Recently, you might have seen an uptick in “nesting parties” on your social media feeds. These new celebrations have quickly gone viral—and for a good reason: They help celebrate expecting parents with acts of service. So instead of gathering with friends and family to get spoiled with stuff, you and your loved ones will come together to prepare your home and complete a few important pre-baby projects.
Thinking this might be the right route for you or the pregnant person in your life? Keep reading to learn more about what exactly a nesting party entails, why they’re becoming popular and what to know before throwing one.
What is a Nesting Party?
Nesting is the urge to “ready the nest” toward the end of pregnancy, and it usually involves checking tasks off your list of preparations (painting the nursery, assembling baby gear, installing car seats, etc.). Traditionally, this is work that you and your partner would do on your own time. But nesting parties offer a way for loved ones to pitch in and help out.
Basically, a nesting party is a small gathering of close family and friends to celebrate the parents-to-be and help them get ready for baby’s arrival, says Renee Patrone Rhinehart, party planner and founder of Party Host Helpers. “It’s a great way to help moms prepare for their incoming newborn,” she says. What’s more, it reduces the overwhelming pre- and post-baby workload and sets you (or the parents-to-be!) up for success.
Nesting parties are emerging as a new trend, and the reason is simple: Modern moms and dads face a lack of balance as they juggle parenthood, careers and life, and identifying a support system early on is critical. “Now more than ever, moms need to be celebrated and pampered,” Rhinehart says. “This is the perfect way to get a little extra help so new moms—or even veteran moms—have a little less stress.” What’s more, nesting parties are a sweet way to mark this milestone and spend quality time with loved ones.
But what exactly should you do during a nesting party? As the name implies, these events usually involve typical nesting activities, such as:
How Are Nesting Parties Different Than Baby Showers?
Both nesting parties and baby showers are gatherings that celebrate the mom-to-be. However, a baby shower is typically a more formalized, social event that involves a theme, games, food and party favors—not to mention gifts to help you get started on your parenting journey.
While a nesting party can also have those things, it usually focuses more on helping expecting parents feel ready for baby’s arrival through thoughtful prep work and meaningful acts of service. Another difference? While baby showers involve gift giving, nesting parties will involve organizing and putting those gifts away.
That said, it’s totally possible to combine the two types of celebrations. Of course, if you’re truly hoping to get some to-do’s done during your nesting party, you’ll want to keep the invite list short and sweet. “Choose a select group to come over after the shower to help put away the gifts and do any additional things you want done to prepare for your newborn,” Rhinehart suggests. Though favors aren’t necessary for a nesting party, Rhinehart does recommend sending out thank you notes.
Tips for Throwing a Nesting Party
Wondering how to throw a successful nesting party? For starters, while it may be hosted by a close friend or relative, it’s best to have nesting parties at the soon-to-parents’ home. “This makes it easier to get things accomplished,” Rhinehart says. But, as is often the case when there’s lots to do, this also involves careful planning and boundary setting. If you have to redo the tasks after guests have left, it defeats the purpose and winds up causing even more stress. Below, some tips for making a nesting party as seamless and successful as possible:
Curate the guest list: As mentioned, it’s best to keep nesting parties small to limit the number of cooks in the kitchen. Only invite close friends and family you feel comfortable with and trust. “I personally invited six of my high school friends who were all moms, understood the stressors of becoming a mom and were happy to help,” Rhinehart says.
Prepare a list of tasks beforehand: A prepared list helps keep the party organized and efficient. To ensure all the tasks get done, keep this list to stuff that’s achievable within the time frame of the party. Write out explicit instructions for how you want the tasks accomplished, adds meditation and mindfulness expert Josephine Atluri. This eliminates the potential stress of having to re-do tasks later on.
Delegate: While you can ask guests if they have preferences, don’t be afraid to assign tasks to keep things moving. Delegation will depend on the types of tasks on your list; you may consider splitting up larger items among a pair or a group of people. While you’re in assigning mode, give them a soft deadline so they stay on track, Rhinehart suggests.
Lean into individual strengths: If you have any friends that are master organizers, ask them for their tips on how to arrange the nursery or pack a diaper bag. Or, if you have a relative that’s impeccable at building baby gear, ask them to teach you their tricks. “The more excited a person is for a given task, the more likely they’ll [try to] execute it to the best of their abilities,” Atluri says.
Have all the supplies you’ll need: Keep supplies like scissors, tools and baby detergent handy, as well as anything else your guests may need to complete their tasks. If you’re having someone make meals to freeze for after the hospital, stock the fridge and pantry with the necessary ingredients prior to the party.
Enjoy the process: Yes, the goal of a nesting party is to accomplish a lot of prep work, but it’s also a moment to celebrate this stage of your pregnancy journey. Consider having low-lift appetizers, dinner, dessert or drinks for the group, play some fun music and spend time catching up as you work. “This is a really special and cherished time, and while your friends are coming to help and support you, they should enjoy the party as well,” says Rhinehart. To ensure you have fun too, try to let go of some control, adds Atluri. This can be hard to do when there’s lots to get done, but trust your guests and let them support you to the best of their abilities.
Nesting parties are a rising trend that highlight the kind of care and consideration parents-to-be and new parents often lack. That said, you shouldn’t have to throw a party to get some support. If you’re currently expecting, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members. And if you’re a loved one of someone that’s currently pregnant, reach out and see if there are ways you can lend a hand.
About the experts:
Renee Patrone Rhinehart is a party planner with over 15 years of experience. She is also the founder of Events by Renee, an event planning company launched in 2007, and Party Host Helpers, launched in 2013. While Party Host Helpers started as a small business in Philadelphia, it now operates in over 30 cities across the nation, including New York City, West Palm Beach and Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Eastern University.
Josephine Atluri is an expert in meditation and mindfulness, as well as a fertility and parenting coach. She’s a mom to seven and created her family through in vitro fertilization, international adoption and surrogacy. She uses this personal experience to inform her work. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Atluri is also the host of the podcast “Responding to Life: Talking Health, Fertility & Parenthood,” as well as the author of Mindfulness Journal for Parents: Prompts and Practices to Stay Calm, Present, and Connected and 5-Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy: Simple Practices to Feel Calm, Present, and Connected.
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