Along with, “You’re huge!” and “Can you eat that?”, “Oh, cute, you’re in nesting mode”, is one of the most irritating things that can be said to you when you’re pregnant. You want to snap back, “Am I trying to prepare my space for the ginormous life change that’s about to happen? Ofcourse I am! We talked about what you were packing for Bali for two months, Jenny! Come on!” OK, maybe you are more chill about the pregnancy feedback, but the fact remains, nesting is just preparing. And people prepare in different ways. For every school student who memorises the textbook, there’s another who rocks up five minutes late and forgets a pencil. It’s the same with parent prep.
Amy Malpass Hahn, Editor-In-Chief of The Grace Tales and mum to three boys, has tried different approaches to “nesting”. With her first, she was strategic, “The big baby stores I went to left me completely overwhelmed. I ended up buying the bare minimum and getting everything else on a needs-basis, as the time arose, once Isaac arrived. I figured that if I had a car seat, bassinet with a few extra sheets, a pram, clothes, swaddles, nappies and wipes — I would be fine (I was so level-headed then! What happened?). But I was right — it was (and we were) fine.” With her second, she fluked it, “I think Charlie must have arrived at the time of Marie Kondo’s emerging empire, as second time around, I was remarkably unprepared. Those swaddles, 000 onesies and extra changing mat covers clearly hadn’t sparked joy, because on the second day home from the hospital, I quickly realised that my poor child would be unclothed, or I’d be washing 6 times a day. Alas, I took myself off to a gorgeous local store around the corner, bought a bag full of pieces and we were good to go.” With her last, she was totally prepared, “Third time around, I was (slightly) more intelligent and had everything ready from Henry’s two older brothers. The benefit of three children of the same gender!”
She’s a mum who’s earned her medals in parent prep, so to celebrate The Grace List (and because she’s a wealth of mum knowledge), we asked Amy her top tips for navigating nesting and all the commentary that comes with it. We recommend applying her sage words to all baby shopping occasions, whether the baby in question is yours or someone else's.
The TMI moments
“I will never forget being handed a list, from a friend, of the items I needed to buy for my first child. While she was (and remains) a good friend, it took most of my strength not to pop that list straight into the bin. This list was housed in Excel, with multiple tabs (that should have been a giveaway), and contained both a nappy bin and a wipe warmer. To this day, I still have no idea why or how these products exist. My brain began to promptly shut down,” says Amy. The takeaway? It’s great to get advice, but be weary that what some consider a must-have, you might not ever use. It’s good to know about some things, but knowing about everything is overwhelming. And buying all the things is nuts (and will send you broke). Trust yourself. If you need to know about it, you’ll figure it out when you get to it.
Buy few, buy well
“I feel really strongly about buying few, but buying well. Seek out sustainable, ethical, good quality brands that will last the distance. I’m lucky in that I have three boys, so anything I buy for my eldest will now inevitably receive three lifespans. Which also makes the cost per wear/play much more palatable,” says Amy. Quality over quantity, always.
It’s not D-Day
Well, in a way it is — your baby has arrived and life will never be the same again — but the world still carries on. So you don’t have to have every single thing BB (before baby). The shops continue to open, and you will leave your house again. Not that you really have to, because the internet. Exhibit A(my): “Because I am still breastfeeding around the clock, I shop almost consistently on my phone between the hours of 1am and 4am. Then it’s a complete (sometimes wonderful, often shocking) surprise when I receive an Australia Post notification that my package is on its way.”
There will always be Beyblades
“Anything with a cartoon motif or a fluorescent colour makes me shudder (although my 2-year-old, Charlie does have a real penchant for anything brightly dinosaur-themed), so I try my best to veer toward natural colours and fabrics for their clothes. For toys, I love anything wooden (or even better — paper — i.e. books), but I settle for Lego as at least I know it will pass through the generations,” says Amy. But there’s a catch, “If it all sounds very neutral, white linen, holier-than-thou, rest assured that my battles are often lost and Beyblades have actually recently taken possession of our home.” Bottom line? Kids will eventually ruin your aesthetic, make peace with it.
Give with mum in mind
Amy has her baby shower gifting so down that she now has a signature gift. “At my own baby shower, one of my closest friends (already a mum) gifted me a packet of breast pads, a 1L jar of Nutella and two books, Peepo! and Each Peach Pear Plum. This gift was the one I used and loved more than any other, so I give the exact same gift at all other baby showers,” she says. “I also am somewhat biased in my love of GRACE MOTHERS: Letters To Our Children as a gift for once their head is out of the trenches. It’s one for the mum (not the baby — finally!), looks lovely on a coffee table (that may otherwise be filled with unfolded washing), and tells so many heart-warming and moving stories about motherhood that it’s impossible not to relate.
Send in the help
“I love Dr Oscar Serrallach’s line that new mums shouldn’t receive visitors, only staff. So when I’m visiting a friend after they first have a baby, I try to bring “services”. A few meals for the freezer or lunchbox-ready snacks for their older children, a voucher for a cleaner, or a washing basket for me to take away. I also recommend a voucher for The Dinner Ladies or Katering at Home, which my wonderful mum and brilliant boss gifted me when my youngest arrived. Complete and utter game-changers.”
Check out The Grace List, curated by Amy and the rest of The Grace Tales team, the ten products that are perfect for any stage of motherhood.