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What is nesting? Everything you need to know about this totally normal behavior

From feathery moms to human moms, nesting is a part of preparing for having a baby

Pregnant woman planning for baby.
Larysa Vasylenko / Shutterstock

From strange food cravings to constant body changes to not being able to tie your shoes, pregnancy brings about quite a few interesting shifts in life. One part of pregnancy that might seem to come out of nowhere is a fun stage called “nesting.” If a vision of a bird prepping a nest for their little ones comes to mind, you are on the right track. It is along the same lines, but for people. Here’s what nesting means when it doesn’t relate to furry or feathery animals.

Pregnant woman packing diaper bag.
New Africa / Shutterstock

Nesting basics

What nesting is

From squirrels to cats, moms-to-be of various species have the need to create a space for their little one’s arrival. Nesting is the urge to organize, clean, and prep the home for baby. It’s that second wind feeling mom feels to get everything ready. And to double-check everything is ready. And maybe triple-check.

When nesting starts

A woman might feel the urge to start nesting toward the end of pregnancy or the third trimester, but it could hit in the fourth trimester. The feeling could come a few weeks before the baby’s due date or as late as the week before. Every pregnancy is different, so the exact week varies, but if you are past the second trimester, the urge to redo the house isn’t too far away.

Why nesting happens

The surge of adrenaline, hormones, and estrogen during the third trimester gives pregnant women a burst of energy to get things done. There’s also the evolutionary factor where a mother is getting ready to protect their young.

Pregnant woman packing a hospital bag.
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Activities to do during the nesting stage

Clean the fridge

From finally throwing away those years-old condiments to scrubbing off a spill from two years ago, deep cleaning the fridge is a good nesting activity. Not only will it make room for food visitors will bring, but you probably won’t have time to clean it out again for a few years.

Other deep cleaning tasks like dusting, cleaning the baseboards, and wiping down doorknobs and handles around the house might finally have their day.

Catch up on laundry

While the laundry will never end once you have a child, washing sheets that haven’t been touched in a bit and putting everything from the nursery through the wash will be helpful later when you are too tired.

Stock up on essentials

To reduce trips to the store, get a decent supply of anything that doesn’t go in the fridge. Whether that’s bathroom essentials, nursing or bottle-feeding supplies, or the cleaning supplies you just used up, anything that won’t go bad or expire quickly should be grabbed.

Get outfits ready

The outfit you’ll bring baby home in, the outfit you’ll wear home, and clothes you’ll wear for the first week or so while healing could all be prepped before baby comes.

Get the hospital/diaper bag ready

If your birth plan is to go to the hospital, have everything ready and packed up during the nesting time. Baby could come early, or you could forget in those crazy last weeks, so it’s better to have it packed and waiting in a closet. 

A man handing a pregnant person a hot drink
oliveromg / Shutterstock

Don’t go completely crazy while nesting

Even though you might have the energy to lift the house up and move it three inches to the left, don’t actually try to do it. Watch out for weight limits when lifting anything and chemicals when cleaning, and don’t overdo it so you become exhausted. You will have to birth a baby in a few weeks, so you should still take it easy.

Set limits and go slowly

Make a list and do one thing at a time. You should also stick to one room until it’s done, so if the baby does come in the middle of a task, the entire house isn’t torn up. Make sure to take breaks, take naps, put your feet up, and be reasonable about goals. You are pregnant. The baby won’t judge you if the junk drawer isn’t organized.

You don’t have to do it all

Literally and physically, you don’t need to be the one to do everything when you are in the nesting zone. If you make a list, delegate tasks to friends or family members. And if you don’t get it all done, that’s OK. You are about to be exhausted for the next few years, anyway. Your priorities will change, and you’ll need to repaint the living room regardless, to cover up the marker and crayon art all over.

We all love a good rage cleaning from time to time and appreciate a deep dive for spring cleaning. You might see a pregnant woman cleaning the house top to bottom, reorganizing everything from closets to junk drawers, and redoing the color scheme in every room in the house out of nowhere. No, they aren’t going crazy with baby brain; they are simply nesting.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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