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The Nesting Syndrome

Allison Hutton


I thought I would take a few minutes away from rearranging furniture, cleaning my ceiling fans, and scrubbing the walls, to share with you some of the "mystery" behind nesting.

The nesting instinct is common among most animals, which naturally feel an instinct to prepare the "nest" before birth of their young. For us humans, this usually entails vigorous cleaning, washing of baby clothing, rearranging of furniture, wallpapering, painting, and just about any other home improvement project that springs to mind.

I am now 32 weeks pregnant with my second baby, and I must say that the nesting instinct in much stronger this time around. With Hannah, we had just moved into a new house, and I was so busy unpacking that I didn't have time to "feather the nest." Basically, I readied the nursery and hoped for the best. This pregnancy has found me waking throughout the night, wondering what needs to be done, before our little man arrives. I decided we needed a new bed. A bigger bed. A king size bed. So, we went and bought one, with the knowledge that it would stay in the garage until this weekend, when my Dad arrives to help get it upstairs. I knew that I couldn't move this gargantuan bed by myself, so I did the next best thing. I took apart the day bed in our computer room, moved it into the nursery, where I promptly rearranged all the furniture (to only move it all back to its' original position), and reassembled the brass demon. Not an easy job for a loner with a 19-month-old helper, but it is now a task that is "checked off" on my to-do list. Then, I thought maybe I should take the queen-sized mattresses off of their frame in our bedroom. Again, not an easy task. After all, I am fat, slow, and not maneuvering at my best. Mission accomplished. I also managed to take apart the headboard and frame, and move it to its new location in the computer room. By the time Saturday arrives, all that will need to be done is the actual moving of the king mattresses.

With my new career as a professional mover well on its way, I was disappointed at the nasty looks and lectures received from family and friends-especially my husband. Being scorned like a 2 year old was not my idea of praiseafter all, I saved people hours of work! Instead I was told to stay away from heavy objects, and to behave myself. HmmmI am not an invalid, I am pregnant. What these people fail to realize is that the urge to do these things is SO overwhelming. I didn't sit around the house in my jammies, eating bon-bons, wondering what it was that I could get into. I stayed awake at night, fighting off the urge to get up at 3am and begin rearranging. Believe me when I say, cleaning is NOT my favorite pastime. I could easily find other tasks, which are much less daunting, and far easier to accomplish. However, I have found that when I have the desperate need to "prepare" something, there are other alternatives besides cleaning.

For example, I cook. I like to cook anyway, but I have found that preparing "extra" and freezing it will be quite a help after the baby arrives. I have soups, lasagna, casseroles, and anything else that will fit, shoved into my freezer. This should prove to make life with a newborn, toddler and husband much easier in the early weeks.

Packing the bag for the hospital is another activity that is sure to take up some time, while accomplishing a very important task. I must admit that I have been putting this one off for 2 reasons. First, I have nothing to put in my bag. I am going to splurge on a new set of pajamas for my trip to the hospital, and I would like to pick up some aromatic toiletries as well. I highly recommend doing this, as the hospital soap will dry your skin so badly, you'll look like you have fish scales. Get a nice body wash, perhaps some lotions or gels, and pamper yourself as much as you can. I suggest making a trip to Bath and Body Works, and loading up on their little trial sized bottles of everything (the Plumeria scent is my favorite!). I am packing for this trip like I am going on a romantic getaway. You see, Hannah has my hands full, and I am so looking forward to two whole days and nights of being alone, rubbing lotion on feet that I haven't been able to reach for months, and watching reruns of Chips and Laverne and Shirley. After all, I am a simple girl.

Lastly, Christmas shop! I have done all of my Christmas shopping online, and am hooked. I sit here, pick what I want, and in a few days, it's delivered to my door. How much easier can it get? Surprisingly, it can get easier. Many online merchants will wrap your gifts for you. I decided to forego this option, as I rather like to wrap gifts.

You will find that the degree of nesting that is necessary will vary with each woman, and with each pregnancy. Just remember to take it easy, and listen to your body's cues. If you feel uncomfortable, take a break, put your feet up, and drink lots of water. Also remember that, when using cleansers, paint, or other items that have fumes, to keep your working area well ventilated, and take frequent breaks. Good luck!

The Art of Decorating The Nursery Checklist: Packing Your Labor Bag Checklist: Baby Proofing Checklist: Bringing Baby Home

My name is Allison Hutton. I was recently introduced to the Baby Corner by Elizabeth Geiger, and have found it to be a wonderful resource for those trying to conceive, those who are expecting, and those who are already parents. I am a stay at home Mom to my beautiful daughter, Hannah, and wife to my wonderful husband, Daniel. After a long journey battling recurrent pregnancy loss, we welcomed our daughter into the world on St. Patrick's Day, 1999. Motherhood has been the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding job I have ever had! In my "spare" time, I enjoy freelance writing about issues dealing with pregnancy, parenting, infertility, and women's health. I hope to provide some insight to pregnancy, as well as information that can be difficult to find on the web. I look forward to becoming a part of the Baby Corner, and hope to make a difference, no matter how small.

Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.

Visit her webpage at

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