The last trimester of pregnancy is exciting, funny, and nerve-wracking all at once. It’s also the last time that you and your partner will have your place to yourselves, for a long time.
In this period your lady might be nesting – and this can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from cleaning to tackling big projects that make little sense to you – but there’s also a lot that you can do, to ensure your home is ready for your little one.
If mum-to-be’s nesting behaviours are odd, roll with it. Just ensure she’s not doing anything potentially dangerous and jump in whenever possible to tackle heavier tasks or anything involving heights (as her equilibrium will be off). All in all, you want to ensure you’re your partner doesn’t overtax themselves and that you’re both feeling prepared for the birth.
There are some key items that you can take charge of, particularly in the last few months, to ensure that you’re ready to go, as soon as that time comes.
Create a priority list and determine what’s a crucial action and what would be nice-to-have. Do you need to rearrange the lounge room? No. Do you need to pre-cook and freeze meals for those moments when you’re both exhausted? Yes.
- Paternity leave
If you’ve not yet, now is the time to speak to your employer about paternity leave and your insurance provider about adding a baby to your policy. Understand what steps you’ll need to take post-partum, to make this transition as smooth as possible.
- Embrace all the lists
Sit down with your partner to create the following lists (complete with phone numbers!), and keep them handy, for both of you to access:
- Those on your care team (midwife, obstetrician, paediatrician etc.)
- Resources you might need to call on (e.g. lactation consultant, new mothers support group, your local fathers support group, massage therapist, a recommended house cleaning service)
- Friends that you can call on for practical, hands on support, and also those that are a phone or Skype call away. If someone offers you help throughout this last trimester, or is there purely if you want to chat, write their name onto the list!
- Tasks that you know you’ll need help with and keep adding to this list as you discover more things postpartum. This will be particularly helpful if someone calls to offer help and you’re screening calls for your partner postpartum. (Trust us, you will be screening her calls and it will be a lifesaver to be able to reach for this list full of ideas!)
A week or two post-birth we decided to keep a notepad near the phone to jot down if someone said they were bringing a meal over for us and when. It helped us overcome the 10 lasagnes taking up freezer space!
- Take some time out for self-care
Run a bath for her, and then enjoy one yourself. Book a prenatal massage in the last month (if it’s within budget) or give her one yourself. Book her a pedicure to revive her weary feet. Take a date night out together around 39 weeks to enjoy each other’s company and discuss what you’re most excited for as new parents.
- Know how to recognise PND
Read up on post-natal depression and know the signs to look out for. Reach out to the care team that you identified together, if at any point you’re concerned about your partner and she’s unable to call these providers for help.
- Get the car ready
Ensure your car seat is installed properly, pre-birth. Babies under six months of age must travel in a rear facing car seat and it’s important to have this ready for when you leave the hospital. Unsure? Check out the laws governing car seats in Australia in this great article from Parenthub.
- Stock up at the shops
We mentioned freezing meals before, and it’s something you’ll be glad for when you’re both exhausted. Do a decent shopping trip and collect everything you might need for the first month postpartum – toiletries, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, non-perishables etc.
- Find the baby carrier that works for you
You may prefer a different carrier to your partner but investing in one that you love benefits everyone! Babies love being worn, and mums love guys that carry babies this way. If you do opt for a sling-style carrier, ensure you’re following the Australian Government’s TICKS rule. Check out our other blog for more info on that.
- Sleep more than usual
It’s important for you and your partner to get to sleep earlier than usual from about 38 weeks. You don’t know when labour will begin and going into it already tired is challenging.
- Make the memories last
Pull together a list of songs that you both like, to help soothe her through the birth. Try also to get some photos of the two of you together, pre-birth, even if she doesn’t like how she looks. One day, your kids will enjoy seeing photos of you expecting them. And you’ll both look back on the images, and the playlist, and think of this special time.