Get ready! What “What to Expect” doesn’t tell you about preparing for birth.

Seven not-so-standard top tips for getting ready for d-day.

Of course we all know the “usual” things you’d do to prepare for birth: determining the best route to the hospital, making sure your carseat is properly installed, washing and sorting the baby clothes, buying diapers and preparing the nursery, packing your hospital bag, compiling your contact list, etc. etc. etc.!

But, having done this once before, there are a few other things that I also recommend you try and get in order before baby comes:

1) Get your house ready. For most nesting moms this one is a no-brainer. Do a big deep-clean of the house – tackle things that you won’t get to for a while such as cleaning out the fridge, dusting fans and baseboards, or washing windows. Of course this one depends on your energy levels and time constraints… but aim for your “best case” scenario (and then let go of whatever doesn’t end up happening). I’m currently in the process of enlisting some friends to help me in my mission to deep clean my house! (Or if you can afford it you could hire a cleaning service to do a one-off – wouldn’t that be a great baby shower gift or “push present”?!)

2) Get your friends ready. Arrange to have dinners prepared for you for as long as you can. This is one big regret that I have from my postpartum days with Levi. I mistakenly assumed that meals would just show up on our doorstep, and with the exception of one meal… none came! This was especially disappointing after having had an unplanned c/section. This time around, I have no shame! I’m blatantly asking for help in advance and lining up as many people as possible to bring over a meal during our early days with baby. This is not only a huge blessing for me, but even more so for my husband who would bear the brunt of meal making if needed (and will also be exhausted no doubt).

3) Get your husband’s employer ready. As much as possible, discuss leave and “what if’s” with your husband’s boss. My husband is lucky enough to get two weeks paternity leave when baby comes, which is a huge blessing. But after having Levi by c/section I ended up being in hospital for five days (due to a mild infection that set in) so by the time I got home Ryan only had one week of leave left. That meant that after one week of being home I was left on my own trying to physically recover from a c/section while also trying to figure out how to care for a newborn. If I could do it all over, I’d have asked for my husband to try and take an extra week (perhaps use vacation time if needed) to help me after the cesarean, or see what other kind of help I could have lined up.

4) Get your children ready. Preparing for your older children’s first visit with baby will look different for each family and for each child depending on their age. For us, this means packing a small gift to the hospital that baby will “give” to Levi when he comes to visit for the first time (to help him feel special too). Levi will also bring baby a small gift and have something he feels he can contribute to the excitement of it all. We’ve also been talking lots about “the baby”, spending time around others’ babies, reading stories about baby, and playing with a little boy baby doll.

5) Get your body ready. No, I’m not talking about doing your kegels or practicing your breathing! I’m talking about getting “pretty”. For some women this means getting a manicure or pedicure or facial – all lovely things to do, though not really my thing. I do, however, like to make sure that my hair is recently cut and my legs and bikini line are freshly waxed. My reasoning is two-fold: I don’t want to have to worry about those things for the first several weeks post-partum… and it helps me to feel fresh and decent-looking when the rest of my body is in the throws of labor and recovery! Whatever will help you to feel fresh and groomed… make the time to do it. Every little effort helps to make you feel that tiny bit more lovely when all else around you is raging and changing and (potentially) sore!

6) Get your personal hygiene stash ready. Buy a few packs of the biggest sanitary pads with wings that you can find, and some nursing tanks, gel pads for your nipples (and/or for “down there”), and nipple cream if you intend to breastfeed. I also recommend buying a 5 or 10 pack of cheap cotton undies that you don’t mind throwing away after the first couple of (potentially messy) weeks. Black is best… for obvious reasons.

7) Get your back-up stuff ready. Speaking as one who ended up with a five-day hospital stay, I recommend having a few things at home prepared for an extended hospital stay if needed. These are things that are probably overkill to pack in your initial hospital bag, but good to have organized so your husband or friend can easily grab them if needed: a few more clothing items, breast pump, nursing pillow, a book or magazine, some favorite snacks, your laptop and charger (if you’re like me!), phone charger, favorite TV series or movie on DVD, and a few more outfits, diapers, and blankets for baby.

Dear friends, what things did you do to prepare for baby’s arrival that go beyond the standard “pack your bags” advice?


About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Ana
    30 September 2011 at 1:52 am

    This list is awesome! Man, I wish that I was getting ready to have Phinneas *now* because that list would have helped out a lot! I so agree about the comfy panties too, and the pads! I went to the store and bought some of the biggest that they make, and hubs was like, “HOLY COW THOSE ARE HUGE!” And then I explained why I was getting the big ones. He went out and bought me another pack 🙂

    I’m so excited for the soon arrival of your babe! We’re praying for you and Baby–for a safe labor, a beautiful delivery, and health all the way around. We’re praying for Ryan and Levi–for energy (for Ryan) and for understanding (for Levi…Isaac had such a hard time understanding for a few weeks. He wanted baby bro to play with him the instant he left the birth canal so he was a little disappointed when I said it would take Phinneas a while to actually start playing).

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      30 September 2011 at 6:57 am

      haha – are you talking about the pads or panties or both? 😉

      thanks for your prayers….

      watch this space. 🙂

  • Teva Beasley
    30 September 2011 at 2:32 am

    Is that a picture of your belly? If so I am so envious. Your skin is in remarkable shape.

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      30 September 2011 at 6:58 am

      yes it is. i cut off the boobs part of the photo though… too much skin to be shown in public. 😉

  • Chelsea
    30 September 2011 at 3:06 am

    We have a cleaning service coming tomorrow to do a deep house cleaning before baby arrives. Can’t wait to come home from the hospital to a freshly cleaned house! Great list by the way…I think you just about covered everything!

  • Courtney @ The Mommy Matters
    30 September 2011 at 4:11 am

    This is a fantastic list. After having my first, there are definitely some things that I learned that I will do different when I have another. I’m stumbling this post to have as a reference next go around! 🙂

  • Lindsey
    30 September 2011 at 4:17 am

    These are great tips – all of which I’ve used and will use again with this kiddo.
    Psychologically there’s a lot to get ready too – I spend a lot of time talking to my husband about how we’re going to handle another baby, my wishes re nursing etc. and how we’re going to deal with three other kids who inevitably won’t behave while we’re tending to the new one. On little sleep.

  • Becky
    30 September 2011 at 4:28 am

    Have you seen this?

    I just discovered it a few months ago, but it looks like an awesome way to organize everyone.

    And I agree w/number 6…no one tells you about that! I always went through pads way faster than I thought I would. Buy lots and lots! 🙂

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      30 September 2011 at 7:06 am

      no, i haven’t seen but it sounds awesome! i’ll pass it along to my friend who’s organizing meals for me. 🙂 thanks!!

  • Katherine
    30 September 2011 at 4:38 am

    Great list! Love how you talk about the items to have ready that a lot of baby books don’t mention– like a few pairs of throwaway underwear:) Very smart.

    Like we use

    We have an expectant parent ministry at our church and I’m always directing people to Take Them a Meal to help keep it simple.

  • Kendra
    23 November 2011 at 2:22 am

    Great list! I’ve had 8 (yeah, 8) and two things: Depends are an amazing thing. If you can get past the stigma, you’ll love not having a gigantic pad but undies with built-in pads that catch *everything*. So nice.

    The other is to count your many, many blessings of a husband who can stay home for any length of time. Mine is self employed whose business makes no income if he isn’t there. With at least two of my babies, he returned to work the afternoon of baby’s birth. There might be a day off, but never a week and never ever two. You’ve been given a gift!

  • Kendra
    23 November 2011 at 2:23 am

    Funny how the number 8 and a parenthesis make an emoticon with glasses 😀

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    30 October 2013 at 11:13 pm

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  • Erin
    28 January 2017 at 6:54 am

    I’m 5 weeks 3 days along in my first pregnancy. I found out 4 days ago! I’ve got an amazing support system, but I really have no idea what I’m doing. This is the second article of yours that I’ve read, and I plan on reading a lot more! Already crying about everything, including each time you encourage me. Thank you for being so wonderfully helpful!


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