Wondering what you need to buy for yourself and your baby in the final weeks of your pregnancy?
This is the ultimate checklist for what you need to have bought before your due date.
These are the items you will need for your last few days before your baby is born as well as the must-have stuff for your baby’s early days and when you’re in the hospital.
I’ve stuck to only the absolute essentials that you need, with no useless gadgets or stuff you don’t need until later in your baby’s first year.
These items are the things you will find so useful in the month before and month after giving birth.
Before we get to the list, you definitely want to check out my book about surviving baby’s first year! It has everything you need to make confident choices and cope with the tough days as a new mama. Topics covered including sleep, crying, weaning, routines and returning to work! Find out more here.
You may also like:
Ultimate baby registry checklist
Things you need to do in the final month of pregnancy
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Essentials you need to buy in the third trimester of pregnancy
Perineal massage oil
You can use perineal massage oil to help prepare your body for birth. It can help to make the muscles and skin more flexible “down there” so that when your baby is born you are less likely to tear or need to be cut.
Doing perineal massage (rubbing and massaging the area between your vagina and anus) is not something you have to do.
But studies have shown it can reduce the risk of tearing during birth.
You can start doing perineal massage from around 34 weeks onwards and you need to do it daily in order to get the benefits.
There are great tips for how to do perineal massage from the NCT.
Maybe you already have one, but if you don’t have an appropriate bag for packing your hospital stuff in for giving birth then now is the time to get one!
When packing my hospital bag the second time, I found it way easier to pack three bags. Sounds a bit mad, right? But hear me out!
I used one bag while I was in labour. It had my nightie that I wore for giving birth, lip balm, magazines, and one outfit for the baby.
The second bag was full of stuff for me and the baby for recovery while in hospital. So it had some comfy clothes for me, maternity pads clothes and nappies for the baby plus going home outfits for us both.
The third bag stayed in the car and contained extra items such as nappies, maternity pads and outfits just in case we ran out or had to stay in hospital for an extra day or two unexpectedly.
This system worked for me because it meant I wasn’t digging to the bottom of a bag to fish out stuff.
However if you prefer to stick to just the one bag, then try separating out the items into separate smaller bags so everything isn’t all jumbled up together in there.
Alternatively go for a bag with tons of different compartments so that you can keep everything organised way easier.
Your milk may not come in for a few days so you don’t really need breast pads for your hospital stay.
But once your milk does come it, you definitely need a good supply of breast pads. They soak up the milk that automatically starts to come from the opposite breast to where your baby is feeding.
You can also use things like a Haakkaa manual breast pump to pick up any milk that leaks from the other breast during feeding and store it in the fridge for an expressed feed. This saves any wastage!
These soak up the totally normal postpartum bleeding that you will experience for the weeks after giving birth.
If you think you have bought enough maternity pads, I suggest buying another pack.
A good number to aim for is around 50 to get you through the first couple of weeks, as you will need to change them regularly each day to reduce the risk of infection.
A normal underwire bra just does not do the job well enough in the weeks before delivery and weeks after pregnancy!
Your boobs may be swollen and engorged at times so you want something stretchy and soft.
Nursing bras give you easy access to your boobs quickly and provides comfortable support.
You will need two or three if you are planning on breastfeeding your baby.
If you are not planning to breastfeed, it’s sensible to get a couple of stretchy sports or maternity bras if you haven’t already got some as you will find these more comfortable in the two weeks after giving birth.
Some normal clothes such as wrap dresses can be great for breastfeeding.
If your existing wardrobe does not offer easy access to your boobs for feeding, then consider buying either nursing tops, or adding a spaghetti strap top underneath your normal tops.
By doing this you simply lift up your top then pull down the spaghetti strap vest. This provides you with coverage on your tummy and above your nipple in case you’re feeding in public and want a bit of extra cover.
If you are planning to breastfeed then you will be grateful for nipple cream to help you combat any soreness in the early days.
Even if your latch is right from day one, you may experience a little discomfort as you adjust to breastfeeding.
I recommend this nipple cream most of all. It can be used right before feeding as it’s non toxic and really helped me when I had sore nipples in the first few weeks of nursing.
A breast pump can help you to get your supply going in the early days after your baby is born.
It can also give you the chance to stock up enough expressed breast milk so that your baby can have a bottle feed and you get a break.
This is the best breast pump in my opinion. It’s small, lightweight and very straightforward to use.
I suggest getting a breast pump before your baby is born because once your baby is here. While breastfeeding may not work out for you, if you do intend to try breastfeeding you will find it an essential piece of kit!
Record the memories of your baby’s birth and the early weeks in a baby book!
It’s a lovely way to record the milestones of their growth and the first pictures, plus your thoughts on your baby’s first weeks.
There’s a delicate balance between stocking up on nappies before your baby is born but not buying too many in the tiny size.
Start off with around 50 Size 1 nappies as well as 50 Size 2 nappies. The bigger ones should fit your baby even just after the birth but the Size 1 just covers you in case your baby is a little smaller.
The most essential baby product of all. You could try out reusable wipes if you’re keen to help the planet.
Go for sensitive wipes if you do buy the disposable version so that they are gentler on your newborn baby’s skin.
I’ve got a whole post on how many newborn baby clothes you actually need to buy. Spoiler alert, you don’t need piles of fancy clothes!
Be careful of buying too many outfits in Newborn size as your baby will not be in this size for more than a couple of weeks if they are born at an average weight.
While your baby may spit-up or have nappy leaks resulting in a few outfit changes in the day here and there, you don’t need dozens of outfits!
Also stick to clothes that can be easily machine washed.
If you can manage it in your budget opt for a side sleeper, which you will also be able to use as a normal crib, for the early weeks.
They’re a little more expensive than normal cribs or Moses baskets, but they are really great for giving you easy access to your baby at night without having to co-sleep.
You need two waterproof mattress protectors for whatever crib mattress size you have.
At some point your baby may spit-up or have a leaky nappy in the middle of the night, and you don’t want to be struggling to clean the mattress at 3am.
A good waterproof mattress cover will wash in the machine really well. Have a second one to put on the mattress in case there is an accident while the first one is in the wash.
I recommend getting a changing mat for every floor of the house to save you traipsing up and down the stairs every time you need to change a nappy.
Changing units look great but aren’t necessarily great for small nurseries.
You can buy cot top changers which just fit on top of your baby’s bed
Alternatively just buy a super cheap changing mat that you can stash underneath the bed or sofa for when you need it.
A barrier cream reduces your baby’s risk of getting diaper rash.
A diaper rash happens usually when your baby’s skin has been in contact with wet or dirty nappies for too long.
In the early weeks with your baby you may well find you are changing them more frequently than needed, just because you’re ultra sensitive to keeping them clean.
But some babies have very sensitive skin, so it’s a good idea to have a barrier cream to just give a little extra protection.
Creams like Sudocrem act as both a barrier cream to prevent nappy rash and a soothing treatment if your baby has a nappy rash.
You will need at least three muslins and I really recommend getting the extra large ones.
They can be used to mop up baby’s spit-up, as swaddling blankets, blankets, tummy time mats and more.
Go for lightweight blankets that can be layered so that you can add or take away blankets as the temperature changes.
It’s surprising how quickly babies can overheat, so refer to baby temperature guides such as this one to give you an idea of how to dress them in certain temperatures.
You can also get swaddles that do up with zips or poppers that are really handy for baby to sleep in.
When your baby is a few weeks old you can start to use baby sleeping bags which are amazing because your baby cannot kick them off at night like with blankets.
Baby car seat
The car seat is one of the big ticket purchases you need to make along with your baby’s bed and a buggy.
You can now buy car seats that can be adapted for baby as they grow through the first year and beyond. Of course these tend to be more expensive.
When buying a car seat be sure to check how it would fix into your car, for example if it needs ISOFIX points and check your car is able to take this type of fitting.
You will definitely want to choose your pushchair before the baby is born!
They range in price from £200 to £1,000 and beyond depending on what brand you go for.
You do not have to spend a fortune on getting a branded buggy but if you have your heart set on a Bugaboo is similarly expensive purchase, then look at second-hand marketplace groups on Facebook. You’ll be amazed at the bargains you can pick up and what great condition the items tend to be in!
I hope this guide has given you a good idea of the stuff you need for your final weeks of pregnancy and early weeks with your baby!
If you are on maternity leave and your baby has not yet arrived, you will love this post about stuff to get done before your baby is born!