Many expectant moms will be familiar with the phenomenon of nest-building instinct. Usually it all starts with the purchase of a little bodysuit and ends in a whole list of ideas. We explain the phenomenon, what you should keep in mind during this time and why fathers can also develop a kind of nest-building instinct.
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Nest-building Instinct Briefly Explained
There has been little scientific research on the topic of nest-building instinct. In 2013, psychologists Marla Anderson and Mel Rutherford published a study in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior in which they set out to prove the nest-building instinct in pregnant women. They created a questionnaire and had pregnant and non-pregnant women answer it. They attributed differences in the responses of the two groups to the nest-building instinct. Anderson and Rutherford reasoned that behavior during pregnancy is an evolutionary psychological adaptation that originates in women’s hormones
What behavioral patterns a nest-building instinct triggers has not yet been researched, but most women feel the urge to prepare their home for the impending arrival of the baby. Many women notice the first signs quite quickly and get busy doing housework or upcoming projects. The most common signs of the nest-building urge are as follows:
- The nursery is being lovingly decorated and the list of needed clothes is growing longer and longer and steadily expanding
- Your home is being tidied, cleaned, rearranged or redecorated and more and more little things are found that can be “improved”.
- Sorting out the closets and cleaning become constant companions in everyday life
- Projects that are still pending should be completed as quickly as possible so that nothing stands in the way of the baby’s arrival.
What Should You Pay Attention To?
Although nest-building behavior is completely normal and in the rarest cases negative effects occur, you should not overdo it. Especially at the end of pregnancy, many small breaks are useful. Of course, you want to accomplish as many tasks as possible during this time, but you should keep a few things in mind:
- Lifting objects that are too heavy can be dangerous and should rather be taken over by another person.
- If renovations are to be made, refrain from handling paint and do not pick up a paintbrush yourself. Most paints contain ingredients that can harm you and your baby
- Just like paint, certain cleaners such as oven sprays or cleaners in spray cans can contain harmful chemicals and should be used very sparingly.
- It is better not to climb a ladder or chair; your sense of balance is altered at the end of pregnancy and the risk of falling is greater.
- The litter box should be cleaned by your partner, the risk of toxoplasmosis infection is particularly high here.
Use The Energy During Nest Building
During pregnancy, the energy usually decreases quickly. This is no wonder, after all, the body has to do a lot to keep the baby growing diligently. In the last third of pregnancy, energy usually returns and with the help of the nest-building instinct, a lot can be accomplished. Now is the right time to finish important errands, to finally furnish the nursery or to sort the baby clothes into the closets. We have a few tricks for you to make the tasks even easier.
What Should Not Be Missing In And On A Changing Unit
The changing unit is guaranteed to become the most used piece of furniture in the first few months. So that you don’t have to search for the right products in the many drawers every time, a practical system should be created in advance. A soft changing pad can be chosen in different sizes. While a large one offers enough space even a few months after the birth, with a small one you have the possibility to place different baskets next to the pad, in which the daily amount of diapers, wet wipes or a washcloth can be placed
On the sides of the changing table you can clamp practical plastic containers in which creams and wipes fit. In the top drawers, additional diapers, gauze cloths, suppositories and other hygiene items are easily accessible. You can only reach the bottom drawers if you let your baby out of your sight for a moment, so stash bodysuits, pants or burp cloths that aren’t needed often here
A great mobile above the changing table provides distraction while changing and can easily be adapted to the appropriate age. In the first weeks, babies perceive the colors black and white, so a mobile in these colors is good for development. A heat lamp or a diaper pail can be added next to the changing table, here it all depends on the preferences of the parents
Furnish Your Baby’s Room Properly – Practical Tips
Your baby’s room is also a small retreat for you in the first weeks. A comfortable rocking chair or a sofa can be a real relief during breastfeeding. Cuddly, natural sheepskins, rugs and nests create a cozy atmosphere in the first months, which gives the baby a special sense of security
The right quality of furniture and safety in the room play a decisive role. Even at the time of purchase, rounded corners on shelves, bed and chests of drawers are an important criterion. When furnishing a child’s room, it should also be seen with the child’s eyes. It is advisable to place objects at the height of the child’s eyes as well, and a mobile should also be easily visible from below, since the baby lies mainly on its back during the first months
Is There A Nest-building Instinct In Men?
Not only expectant mothers change during pregnancy. Fathers can also be surprised by a chaos of emotions. Mood swings and weight gain may not occur in every man, but they can happen and are completely normal. Researchers have found that men’s hormones change during and after pregnancy. Testosterone levels may drop after childbirth, resulting in fewer male hormones
The classic nesting instinct is less pronounced in men, however, the urge to change also occurs in men. They want to support their partners and do important things before the birth. Fears and insecurity about the upcoming birth are quite normal and cause a change in the behavior of expectant fathers. Many men put themselves under pressure and are afraid of not living up to expectations. Shortly after the birth, however, it will become clear that these fears were usually much worse than they actually are.
Conclusion: Less Is More
If you feel the urge to build a nest during pregnancy, don’t take it too seriously and use it to complete important tasks before the birth. Don’t stress yourself out on shopping trips and remember that sometimes less is more. Even after the birth there is enough time to buy missing clothes. The same applies to the intensity of your drive. Don’t take on too much so that you can enjoy the last weeks of pregnancy in peace. After the birth, the nest-building urge, whether it was strong or very weak, will disappear and you can spend the time with your baby in a perfectly prepared home.