Late in pregnancy, you’ll probably notice an urge to clean and organize your home. You’ll wake up and the first thing you think about is cleaning out your closet, scrubbing the bathroom until it shines, painting the nursery, and putting together the crib- all in one day.
If these feelings have been filling your head, you may be in the nesting phase of your pregnancy. Although your body and mind should take over with knowing what to do, below you’ll find some tips and ideas for ways to clean and organize your house while nesting.
Are you ready to nest your heart out and get your home (not just your nursery) ready for baby?
What Is Nesting Behavior?
Toward the end of your pregnancy, you’ll notice that you can’t help yourself but to clean the whole house. Nesting is this instinct that kicks in during that time period, making an expectant mother feel the overwhelming need to prepare her home in anticipation of their baby’s arrival.
Nesting will come naturally to make sure that your home is free from dirt, dust, and germs that could potentially be harmful to a newborn. This can range from dusting, sterilizing, washing, decluttering, scrubbing, organizing, etc.
Just like a mama bird gathers twigs to make a nest for her baby birds before they hatch, us mamas want to make sure we’re bringing home our babies to a safe and clean environment.
Does Everyone Nest Before Labor?
The short answer is no, not everyone will nest before labor. Some women will do certain things like deep clean and deep nesting while others will do very subtle things like just putting the hospital bag together.
Either way, all expectant moms will have some sort of instinct to get prepared and it usually starts will making sure their babies will be safe and comfortable.
How Long Before Labor Does Nesting Start?
Depending on the mother you can start nesting and give birth tomorrow or you can start nesting and give birth in a few weeks, months, or even past your due date. Therefore, don’t take that nesting instinct as an indication that labor is near, but look for other signs that will determine if you’re in labor.
So When Does Nesting instinct Start?
You can start feeling the nesting behavior anywhere from early in the second trimester and towards the last few weeks of your pregnancy. It’s an instinct that may also come and go throughout your pregnancy.
Although exhaustion has hit in the third trimester, you may feel a spike in your energy those last few weeks of pregnancy. This may increase the nesting urge during that time.
Is It Safe To Do Household Work During Pregnancy?
As long as you are using safe methods to clean then household work is safe during pregnancy. Follow these safety tips below to ensure that both you and your baby will remain healthy during these activities.
Safety Tips To Remember When You Are Nesting:
- Don’t climb tall ladders
- Don’t use harmful chemicals while cleaning
- Use safe, natural, and organic alternative products (just water and soap can go a long way). This goes for paint, cleaning products, and materials.
- If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t!
- Ask your partner for help if you really need to get something done
- Keep the rooms well-ventilated where you are cleaning by opening windows, doors, and fans on.
- No heavy lifting or moving furniture by yourself
- It can affect you and the baby if you are lifting heavy items and moving things even if you are just pushing with your feet. Make sure you have someone to help you when you want to move furniture or heavy items.
- Drink lots of water while nesting
- Take a break every 30-60 minutes to drink water.
- Limit direct contact with cleaning products by using rubber gloves.
- Never use or mix ammonia with your cleaners.
- If you are unsure about whether or not a product is safe, you can look up any cleaning products on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website.
- Avoid spray and aerosol cleaners due to the increased risk of asthma
- Take breaks
- If you start to feel light-headed from cleaning or organizing, STOP. Take a break – don’t worry you can get to it in a bit.
- Put your feet up after doing a lot of standing activities
- Did you just meal prep for two hours straight? Clean out your pantry from top to bottom? Sit down, put your feet up and take off your shoes. Let yourself relax and take it easy.
What Does Nesting During Pregnancy Look Like?
Nesting is a feeling that can be seen and interpreted by others in the form of stereotypical behaviors, such as:
- Scrubbing, mopping, sweeping, dusting, washing, and sterilizing every inch of your house
- Washing, folding, organizing, and putting away the baby’s clothes, toys, and accessories
- Painting, decorating, and organizing the nursery
- Setting up baby gear (bassinets, swings, bouncers, etc.)
- Decluttering spaces in the home (rooms, drawers, closets, garage, etc)
- Putting together a hospital bag
- Gathering all essential postpartum products and newborn items
You may not exhibit each and every one of these behaviors, but you will probably experience some.
Will My Partner Also Nest?
Your partner can definitely feel the nesting instinct during pregnancy as they prepare to become a parent, as well.
If they do, it’s a great experience for you both to get things done together. It will also help to reduce the amount of work that you need to take on.
22 Things To Do While Nesting During Pregnancy
Now that we know the basics of nesting, let’s get right into how you can get started with nesting during pregnancy.
Cleaning & Organizing Your Home
You will want to pre-wash all of your baby’s clothing and any items that will come in contact with your baby’s skin or body.
A newborn’s skin can be highly sensitive and you don’t want any chemicals or materials that could be on new or second-hand clothing to irritate their skin. Use a natural, sensitive laundry detergent, specifically designed for babies, such as Seventh Generation Baby, to ensure there won’t be any irritants in it.
In addition to the onesies, sleepers, and outfits, wash all mittens, booties, hats, socks, bassinet sheets, bouncer/swing inserts/padding, receiving blankets, burp cloths, bibs, etc.
*One thing to note is not to take tags off and wash ALL items as your baby may grow out of the newborn & 3 months sizes very quickly. Therefore, save some items to only be washed if needed and exchange any excess items for larger sizes.
You’ll also want to wash your own clothes, nursing bras, nursing tanks, nursing covers, sheets, duvets, rugs, etc. with the natural baby laundry detergent since most of those items will also be coming into contact with your baby.
Wash it all if you can and if you feel it needs it. You may not be doing laundry for a while after you give birth.
Meal Prep For Postpartum
Once you bring home a new baby, your world turns upside down. You’ll be spending all of your time with your baby while recovering from delivery.
Grocery shopping and cooking are not going to be on your to-do list as soon as you get home. Therefore, prepping freezer meals is a great way to have items on hand for quick and easy dinners.
Meal prepping can take time so you should divide this into a few sessions:
- Get the recipes you want to use for freezer meals during postpartum
- Clean your fridge to have room for meals
- Go shopping for the ingredients, zip lock bags, and freezer trays
- Plan a day or two to cook all the recipes
- Freeze them to save for the first couple weeks after childbirth.
Set Up Baby’s Sleeping Area
Most new parents don’t realize how much time their baby will spend in their bedroom for the first few weeks (or months). If you will be room sharing with your baby, make sure you set up a bassinet or a safe sleeping area in your bedroom.
Be sure to have a crib, bassinet, or sleeping play yard. Whatever you decide, assemble it and figure out where you want your baby to sleep (typically closest to mom for feeding purposes). This way, if your baby decides to make an early appearance, at least you have a space for them to sleep.
Get Your Bedroom Ready For Baby
You’ll want to ensure that you have a small sleeping space for baby and a caddy with diapers, bottles, wipes and snacks (for you).
The caddy will be used for late night diaper changes, feedings, and nursing.
You should also have your postpartum care kit in your room and bathroom, as well as a little night light to help with the middle-of-the-night wakings.
Organize Items From The Baby Shower
Did you get so many blankets, clothes, toys, and diapers? The best thing to do is put like items together and set up in the area of the house where they will be used.
Try to keep all diapering items together: wipes, diaper rash creams, diapers, and ointments.
Feeding items together: bottles, pacifiers, formula, bottle cleaners.
Bathing items together: bath, wash cloths, bath toys, shampoo, and baby wash.
Start and Finish The Nursery
If you will have a nursery, get a head start on it before you bring the baby home. However, don’t feel too overwhelmed with getting it done beforehand because your baby shouldn’t be sleeping in there for at least 3 months.
Here a few things you can start doing to help move that room along:
- Paint using lead-free, oil-free, and mercury-free paint
- Assemble the crib
- Use your vision to decorate the room with wall decor and accent pieces
- Add rugs and black-out curtains for warmth and darkness for sleep
- Set up a changing station with changing pad and diaper caddy organizer with wipes, diapers, rash cream, etc.
- Get large bins to hold items (blankets, stuffed animals, more diapers)
- Organize the clothes in drawers and closet
Stock Up Your Pantry
If you think you have a lot of cravings now, just wait until you’re breastfeeding and pumping. You will want to have filling and milk-producing snacks on hand.
Here are a few items to add to your grocery list to stock up your pantry (if you plan on nursing). Use this time to declutter the pantry as well!
- Disposable utensils and plateware- plates, bowls, utensils, cups
- Lactation Tea
- Emergency Lactation Brownies
- Packets of brewers yeast
- Mason jars with pre-measured ingredients
Put Medicine Up And Away (and Baby Proof)
Your newborn surely won’t be getting into the medicine cabinets just yet, however, you’ll never have more time than now to get your house ready for the baby!
Get some of the baby-proofing done now while you have the energy, instinct, and time. Before you know it, they could be crawling and you may not remember to lock things up before that!
If you have any medications, it is best to put them away in a medicine cabinet and start the baby proofing process.
Bolting large furniture to the wall is also very important to do for little ones. Things like the TV, dresser, or anything that will hang above the baby’s crib must be secure.
Related Post: How to Safely Baby Proof Your House
Declutter Your Closet
Although this doesn’t have much to do with the baby, you’ll want to get this done before the baby comes and while you’re in super-cleaning mode.
Throw away or donate old clothes that you haven’t worn (even before getting pregnant).
Ask your partner to declutter their closet too. This will give you the much-needed space to have more baby items, maternity, and postpartum clothing.
Declutter Your Old Tupperware
Now is the time to go through your kitchen drawers and see which Tupperware has no matching top (or bottom) and get rid of it. This way you can add more room for things like baby bottles, nipples, utensils, bowls, and baby food items.
Declutter In General
Start with your room and kitchen as stated before continue with these:
- Laundry room
- Storage room
- Living room
Dust The Blinds And Curtains
If you haven’t done this in a while, you should do this now.
Leaving less dust in the air for you and baby will help with sleeping. You should also use a humidifier in the rooms with blinds or where you notice that dust builds up easiest.
Create A Postpartum Care Kit
Be sure to have all of your postpartum care items prepared before delivery. You can see exactly how to make a postpartum care kit here, including all of the items to have on hand to make recovery go smoothly.
Make sure you keep one in your bathroom, as well as wherever you will be feeding and sleeping with your baby.
Prepare for Your Baby
This is the time to get your home all set up for your baby’s arrival. Not only do you want it clean, but it’s important to optimize your space for convenience.
Between the late nights and non-stop feeding, you’ll want to make sure you have all the baby gear and items that you need to make your life easier with a newborn. Check out my full post on How to Organize Your Home for the New Baby here.
Finish Your Baby Registry
If you’ve already had your baby shower and there are still items left on your registry, get them now! You can often get a discount on those leftover items so pick them up before the baby comes.
*Save all receipts and boxes until you know that your baby will use these items. I ended up returning a lot of baby gear because my baby didn’t like it. Every baby is different so some may tolerate one item well and not another.
Install the Car Seat
It is vital to make sure that your car seat is installed properly. It’s not a simple snap-in and you’re done. There are specific angles and inclines that it should be positioned at for optimal safety.
You should be reading the manual carefully and getting it checked by a professional. You can visit a local check-in (typically a fire department or police station) that offers complimentary car seat safety checks.
Find your local inspection station here.
If you can’t get to a fire station, you can do a youtube search on how to safely and properly install your car seat by actual firefighters.
Order Nursing Aids (if Breastfeeding)
This includes nursing bras, pads, nipple cream, and tanks. You may even want to wear nursing bras during pregnancy if your breasts have increased in size and to add more comfort.
You can find many different styles. I would suggest one without underwire that easily expands for breastfeeding mothers.
Tour Your Hospital Maternity Ward
If you have never been to your local delivering hospital, now is the time to call and see when they have a tour available. They usually do a group of pregnant women together and show them the maternity ward.
Taking a tour may help to reduce some anxiety once you have seen the labor and mother-baby units.
Visiting the hospital also gives you a chance to ask questions to the staff and nurses. They will typically give you their protocol for generic situations both during labor, delivery, and postpartum.
Pack your hospital bag
Make sure that you pack a bag for both you, your partner, and your baby.
For you, comfy clothes, snacks, phone chargers, change for the vending machine, and a nursing pillow are key. For baby, you can pack a going home outfit and swaddling blankets.
Most hospitals will give you diapers, wipes, receiving blankets, onesies, and formula (if you ask). However, for photos and just plain cuteness, you may want to bring your own.
Click here for more details about The Essentials to Include in Your Hospital Delivery Bag
Learn About Breastfeeding
As wonderful and natural as breastfeeding is, it does not come naturally for many women (including myself). You may feel like all you have to do is latch your baby on the breast and they eat, but I wish it were that easy.
You can take advantage of taking a breastfeeding course to help you BEFORE you even give birth. They are typically available at the hospital or online if you don’t have a lot of time.
This Breastfeeding Course from Milkology is seriously everything you will need to learn the basics and tricks of breastfeeding. Reading can be so confusing, but watching videos is much easier for you to absorb all the info.
The Milkology Course goes over everything from latch, to how much your baby should drink, to healing sore nipples. It’s definitely worth the small fee and your time to watch this informative video. The best part is that you can do it from your own home!
Read this post on How to Prepare Yourself for Breastfeeding Your Newborn for tips on how to best prepare during pregnancy. Tips for Breastfeeding Success from Day One also offers advice when initially beginning to nurse in the hospital.
Take A Prenatal Course
One of the best things you can do to relax your labor fears is take a prenatal course. One that can show what to expect during labor, how to relax, ways to labor, and what to expect postpartum.
These are also available at your hospital or online. Do a quick Youtube search to find a lot of free information.
Create A Birth Plan
Immediately after labor, you’re not in the best mental state to think of what should be done to start breastfeeding your baby. Make sure you lay it out beforehand to your partner and nursing staff at the hospital or birthing center.
The best way to do this is to prepare a written birth plan ahead of time to give to the staff as soon as you come in.
Make sure you write down what you want beforehand and tell the nurses verbally, as well. Even if you think you’ll remember everything at the hospital, you’re wrong.
My best advice for you in creating a birth plan for the first time is to create 3 slightly different birth plans. I know that sounds a little wild but listen to this..
For the first birth plan, make it your ideal birth. For example,
- vaginal birth
- no drugs
- skin to skin right away
- delayed cord clamping
- partner and mother (or doula) in room
- no c-section (unless in an emergency)
The second birth plan is a slight variation of your ideal birth plan. For example,
- vaginal birth
- epidural spinal tap
- partner in room
- skin to skin after doctor checks baby
- try to push baby before even considering a c-section
Third birth plan is what you don’t want:
- spinal tap epidural
- emergency c-section
- only doctors in the room
The reason I say to create 3 birth plans is that birth does NOT usually go the way we plan it. This means that birth plans can be unnecessary, but as humans, we feel the need to plan and know what to expect. which is why birth plans work for us.
If you create 3 you can feel more at ease knowing even if your ideal birth plan didn’t happen, perhaps your second choice will happen. If birth doesn’t go according to your second choice, at least you will know what to expect if you need to go the emergency route.
List All of Your Questions For Your Doctor
The doctors don’t tend to tell you everything you need to know about pregnancy. This is why you’d want to list all of your questions and concerns.
It’s perfect because your mind is probably going a mile a minute and now is the time to get all your questions onto paper.
- Do you perform delayed cord clamping?
- Can my partner catch the baby?
- If I need emergency assistance where do I go and who do I call?
. . . . .
Hopefully, these tips gave you a good sense of how to organize, clean, and declutter your home while nesting. Did we miss anything on this list that you are doing now? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, check out this Ultiamte Third Trimester Checklist to get your self and home ready for the new baby.
About the Author:
Rosaura is a mom, wife, & blogger who runs Solutions Mommy (Crafty Motherfather) a website hub for all things pregnancy, postpartum and baby care. She loves helping first time moms figure out this whole motherhood thing after suffering from postpartum depression she made it her mission to help moms feel more like themselves after having a baby. You can also find a free Trimester To-Do List PDF and join Rosaura and hundreds of other first time moms.