Expecting parents are notorious nesters, busying themselves with serious home baby-ification in the last weeks before the little one arrives. But I’m voting for a new kind of preparation, one that puts mama front and center. Sure, it may be fun to check out paint colors for the nursery and spend your preggy months decking out baby’s pad with jazzy mobiles and adorable wall decals, but the cold hard truth is that your tiny bundle of goodness doesn’t give a hoot about his room’s color scheme. Your baby has incredibly simple needs in his first weeks of life and your arms and your breasts pretty much make up his universe. So, instead of spending time and money outfitting your baby’s quarters, make the effort to create your ultimate landing pad.
The movies neglect to inform you that you will be spending most of your time sitting or lying down with your newborn, rocking her to sleep or encouraging her to eat (it’s fairly difficult to move around when breastfeeding, though not impossible). All that sitting and lying down requires supreme comfort. So, ask yourself: what will I need to feel held and prepared — even inspired — during those first weeks at home with my baby?
Things to consider when creating your postpartum nest:
Lighting: can you easily turn a light on and off from your perch? A light with a dimmer is ideal as near-darkness helps to keep a fussy baby in a dreamy, dozy state. I went with the fire hazard option (not ideal) and covered my bright lamp with a flimsy scarf (actually really dangerous; do not try at home).
Back support: do you have firm pillows to hold you up in bed and/or is there a comfortable chair to sit in for long stretches at a time? You don’t have to get fancy. I created sumptuously padded back support in bed by stacking large, square Ikea pillows behind my sleeping pillows. This was ideal for breastfeeding marathons and could be quickly transformed into a cozy slumber spot.
The view: what will you be looking at as you feed, burp, and rock a baby for hours? I placed my big easy chair next to a window in my Brooklyn apartment that faced a majestic tree. My second son was born in December and this tree was often glistening with an icy sheen I found to be deliciously hypnotic during epic breastfeeding sessions.
I encourage all mamas-to-be to redefine “nesting” and create a cozy, supported space for you. Your baby will be happy, too.