What is a nesting party, and should you have one instead of a baby shower?
I once attended a baby shower where they didn’t serve food.
“What?” I said. “But that’s the only good thing about baby showers!”
I may have expressed this sentiment a tad too loudly. But the truth stands: These gift-opening gatherings can be arduous to sit through. And in some cases, I’d wager that even the pregnant lady at the center of it would prefer to open her gifts privately — and forgo the performative oohing and ahhing over the diaper cake.
But a trend has recently emerged (on social media, naturally) to change up this baby ritual. Some people are now throwing nesting parties instead of baby showers.
What’s a Nesting Party?
A nesting party is an informal gathering of friends and family who help with various tasks to prepare for the baby.
Rather than watching their loved one open gifts, they pitch in and help with housecleaning, baby clothes organizing, diaper station set-up, car seat installation, and the assembly of various baby-related items, like cribs, playpens, swings and breast pumps. Guests might bring frozen meals or practical items a new mom needs endless supplies of, like diapers and wipes.
“This is the perfect way to get a little extra help so new moms — or even veteran moms — have a little less stress,” Renee Patrone Rhinehart, party planner and founder of Party Host Helpers, told The Bump.
In other words, the focus is on offering tangible, hands-on help for the mom-to-be as she prepares for this new phase of life.
As Nia Mullet Mom at @nialui21 explained on TikTok, “I think it will help me a lot to feel ready for this baby.”
@nialui21 Nesting party here we come. Highly recommend this over a baby shower. #nestingparty #babyshower #nesting #pregnancy #pregnantmom #nestingmom #nestingmode ♬ original sound – Nia Mullet Mom
Why Opt for a Nesting Party?
A nesting party might be a better option than a baby shower if, say, this is your third baby. In that case, you may not need the various baby equipment and all those packages of onesies. What you’re really craving is a little help with that mountain of laundry. Or maybe you’d like some extra sets of hands to help rearrange your living space to accommodate one more kid.
This option might work well if you know that some of your friends are on a strict budget. They might jump at the chance to give the gift of service in lieu of a pricey breast pump. And do you have loved ones who’d be thrilled to show up in jeans or even sweats, rather than the more formal attire that people tend to wear to baby showers?
In her Facebook post below, Tanya Ebony El shared that at her daughter’s nesting party, “the Village came together and washed & folded baby clothes and completed the nursery.”
But she also used the occasion to discuss important topics — like having a birth plan and knowing your rights in a hospital birthing situation, so it became a useful educational opportunity as well.
Of course, nesting parties aren’t for everyone. For example, Nia mentioned on TikTok that she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, “so this was my best option.” But lots of women do enjoy being celebrated in these last weeks before the hard work of caring for a baby begins.
Others might be uncomfortable with letting friends clean their dirty or cluttered house. And it might be awkward to ask friends to come do your chores, knowing that they have their own houses to clean and clutter to organize.
Nesting Party Tips
There’s no reason you couldn’t have both a baby shower and a nesting party, if that’s what you want. Or, combine the two. You can open gifts and then get some help organizing and placing them. You could also make some freezer meals to store while you enjoy refreshments.
You don’t need a theme, but you could incorporate one. And The Everymom suggests creating an area where people can leave encouraging notes for the postpartum period.
A nesting party is best done in the parent-to-be’s home, of course, even if someone else organizes it. Make sure to have all supplies on hand and play to your guests’ strengths, The Bump says. And have fun!
The good news is that this trend offers an option for people who hate baby showers, but wouldn’t mind a little help in this challenging time!