Nesting is a side effect of pregnancy but one that isn’t often discussed because it doesn’t affect women’s bodies but is an innate mental instinct. Nesting doesn’t show in all women but when it does it can often come on with great force.
Nesting can be summarised as an ‘overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby’. This instinct tends to come on later on in pregnancy, as labour and the birth of a child become greater realities. Another potential cause for this nesting is the rush of adrenaline experienced in the final weeks of pregnancy.
A 2013 study from Dr Marla Anderson from McMaster University in Canada found the need to nest stems from a mothers need to protect her unborn baby and as has been described in the Evolution and Human Behaviour Journal women can often become more selective about who they spend their time with. This desire to nest can often materialise to a greater extent in first time mothers.
There is something ironic about the desire to nest as identified by Professor Mel Rutherford: ‘One of the apparent paradoxes of nesting is in the third trimester is that women tell us they are more tired whilst simultaneously showing an increase in activity’.
Often nesting can come from a sense of boredom/frustration from still being pregnant and additionally a desire to have everything just right. The fear of how you will perform as a parent can manifest into anxiety that shows as compulsive behaviour related to home making.
Whilst nesting is a very loving act it can result in behaviours that can cause undue stress for both mother and child. Expectant mothers should avoid lifting heavy objects, climbing on objects, cleaning with heavy chemicals and wearing one out.
As a means to organising this desire to nest women can take certain measures to manage this compulsion but also to handle the circumstances that lie ahead with the arrival of a new baby:
1.Restock your fridge = When your baby comes home with you there is going to be very little time for anything to be done especially if you are breastfeeding. Often partners will have to return to work quickly so take time to fill your fridge with produce that is nutritionally beneficial for all members of the household. You can even take time to create a menu for the time following your home arrival if you want to go that extra step.
2.Pad out your pantry = the home pantry is the longer lasting fridge! Fill it with all those things that will bypass the sell by date of your fridge contents. Also prepare for lots of visitors who are stopping by to see your little one and as always, guests want snacks!
3.Cook in quantity = you see it in the movies but cooking in quantity is a brilliant way to manage time and stay even more efficient. Freezing meals into portion sizes (You can do this with Feed Me 2!), allows you to be catering to all those eating at your table but furthermore a way to manage your nutritional intake.
4.Deep clean = If your compulsion to clean is really driving you up the wall take the opportunity to do some spring-cleaning. Babies are undeniably susceptible to all kinds of germs so getting things as clean as possible couldn’t do anyone any harm. There won’t be a lot of time for this so take advantage of the free time!
5.Outfit your baby and yourself = When your baby arrives as we keep on rabbiting on about there will be very little time left for yourself. Reduce the time you have to think about mundane things like getting dressed and have everything worked out. This way you can ensure that you have outfit to wear that makes you feel on top of your game!
Nesting is a basic instinct, just like the desire to love and protect your child. A baby is treasure but a huge responsibility so embrace your desire to nest and bring your baby into a warm and wonderful home where it can grow surrounded by love and security.