Being Dad

Nesting…For Men

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

‘Nesting’ is often used to describe a mother-to-be’s innate desire to prepare for her new arrival, but do dads possess the same instinct?

As a dad, it’s not unusual to feel somewhat powerless during pregnancy. After all, the real action is taking place inside your partner’s body and while nature takes its course – helping to transform her into a parent by bombarding her with hormones – it’s left to dad to make this metamorphosis through sheer will-power.

Like it or not, you can’t share the physical burden of pregnancy with your partner. However, one way you can contribute is by getting in touch with your own nesting instincts.

This is an opportunity to get into ‘dad mode’ and really come to terms with your new role.

By the time you partner enters her third trimester, the ever-looming due date will start to take on a tangible quality. You’ve crossed the halfway mark and instead of counting the weeks passed, you start to count the weeks remaining which are diminishing at an alarming rate. It’s during this time that expectant mums tend to feel the urge to clean, rearrange the home and generally organise the mass of baby paraphernalia that has been purchased in anticipation of your new arrival. You may be surprised to find that a similar impulse has awoken within you too.

The urge to prepare is a natural and healthy one. But there are some jobs that, due to her condition, your partner simply won’t be able to manage alone. Enter the dad…

Some assembly required

With a new baby comes new furniture. It’s best to get started gathering the necessary items a couple of months prior to the big day. After all, calculating your baby’s due date is not an exact science and the little one could end up arriving earlier than expected.

No-one is expecting you to whittle a cot from a tree you’ve felled yourself, but if you plan on buying your baby’s furniture brand new, it will almost certainly need some degree of putting together. Beware, today’s flat-pack obsessed market means that you’re going to spend a significant amount of time lost in a sea of Allen keys and indecipherable instruction manuals.

Items such as changing tables and Moses baskets are vital for your baby’s comfort, and it simply won’t do to throw them together the day you bring your newborn back home from the hospital. Remember, even the simplest items can become a massive inconvenience to assemble when you’re busy trying to get to grips with childcare.

Decorating the nursery

Many people choose to have their newborn sleep in the same room, especially during the early stages, but you may also have designated a room for when your little bundle of noise is ready to sleep alone. For some parents, that day will come sooner rather than later.

Either way, decorating the room itself is going to be significantly easier before the baby actually shows up (although most people wait until around month seven to get started, just to be on the safe side!). Whether you’re hanging wallpaper or painting, there are going to be some hazardous fumes that will need time to air out before it’s habitable.

Unpacking the various goodies you’ve no doubt accumulated by now can be quite exciting. You may even find that seeing the space that your baby will occupy, in all its glory, goes a long way to sealing the reality of fatherhood in your mind.

Out with the clutter

Babies come with a lot of accessories, and then some! It’s time to face the fact that your home is about to be littered with brightly coloured play-mats, bouncers, cuddly toys, and much more.

Take this opportunity to clear out some space to make way for the various baby products that will be demanding precious square footage. This cleansing could actually be quite liberating as you can finally let go of all the junk you have been hoarding for no reason; that stack of back issue Empire magazines that will never be re-read or that unwanted gift that has been collecting dust – finally you have a reason to chuck it all!

Odd jobs

Make a to-do list and start tackling all of those pesky little chores you have been putting off. One of the unforeseen benefits of expecting a child is that the once elusive motivation to tie up any loose ends floods in. Ride the wave and get productive!

Pro tip: if you’re expecting in the warmer months, then be sure to give the garden a good once over because it’s going to be a while before you can make time for any general maintenance jobs.

Peace of mind

Nesting is essentially just preparation, as your focus will soon be entirely consumed by the new addition to your family. It will be far easier to devote yourself to caring for your newborn if you can minimise any distractions.

There’s enough to worry about in the lead up to the labour and taking control of things (that you can actually control!) is a great way to reduce anxiety and boost your confidence. By feeling prepared, you can ensure that both yourself and your partner are ready for the task ahead.