Moving can be one of the most stressful things you can do under normal circumstances. But when you add in the factor of moving while pregnant – whether you’re three, five or even nine months along – this can take the stress to a whole new level.
Luckily, when it comes to expecting a baby, when you ask for help there are usually plenty of people around, from friends to family, who are more than willing to lend a hand.
Here are some great tips to keep the stress to a minimum and create a smooth moving environment:
Get organized – Make a list of all the things you need to do. Establish realistic deadlines, and check off those tasks one at a time.
Pack ahead of time – Pack up the kitchen, bathroom or the office eight to 10 weeks before moving day – you’ll be relieved when moving week comes and all you need to do is pack away your toiletries. If you’re hiring movers to pack for you, make sure everything is organized according to the rooms they’ll be going into.
Label everything – “Pregnancy brain” turns former memory proud people into nervous wrecks when they can’t remember which box their precious mementos went into, so label your boxes clearly with which room they’ll be going in at your new place.
Accept help – When family and friends offer to lend a hand, don’t pretend you can handle it all yourself. Whether it’s in the form of babysitting, if you already have children, moral or physical support, let them help you.
Research your new neighborhood – As you will be spending some downtime during your pregnancy, put it to good use. Whether you’re moving across town or country, find out information about your new neighborhood online or in person. Scope out the local grocery store, coffee shop, restaurants, bank, walking trails, fitness clubs, mommy groups and activities. Being able to maintain important aspects of your daily routine in a new environment makes a move far less stressful.
Medical care – If you’re changing your healthcare provider during your pregnancy, aim to have consistency in your prenatal care. Ask your current doctor/midwife if they have contacts or recommendations in your new area, and make the appropriate contact well in advance of your move. Be sure to have copies of your medical records and your prenatal file.
The three-day bag – In order to avoid tearing apart sealed boxes in search of your favorite unscented hand cream, body pillow, blanket or fuzzy slippers, pack a three-day bag (or bags!) with all immediate necessities you might crave during your move.
Take care of yourself – Regardless of where you are in your pregnancy, a lot of physical and mental energy is required for a move. As moving week approaches, make sure to take extra time for yourself. Book yourself a prenatal massage, block off some nap-times, go for walks or plan to attend your favorite prenatal yoga class.
DON’T LIFT – Moving and lifting heavy household stuff is out of question so please let your family and friends help you.
Cleaning – Make an effort to wipe down and dust off everything before it gets packed into boxes so you can start with everything clean in the next place. Wash curtains, shower & window, and couch and chair covers. This will give you a head start on having your next home extra clean before bringing baby home. Ask for help with items like the fridge & kitchen and the bathrooms.
Purge – The less you have to move the better so take this time to purge. Sell furniture, consign clothes, throw out broken toys.
Nesting ideas – Trying to make space for a baby takes planning. Babies come with a lot of STUFF and you can spend weeks rearranging things to make room for baby gear, the changing table, the bouncy chair, etc. Plan and arrange everything the way you want it from the start and get rid of the excess.
House shopping is a whole lot harder in post delivery. With a newborn, house hunting cuts into that precious newborn snuggle time. If you’re looking for a new home while pregnant here are some other great reasons to buy before you give birth:
Timing – If you’re actively searching for a home, you need to be ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, and nursing, napping, and nappie changes make that awfully hard. You may spend a total of only 20 minutes in a house before you decide to buy it, and you need to make every second count.
The nesting instinct is no joke. New moms-to-be experience the instinct in the third trimester—better to already be settled in the new place so you can nest in peace.
If you move after the kid comes, you might disrupt establishing sleep patterns. One source notes of moving that “well-established sleep patterns can be disturbed as a consequence of change in a baby or toddler’s environment.” Babies thrive on routine. If your baby has finally settled into a sleep rhythm, you’ll do anything to preserve it.
Postnatal recovery takes a lot longer than you think. Some women feel minor-to-moderate discomfort for weeks — some face serious problems that can affect daily activity for months. One study suggests that it takes up to a year to recover. You’ve got to decide which discomfort is worse: pregnancy or recovery.
You’ll spend less money on baby gear. Let’s say you have a baby shower and receive every co-sleeping, snuggling, distracting, milk-extracting item you could ever, or never, want—plus a diaper swan. If you’re still pregnant, you can sift through that stuff, discarding or passing on the unwanted items, before you pack.
On the other hand, here’s why you might want to move after the baby comes:
Baby bumps and moving do not mix. The American Pregnancy Association advises pregnant women: Get someone else to do the heavy lifting. Doing so carries a heightened risk of premature labor, low birth weight, and hernia.
You’ll have to give up your usual household cleaners and rely on vinegar. Nontoxic cleaners like vinegar are safest for pregnant women to use. As much as we aspire to have the greenest household on the block, we have to admit some of those heavy chemical cleaners do a much better job. Pregnant women need to avoid oven cleaners and products that contain ammonia and bleach.
You’ll know better what you need from a space. Spend a month or two with the baby in your old place, and you’ll figure out what’s missing: a bigger kitchen, or a real laundry room, or an office now that the baby items have taken over. After some time, you’ll have a much clearer sense of what kind of home to look for.
Even if you’re in those weeks or months it takes to recover from childbirth, you won’t have that big baby bump to contend with as you sort and arrange your new space.
You’ll make friends a whole lot faster. Babies are a great way to get to know people. Moving with a newborn can feel more relaxing and enhance your social connections in your new home. Many neighborhoods have mommy or daddy groups, storytime, and, in some places, mommy happy hour.
With a baby in tow, you’ll have instant access to that world of new parents.
Newborns are easier than you might think (except the colicky ones). Though first-time moms might not believe it, newborns are pretty easy to manage—they basically just sleep, eat and need diaper changes. Keep them fed, warm, and dry, and they won’t even notice they’ve moved.
You could save time. When your new baby comes, time will get even more precious. If you wait to move until the baby’s an infant, you can enjoy those early days, and if you’re lucky enough to have maternity leave, you can use your leave to bond with your baby.