Nesting during pregnancy is a fun experience and a great way to get things done. Sometimes you hear people tease you while you are pregnant about being a “crazy nester”, but it’s nothing to joke about…it’s a very real thing. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association puts it this way:
“You might wake up one morning feeling energetic and wanting to clean and organize your entire house. This urge to clean and organize is known as nesting.
Nesting during pregnancy is the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.
The nesting instinct is strongest in the later weeks coming up on delivery. It is an old wives’ tale that once nesting urges begin, labor is about to come on.
Nesting is common and is considered to be an instinct to prepare for birth, but not all pregnant women experience the nesting instinct.
It is common for women to get the urge to clean and organize during the spring, thus the old adage, “spring cleaning.”
Some speculate that this is triggered from being cooped up all winter and wanting something new.
Others believe that the desire to get outside and enjoy the weather leads some women to organize the house, so they are free to go enjoy the outdoors.
If your baby is arriving late spring or into summer, you desire for nesting may be intensified. Nesting during pregnancy feelings might be triggered by:
Boredom and frustration from still being pregnant
Recognition that the baby’s care is going to take lots of your time and energy, and you want everything to be ready before the baby arrives
Excitement and anticipation of your new bundle of joy, and the desire to have everything just right”
While I agree with the APA, I think that nesting in many forms is normal and to be expected by most or all pregnant moms. It might not come as cleaning, but it might come as other ways. I have put together a list of ways that you might ALREADY be nesting, but also things that you might want to consider if you are feeling a “block” on what to do:
- Creativity during pregnancy
Ok, so we aren’t all these amazing creative geniuses, but sometimes with hormonal triggers, it feels good to create something. That thing might be to paint a coffee table, sew a crib skirt, or to paint a piece of art. (I’m not talking crazy….but something like this is still pretty awesome!). If you decide to cloth diaper, you might take up sewing to save some mulah and to feel good about using your creative energy!
- Money making ideas during pregnancy
Don’t we all wish we could come up with ways to make some cash? Many times it’s the pregnant woman with the answer! I think this is also a form of nesting. It makes sense because as our baby’s due date approaches, we are becoming more aware of our circumstances in which the baby will be in. Sometimes if there is a financial strain, or an inability to afford certain things, you’ll find that the ideas will be plentiful. Write those ideas down! Although you might not be able to attain all of them while you are pregnant, you might be looking for creative ways to pay for expensive baby items after the bundle arrives!
Budgeting ideas during pregnancy
You really need to be thinking about this. For example: cloth diapering. This is the biggest one. Decide if you CAN do it (if you are working, it will be harder!), and if you can, HOW! Decide on what type of diapers you plan to use, a plan of whether you will make your own cloth diapers, or buy them, where to keep the dirty ones, research how to wash them properly, and get your ducks in a row.
Other budgeting ideas will be adding in a “baby” section to your budget to cover the necessary things that you need as your baby gets older (bumbo seats, car seats, high chairs, baby carriers, sippy cups etc).
Food preparation’s gone wild during pregnancy
Have you ever been to the grocery store for one thing and you end up buying 6 lbs of carrots, 12 lbs of apples, a box of tomatoes (that of course you plan to can later), and a plethora of other veggies or food items? This is also a form of nesting.
If you have ever had a baby previously, you know the strain that the sleepless nights puts on your body and brain. It makes sense that during the pregnacy and especially at the end of pregnancy, you will start to crave, desire, or intensely want healthy foods. You might even find that some cravings quickly fade away (like chocolate) and others fill their place (like avocados or pineapple).
Another thing that you might find is that at the end of your pregnancy, a good diet/lifestyle change might be in order. If you find that certain foods make you feel tired or bloated, cut them out! Whatever food choices you make during the last few weeks of pregnancy will effect how you feed your body after the baby is born. This is an excellent way to use your nesting instinct to create lasting lifestyle changes that you can feel proud about.
A grain free or paleo lifestyle is what I’m currently working on, and although I believe it is partially nesting instinct, I want to conscientiously make better choices NOW so that LATER (while nursing, sleepless nights and weight loss after pregnancy) I will reap the benefits.
- Remodeling during pregnancy is nesting!
This isn’t as crazy as it may seem. If you already had plans to remodel things, or to rejuvenate a room, swinging a hammer isn’t going to hurt you OR your baby. In fact, the exercise involved will be excellent. If you are on working on a crazy project, you will be stretching and using muscles that you wouldn’t otherwise, and it’s excellent for you and your upcoming labor! Just use safe practices like wearing a mask when using oil based products or sanding drywall.
I have used my ‘pregnant creative energy’ during this pregnancy as a way to bust out many projects in my home that I have been putting off! I keep thinking about how wonderful it will be to hold my precious girl in a beautiful space. I just finished my bedroom and now I am tackling the kitchen cabinets.
You might even decide to do a project which will make your life easier when baby arrives. For instance, we are planning on knocking out walls later, but there are some preparations that have to be done first (like building a pantry) in my home. This is next on my husband’s “honey do list” and I am pushing for it. You bet I’ll be right there with him building it!
Becoming introverted during pregnancy
This is entirely normal. Especially during the last half of pregnancy. You will find that you feel like you cannot be away from home. If you work outside the home, you will want to cancel every other commitment. If someone suggests a trip, you are quick to make an excuse to stay home.
You don’t have to make too many excuses. Simply say, “I’m nesting and I can’t be away from home that often or I become stressed.” True story. Women who get this way feel very stressed when out and about, or when they get back home. Moms feel like they cannot keep up with their world, so “how will I be able to do it when the baby comes!?” Just remember that you WILL keep up when baby comes. Laundry will wait, dinner can be cereal, and the kids will manage without you helicoptering over them. It’s ok to cancel play dates and visits so that you can keep up with your world, and do your nesting projects.
- Teach your children how they can help!
If you haven’t already started, you need to start talking to your older kids. I’m talking ALL children that are over 3 years old. Explain to older children how things are changing so that they can understand why you are changing their routines, and they will happily help you. All of my children know that I’m tired and feel like I can’t get things done. They are ALL helping do chores and learning new responsibilities. They understand when I tackle a new project and I explain to them why it’s good that we do it before the baby comes.
- Teach the young toddlers how to come when they are called. How to STOP when you say “no”. And how to stay next to you for longer periods of time. Sometimes you can simply have them hold your hand while you walk through the house, or sit with you while you fold laundry, or stand with you while you do dishes. Teach them to stay next to you so that when you are nursing your baby for 45 minuets at a time, it won’t be a stretch for them to stay in the same room where you can see them.
- Teach your younger ones how to do things on their own (like using a taller stool to wash their hands, putting their own clothes on themselves, wiping properly, picking up their toys on command…etc). They will happily do it, but will be happier if you explain to them WHY you are teaching them. “When the baby comes, Mamma needs you to know how to do this because I won’t be able to help you all the time…..”
- Teach your older ones how to read a recipe, how to wash and put the dishes away properly (start this at age 5!), master a couple meals that they can make on their own for the family, teach them how to properly handle a knife so you don’t feel like you need to cut everything they cook. My 10-12 year olds can be entirely trusted to make a few recipes with me in an entirely different location. They know various ways to improvise and are confident when they do. Give them this gift and you’ll be glad that you did!
Also teach them and husband how to do laundry. This is best done with a written, step by step instruction taped to the wall. Take a picture of your laundry settings or tape arrows to the proper buttons to push!
- WRITE A CHORE LIST WITHOUT YOUR NAME ON IT! This is important. Include your husband and all of your children. Tell them that you want to start practicing now. Even if they generally DO the chores that you write, it will be helpful for you to write it down to stop any stress that you may have about the upcoming baby. Everyone in the household will understand if you explain why you are doing it. This is also helpful if someone wants to come over to help you for a day (like your mother). She will know what things you need done and what things are already taken care of!
If you have a garden, or responsibilities that will need to be attended to AFTER baby comes, tell your husband EARLY ON what it is that you expect him to do. Tell him a few times. It will help him to watch out for, and not be stressed when you ask him later.