If you’re currently pregnant, or have children already, you might be familiar with a common possible Labor Sign known as “nesting”; or the (often uncontrollable) urge to organize and clean all. the. things. in your home prior to your baby’s arrival.
While you’re organizing the spice cabinet by height and alphabetizing the soups in the pantry, you might also channel some of that urge into a different form of nesting- Postpartum Nests.
What are Postpartum Nests?
These are little strategically placed bundles or baskets of needed essentials in and around areas of your home (where you’ll care for your baby or your own body).
What goes into each nest depends on which nest, and which location, we’re talking about. We advise clients to break these nests into three categories: Bathroom/Physical Recovery Nests, Infant Feeding Nests, Infant Care Nests, and (maybe most importantly) Snack Nests.
Let’s take a closer look:
Bathroom and Physical Recovery Nests
This nest will have items that are essential for your, the birthing person’s, recovery. Think items like: disposable mesh underwear or Depends, peribottle(s), witch hazel pads, disposable maxi pads for postpartum bleeding, Sitz bath herbs or bottom sprays (like Dermablast or herbal sprays), etc. Anything you might need to tend to your own healing following birth goes into this nest.
We suggest that you place a Bathroom Nest in each bathroom your home has (even if you never use that half-bath on the East Wing, or the one in the basement that’s only for company because you may not feel up to running back to your own bathroom each time you need it!).
Infant Feeding Nests
This nest will contain all the things you might need to make infant feeding easier for you and for your baby. Items in this nest might include: nipple balms, breastpads, burp cloths, your feeding and diapering tracker (if you’re using one), your phone and an extra long phone charger (because it will run out of battery just as you sit down to nurse!), tissues, the television remote, and your pump and pump supplies if needed. Plus, don’t forget a water bottle for you (preferable with a straw, and a lid, so your partner can help hydrate you when both of your hands are occupied with baby, without dumping water on either of you in the process).
Place these nests in any locations around your home where you might feed your baby. Yes, that means in the nursery, but also consider a station in your bedroom, the living room, or any other space in your home where you’re spending your days feeding your newborn.
Infant Care Nests
That nursery that you’ve spent 9 months lovingly preparing and planning? It’s so beautiful. But, in the real world of postpartum, you’re unlikely to make the trek to that changing table each and every time you need to diaper or clean up your your little one. Instead, put together Infant Care Nests as “docking stations” for the essentials when you need to clean-up on the fly, and don’t want to climb up the stairs 8-12 times in a day.
Consider adding things like: diapers, wipes, a full extra outfit or onesies, diaper balm or Butt Paste, lotions or coconut oil (for impromptu baby massage!), hand sanitizer (for those spur of the moment diaper changes without access to a sink), extra swaddling blankets, and pacifiers if you use them. Plus, those disposable chux pads you’ve brought home from the hospital? They make really great diaper changing pads, and you can toss them if/when they become soiled in the process.
This is the arguably the *most* important nest you’ll make for those early days. If you’re breastfeeding or pumping, you’ll be HUNGRY (you’re feeding a growing human with your body after all!), and even if you’re bottlefeeding, you’ll still need access to easily consumed, nutritious foods.
Our best piece of advise in this arena is to imagine you’re trying to find snacks to feed a toddler. Calorie dense. Easy to eat one handed. Preferably squeezable or bite-sized. Things we’ve seen our postpartum doula clients really love in the past include: squeezable yogurts and applesauce, peanut butter packs, deli meat and “cracker cut” cheeses or cheese sticks, pre-cut fruits, carrot or celery sticks, granola bars, calorie-dense smoothies, “handful snacks” like trail mix or shelled nuts, and pre-portioned bags of pretzels.
Leave some of the shelf-stable snacks in or around your Infant Feeding Nests (refer back to the breastfeeding makes you hungry idea above) and put some of the snacks in your pantry or in a small basket in your fridge, ready to grab you need them. Prepping snack stations is one of our postpartum doula team’s favorite tasks, but it’s also a great way partners can be supportive of their birthing person’s recovery in those early days.