“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” - Oprah Winfrey
You couldn’t be more excited about the New Year, thanks to the wonderful news: you’re going to be a mother in 2013! Depending on your personality and how far along you are into your pregnancy, you may also be feeling a strange new urge to tear your house apart and reassemble it, room by room.
If your inner neat freak and home decorator is making herself known to a greater extent than ever before, don’t worry. The nesting instinct is an actual physical symptom of pregnancy and is a natural part of birth preparation. It can begin anywhere from mid-term to a few weeks before delivery. You’ll recognize it by your crazed desire to scrub every nook and cranny, organize all the closets in your house, and color-code your baby’s wardrobe.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, the nesting instinct hit me hard. I cleaned, replaced, repainted and reorganized everything but the light bulbs. Did I mention the nesting instinct can at times be irrational? I couldn’t rest until everything that might impact my baby was just right. Like most first-time parents, there was a certain amount of winging it. Driven by my nesting frenzy, things large and small became priorities of equal importance. By my second pregnancy I was a nesting pro. Experience made everything easier, especially when it came to targeting the essentials.
Here are my "Five Smart Nesting Tips" to create serenity for you and your baby.
1. Organize your paperwork.
You might not think of paperwork as being a nesting activity, which is why I place it in first position. Before you do anything else, find a pediatrician. Make sure your insurance is in order. If you’ll be delivering at a hospital, look into pre-admitting. Work out your maternity leave options with your employer. You can even start researching daycare options for your return to work. It’s easier to take care of these details early, rather than scrambling at the last minute to get everything into place.
2. Tackle your budget.
It’s a given that family expenses will shoot up once baby arrives. Do your best now to figure out how much money you will need to spend on baby items, maternity-leave costs, and future day care expenses. Start budgeting early in your pregnancy so that your last trimester is as worry-free as possible.
Save money on baby items. Babies grow so fast, there’s no need to invest in top-of-the-line for everything. Borrow where you can. Your mom friends will likely have newborn items their babies have outgrown. My sister-in-law lent me a great changing table. If you borrow a baby crib, make sure it meets current safety standards.
3. Get low.
Take a fresh look at your home from baby’s point of view. Clean and/or replace carpets, change air filters, water filters and vacuum bags -anything to improve health quality in your house. Use non-toxic cleansers and wear rubber gloves. If you have a cat at home, get someone else to clean the litter. Cat feces can contain a parasite that creates toxiplasmosis, which can be harmful to your baby. Don’t do any heavy lifting. Hire help for the bigger jobs, or enlist friends and extended family.
4. Design the nursery.
No matter the size of your space or budget, the overall design should be both practical and inspiring. Think logistically about where you want to place the crib, changing table, baby supplies and feeding chair for optimum ease. No need to get everything exactly right. Once baby arrives, you’ll better understand the logistics and can make any necessary changes.
If you are going to paint the walls, do it at least two months prior to your due date. I recommend using eco-friendly paint, and getting someone else to do the painting if possible. If you plan on having more than one child, choose a gender-neutral wall color. It’s a temptation to do bright, primary colors, but these can excite the baby. Restful pastels are best. Try green, blue, pale yellow, or ivory.
5. Get creative.
“Children are love made manifest.” As you decorate the nursery, give thought to what you care about most, and what traits you want your children to carry on from your life experiences. Get your partner involved in the project. Dream together. Create your own collage of family photos to hang on the wall. Make the room joyful with a fun self-adhesive mural. Place your favorite inspiring quotes around the room.
Happy Nesting and Happy New Year to one and all!