For some women, a sudden burst of cleaning, stockpiling and organizing is quickly followed by labor. Others feel the impulse earlier in pregnancy. Regardless of when the urge to nest hits, it can feel overwhelming. Manage your to-do list and minimize stress with these tips from Ellie Miller and Melissa Gould of Ellie & Melissa, The Baby Planners (thebabyplanners.com).
MAKE A LIST: Write down everything you need (and want) to do before the baby arrives, even if you've already done it. "It's gratifying to cross things off a list and track your progress," says Miller. To keep tasks in perspective, consider dividing your list into must-do's and like-to-do's.
TACKLE YOUR MUST-DO'S FIRST: Though you may dream of corcheting your baby's first blanket or refinishing your grandmother's dresser for the nursery, your newborn will survive without these. "Start with the practical things," advises Gould. Having a properly installed car seat, a stockpile of diapers and a handful of washed and ready outfits are must-do-firsts.
FOCUS ON FOOD: "Having meals at the ready makes coming home from the hospital with the baby less stressful," Miller says. If you have the time and energy, consider making and freezing your favorite entreés and snacks to help you through the first few weeks. Or try out the free service from Meal Train (mealtrain.com), a site that allows friends and family to sign up to bring you home-cooked meals or takeout.
PUT YOURSELF AT THE TOP OF THE LIST: Grab a pedi. Or a decaf latte. Or just a nap. To keep from getting overwhelmed, balance your "to-do's" with some "for-you's." "While nesting is all about getting everything exactly the way you want it to be for the baby, keep in mind that it's important to take care of yourself before the arrival," Gould says. "You won't realize until then how time-starced you care for the kinds of simple things."