Preparing for baby’s arrival is an exciting and busy time. Your body has an intrinsic need to get everything ready. It might even feel neurotic at times. Like when you start color-coding and rolling the onesies as you place them into the nursery dresser.
One of the joys of pregnancy, and one that can be harnessed to your advantage, you’re nesting!
But don’t think that the nesting bug is for you alone. Many husbands report the urge to nest too. Maybe it’s their wives’ buzzing energy rubbing off on them. Maybe it’s their own way of dealing with the anxieties associated with birth and a newborn.
I sat down with my husband and asked him to come up with a list of nesting tips for husbands. What’s most essential in the mind of a dad when it comes to baby prep? Hint: it’s not the color coordinated nursery.
The surprise? This wasn’t as much of a joke article as I expected it to be!
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How to get my husband involved in the baby prep?
It can be hard for dads to bond with baby before they arrive. It’s abstract to them and hard for them to envision until they are actually here. This doesn’t mean they get to be off the hook! There are lots of wonderful ways to get dad excited about pregnancy and prepare your relationship for life with a newborn. But he also needs to take on some of the preparations himself. He too can nest!
So without further ado, let’s get the advice rolling so that you can help your own husband get on track for baby. This is the perfect list of 13 nesting to dos just for dad. Nudge him into the nesting role. I think you’ll be surprised by how much he wanted it.
1. WD 40 every squeak in the house
What better way to kick off the husband nesting list than with something that would never occur to me as the mom. We live in a house that was built close to 50 years ago. Before we had a baby we had no idea just how loud and squeaky our house is! It always seemed that our barking dog and even the fire alarm never woke N as a newborn. But the squeaky door, or sound of the latch as we snuck out? Every. Damn. Time.
Go through the doors, drawers and cabinets around your house. Get your WD 40 on and lubricate each and every joint. Even the least handy of people can easily accomplish this task before baby arrives.
Assess things like squeaky floorboards and other inconveniences around the house. Maybe it’s a leaky faucet, an ill-fitting door, a light that flickers, or a toilet that always needs the handle jiggled. Get your DIY on, or consider hiring a handy man to help. Getting your house in tip top shape before baby comes will cross one extra point of stress off the list.
This is the perfect pre-baby task to put your husband in charge of. In our house, this meant enlisting the help of some of my husband’s friends and finally getting around to those nagging household inconveniences.
2. Test run the baby gear
There are so many different gadgets and gear that you’ve undoubtedly acquired as you prepare to bring baby home. Don’t stop at simply setting things up. And don’t wait to pull things out of the boxes or packaging until baby is born.
Get your husband to dive in, read instructions and test run the gear. Have him set up furniture and other baby devices now. This will ensure that you are both pros once baby is here. Putting dad in charge of the gear will mean he also knows how it all functions, and can get the kinks worked out before showing you how it all works 😉
Strollers are one of those things that are easy to use, once you’ve got it down. Take some time to practice opening and closing the stroller. Practice putting it in the trunk of your car, or parking it in your entry. If you live in a walk-up house or apartment, practice maneuvering up and down the stairs with it. Try clicking in the car seat if it’s part of a travel system. Check out the storage options and capacity. You get the idea here.
The bane of every parents’ existence…kidding…kind of. But car seats can really be a pain, and you have to get it right because it’s one of the top safety concerns for your new baby. Make sure to install your car seat well before your due date. Have dad get it extra tight and get him involved in figuring out the buckle system on the actual car seat too. Learn the proper way to buckle in a newborn together.
Find out where your nearest car seat safety check is located. Give yourself peace of mind and get it checked. You can usually get this done at your local fire station on specific days. Call your local town hall to find out details.
This is something we did ahead of time that saved us a lot of struggle. Baby carriers can be tricky to figure out, and can be one of the only places your newborn is content when not nursing. Make sure your husband is involved with the process of figuring out your carrier and adjusting it.
Adjustable carriers, like the Ergo, seemed to be my husband’s preference (as opposed to a cloth carrier). He made sure he knew exactly how to use the infant insert, put it on safely and adjust the straps. Practicing with a stuffed animal was his hilarious and genius idea.
3. Finish the project and mow the lawn
His words, not mine 🙂 But basically, don’t leave loose ends or things undone. As your due date approaches, you husband should be finishing things up and tidying. You will likely be away from the house for a few days during birth. Make sure things are set for while you’re gone and prepared for a smooth return.
For my tinkering husband, that meant finishing up any DIY projects and resisting the urge to start new ones. It meant making sure the lawn was mowed and garbage cans were put out when we knew labor had started.
And on that note, do a DIY project for baby
A great way for dad to get in the spirit of nesting? Make something for baby all on his own. If he’s the handy or crafty type it could be building something or refinishing a piece of furniture or frame. If he needs some direction? Plant some DIY nursery ideas in his head from Pinterest, but try to let him complete it on his own.
Patrick was so excited about making N a hanger for her future guitar. As a guitar player and woodworker, he was able to combine his passions and make something special. He even carefully painted her name on it in his most beautiful handwriting, so sweet. After N was born, Pat hung one of his guitars on the holder in her room and played for her regularly. For her first birthday, we got her a real ukulele that hangs there today.
4. Prepare for the scariest drive of your life
To my husband, this is pro level nesting that he didn’t take seriously. Driving your wife to the hospital and then your brand new baby home is no joke. Have your husband be in charge of car safety and readiness. It might sound silly, but he should do things like get an oil change and a tune up in the weeks leading up to labor. One less thing to worry about on the other end, and the perfect task for dad.
Practice run to the hospital
Okay, most dads are aware that they need to know the fastest way to the hospital. My husband had this down.
What not to forget? Put him in charge of also knowing:
- Exactly where to park/find valet service/etc.
- Where to check in and how to get to the labor and delivery unit
- Where to get wheel chairs should you be unable to walk from the car
- How to enter the hospital if it is after hours (many hospitals lock most doors except a few)
We arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night, which meant we had to enter through the emergency department. My husband was able to leave the car in the drop-off circle with flashers on until we were settled. He then went back and parked in a further lot and brought our bags in. Our hospital is small and quiet; this may not be the case for you. Definitely find out what protocol is for parking and checking in at various times of the day.
5. Do the childbirth class
I have to admit that I was surprised he included this on his list of nesting for dads. He certainly complained about having to go and sit through the three different classes I had us take…but it really did make a difference.
Involve your partner in the baby preparations and education. Whether they are showing it or not, some amount of anxiety is definitely there. Education surrounding childbirth will serve you both. Sweeten the deal for your husband by doing an online childbirth class instead of trekking to the hospital for a few weeks in a row. There are tons of great options out there for couples and dads.
- Online Prenatal Course for Couples in most like an in-hospital birth class, and has a short runtime without leaving out any essential info
- KOPA PREPARED is a thorough childbirth class that emphasizes a natural birth and incorporates partners in every lesson
- Supporting Her an online childbirth class just for dads
6. Meet some other expectant couples
One part of our prenatal care that was a surprising hit for my husband, the group prenatal care we participated in. Group prenatal care is a common model in Europe that is gaining traction in the US. The idea is that pregnancy support and preparation needs to be more than just medical. Group prenatal care covers the medical aspects of pregnancy but also provides community and support to the emotional sides as well.
The point? Every other week instead of going for individual appointments we met with 5 other couples all due within 30 days of us. Two years later we are still friends with these people. My husband found it helpful to meet other first time dads. They would often get together and bond over the life changes that were coming.
How is this nesting for dad?
I do think this was a form of nesting for all of them! It got the dads more involved in pregnancy and gave them a chance to debrief with others who really understood. Find out if your care provider, hospital, or community hosts any kind of meet up for pregnant couples. More common are events for the moms. If that’s the case you can try to get a group together for a meal with partners, or hang out and start your own group.
7. Join in on some meal prep
When we were expecting our first baby, I’m pretty sure my husband would not have considered this a “dad nesting must” – but once he saw what a time saver and stress reducer it was, he became a believer! It’s actually with the help of his friends that we often get our monthly freezer meal prep done around here 🙂
So let dad do some meal prep while you relax, sleep, or take care of something else on your own nesting to do list. With the Family Freezer’s Freezer Bundle, there is no pre-cooking involved. He can surely handle getting 10-14 meals prepped for the freezer in a few hours with the premade grocery lists and easy to compile meals.
8. Have a ‘diaper party’
Everyone seems to know and expect that the expecting mom will have a baby shower. It’s a chance to get the bulk of the baby things you need from your baby registry and bond with the special women in your life.
Dad can have a chance to celebrate the upcoming life event while scoring some free stuff too, right? Insert, daddy diaper party. The idea is that dad gets to have a party all to himself with his guy friends. A last hoorah before baby comes. The benefit? Everyone who comes brings a box of diapers for you to stockpile! Consider having people bring various sizes based on the first letter of their name or something like that.
9. Ask your wife for a nursery tour
This is a logical, but often overlooked nesting activity for dad. Sure, he glances in the nursery and compliments the beauty of your efforts. But he needs to know the functional things in the nursery! Make sure to give him the tour so that he knows where things actually are! You don’t want to be screaming from two rooms down asking the location of extra burp rags or onesies.
What should he know?
- Where diapering supplies are located and where you’ve stockpiled extras
- Where burp cloths, blankets, swaddles, towels and washcloths are located
- Where to find baby clothes, onesies and pajamas that are baby’s current size
- Where your nursing caddy is, and what’s in it in case you need refills
10. Prepare for your wife’s emotional roller coaster
Dad should definitely take some time to learn about the baby blues and warning signs of postpartum depression. It’s important that he be aware of the shift in hormones after birth and the toll it can take on you emotionally.
Not only are your hormones going haywire, but you will be sleep deprived and undergoing a life changing event. While there’s no way for dad to 100% prepare for this, knowing what’s considered ‘normal postpartum rollercoaster’ and what’s not will be important. You can read more about processing birth, the baby blues, and postpartum depression and then talk about it together.
11. Pack snacks for the hospital
While I’m sure you know that you need to pack a hospital bag that’s full of essentials for you and baby, put dad in charge of his own snack, drink and food bag. This is a good nesting activity for him to prepare for birth. You see, when we arrived at the hospital at 3am, he got me settled in a labor and delivery room and ran to the car to get our bags.
On the way back, he knew he was exhausted and wanted to get caffeinated and sugared up so he was ready to support me. Cut to him in front of a hospital vending machine with all healthy and natural options. Not a caffeinated beverage or candy bar in sight.
All of this is to say, your husband needs to pack snacks and any caffeinated drinks he may need. You might arrive when the kitchen is closed, or your hospital might also have a vending machine with only veggie sticks and hummus. Next time around, I know he’ll be better prepared.
12. Create a birth announcement and social media plan
During labor and birth, you’re going to be awfully busy, you know, having the baby. Which means all updates to loved ones are going to fall on the shoulders of dad. I don’t think my husband was quite ready for the inundation of texts once we told our families we were going to the hospital. We should have thought this through more.
I love the idea of choosing one contact person to give updates to (if desired) and putting them in charge of telling everyone else. A childbirth phone tree, if you will. Get dad involved in deciding who, how and when to update. Same goes for birth announcements, visitors after birth and social media. Get on the same page ahead of time so that dad can enforce your wishes.
This is actually just one of many nuances surrounding preparing for birth that can be easily forgotten. Find printable worksheets and checklists to remove all the guesswork from your birth and baby preparations in The Nesting Planner.
13. Listen to your wife
Okay, so maybe he added this one more for my sake, but you don’t have to tell your partner that. It is important that he listen to you. And that you listen in return. Communication is going to be more important than ever once baby arrives. Do everything you can to prepare your relationship now. That greatest adventure of your life is beginning soon. Start listening now, consider it a nesting “to do” and you can’t go wrong.
Remember you’re a team. You’ve got this!
The focus of this article was on ways that dad can start nesting. There are lots of productive ideas on this list, and they should inspire more things that are important to dad as he prepares for baby.
I know a lot of the baby preparations and nesting falls on mom, but remember you are a team. Roles and responsibilities are going to become more and more fluid once baby arrives so you might as well start working together on things now.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t help with things on this list, or that he shouldn’t take part of yours. Parenting is the most intense team sport I’ve ever been a part of. Find more nesting help to get everything done! Check out The Nesting Planner, the only pregnancy resource you’ll need to get organized and on track before your baby arrives.
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Alli Wittbold is a wife, mama, blogger, and online teacher. She feels passionate about connecting expectant mothers with childbirth class educators, and supporting them to achieve the birth they desire. After having her first baby delivered by a Certified Nurse Midwife, Alli is an advocate for midwifery prenatal care. She has learned so much about labor and delivery by attending and reviewing dozens of birth classes to help mothers learn and explore options. Alli co-authored the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook, resources she is proud to share with as many expectant and new mothers as possible. Read more about Alli.