Pregnancy and you blog

Nesting: How will you get ready for baby?

By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. August 13, 2013

Birds, dogs and cats do it. Kangaroos don't have to do it because they already have pouches. Do humans do it? You bet we do! In fact, many people take nesting — the urge to prepare a home for a newborn — to a whole new level. While some pregnant women read books or take classes, others overhaul their entire houses to "get ready" for a baby.

The desire to nest during pregnancy can't be denied. Trying to ignore it can drive a pregnant woman crazy. I remember nesting during my pregnancy with my middle child. I had to remodel my oldest daughter's bedroom. I didn't do it alone — my husband helped with the heavy stuff. But I felt I needed to hand wax the hardwood floors in her room. I'm sure I was quite a sight, 8 months pregnant, on my hands and knees with the wax and cloths.

The bedroom wasn't the only thing that got rearranged. I organized everything in my kitchen cabinets according to size. I trashed anything that was remotely close to expiring. And then there was the laundry. The machine was never silent. I washed all of the curtains, towels and sheets. I took the bedding to the big machines at the laundromat. All of the baby clothes were laundered, hung or folded and put away according to size, too — and I rearranged them a few times before giving birth.

Of course, besides cleaning areas of your home that no one will ever see, there are nesting activities that can be helpful after baby arrives. For example:

  • Stock up. Fill the pantry and refrigerator so you don't have to make runs to the store right away. Cook and freeze a few meals.
  • Get comfortable postpartum clothes. Consider buying shirts and bras for nursing, yoga pants, and underwear that you won't miss if they need to be thrown out.
  • Take care of last-minute details. Install the car seat in your car so you'll be ready to bring the baby home from the hospital. Make a list of phone numbers or email addresses to share news about your baby's birth. You might even draft an announcement message beforehand. And go ahead and wash your curtains. It might be years before you get to it again.

However you choose to nest, don't overdo it physically or mentally. Maybe you don't need to arrange your spices alphabetically. Maybe the laundry can be done over several days instead of one. Accept family members' and friends' offers of help — and don't go behind them and redo their work afterward. Do what you're able to do and try to let the rest go. It won't help much if the nest is ready and you're too tired to enjoy it with your new family.

Aug. 13, 2013