How Do You Nest Without a Nursery? (Practical Advice for the Home)

Nesting is a common occurrence among pregnant women, especially during the final trimester. Many expecting moms focus that energy on preparing the nursery, but how do you nest if you don’t have a dedicated space for your little one? 

Even without a dedicated room for the nursery, mom can focus her nesting energy on getting ready for a new baby. Cleaning out individual areas to make space can help you feel more prepared to welcome a baby into your home, while deep cleaning the house and stocking the pantry can make time for you to relax and focus on the new baby once he’s there.

Read on to find out more about practical and creative solutions for nesting and setting up a space for your baby.

What is nesting during pregnancy?

Many women find themselves cleaning almost compulsively during the later months of their pregnancy, but they may not know that the feeling isn’t necessarily just a reaction to everything they didn’t accomplish while they were constantly battling the exhaustion and morning sickness of early pregnancy.

Many women experience this phenomenon – usually referred to as “nesting” – when they are expecting, usually during the late stages of their pregnancy. Nesting is best defined as an instinct that drives pregnant women to take on tasks of preparation before their little one arrives.

Psychologists believe that nesting is nature’s way of enabling women to prepare for childbirth and childrearing. In fact, many pregnant women report extra bursts of energy and productivity that help them to get the physical work of nesting done such as washing all of their newborn’s clothes or painting the nursery.

While the term nesting often gets applied to physical preparations like cleaning and organizing, there are many other ways that nesting can women prepare to become mothers. Sometimes nesting manifests itself as researching which baby products to buy, reading stacks of parenting books, or talking to other mothers for advice.

It doesn’t always have to mean setting up a nursery.

Is it okay to not have a nursery?

You should never feel bad if you don’t have enough room for a nursery. In fact, many families choose not to create a nursery, even if they do have the space. There are many advantages to having a space for baby in another part of the house, such as the living room or your bedroom.

In the early months of parenting, having everything within reach is extremely convenient, and you will likely want your baby close by you at night anyway. Or if you have other children, oftentimes the best option is to set up your new addition in the same room as a sibling.

Many new moms report that the nursery simply becomes a room for storage of their baby’s things anyway. In fact, recent trends suggest that nearly 40% of new parents do not use a nursery for their baby’s sleep during the first 4 months.

Placing your baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed can be a very convenient way to get through the long nights of early parenthood. The AAP even recommends room sharing for at least the first 6 months as a way of reducing the risk of SIDS.

How do you organize your baby if you don’t have a nursery?

Without a separate bedroom to place all of your baby’s things in, you may need to become a little more minimalist with all the baby gear and more selective with which items you bring into your house. However, it can be done, and in a way that still feels organized and effective.

Your baby’s clothing and other supplies can easily be set up in a corner of your room, an extra closet, or in some other easily accessible part of the house. You can purchase a freestanding wardrobe in lieu of a closet or use a large dresser with a changing table on top to house all of your baby’s important items.

If your newborn will be sharing a space with a sibling, clear out part of their closet or dresser drawers to house the new arrival’s things.

How do you nest without a nursery?

Many pregnant women struggle with feeling the urge to nest when they don’t have the space for a proper nursery or have decided against one for other practical reasons such as co-sleeping or sharing the space with siblings.

Some of the best ways to satisfy that nesting urge even without a dedicated nursery are:

  • Setting up zones for baby’s things
  • Stocking up on essentials
  • Deep cleaning the whole house
  • Restocking or cleaning out the pantry and fridge
  • Tackling larger home improvement projects before there’s a newborn in the house
  • Non-physical preparations (such as reading parenting books or taking a childbirth class)

Identify & set up baby zones

Each room in your home can serve a purpose when it comes to housing and using your baby’s things.

For example, in the kitchen, you can prepare a special drawer, cabinet, or section of the countertop for all of the things your baby will need such as formula, bottles, baby food, and more.

You can create a space in each bathroom for diapers and baby wipes or create a portable diaper caddy that can be carried from room to room.

In the living room, you can create a corner of the room for the baby’s swing, portable bassinet, or tummy time rug.

Space can be made in the garage for your little one’s car seat and stroller, and a linen closet can be repurposed into a baby closet full of clothes, blankets, burp cloths, and bibs.

Buy the essentials

No matter where you choose to house all your baby items, making sure you have everything you need will take a big weight off your chest.

Take some time to go back over your baby registry and the gifts you’ve received and see what items you are still lacking.

Be sure you have plenty of diapers, wipes, basic onesies, blankets, and anything else you might need.

Don’t forget mom’s essentials also! Things like Tuck’s medicated pads, nursing bras, and maxi-pads will be extremely helpful in the weeks ahead.

Deep clean your house

If you have the sudden urge to clean your house from top to bottom with a toothbrush, you aren’t alone. Whether or not you have a nursery, this is a great task to focus on.

Your baby will be playing and crawling in all rooms of your home, so it makes sense to want everything in tip-top shape.

Just don’t forget you can always recruit friends and family to help so you don’t have to do it all on your own! Be careful on ladders, when lifting heavy things, or using harsh cleaners.

Restock your fridge & pantry

This is one area that can often get overlooked but will make a huge difference in the weeks and months to come. If you are very close to your due date, it is a good idea to spend a little extra time getting your kitchen ready for the sleepless nights and busy days ahead.

Go through your fridge and pantry, throwing out anything that is expired or getting ready to expire, make room for all of the essentials you will need, and go for a major shopping trip to restock so you don’t have to make runs to the store with a newborn.

Think about easy meals, snacks, and convenience foods that will be easy to heat up or nibble on in between new parenting duties. If you enjoy cooking, consider meal prepping a few weeks’ worth of dinners by batch cooking.

Tackle home improvement projects

Now is the time to complete all of those little projects that you’ve been meaning to get done for years. Once your little one comes, you will have less time and money to work on these projects.

Go ahead and add that door to the laundry room, paint that hallway, recarpet that staircase, etc. The feeling of accomplishment you will gain when these projects are achieved will be well worth it, and you will feel that much more prepared.

Prepare in non-physical ways

There are plenty of ways to satisfy that nesting instinct that has nothing to do with the preparation of physical space.

You can read some helpful parenting books, practice self-care and nurturing your changing body, research the best car seat, or take some childbirth classes.

Nesting is just as much about preparing your body and mind for the act of childbirth and caring for your newborn as it is about preparing a physical space

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