Q. I hear talk about “nesting” before the baby arrives. I’ll be working right up to the last minute. Is there anything I should do in the last weeks before my baby is born?
A. Yes. Hire a cleaning company. Get your house scrubbed clean from top to bottom. Let’s face it, scrubbing bathtubs, toilets and kitchen floors could be treacherous for a pregnant body with a wonky center of gravity. Let someone else do it instead. Then, consider having them come at least monthly after the baby is born. If that’s not in your budget, ask for it as a gift. I’d rather buy baby clothes from consignment shops and have my house cleaned, if I had to choose. And, you might find housecleaning deals through some of the online coupon sites though I prefer a word of mouth recommendation from someone you know and trust.
I just learned of a great idea from one of my clients. She knew she’d go stir crazy if she didn’t get out soon with her baby. So, toward the end of her pregnancy, she made a list of “safe” places she could visit with her baby. By safe, she meant places she’d feel comfortable either breastfeeding, or dealing with a crying baby, or a place where she didn’t feel her wee one would be exposed to too many germs.
In order to make the above easier, attend a baby-wearing class and learn how to use your sling, wrap or carrier. It makes getting out so easy. Baby will be content and protected up by mommy or daddy’s chest, and you don’t have to fuss with a stroller. Yes, there will still be a learning curve once you have a real baby to load into your carrier, but having some skills ahead of time will go a long way toward building your confidence. (Return to the baby-wearing class after baby is here or hire a doula to help you master it in the comfort of your own home!)
Clean out your refrigerator and freezer, especially the freezer. You’re going to want to make room for delicious meals that people will bring you. Many times I’ve had to clean out a client’s freezer for them because we needed to make room for breast milk, which needs to be stored toward the back of the freezer compartment, not on the door. If you’re like most people, you’ve got lots of opened packages of veggies and frozen leftovers that are freezer burnt and unfit for consumption. Toss them. They won’t be missed.
Get a pedicure. Heck, get a prenatal massage while you’re at it. It’s decadent but a little pampering at this stage of the game is well worth it. I recommend you go to a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage.
Make a list of things others can do for you. People want to help, but if you haven’t thought it through you may have a hard time figuring out what to tell them when they ask how they can help. Think of things that you can take off your plate so you can focus on your baby and self-care. Like, have them pick up groceries or walk the dog or fold laundry or - here’s a good one - cut up fruit, veggies and wash the lettuce so it’s ready to eat when you are. Food prep is not going to be easy to do in the early days but you will be hungry. Having healthy food ready to eat is invaluable.
Finally, go on a date with your spouse or partner. Go to a nice restaurant and talk about the awe of becoming parents. Then, go home and watch the movie Parenthood (the one with Steve Martin, not the TV series) so you can get into the frame of mind of enjoying the ride.