GFM FEB 2013
Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes shares several nesting projects to put on your to-do list before baby arrives.
You couldn’t be more excited about the new year because you’ve gotten some wonderful news: you’re going to be a mother! Right now, you’re probably daydreaming about chubby cheeks, adorable onesies, and the bundle of joy you’ll be holding in your arms. And depending on your personality and how far along you are into your pregnancy, you may also be feeling the urge to clean, organize, de-clutter, and redecorate.
According to Princess Ivana, “If your inner neat freak and home decorator is making herself known to a much greater extent than ever before, don’t worry. What mother wouldn’t want her baby to come home to the most comfortable, healthy, and welcoming place possible?” asks Cortes, who is a featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, and coauthor of the upcoming book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. “Nesting is an important stage of pregnancy for you and your baby, and of course you’ll want to make sure that you have all of your bases covered.”
Ivana speaks from experience. While she’s a modern-day princess, she comes from modest means and met her Prince Charming while on scholarship at Pepperdine. Being a princess has given her access to information and expertise, but she’s adamant that the most important choices she has made (and that you will make!) as a parent have little to do with money. Instead, they have everything to do with educating yourself, trusting your instincts, and eventually, paying attention to your child’s signals.
“During both of my pregnancies, the nesting instinct hit me hard,” Ivana recalls. “I couldn’t rest until everything that might impact my babies was just right. Like most first-time parents, there was a certain amount of ‘winging it’ and guesswork before my son was born. But by the time I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew with a little more accuracy what I needed to do before my baby’s birth, and I hope my following suggestions will help you, too.”
Put your paperwork and such in order. Even more important than a well-decorated nursery are your child’s medical needs from life insurance to will provisions, emergency numbers, and daily care (quick-view reminders).
Procure a good pediatrician. Supply him or her with due date info, your hospital choice, and your insurance info. Don’t forget to have his number handy for delivery day.
Get the hospital pre-admitting paperwork taken care of. Make certain you receive a copy, and also supply them with your birth plan and keep a copy for yourself. Keep paper copies easily accessible in your bag that you plan to take with you on delivery day.
If you are taking maternity leave, start researching daycare options now. None of these are things you want to wait till the last minute on . . . and you definitely don’t want to have to take care of them while caring for a newborn.
Tackle your budget. You can expect your family’s expenditures to shoot up after your newborn arrives, so find out the average cost of items for the first year, like diapers, formula, milk, maybe a switch to organic food, topical products like soaps and creams, and guesstamate the frequency of use to create a budget. If applicable, don’t forget to consider daycare costs.
Organize. Now we’re getting into more traditional nesting territory! Unless you’re the exception to the expectant-mother rule, you’re probably feeling the urge to organize everything, even things that have nothing to do directly with the baby. But try to prioritize, and tackle important stuff first, like child-proofing, making room for baby supplies in your house, and thinking about less obvious baby-related items, like batteries for mobiles, monitors, and swings.
Follow the fingertip rule. Keep the most important things at your fingertips. With a new baby, space is at a premium, so get tough on yourself. Clean out things you use only once or twice a year. “Put these items in big plastic tubs, and store them in the garage, the attic, or a storage unit,” Ivana suggests.
Get low. It’s time to take a fresh look at your home from a baby’s point of view. Clean or replace carpets, change the air filters, get a new vacuum bag (and some spares), etc.—anything to improve the air quality in your house and make the floors a safe place for you and baby to play.
“You and your child will be spending a lot of time on the floor over the next few years,” says Ivana. “Since it will be a little while before your baby becomes mobile, you can hold off on baby-proofing the house . . . although if you have the time and feel the urge, it’s never too early to start!”
Finish baby’s room. Decorating, organizing, and stocking the baby’s room is a favorite activity for most soon-to-be moms. Get started as early as you want, and tweak to your heart’s content (as long as you stay within your budget, that is!).
“I really enjoyed painting with VOC-free paint, getting the crib assembled, organizing all of those precious onesies, and finding special touches like lamps, pictures, and rugs,” Ivana shares. “I promise, having a designated space for the baby that you feel good about will give you a lot of confidence going into your third trimester.”
Take care of any pesky chores you’ve been putting off. No, these probably won’t be as fun as getting the nursery ready. But they’re just as necessary—and like figuring out insurance and daycare, they’re not things you’re going to have the time, energy, and mental clarity to tackle with a newborn in the house. You’ll feel less stressed once the tasks you’ve been putting off have been checked off your list. And most importantly, you’ll avoid so many hassles later.
Ask for help when you need it. The fact is, you can’t do it all. In some instances—such as heavy lifting and cleaning with strong chemicals, or if you’re on bed rest—doing it all might harm you and/or your baby. Suppress the urge to get it done yourself right now as it may have catastrophic results. That’s why Ivana encourages you to enlist the help of family and friends, or hire help if you can afford it.
Pencil in some time for yourself. This might be the most important nesting practice of all: making sure that you are in order and at peace. It’s natural for moms—and moms-to-be—to put others’ needs first. But remember, this is the calm before the proverbial storm. While you’ll love your baby more than words can say, you’ll be operating on low margins of time and energy once he or she arrives.
“Get a pre-natal massage, or just stay at home and read a non-baby book, watch a movie. If there’s time, sign up for a prenatal yoga class that can do wonders for stress and body aches. The next year is going to be a busy one, so taking a little time for yourself now is a must!”
“Ultimately, smart nesting is all about planning, prioritizing, and above all, making sure you’re comfortable bringing your baby home,” concludes Ivana. “Now’s the time to tie up all of those loose ends—before your bundle of joy arrives!”