I was able to organize a Nesting Party recently, it was so much fun. It was a combination of a baby shower, a Blessing Way, and a little bit of the food prepping labor that you do the day before Thanksgiving. I had this idea from the book, The First Forty Days by Heng Ou.
Before we had the actual party, I created a sign up sheet with all of the items that needed to be brought, and had everyone sign up to bring a few of the items. (The sign up sheet is here, if you would like to see it.) I also talked to everyone invited so we would all be on the same page as to what we were going to be doing.
We started the party by bringing everything in the house. The hostess had already made the house a special setting by lighting a few candles, putting flowers in vases, and turning on some music.
It was a beautiful atmosphere. We all munched on a delicious brunch while the mothers opened some presents that were so thoughtfully given and centered around her needs (here's a post about gift ideas for a new mom).
(I love the wrapping style! One represents stretch marks or "tiger stripes" and the other, the vulva!).
Once presents were open and delighted over, we all got to work. We had several stations set up so everyone was able to easily see what they could do. Here are some of the activities that we did:
a foot bath and massage
This is relatively easy to do and is a beautiful service to render. To set up a foot bath and massage station you will need several items:
- one cookie sheet
- several hand towels and several washcloths
- a pan to put feet in (a large casserole pan works really well)
- a pitcher with warm water
- massage oil of your choice (for example, olive or coconut oil). You can pour about 1/3 cup of oil into a small bowl so you can easily "grab" oil
The cookie sheet should be covered in a towel. Place casserole pan (without water in it) on cookie sheet. Place additional towels and pitcher nearby. After setting up your station have the mother sit down in a comfortable spot. Have her place her feet in the casserole pan and slowly pour some warm water over her feet. Slowly and gently wash away any dirt from her skin. If you want to add in a sugar scrub in, here would be where you would do that. Finish rinsing off mother's feet and ankles and then remove pan and set her feet gently onto the cookie sheet. Dry ankles and feet and then slowly begin massaging. One of the best advice I heard about touch from a massage therapist was: "don't worry about technique. Focus on having loving intentions as you touch another and that will be what is felt." When you are done, hug the mom and then wash your hands.
create an affirmation garland
Affirmation garlands can be about anything an individual desires, but for a Nesting Party, you would typically want them centered around something specific. For this party, it is most likely to be easier if you plan on having the affirmations centered around one specific theme. For example: labor or motherhood.
Here is my post with instructions and additional information on affirmation garlands: How to Create an Affirmation Garland
Here is another post with some examples of motherhood affirmations: Motherhood Affirmations
Granola is extremely easy to make quickly and has the additional benefit of being nutritious. Here is my favorite granola recipe:
- 2 cups raw, whole rolled oats (AKA old fashion oats)
- 1/2 cup raw nuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup raw seeds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (or a combo of both)
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or other healthy cooking oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange juice (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of orange zest (optional)
- 1 large pinch fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 300º F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted. Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. Mason jars make excellent storage containers.
make homemade larabars
Here's a recipe for homemade Larabars:
- 4 cups whole pitted dates (moist ones work best)
- 2 cups raw or toasted whole shelled almonds
- 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or sunflower or cashew butter, divided (or more, if necessary)
Line a 9-inch x 13-inch straight sided pan with a piece of parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the long edges. Set aside. Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Add the almonds to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped (think fresh bread crumb texture.) Add the chocolate chips and pulse again until the chocolate chips are also finely chopped. Pour the chocolate nuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add half of the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together in the workbowl. Open the food processor and add in 1 tablespoon of the nut butter and half of the ground nuts. Replace the lid and process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dates, chocolatey nuts and nut butter. When all of the ingredients have been thus processed, wet your hands and use them to press the mixture as evenly over the bottom of the pan as possible. Fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover them and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth. Roll into balls and then store in sandwich sized Ziplock bags.
*Initially we started by cutting them into squares, but that took too long so we just rolled them into balls.
make frozen padsicles
We used the recipe found in The First Forty Days book, but if you are wanting to make some padsicles without dried plants on it, here's a simple one.
- Bowl (for mixing in)
- Gallon sized freezer bag
- 1 cup Aloe Vera
- 1 cup Witch Hazel
- 3 drops Lavender essential oil
- Super Size Pads (about 6-10), ideally organic brand since they use less chemicals.
Combine ingredients together in the bowl and then dip unwrapped pads in mixture, making sure they are soaked. When unwrapping the pads, don't unwrap all the way, keep the back sticker on and simply unstick the sides. Once pad is soaked in mixture, wrap it back and carefully place into the freezer bag. Store in freezer. Mom should unthaw for about 5-10 minutes before using so it doesn't stick to her skin. These can be used during pregnancy and postpartum.
make perineum spray mixture
- 6 tablespoons witch hazel (available at most grocery stores)
- 3 tablespoons aloe vera
- 6 drops Frankincense essential oil
- 3 drops Clary Sage essential oil
- 4 tablespoons filtered water
- Glass spray bottle (I've seen it in store at Sprouts but they are also available on Amazon)
Combine the ingredients together in the spray bottle (or in a bowl or other jar, depending on whether or not you are doubling batch). Gently shake to mix and pour into small spray bottle (we made a big batch and stored some in a larger mason jar for refilling purposes).
The witch hazel acts as a toner on the swollen area. The aloe vera soothes and relieves further swelling and discomfort. Frankincense oil heals any tears, broken skin, and irritation. Clary sage helps to re-tone the area and relieve pain and cramping. You can also add lavender oil to this combination as it helps reduce infection and inflammation (use one or two drops if adding it in mixture).
We washed all the dishes and tidied the areas we used and finished with wrapping red ribbon around everyone's wrist. This was to remind us that as women we are connected and to give us a visual reminder of the connection we felt and what we did that day. Every time we looked at the ribbon we would send good pregnancy, labor, and postpartum vibes to the mother. You can also give every attendant a candle to light when the mother goes into labor and you can send her good thoughts and "be there" in spirit while she labors. Of course, there is a variety of different things you can do or make at your own Nesting Party; like start a batch of bone broth, make a baby carrier or epsom salt bath.