A coworker of mine is about five weeks from her due date, and it is making me think back on those days. I remember those final preparations, how it simultaneously felt like the baby would never arrive yet also felt as though parenthood was just around the corner. Looking back, there are things I wish I had prepared more thoroughly, or things I wish I could have done for my wife at the time. So gentlemen, buckle up. Fatherhood is upon you. Here are five things to do with five weeks to due date.
1. Get your go bags ready. With only five weeks remaining, you never know what could happen. It’s not exactly like your baby is on a schedule; he or she could decide to come early, or something may come up where they decide inducing early is the safest course of action. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to put your bag together on your way to the hospital. Feel free to check out a suggested list at The Bump here.
2. Cook some freezer meals. This is something I wish my wife and I did more leading up to bringing our girl home, because trust me, once baby is home, the very last thing you want to do is cook. We spent far too much money getting takeout. Making big batches of easy food that you can freeze and reheat will be a life saver in the moment. Whether it’s a big vat of stew, soups, tamales, lasagna – whatever it is that works for you. Make a bunch, pop it in your freezer, and when the time comes, you’ll have dinner in minutes.
3. Organize your diapers and changing station(s). If you have been fortunate enough to be barraged with diapers from friends, family, coworkers, etc., get them organized. There is no need to have a box of size 4 diapers anywhere close to handy for a long, long time; get those NB and size 1 diapers on the top and easy to access. You will be using lots of them, and it’s a waste of time to go digging around for one when your new love bug just blew out his/her diaper.
4. Make sure you have your car seat, and preferably, install it. You can’t really take your little one home without a car seat, can you? In fact, the hospital will require you to have it properly installed before they will let you leave. Why not get this done ahead of time? Make sure you have your car seat, get it installed, and check to make sure it’s done correctly. Fire departments and police stations will often times check it for you for free.
5. Take time to slow down with your spouse. It’s entirely too easy at this stage in the pregnancy to have your head down, focused on the goal and all the last minute prep work. Lift your head, connect with your spouse, go on a date, do something low key but enjoyable. Remember, this isn’t just some huge chore and responsibility, it is the single greatest thing the two of you will ever do together. You are embarking on the journey of parenthood – enjoy it!
The last five weeks before you become a dad are full of emotions, stress and unexpected twists and turns, but it is nothing compared to those first few weeks home with your baby. Invest the time now to set yourself up for success, and do it all while connecting with your spouse. You’ve got this, big guy. Show your partner how awesomely responsible you are by checking these things off your list in advance.