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Organising your home to create a safe and supportive nest

By Beverley Scheepers

“Nesting” is one of the most exciting periods of pregnancy.

Women may experience it at different stages and to different extents, but usually there will be a distinct time in your pregnancy when you feel compelled to have everything ready for baby, which is generally when the nursery is set up and decorated, all the adorable little clothes are put in the cupboard, and perhaps you go on a maniacal cleaning spree in your home (scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, anyone??).

People don’t often think of organising your home as part of nesting, but they should. Creating your nest should be more than just transforming your spare room into a Pinterest-worthy nursery and popping plastic covers over your electrical outlets.

It’s about creating a nest for both you and your baby, and should therefore incorporate the entire home. This time is foundation-building for your journey into parenthood, so don’t underestimate the impact feeling overwhelmed or chaotic can have.

Things need to be as EASY as possible for you, items need to be easily accessible, and your space needs to function and flow as efficiently as possible.

Your nest (i.e. entire home) needs to be comforting, supportive and safe for you and your baby – so it’s not about baby-proofing right now – it’s about sleep-deprived-mum-proofing!

Here are some tips for setting up a safe and supportive nest beyond the nursery room:

  • Clutter and mess can pose very serious health risks. Besides being a tripping hazard, clutter can harbour dust, mould, and pests. It also causes visual and psychological stress. There is no more important time to declutter and get rid of the old, in order to make way for the new.
  • Even if you do not have an issue with clutter, your home may require some re-organising to make it more mum-and-baby-friendly. Work through each room in your home imagining how you would manage in that space having your baby with you, in terms of bending, reaching, accessing items with one hand, etc. Some examples – how easy is it going to be to make a cuppa with one hand; how likely is it that you could stub your toe on the coffee table while carrying your baby bleary-eyed through a dimly lit lounge room; and so on.
  • Have boxes of tissues, baby wipes, and some old fashioned towelling nappies dotted all around the house (I believe a new mum should never be more than 2 meters away from any of those 3 items!)
  • Set up a “feeding caddy” which can be carried anywhere in the home, with items such as a water bottle, tissues, lip balm, book to read, notebook and pen, nipple relief cream, muesli bars, dried fruit – whatever you need to help you through the many hours sitting in one spot during feeds. You can use any small bag, basket, craft caddy or nappy caddy for this.
  • If you have any loose rugs or floor mats in your home, place non-slip underlay underneath these to prevent any slipping accidents while holding your baby. Also consider whether you need non-slip tape or a night light on any stairs.
  • If you have any freestanding picture frames, vases or lamps that could easily topple over when knocked, consider securing, relocating, or removing them.
  • Ensure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed, and have them tested regularly. Work out a fire escape route and emergency plan for your home.
  • Avoid clothing (both yours and your baby’s) with cords, buttons, beads, pompoms, or any other embellishments which can easily detach and become a serious choking hazard.

So, what’s the big deal about being organised?

While it doesn’t mean that you will have everything under control or that nothing will ever go wrong, it does however mean that:

  • You have set up your space and systems to support you, and help you better handle what life throws your way. The journey ahead is full of unknowns, and being organised can go a long way to eliminate the anxiety and overwhelm that often comes with fear of the unknown.
  • Now more than ever, you need to be able to listen to and follow your instincts. Preparing yourself by being organised and having your space and systems set up to support you, allows you to spend your time and energy on what really matters during this precious and fleeting time.
  • You are able to respond, rather than react, to situations, because you are not constantly frazzled and overwhelmed. Your mental and emotional well-being are vitally important during this period of enormous change and challenge, so taking practical steps to minimise stress and worry can only be a good thing.

 

Beverley Scheepers is a Professional Organiser and Baby Planner, author of  Preparing your home life for baby, and  founder of Home And Life Organising – offering in- home consultations to help expectant parents and busy families plan, prepare, and organise. From getting the home and nursery ready for baby, through to de- cluttering, menu planning and family routines, she can be that extra set of hands and clear mind when you need it most and get things sorted!

You can find her on Facebook and HALOblog, or email beverley@hlorganising.com.au

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