Birds do it, mammals do it, so of course humans do it too; nesting is a natural instinct for mums-to-be.
We look at this natural phenomenon and have some tips for making the most of it. The nesting instinct is a very real phenomenon in which the pregnant woman has the powerful urge to spring clean and check that everything is in order for her new baby.
For some women, this sudden burst of cleaning, stockpiling and organising is quickly followed by labour.
Whenever the urge kicks in, for some women it can be a completely overwhelming desire to make sure that everything in the house is clean from top to bottom and in perfect order.
It’s not unheard of for pregnant women to wake during the night and start scrubbing the oven or redecorating the sitting room.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of cleaning and sorting, but you must always be careful not to over-do anything, or attack any job too vigorously.
For some women the urge is milder, and in others it manifests itself almost as OCD – a obsessive urge to keep checking that her hospital bag is all perfectly packed and equipped or that the baby clothes are folded just so. Repeatedly folding and sorting baby clothes is a common nesting behaviour for many pregnant women.
The cause of the nesting instinct is both physical and emotional. A woman’s hormones during pregnancy are responsible for the most of the nesting instinct, and residual survival instinct is responsible for the rest.
It’s fine to give in to your nesting instinct, just do it sensibly. For example, don’t start climbing ladders to clean on top of the wardrobe or moving furniture around to redecorate the living room.
The best thing to do is channel this energy or organise yourself so you don’t feel overwhelmed by there being too much to do when the nesting instinct kicks in. Here are some suggestions on how…
The first weeks home with your new baby are hectic so it’s a good idea to stock up on extra supplies of everyday items such as kitchen roll, toilet paper, washing powder etc, for those first hectic weeks.
It’s so useful to have a freezer stocked with some healthy, easy meals for when you and baby come home and even better if they are home-made. Don’t try and make months of meals in one weekend. If you enjoy cooking spread the task out over time and make some bigger meals throughout your pregnancy so you can freeze half.
It’s a good idea, early on in your pregnancy, to make a list all the jobs you would like to tackle before baby is born. As the jobs get ticked off you will be able to see what really needs doing and this will help to keep tasks in perspective.
Spend some of this nesting energy on yourself. Give yourself a facial, get a girlfriend over and give each other pedicures, have a luxurious bath and all-over moisturise, take a nice gentle walk or have a lovely long swim or do some yoga.