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What to Do and (What to Skip!) Before Baby Arrives

Life right now is full of "shoulds"—buy this, do that. Back away from the panic button and refer to these reassuring little lists.

7 Things Worth Doing Before Baby Arrives…
  1. Give in to the nesting hormones and organize the junk drawer. It will bring you immense happiness when, even if you can’t find your sanity, you can still find a chip clip.
  2. See movies. People tell you this so often it gets annoying. But they’re right.
  3. Find a pediatrician. Ask around for recos, set up some meetings, and pick your ped while you have a clear head.
  4. Pack your hospital bag. Include the stuff everyone tells you to and your maternity jeans. Because after you have the baby, you won’t be able to burn them just yet. Sorry.
  5. Wash everything. It’s no biggie—those baby outfits are so tiny, 50 of them equals something like two loads.
  6. Take a babymoon. You deserve it, and you’ll get lots of mileage out of the memories when you’re in the new-mom phase.
  7. Snap one last photo of your belly. Anything that is so ridiculous and so beautiful at the same time deserves to live on in pictures.

And 7 Things Not To Bother With…

  1. Any $125 prenatal massage that requires you to lie face-down in a big tummy donut wondering the whole time, "Is this bad for the baby?"
  2. Ordering cute little thank-you notes with "Jason Hunter" at the top. What if he comes out looking more like a "Hunter Jason"?
  3. Stocking your kitchen for visitors. If there is good food, they might stay longer. If they stay longer, you will miss out on precious napping opportunities.
  4. Talking to your cat about the major life change she’s about to endure. No amount of prep will prevent resentment, at least until your child starts spilling things like chicken puree.
  5. A 10-page birth plan. Ask any doctor you know: The longer the plan, the less likely it is to resemble anything approaching your actual birth experience.
  6. Buying a wardrobe of nursing bras. Start with one, because you have no idea what your breasts are going to look like by day five.
  7. Forcing your husband to read the Daddy chapter in your baby book. Just leave it in the bathroom—much more effective.
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