The human foetus in the amniotic sac. At 34 weeks, the amniotic fluid is at its peak, and contributes to the development of the baby's muscles and bones, digestive system, and lungs. All the foetus's internal organs are almost fully developed. The placenta is at lower left.

Week 34

Mum

You’re almost there. Here’s a check list to make sure you have everything you need to welcome the baby into the world:

  • Car seat (compulsory, and if you get the portable one, you can use it to carry the baby from the hospital to the car).
  • At least 4 sets of clothes (so that you can have one on the baby, one in the wash, one on the line, one in the cupboard). In practice, you’ll need about 10 sets, but if you’re on a budget then start small and buy as you need. The baby will grow out of the first clothes in weeks.
  • 2 beanies.
  • 10 cloth nappies or muslin squares to use as wipes, covers, clothes protection, towels, wash cloths and blankets.
  • More cloth nappies if you’re planning to use them as nappies.
  • Loads of disposable nappies (even if you’re planning to use cloth nappies, the disposables are a great help in the first few days when you’re recovering from labour and baby’s pooing black sticky meconium), baby wipes and nappy rash cream.
  • A swaddle (large piece of cloth to wrap the baby tight and therefore get a good night’s sleep – it really works).
  • Somewhere for the baby to sleep (cot, bassinet, Moses basket).
  • Baby bath tub.
  • Formula, bottles and teats – if you’re planning to bottle feed.
  • Even if you’re planning to breastfeed, an emergency sachet of formula and one bottle with an infant teat.
  • A breast pump may be a fantastic investment for you if you find your breasts too full, but it may be a waste of money if you have just enough milk for one feed at a time. It’s best to choose a model now, but to wait and see before you buy. Or you may want to hire one when and if you need it.
  • A lovely-to-have is a sound monitor so you can hear what’s going on if baby’s sleeping in another room, or even a motion sensor that will sound an alarm if it can’t detect the baby’s breathing.
  • A mobile (no, not a phone) to hang over the baby’s bed.
  • A rattle.
  • A cuddly toy – some of them are multi-sensory, with different textures and sounds.

Renting baby gear makes a lot of sense because of money and storage space. Babies grow fast and their needs change accordingly. Consider hiring the following:

  • Baby capsule
  • Bassinette
  • Sling
  • Front-pack (kangaroo pouch)
  • Breast pump
  • Baby toys and books.

Once your baby is born, you’ll find out what she or he likes and what to buy (e.g., if she likes motion, get a hammock or electric swing or a stroller; if he likes to be held close, buy a papoose). And before you know it, you’ll be buying a toy every week!

Dad

Your partner may be experiencing “pregnancy brain” or “pregnancy amnesia”. Caused by hormones, as well as restless nights and the resultant lack of sleep, this is a common complaint, one that cannot be cured at the moment. Remind her about her appointments, make lists, offer to take on more chores – to make her rest as well as to ensure they get done. Not long now!

Baby

You are still growing (approximately to the size of a cantaloupe this week), still putting on precious fat that will insulate you when you leave the cosy warmth of mum’s tum, still developing. Your skin is looking fabulous. If you are born now, you may need a short stay in the neonatal unit, but you will most likely do as well as a full-term baby in the long run.

Photos in the bumpandbaby.co.nz/week-by-week/ are by Lenart Nilsson. Lenart's series was bought to fame when his photo, considered the greatest photo of the 20th century, appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “Everyone interprets images differently, depending on their social, cultural and religious background. In the digital era, I believe it is more important than ever to go back and take a look inside ourselves. What better way of doing that than with these photos?” ~ Jane Stene, art gallery director and curator of Lenart's definitive black and white series, told the The Guardian in 2019. It is Lenart Nilsson's wish that his images are never used for political debate about pro-life.

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