Energy spikes and lulls are common during pregnancy. However, during the last trimester, expectant mums can have strange urges to clean and organise everything. So, if you're waking up during the night because you want to organise your baby's dresser of onesies before they get here, you're nesting. Nesting is a sweet maternal instinct to prepare for your baby's arrival. This includes untimely or extreme urges to clean, organise, develop birth plans, or even limit social gatherings.
A study carried out in 2013 by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, shows that mums nest to create safe environments for their babies. It also allows them to bond with their partner and creates a sense of family. Since we know that nesting reallyis a thing, how do we identify it?
Some behaviours can indicate nesting among mums-to-be:
Cleaning: Nesting mums can get caught up in cleaning quite often. As the baby has a fragile immune system, you may be focused on doing laundry, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing everything clean.
Organising: As a nesting mum, you may have an intense desire to organise things and make them easy to access at any time. It includes anything in the baby's nursery, your closet, or the kitchen pantry.
Stocking: Another way to nest is to prepare for everything and anything that you may need after birth. You can stock up on essentials you need from birth to three months and sometimes buy afew extra things.
Planning: The nesting instinct does not stop at the present. Mums-to-be can be consumed with birth plans, nursing classes, and even the search for good paediatricians.
Packing: A tell-tale sign of nesting is the packing and repacking of the hospital bag, nappy bag, nappy caddy, and everything else.
Protecting: It is normal for nesting mums to baby-proof the house vigilantly, limit visitors, and be selective with their social commitments.
Nesting productively and safely
When you are caught up in the nesting instinct, it is easy for you to go overboard. There is no need for you to invest all your energy into the process. Sometimes, it can be unwise to keep the nesting instinct unchecked. Here are a few tips for you to nest productively and safely:
Be mindful of feelings
Nesting can quite often be a coping mechanism to deal with pregnancy-related stress and anxiety. Having a baby in your life can seem overwhelming, and you want to be prepared for everything. The upcoming delivery and your transition to motherhood can bring up many conflicting feelings. Recognise your emotions and understand that nesting and preparing can be a good outlet. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed and seem to be obsessing over every little thing, talk to your doctor, midwife, or partner.
Set your limits
During the last trimester, you can be obsessing over the placement of your furniture and small marks on the floor. However, it is dangerous for you to mop or move heavy furniture across the room in the last month of your pregnancy. Avoid activities that can cause strain or injuries. Use gloves when working with chemicals. Set a reminder to take a walk in the fresh air and stretch. Know and set limits for your nesting activities.
Focus on your needs
Mums-to-be often focus their energy completely on the baby's needs. However, you should remember your own needs. Get a prenatal massage, join your friends for a pedicure, and buy a few outfits for your postpartum comfort. Remember to take care of yourself and prepare your body for childbirth.
Plan and prepare for nesting
Make a plan for all the tasks that need to be done. Prioritise tasks and keep the timeframe realistic. It will help you achieve your nesting goals productively.
Trust your instincts
During pregnancy, you may be getting a lot of advice from different people. Trust your instincts, and do not be pressured into doing anything that does not align with your timeline and values. Ask your GP or midwife for expert advice.
Understand safety rules and guidelines
It can be easy to overlook safety guidelines when you're preparing everything in such a short time. You might have filled your cot with pillows and toys to make it seem friendly. However, these can be choking and sleeping hazards. Get a cot that meets safety standards and instal a firm mattress and fitted sheets to make it safe for your bub. Get information about SIDS and steps to prevent it. Keep the baby clothes basic and avoid buttons or bows that can become choking hazards. The clothes should be easy to access during nappy changes.
Nesting is a natural maternal instinct that can help cope with pre-labour stress. It focuses on helping you create a safe environment for your little one. However, if it feels overwhelming and stressful, talk to your GP or midwife for help and guidance.