Nesting Tips For New Mamas
Congratulations! You’re going to be a Mama! Have you been feeling the urge to tackle the garage clutter? Clean out the attic? Organize everything in your house? Guess what – you’re nesting!
The nesting instinct is a primal instinct that goes back thousands of years. It’s nature’s way of helping you feel confident and ready to protect, nurture and welcome a child into your home.
While this can be a productive moment to accomplish great things — like taking a birthing class, decorating your nursery or organizing your house —it is also important not to get too overwhelmed and stressed out. Remember, your baby doesn’t care if you haven’t organized your sock drawer.
Getting Ready For Baby
A great way for you to have some control and knowledge about what is to come is to educate yourself and make your plans known. While the urge to scrub clean all the grout in your entire house may be strong, take some time and make a list of the highest priority items that you feel must be accomplished before baby arrives. Then, remember to give yourself a break if they all don’t fall into line.
- Take a birthing class, breastfeeding class and/or a baby-care class and read a good book that speaks to you about the journey on which you’re about to embark.
- Write out your ideal birth plan (knowing it might all go out the window) and share it with the people who will be on your birthing team.
- If you’re planning to give birth in a hospital or birthing center, plan to take a tour of the facility before your big day so you know what to expect (and where to park!)
- Get your child’s pediatrician assigned and go meet her! Many pediatric offices hold ‘meet and greets’ so you can find a Doctor whose philosophy lines up with yours.
- Make a birthing playlist of great music to listen to while welcoming your little one into this world. Your partner can help. It’s a fun way to involve them!
There are definitely a few items that find helpful those first few days home, and if possible, stock up before baby comes so you are set. Thank the powers that be for online shopping with overnight delivery! However, you really do not want to be stressed out ordering things after your baby arrives. Once he’s here, spend that special time bonding together. It goes fast!
- Invest in a great nursing pillow. If you plan to breastfeed you’ll be spending lots of time with this pillow, so you want it to work for you. There are many different varieties in the market to choose, so I suggest visiting a store and trying out pillows out to see which one you find comfortable. Look for a firm pillow that holds its shape so it keeps baby positioned correctly, such as the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow.
- Car seat and Stroller. The choices can seem overwhelming. Like the nursing pillow, it is a good idea to try these out before making the investment. Buying an all-in-one travel system is a great way to go, because you know all the pieces work together. Learning how to open/close your stroller and how to use your car seat properly and safely are must-dos before baby arrives.
- Diapers & Wipes. Decide on which kind you want to use: cloth, disposable, diaper service. Begin with smaller quantities in case you change your mind.
- Nipple cream. Even if breastfeeding is going perfectly, you will most likely be a little tender those first few days.
- Burp Cloths. These are great for their intended purpose, but also useful for catching your leaking breastmilk, tucking under your wrists for support while breastfeeding, or simply wiping up spills.
- Swaddles for sleeping. Babies love boundaries. Remember they just came out of the tight, safe space that is your womb. Swaddles work like a reset button for your baby.
- Although skin-to-skin is best for newborns, it is good to have a few pants and one pieces for baby to wear. They grow fast so you don’t need to invest in too many.
- A breast pump and bottle set, if you plan to give baby a bottle. Many insurance companies now cover the cost of a breast pump so definitely ask before baby arrives and determine if you’re covered to reimburse any expenses.
- A baby carrier. Many cities have Babywearing Educators that hold classes where you can try on and be fitted properly for a variety of carriers before making the investment.
What to bring to the hospital or birthing center
If you’re planning on giving birth outside the home, it’s a good idea to pack a bag of essentials you’ll want to have along after you have the baby.
- A pair of cozy socks
- A nice nursing gown (although the hospital will provide gowns, it is nice to have your own which will be much more comfortable and look better in all those photos!)
- An outfit for your baby to make his big debut when he comes home.
- Your own nursing pillow. Many women bring them to the hospital.
- You’ll want your own toiletries to use.
- A string of twinkle lights to plug in your room gives the whole place a little ambiance. Hospital lighting can be so harsh!
Taking Care of You
This might be one of the most important practices in your nesting! As women, we tend to put other’s needs before our own, but now is the time to pamper yourself.
- Get a massage or your nails done.
- Take long lunches with your partner or friends.
- Enjoy the solitude that is you.
- Take a Baby-moon. Depending on your budget you can either take a stay-cation or plan a larger trip for your last childless getaway. Either way make it stress-free. Plan to travel in the second trimester when it should be the most comfortable for you
Ultimately the pre-labor ritual that is nesting is about security and being ready to bring your new baby home. It’s an exciting moment! Breathe.
-Jennifer Lezak, IBCLC