Move before or after baby is born?

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2004

My hubby has a job offer out of the area where we know no one. Do we attempt a move soon, with me 4-5 months pregnant expecting our first child, or do we see about delaying the job start (and/or telecommuting) and move later with a newborn? Any first time moving moms out there who can share some pros and cons of the options? We don't want to go through a first pregnancy without our support nearby, but then moving with a newborn and losing the support then won't be easy either - maybe it's easier to move and try to find support before the baby comes? suggestions? opportunity is knocking!

My husband and I moved last year when I was just over 37 weeks pregnant. We moved within the Bay Area. Of course we were nervous that I might go into labor while we were mid-move, but we were glad we did it beforehand. Why? We got settled before our baby arrived, and we met our neighbors and have somewhat of a local support system. I would suggest moving earlier rather than later - you can meet other soon to be moms and possibly even join a moms club. Once the baby is here, it will be more difficult to get out and about. Good luck and congrats! Hannah
If you are set on either moving now, or after the baby's born, do it NOW. Life is much, much harder, and support much more important, with a newborn than when pregnant. Karen
I moved both times I was pregnant, and while mine were short moves (from SF to East Bay and to a different house still in the East Bay), I strongly encourage you to bite the bullet and move while you are pregnant. I know it seems like it is hard to do this while you are pregnant, but it is an absolute cakewalk compared to doing it with a newborn. I found that my strongest support network with a newborn was actually the new moms I met in my moms group after the birth of my first baby. If I had stayed in SF and joined a group there, I would have lost that network when I moved, and this really (in my experience) is a one-shot deal. You really bond with people when you are all new moms for the first time. If you move now, you will have time to get some info on a good ob/gyn, a good pediatrician, etc. Good luck with whatever you decide, and wherever you end up, try to hook up with a new moms group once baby shows up. You will be amazed at how much support you can get from a group of (initially) strangers. Moved while pregnant
I'd suggest moving now so that you start to get a support system together and meet new people before the baby is born. Things like pre-natal classes and new parent groups are great ways to meet other new parents and start connections for future play groups and such. Also, it's nice to meet some people (people at your husband's new job) while ''just'' pregnant and before you turn into sleep-deprived mommy with a baby in tow. Unless your pregancy is especially difficult, I'd say you'll need the support much more after the baby is born than before. Good luck!
We just moved to Berkeley from Colorado in February, when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. We had lived in Berkeley before, so we had friends here, although we were moving away from family. I am really glad that we moved while I was pregnant rather than waiting until after the baby was born. By moving first, we were able to meet expecting parents in this area by taking child birth classes, etc. Also, now that we have a newborn I can see that it would have been exponentially more difficult to move with a baby. Good luck! anon
I would definitely advise you to move while the baby is on the inside. They take so little of your time then! Once they're born, well, you can still move, of course, but babies really do need a lot of time and attention. If you do decide to wait, my advice would then be to move while the baby is as young as possible--my experience is that older babies need even more attention, until they're about three years old. Newborns do sleep a lot, and typically are quite happy just being carried around in a sling or whatever as you go about your business. I would bet that you'll find support in your new location, especially if you know what kind you're looking for (alternative medical, or whatever). I have found that generally most people love babies and want to help new moms! Good luck! meg
i would say you should probably move now. it will be MUCH easier to move now than with a newborn on the purely practical and physical level. that is not to be taken lightly. as for the emotional support network, most people i've known have felt their community changing after they have a baby anyhow-- of course it depends on who you know-- but new moms are often out there looking for other moms with similar aged babies and depending on how soon you can move you might even be able to make some connections in a prenatal yoga class or some other pregnant type of activity. and if you are definitely planning to move no matter what, it is going to be even harder to move away from a supportive community after you have your baby. the only reason to wait is if you are unsure about moving at all, or the choice of where. that's my two cents, but i'm sure you will figure out what's best for you.... Good luck on your journey and congratulations!
I moved while 6 months pregnant and a friend of mine moved with a one-month old. No question about it, in my opinion, move while pregnant! Speaking from my own experience, it is probably impossible for you to imagine how much easier it is to be pregnant than it is to have a newborn until you have experienced both. For example, if you think your hormones are raging now and your husband claims you are acting like an alien, this is (likely) still nothing compared to the postpartum period. Now, I have heard rumor of women who gave birth within 6 hours and were up shopping and cooking breakfast for the whole family the next day, but this is the exception (IF it's actually true!) rather than the rule. After the baby is born, you are likely to find it difficult to find the time to get dressed, feed yourself, etc. and to not burst into tears several times a day. In short, I, at least, was overwhelmed with a newborn (coupled with a difficult induced labor and an emergency C-section to boot). I cannot imagine moving on top of all this and being so unsettled. New motherhood was surreal enough for me without going through a move at the same time. My friend who moved with a newborn (and a toddler) was absolutely exhausted and attributed a large part of her postpartum depression to having to move on top of everything else. So, since moving with a 12-month old or older baby was not one of the choices you said you and your husband have but rather the choice was now or with a newborn, I certainly recommend moving while pregnant. This way, you can get your home and yourselves settled (at least as much as possible in a short time) BEFORE the arrival. You can make arrangements for soon-to-be-out-of-town family and friends to visit you. You can find out how to join a mother's support group, postnatal exercise class, etc. You will need this support so much more after the birth than you will need it to get through your pregnancy. Been there...
By all means move as soon as possible. Physically and emotionally this is a much better time. I moved when I was 8 months pregnant and it wasn! easy but I! so glad I did. At 4- 5 months pregnant you should still be feeling good and be able to pack and move light boxes. Get as much done as you can while you're pregnant because once the baby comes, he/she will change your life forever. First of all it'll take you at least 6-8 weeks to get back to feeling ''normal'' after childbirth. You may spend days to weeks in bed. Then there's all those 'round the clock feedings you'll be doing so you'll be suffering from sleep deprivation for about 6 months. If you're breastfeeding, that! a hurdle in itself to overcome. I'd move and get settled in now. You can take the time to find a good obgyn, pediatrician, lactation specialist, doula, etc.. You will need help when the baby comes, and if you can have a family member (mom, sister, etc) come stay with you for a couple weeks that would be ideal. That family member will be someone to take care of you, while you're busy taking care of the baby. Congratulations and good luck!! Anon
I would say move now. Moving is stressful, and a new baby is going to add a ton of stress (and joy, but the stress cannot be denied) I have moved with and without kids (not even newborns) and it is easier without. Get settled in your new place, feather your nest, and look for a new moms club, or a newcomers group. moved alot
I'd strongly recommend to move now. Pregnancy is a piece of cake compared to taking care of a newborn. During the first few months with a new baby you'll be happy if you find the time to have a shower or brush your teeth - you will simply not have any time to even think about moving, let alone actually organize a move. So, either move now or wait until the baby is at least a year. We moved when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my first baby and what we didn't manage to unpack by the time the baby was born is in boxes to this day (by now we have two kids so theses boxes will remain in the garage for some more time). still living with boxes
I haven't moved either while I was pregnant or with a new-born, so take my advice with that said. But having had two newborns within the last two years I would recommend emphatically that you move NOW! As hard as it to imagine, nothing will be as easy as it is now for quite a while. I can't imaging having to move right after giving birth, you just want to focus inward and you're in a chronic state of exhaustion all the time. Much better to settle into the new home to allow yourself to nest and to find new support, both medical and otherwise (neighbors, family, new friends, etc...) You will also have a lot less to move before (cribs, bouncy chairs, etc...)It will be nice for your baby's doctor to know him/her from the start and your new OB can get to know you fairly quickly before the baby comes. The only danger I see is if you have a complicated pregnancy so talk to your OB about you condition. S.W.
Having moved both while pregnant, and with a baby (though not a newborn), I'd say move while pregnant, hands-down. Newborns are all-consuming and you wouldn't be able to help much with moving. Not that you'd want to be lifting a lot of heavy stuff while pregnant, but part of the joy of a new place is unpacking, organizing, decorating, etc. and you will be much more pressed for time after the baby is born. (This comes at you from someone who is still living partially out of boxes. And the ''baby'' is 18 months old.) Also, having a newborn can be isolating, so better to move before baby is born and have a chance to make new friends while pregnant.
Best of luck to you. Truthfully, neither option is easy. btdt
We moved just across town-Oakland to Richmond- when my daughter was 2 months old. I could do nothing, and I mean nothing, to help with the move. (Come to think of it maybe I did pack a box.)It was unbelievably difficult. I could barely help pack, move boxes or clean up afterwards, let alone unpack. My husband was no less busy with work and a newborn and yet still had to bare the brunt of the work. My advice- move now. You can make contacts in your new location. As an aside- my husband just happened by. I gave him a brief run down of your question. He groaned and without a moments hesitation said, ''Move now.''
would have moved before baby if it was an option
This is a tough one. Having moved twice during my first pregnancy I can tell you that it is not ideal. However, I think on balance it is better to move before the baby is born than after (depending on how much after you can wait.) The support you need during pregnancy is nothing compared to what you need when the baby is actually born, and I certainly wouldn't recommend moving during the baby's first few months. So if you can wait until the baby is 6 months old or more, then it might be better to stay where you have support for those first months. Otherwise, I would recommend moving early enough in your pregnancy that you can establish a new support network before the baby is born. One thing you can do is take prenatal pregnancy preparedness classes at the hospital where you will give birth. If you like some of the people in your class you can exchange contact info and establish a new parents group (moms group/play group). Sometimes the hospital will do something similar for families with babies born within a few months of each other. When you are looking for a neighborhood, try to find one with at least a few families with kids 3 years old and under. Talk to neighbors and find out if the neighborhood already has some cohesiveness. Do they hang out together? Celebrate birthdays and other occaisions? Have a play group or book group or any other semi-organized group? One good thing I can say about househunting and moving during pregnancy is that it keeps one from sitting around obsessing over every little symptom. And you really don't need to spend 6 months preparing the nursery. We moved into our house 1 month before our baby was born and it worked out fine. But only you know if that will be a welcome diversion or too stressful for you. (Of course you can always househunt during the pregnancy and then if you don't find anything before your 8th month, stop looking and wait until the baby is a few months old.) Good luck however it works out!