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Men's Health

Dads Nest Too

Nesting may look different for dads, but there are many ways you can help prepare for your little one.
Written by the Theralogix team of Registered Dietitians
: Nesting may look a little different for dads, but the ways you can help prepare for your little one are invaluable.

Your partner is expecting, and you’re both just a few weeks from welcoming your new baby to the world. She’s organized the changing table for the third time, swept out the garage, stocked the freezer with crockpot meals, and sanitized every doorknob, light switch, and exposed surface in the house. She’s nesting – following the urge to prepare for and protect her little one. 

But nesting isn’t just for expecting mothers. Dads nest, too. You may not experience the same instinct to nest as your partner, but there are still plenty of ways you can be involved and help prepare for your long-awaited arrival.  

Prepare the nursery

The nursery is usually the first project that you’ll tackle as an expecting couple. You want the nursery to be a cozy, welcoming space for your new baby – a place where they feel safe and comfortable. While your partner may be more involved in picking out the décor and furniture, washing mountains of baby clothes, and organizing the closet, you can take charge of hanging shelves, assembling the changing table and crib, and moving heavy furniture to create the perfect layout.  

Finish up home improvement projects

Your house isn’t just a shelter from the elements or a place where you store all your belongings. It’s where you’ll grow your family, filling each room with love and cherished memories. It’s where your child will experience all their “firsts.” You’ll watch them tumble onto the carpet after their first steps in the living room, clap for them at the dinner table as they utter their first words, and maybe eventually wave to them from the driveway as they’re whisked away on their first date.  

The old adage is true – home really is where the heart is. So, it’s important to give your house some love, too.  

Maintaining a home is no easy task. In fact, the average home has nine unfinished do-it-yourself projects at any given time. Now is the time to tie any loose ends. Once your baby arrives, you may not have as much free time to check tasks off your to-do list. Tidy up the landscaping, finish the patio, put the last coat of paint on the walls, repair the leaky sink – try to work on the areas that need the most attention.  

Take safety seriously

As a parent, you want nothing more than to keep your child safe. Before your little one arrives, take some time to address any safety concerns.  

  1. Baby-proof your house. Anchor bookshelves to the wall, install childproof locks on cabinets, cover outlets and sharp corners on furniture, and make sure your houseplants are non-toxic. Take a look at this checklist to make sure your home is fully baby-proofed by baby day. 
  1. Reinforce your home security. Strong locks are a given, but some nesting dads take home security a step further and install a security system to monitor their homes. This can be especially helpful if you return to work shortly after the baby is born – it can help your partner feel safer when she’s home alone with the baby.  
  1. Think about car safety. Before you were expecting a baby, your car selection may have been influenced by speed and engine power rather than safety and practicality. But now that you’ve got a brand-new life to protect, your priorities change. While you don’t have to run to the dealership to purchase a minivan, you may start to consider whether your current vehicle will suit your needs as a growing family. And remember, you can’t take your baby home from the hospital without a safe car seat. You’ll be transporting precious goods – make sure you review car seat safety before you take your little one on their maiden voyage.  

Prepare mentally and emotionally for parenthood

Although you may focus on preparing for parenthood physically, scurrying to get everything ready at home for your little one, preparing for parenthood mentally and emotionally is just as important.  

Parenthood is a lot of on-the-job training, but it’s never too early to start learning. Consider reading a few parenting books before your baby arrives to help you prepare for your new role.   

It’s also important to maintain an open and honest conversation with your partner. Discussing your feelings and concerns before your baby arrives can help you both prepare emotionally for parenthood.  

And finally, your mindset. Life rarely goes as planned, no matter how much you try. Adopt a go-with-the-flow mindset and know that you’ll be ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way.  

Prepare your finances

Your budget may look a little different post-baby. While you can’t put a price on the joy your child brings to your little family, the USDA estimates that couples can expect to spend over $250,000 to raise a child through age 17.  

Now is the time to check in on your finances and prepare as much as you can – factor in hospital expenses, parental leave, and increased household expenses. You may even start thinking about a college fund. Managing finances can be an overwhelming task – take a look at this checklist to help you plan financially for your family’s future.  

Support your partner

Pregnancy hormones are high in the third trimester, which can wreak havoc on your partner’s mood. Make sure you’re there for your partner – lend a listening ear, a crying shoulder, or whatever she may need at the time. You’ll have emotions of your own as your baby’s due date grows near, so try to lean on each other for support. You and your partner are on the same team – a team united to give your baby the best life possible. 

Nesting may look a little different for dads, but the ways you can help prepare for your little one are invaluable. You’re making your baby’s life better before they’re even here. Parenthood isn’t easy, but take a deep breath – you’re ready.   

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