Whether you’re a first-time mom-to-be or an experienced parent, you probably anticipate (very accurately) that the first few weeks of your coming baby’s life are going to be tough. Sleepless nights, huge shifts in routine, and the endless cycle of feeding, changing, and soothing can make it nearly impossible for parents to feel normal. While there’s nothing you can do to change the challenges that come with caring for a brand-new baby, there are things you can do during your last trimester that will greatly reduce some of the outside stressors that can make this time even harder.

  1.  Prep your home
    The peace of mind a clean home gives can be valuable during the chaotic first few weeks of baby’s life. Either do a deep clean or get your home deep-cleaned just before your due date so that you don’t have to worry about dusting, mopping, or cleaning out the couch cushions for at least a few weeks after your baby arrives. Beyond cleaning, make sure you’ve stocked up on your household necessities like light bulbs, toilet paper, paper towels, and anything else you use one a regular basis.
  2. Prep your car
    You’ve probably already thought about installing the car seat and making sure your vehicle is clean before your baby arrives, but what about the regular maintenance that always seems to sneak up on you? In your baby’s early days, the last place you’ll want to be is at the shop or stuck at home while your car is in for repairs. Go ahead and get the oil changed, make sure your tires are in tip-top shape and ask your mechanic if they anticipate your vehicle needing any additional work in the next couple of months.
  3. Freeze meals
    Then you have a newborn, life is hard. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, and getting out can be really tough. Sometimes, cooking feels impossible. The power of a good, warm meal cannot be underestimated, especially just after you give birth and as you’re working to regain your strength. Prepare a few freezer meals now so that all you have to do after your baby is born is pull the dish out of the fridge and pop it in the oven or crock pot. If you have an expecting friend, split the work and make a day out of prepping fabulous meals that you’ll both get to enjoy once there are babies in your arms.
  4. Compile some great books or movies
    Caring for a newborn is exhausting. That doesn’t mean that it’s always particularly exciting or engaging. Prepare for the lulls by creating a fantastic queue on Netflix or ordering a few books from Amazon that you haven’t had the chance to read yet.
  5. Get your support team in place
    Woman’s support team is a little bit different. Some women have lots of family in town, while other rely primarily on friends from work, their neighborhood, or church. Whoever you’re close with and count on, make sure you thank them now for their support and let them know exactly what you anticipate needing. Perhaps there’s one person you’d like to take your toddler out a few times per week for those first few weeks and another who is a great organizer. Let them know what they can do to help so that when the time comes they’ll be ready to step-in.
  6. Schedule appointments now
    Life doesn’t stop when you have a baby. You’ll still need to go to the doctor and the dentist, get your hair done (if you like to!) and keep up with your other children’s school and medical appointments. Go ahead and make appointments (or at least program reminders into your phone) now so that nothing slips your mind when it’s foggy with exhaustion.