. It is glorious and sacred and hard but it is also so very special for just the two of you. Some of my favorite and worst times have been our middle of the night dawn feeds, when it seems never ending or when it’s just the both of you dancing and singing and rocking and loving together.
And the hunger! Oh the hunger! You thought you were hungry when you were pregnant but holy moly breastfeeding hunger!! To help, make the most awesome amazing breastfeeding caddy in the world. Kind of like your breastfeeding cube at the hospital. It’s nice to have everything I need available without having to go down to the kitchen or walk around the nursery finding things esp when it’s just baby and you at 3am!
Here are some neat things to have:
- Snacks – “healthy” lactation cookies, fruit, granola bars, whatever floats your boat.
- Drinks – so so important! Stay hydrated and baby stays hydrated! In addition to a big bottle of water and a smaller cup with straw I also had a small thermos of clear soup for when I wanted something warm and filling.
- Feed tracker – I used this awesome app on my phone called “Total Baby”. It keeps track of baby’s feeding times, which boob she was on, diaper changes, sleep times, and even a place to key in extra entries like gas drops etc. So so awesome, great for doctor’s visits and when you’re sleep deprived and can’t remember which boob and all your hours and days run together! Also good for keeping track of when she’s actually hungry and needs a feed or is just looking for a snack.
- Entertainment – trashy magazine, phone, FB, etc. I liked writing while I’m feeding or taking 68384957289378494 mamarazzi photos of Miss Ella Grace so I kept a phone charger close by too. We also played a lot of music and Ella Grace and mama get to sing off key a lot.
- Burp rags – if your baby spits up a lot, this is good to have in your caddy. Ella Grace didn’t so we just use little face cloth rags that I switched out everyday.
- Nursing cover – Bebe Au Lait has a nice design that you can see baby at the same time.
- Nursing salve – there’s a variety of brands out there but if you have a good latch, you really shouldn’t need this after a week or so, once your boobs gets used to constantly being violated. Remember to use your own breast milk to sterilize before and after a feed.
- Breast pads – sometimes, she fell asleep on the boob when it was still full or I leaked on the other side while feeding on one side. Glorious! LOL so an emergency breast pad is good to have if the one you have on is soaked already.
9. Join/form a mama tribe
One of the best things I ever did was to join a bunch of support groups both online and in person. I’m also a big believer of kampung life, where it takes a village to raise a child.
I learned so much and was exposed to so much and it really helped to shape the way we parent. Most of the suggestions and advice here didn’t originate from me, heck even the idea to make this list wasn’t from me.
Take some postnatal classes (I highly recommend Jenlia, especailly their home well-baby visits after baby is born) and get a book called Asian Parenting Today and read through the first section (birth to three months) – it will be your bible for the next few weeks and months.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, look for mamas and resources that can help you along this journey. It will make the nights feel less lonely, the hard days easier, the easy days more joyful and remind you to celebrate this special time.
10. Take 46788432679 selfies
It seems kind of silly, but one day, you will look back and marvel at the beauty of how you carried and nurtured your child. Even if you feel huge and even huger, someday, this will amaze you and give you warm fuzzy feelings when you look back at this memory.
Enjoy the swell of your belly, the tips of the toes you can barely see, how he/she moves and dances inside you, the cute little hiccups, the way your body shape has changed and bloomed you into a mother. Ignore the numbers on a weighing scale and just soak in this moment of 40 weeks.
You’re almost there, mama!
Racheal Kwacz is mama to the most curious, fiercely independent, joyful little two year old foodie and whom she hones most of parenting techniques and workshops with.
For more info, follow their adventures on fb (Racheal Kwacz) and instagram (@rachealkwacz)!