Welcoming the third trimester is accompanied by various and intense emotions that cause us to self-reflect often times diving into self-help books and podcasts; what is the quality of my relationships? Have I prepared myself physically and mentally for motherhood? Will I experience complications with my labor and birth? What personality characteristics will the baby have? Maybe we can blame it on the shifting hormones preparing us for labor and baby’s arrival or an enlightening experience to challenge our theology. Funny enough, in the midst of these questions and feelings, we often feel unexplained urges to clean and organize. Yes, this is officially called NESTING or Nest and Prep.
Does nesting mean labor is near?
Kind of! It is near, but it does not mean that you’ll go into labor tomorrow or even next week. To be honest, the cause of nesting is a mystery. Its thought to be the result of hormonal changes throughout pregnancy. Typically women experience nesting weeks 38 and 39 of pregnancy, however, you may experience it earlier with subsequent babies. There are those few that will never experience nesting; this does not mean you will be better or worse of a parent to your child.
Nesting is considered an aspect of a women’s intuition to prepare their home environment for a baby. While this may be so, as with anything, you should have a plan. Because you are pregnant, you also need a few backup plans! Birthing or labor is not easy! Whatever you can do to prepare your physical environment will make this transition easier. In my experience, to nest and prep productively, there are a few key elements to consider:
Nest and Prep Elements
- Simplify, Spring Clean, and Stock-Up
- Organize and Mobilize my Mothers’ Village
- Assemble Baby and Mommy Postpartum Basket/Kits
1 – Simplify, Spring Clean, and Stock-Up
This was the most difficult step, especially because your breathing and ability to move and bend are limited. I encourage mothers to start this step as soon as the third trimester begins and enlist help; basically forced nest and prep. I arranged a cleaning/de-cluttering schedule with deadlines based on the 5 areas of my house; kitchen, front room, dining and hallway, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
DO NOT underestimate the time and effort needed to clean and declutter when pregnant. Get your family involved!
I only used clean/organic products to avoid inhaling harmful chemicals, took frequent breaks, and drank more water than I thought possible. In addition, I had a massive shopping trip to gather frequently used family items in bulk; toilet paper, detergent, dish soap, paper towels, trash bags, fabric softener, floss, toothbrushes, rice, flour, sugar, bath wash, face wash, baby wipes, diapers (sizes 1-3), etc… This way, I was covered for the next several months and would not have to worry about these commonly used items. Nowadays, you can simply order these products and get them delivered to your doorstep.
In addition, stock up on immune support and vitamins. In particular, products for my toddler: fish oil with Vitamin D, mixed berry solid extract, chest vapor rub, garlic mullein oil ear drops, homeopathic cough syrup, herbal immune defense glycerin tincture, vitamins, probiotics, and homeopathic cold tablets. For me and my husband: vitamins, algae oil (I am not a fish eater), probiotics, garlic mullein ear drops, herbal immune defense tincture, cough drops, and a decongestant. In general, I also stocked up on disinfectant spray and wipes.
BUT we are not finished, DO NOT FORGET ABOUT YOUR CAR!!! Clean, install the baby’s car seat and put your packed hospital and overnight bags. WOW!
2 – Organize and Mobilize my Mothers’ Village
Your support village is essential! You need to know the distance of each member of the mother’s village to your house and hospital, to what capacity they are able to support you, what days are better than others, their travel and spouses schedules, etc… Not only, did we have a detailed talk discussing my birth plan and health information, but also I followed up with an email containing additional information. In the email, I included my insurance carrier, address and phone of the hospital and OB/GYN office, my birth plan, and a list of important contact phone numbers for those assisting me or my household during labor and recovery.
Regarding my fourth trimester care, I arranged it so for the first 15 days, my family has 24-7 extra hands. I followed the 5-5-5 rule which limits the mother’s activities and encourages healing during the first 15 days after you deliver. In addition, I arranged play dates for my energetic toddler, giving me extra rest and bonding time with the baby.
3 – Assemble Baby and Mommy Postpartum Basket/Kits
The purpose of the baskets is to be portable kits with needed essentials.
#1 Newborn Changing Basket – wipes, diapers, onesies, pajamas, butt paste/cream, towel, and burp cloths.
Changing a newborn is often accompanied by awful surprises. I am unable to count the number of times I ended up with pee or poop on me, or how many times I was vomited upon while changing. Having clean-up items and spare clothes for the baby is very helpful.
#2 Toddler Hygiene Basket – toothbrush and paste, nighttime pampers, hair essentials, and wipes.
If you have a toddler, consider also prepping a basket with age-appropriate essentials. If they are still in diapers, then you need to change items similar to the newborn kit. The toddler hygiene basket is helpful when you need a frequently used item, you can simply direct your little one to their basket to retrieve a specific item.
#3 Breastfeeding Basket – nursing bra and cover, nipple cream, breast pads, milk saver or bags, manual silicone pump (optional), wipes, hand sanitizer, breast pump, and snacks.
When you are producing milk, you will experience accidental leaks, sore nipples, or engorged breasts. Having a basket allows you to feed or pump anywhere in your house. If you work in an office, simply duplicate this basket with an extra shirt.
#4 Perineum Basket – periwash bottle, full coverage panties, stool softer, hemorrhoid wipes, sitz bath treatment, and thick pads.
Whether you deliver vaginally or via cesarean section (c-section), your perineum or the space between your legs from the anus to the vagina will be sore. Toilet paper will feel like sandpaper and your cute lace underwear feel like torture devices.
You may want to carry a miniature version of this kit, if you work outside of your home, travel, or will be away for a few hours.
In conclusion, don’t fight the urge to NEST & PREP! Get your family and friends involved so you can truly enjoy bonding with the new baby or babies after delivery.