Nestle Into Your Nursing Nest
by Angela E. Swieter, RN, BSN, IBCLC, ICCE
Many mothers speak of that unforgettable moment when their baby was first placed in their arms – the extraordinary joy and the culmination of months of preparation. In all the preparations for baby’s arrival, one thing often goes overlooked. As a lactation consultant (IBCLC) and owner of Basking Babies, LLC, new moms frequently tell me they wish they had spent more time preparing and planning for breastfeeding.
Expecting mothers can be overwhelmed with their to-do list to ensure preparedness for baby, and since many consider breastfeeding to be natural, there is some misconception that it will be easy…no extra preparation required. For some mothers that is the case, and yet for many others, breastfeeding can be a struggle and a major source of frustration. Considering the significant time invested in breastfeeding, preparation is important.
Building a nursing nest in the early-to-middle part of the third trimester can be a special ritual in preparing for baby and breastfeeding. The early preparation helps moms immensely, especially for those early days after baby’s arrival when babies typically nurse frequently and moms feel exhausted. The process of nest building can ease a mom’s mind and help build her confidence. When completed as a project with her partner or support person, it can be the perfect time to discuss or confirm established breastfeeding plan and goals. It also gets mom excited about snuggling in her nest with her new baby!
By weeks 35-38 of pregnancy, I encourage moms to scope out a comfortable and cozy place they’ll want to nestle into with their baby and to begin setting up their nest. Once mom has found a place for her nursing nest, it’s important to add special items that equip mom for success. Moms have found the following suggestions helpful:
- Reclining chair and pillow of mom’s choice
- Baby blanket and warm blanket for mom
- Breast ointment (like coconut oil)
- Burp cloths and diapers and wipes
- Hand or electric breast pump; cleaned, assembled and pre-tested
For nourishment and energy:
- Healthy one-handed snacks that support mom’s extra calorie needs and milk supply: oats, chia seeds, proteins, dried fruits, and dark green vegetables. Make-ahead and freezer recipes are particularly helpful
- Water bottle
- TV remote
- Books or magazines
- Computer or tablet
- Writing tools (stationary, pens, journals)
- Mom’s cell phone with numbers of mom helpers
- Mom and baby’s breastfeeding plan
- Contact information for an IBCLC in the local area
- App or tracking sheet for feedings, wets, and stools
- Breastfeeding Resource book
Preparing a nursing nest is one simple way moms can prepare for the special time they’ll spend breastfeeding their baby. This small amount of prep-time has immense payoff, positioning mom and baby for a more positive breastfeeding experience.
Angela E. Swieter, RN, BSN, IBCLC, ICCE
Angela, the owner of Basking Babies, LLC, is a Registered Nurse, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and an International Certified Childbirth Educator in private practice. She has worked in the hospital setting as an obstetrical nurse, certified postpartum educator/childbirth educator, and lactation consultant and has also provided both birth and postpartum doula services.