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The bassinet list

The weeks leading up to your due date will be the last you will spend as a free agent, Mama. These are the things you'll want to do before the bassinet is occupied.
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Get outta dodge

If your doctor gives the okay, a romantic getaway with your man will generate memories that can last through the sleepless nights and countless diaper changes of early parenthood. Whether you book a room in a Jamaican resort on the beach or pitch a tent on a nearby mountain, every relationship can use an infusion of carefree indulgence before undertaking the responsibility of child-rearing. Bonus points for last-minute fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures.

Sleep in

A mother's work is never done. This is a nice way of saying that becoming "Mom" means you may never get a good night's sleep again. Soon, you will be up all night feeding and changing your newborn and nursing a sick child back to health. The next phase involves waiting up for your teenager who is out past curfew, worrying about him adjusting to college life and waiting for the call alerting you to the birth of your first grandchild. If this thought alone doesn't make you drowsy then you might be getting too much sleep. Indulge in an early bedtime and fifteen minutes extra in the morning while you can.

Make time for the girls

Get out with your girlfriends and dish about shoes, relationships and your friends' problems because in the near future your favorite subjects will all revolve around your baby. Discussing baby poop — smell, color, frequency — sounds gross now, but just you wait. Take advantage of your flexible schedule and work around your friends' before you have to time departure and arrival times around baby's feeding and napping schedules.

Be prepared

Use this time wisely to make your first days and weeks with baby a little easier. Taking a breastfeeding class in advance can make all the difference. Learn how to tell if your baby is properly latched on and getting enough to eat before you are sleep-deprived and stressed. Also, make a list of lactation consultants and breastfeeding support professionals you will feel comfortable calling if you need more help. This is no small thing. When all your baby does is eat, unsolved nursing difficulties can make life miserable for everyone.

Take a bath

Luxuriate in a bubble bath with a good book and maybe even fall asleep. Check with your doctor first to make sure you don't have a condition (bleeding, ruptured membrane) that would make taking a bath unsafe. Also, make sure the bath water is lukewarm and ensure most of your abdomen stays above the water.

After you get the green light, relax and enjoy. Once baby comes, bathing will probably consist of a quick jump in and out of the shower, making faces around the curtain at baby in the bouncer on the other side. Believe it or not, you may even end up switching to a shampoo and conditioner in one, so pamper yourself with all the bath salts, oils and conditioning treatments you can handle for the time being.

Work out the kinks

Not only can a pregnancy massage ease the ache of your lower back and reduce stress, but it can also decrease swelling, improve your circulation and alleviate pregnancy insomnia. With so many benefits, pregnancy massage is now seen as less of an indulgence and more of a necessity.

Take a load off

Help out your soon to be packed, post-baby schedule by putting together diaper changing stations — at a changing table or just in a box where you will be changing baby — complete with diapers, cream, powder, Vaseline for boys, a burp cloth or two and maybe even some lanolin and nursing pads for you. Your days will run much smoother if you are not fumbling around looking for things.

While you're at it, preparing and freezing a few meals that you can throw in the oven when the time comes can help to de-stress mealtimes for your new little family.

Treat your tootsies

While doctors warn against pedicures or foot massages during pregnancy due to the risk of bringing on labor, this is just the kind of risk that's worth taking once you are full term. Overdue? Even better. And what could make you happier between contractions than looking down and seeing ten lovely, brightly colored toes (maybe even glittering with rhinestones?). Anything that helps you feel pretty while you labor is definitely worth it.

Just be alone

Take yourself to a movie, curl up with a book and follow your whims wherever they take you. The quality time you are currently able to spend with yourself is envied by mothers worldwide. Of course, once he comes you will want to spend every waking minute with your baby, and you will, but for a few more weeks you can leave the house without having to make sure baby is fed and changed, the diaper bag is stocked and the stroller is in the car. Enjoy it!

Bringing baby home will turn your life upside down...nothing will ever be the same but truth be told, you won't care. While you may occasionally miss former freedoms, your life will be full of so many wonderful, even better things that you won't miss them often. Nonetheless, why not take advantage of these simple pleasures? If nothing else, keeping busy can speed the countdown and keep your eyes off the calendar for a few hours.

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