Moving: When the baby is inside or outside?
February 15, 2012 2:55 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I own a small house, and were originally planning on moving early next year. We got some good news over the holidays and I am now nearing the end of the first trimester of my first pregnancy. We'd still like to move, but is it easier to do this while I'm pregnant or should we wait until the baby is 6 months old?

Our choices seem to be: move by the 7th month of pregnancy or wait until we have a 6 month old baby. Well, there's also don't move at all, but we don't like that one. I really need help determining the benefits of moving now vs. moving later. Here are some additional details:

Logistics: We can get the house on the market around my 16th week of pregnancy. Average time on the market in our area is 85 days, with well-priced houses going much faster. This is our first house, so we have no experience with purchasing a home while selling another. If the house doesn't sell within 13 weeks, we'd take it off the market and try again next year. This would be a local move, 20 miles max, and there are a number of houses in the area we are interested in. We're looking at newer houses so hopefully no more than paint and cleaning required. We have a place to stay if we happen to be "between houses" for a few weeks, although there is no air conditioning so I wouldn't want to stay for too long once July hits (we're in southern New England). If I was put on bedrest, I'd go to the in-laws and work from home.

Cnsiderations: We were already planning on getting the house as ready for sale as possible before the baby arrives, but there are additional baby related tasks we need to complete if we don't move (such as putting the contents of a bedroom into storage and consolidating closets). I'd prefer to do the move and get the baby's room set up just once. I'd like to be able to set up things like daycare and pediatricians once, in our new location. I'd also LOVE to have a spare bedroom so my mom/in-laws can stay and help out if needed (not really possible in our current house).

Financial: The sale of this house is necessary to purchase our next house, although it would not be if we waited until after the baby was born. We cut into our savings by moving earlier, but we'd still have about 30K available for emergencies and we could build it back up relatively quickly. We have excellent health insurance with a very low out of pocket maximum, and our cars are newer, so I'm thinking any emergencies are likely to be related to our new house. Job prospects and security are very strong for both of us, and we could live off of one income for awhile if needed. Our only debt is our current (low) mortgage and a monthly car payment. Am I being realistic here?

So, move sooner or move later? As you can probably tell, I'm very partial to getting the move over with sooner. My husband is not so sure, but we're going to work over the next few weeks to see how ready we can get the house before deciding. My husband does not like to rush things, so even though we've been talking about moving for months, moving the date is very sudden to him. Please note: I feel my husband is severely underestimating the demands of a new baby, while I am probably moderately underestimating the hassle of moving while pregnant. Feel free to address this aspect as we have little experience in these areas.
posted by smalls to Human Relations (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Congratulations! Pregnancy is the easy part ... so as prioritizing one thing means kind of having to deal with the other, personally, I would rather move during pregnancy and then deal with the birth, than have the baby and then have to move. It will probably be much harder to think about all aspects of looking for a house, negotiating, closing, and then moving after the baby has arrived.
posted by carter at 3:16 AM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

Move while you're pregnant.
posted by miss tea at 3:17 AM on February 15, 2012 [13 favorites]

It is much harder to do anything with an infant or child than being pregnant in my experience. This assumes a healthy pregnancy, of course.

Mr. Murrey and I had two separate houses when I got pregnant. When I got pregnant, we decided to do a a massive remodel on my home, which lasted until 3 months after Little Murrey was born and to live in Mr. Murrey's house in the interim. While it was sometimes awkward waddling around the construction site 9 months pregnant, it was much easier than trying to get stuff done and move back in on no sleep and with a newborn who needed to breastfed every 2 hours.

Mr. Murrey definitely underestimated the demands of a newborn by not having his house ready for sale (minor remodeling) before Little Murrey came as I had hoped and asked for. This caused a lot of needless friction and was awful.

My vote is to move now (as though I get a vote).
posted by murrey at 3:23 AM on February 15, 2012

Move before the baby comes!
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 3:30 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Move while you're pregnant and take advantage of all those crazy nesting hormones you're bound to get later.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:34 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd prefer to do the move and get the baby's room set up just once.

posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:54 AM on February 15, 2012

I moved when our baby was in the NICU and then home as an age-adjusted newborn. It was brutal. Moving while pregnant would have been as hard because I was on bedrest and in hindsight much sicker than I thought I was.

If you have a healthy pregnancy, moving is much easier without a newborn. But if you need to move with a newborn, what I did was simplify and outsource.

First, I got rid of everything we didn't want ruthlessly. We had to renovate the new place, and we lucked out by getting a fantastic contractor recommended by friends who didn't screw us over and didn't need constant supervision. We put off everything non-essential, simplifying our renovation (no re-doing the bathrooms from scratch, putting off half our built-ins until later, one floor material throughout etc). We agreed to aim for satisfied, not perfect.

For moving, I boxed up everything that wasn't day to day early on, labelling it by the room intended only. Then the absolute essentials were packed up the week we moved, and those boxes were marked A to be unpacked first. We packed suitcases like we were travelling to a hotel so we could live out of the suitcases while we unpacked the house.

If you can afford it, pay for full-service movers who will pack and unpack your house for you. Or tell friends and family to come over for a "packing party" and get them to pitch in. Packing and unpacking is the most time-consuming physical task of the move.

We had a party about two weeks after moving as a target to get finished by. I unpacked each room, and then made a list of tasks and aimed to get them done in sets, either by me or other people. It really helped to have several giant plastic tubs that I used for sorting and carrying things around (one tub for trash, one for things that belong in other rooms, one for things to be sorted in this room etc.). Having written lists helped a lot, because I was so tired that I could only follow instructions I'd written during brief periods of lucidity.

I worked when the baby slept, or carried her in a sling and directed people on what to do. Really don't try and do physical stuff while carrying the baby, even in a sling. It's too nervewracking because the baby's head is so tiny and fragile and you will be afraid of bumping the baby on furniture. But a six month old baby will have fairly decent naps and can be put in a chair or a playpen safely to play while you do stuff.

If postponing till you have a six month old baby means you can save and afford a full-service mover, I would totally do that. Use the longer time period to plan out your new house as much as possible, e.g. the oven will go here, so the spice rack will go there... so you aren't trying to make decisions while exhausted.
posted by viggorlijah at 3:56 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Move before baby. No doubt about it.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 3:56 AM on February 15, 2012

Neither is ideal, of course, which is why you are asking. But I'm here to add to the chorus of "move while you are pregnant."

We did an interstate move with a 5 week old. Not much choice and it was supremely unpleasant. And I can't imagine moving us in any of the months after.
posted by safetyfork at 3:57 AM on February 15, 2012

I literally just did this - I am typing this 8 months+ pregnant, sitting on the floor of a 90%-unpacked new place. We cut it really close, but I would still err on the side of moving while pregnant, rather than with a newborn.

A few take-aways:

- Do a full-service move! We did an assisted move (help packing, but not unpacking), and that was a silly choice, both cost-wise and timewise. We would actually have saved time, money, and aggro by just having the full-service option.

- In general, do not plan on being able to help much yourself at all - a lot of moving involves bending over and lifting things, which you won't be able to do. Keep this in mind when planning how much help you will need.

- Put your baby essentials in a separate, clearly marked place when you pack, and keep them on top of any and all piles: that way, if the baby decides to make an early appearance before you are fully settled in, you do not have to worry about finding the baby things on top of everything else. This goes TRIPLE for your car seat, without which you can't take a baby home!
posted by Wylla at 4:11 AM on February 15, 2012

Definitely move while you're pregnant. I moved with a not-quite-one-year-old, and it was a giant pain. I can't imagine trying to move with a 6 month old. I probably would have spent a lot of time crying in frustration and hopelessness.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:21 AM on February 15, 2012

I've moved three times while pregnant (and quite ill) and once with a baby. Definitely move before the baby comes.
posted by cooker girl at 4:22 AM on February 15, 2012

Move while pregnant. I moved with a one year old and that experience is seared in my mind as one of the worst experiences of my life. It is nice you are being considerate of your husband's feeling but this is one of the times you get to pull the pregnancy card and ask he put aside his preferences in favour of what is good for you and the child you are having together.
posted by saucysault at 4:46 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nothing's easier to do after you have a baby...except maybe touching your toes.

Nthing move while pregnant.
posted by inturnaround at 5:11 AM on February 15, 2012

Joining the chorus of "move while you're pregnant." (I'd recommend getting more help than you would otherwise have planned on, either way.)
posted by bardophile at 5:14 AM on February 15, 2012

2 friends of mine have recently done this... ie had the baby, then move house. As they tell it, it was absolutely exhausting and knocked the stuffing out of them.

On preview, I am clearly joining the chorus here!
posted by Ziggy500 at 5:19 AM on February 15, 2012

Nthing all the previous advice - definitely move while pregnant. I moved at about 16 weeks and it was no big deal at all. I could have moved comfortably through the middle of my 3rd trimester, probably.

My baby is about 4 months now, and there's no way I would have the time to pack up boxes for a move at 6 months!
posted by barney_sap at 5:20 AM on February 15, 2012

A friend of mine renovated her kitchen while pregnant with her first child and moved while pregnant with her second child. She said, "Life is easier with the kid inside."
posted by orange swan at 5:45 AM on February 15, 2012

I have moved while being pregnant, twice! It is easier moving before the child is born. My only word of caution is to make sure that your husband will be supportive and shield you from the stress of selling a house as much as possible. I did end up on bed rest with the second one because my ex was not a good and supportive partner. He botched some of the paperwork, I had to fix some of it, my dad had to fix some of it and then he botched something else. So long as your husband is not a flaming idiot, you should be fine.

When the 'nesting' kicks in, it feels better to do it in the house that you will be raising the child in.

posted by myselfasme at 5:49 AM on February 15, 2012

absolutely move while pregnant. You will not want to once baby arrives. I moved at 7 months too, and since I couldn't do any heavy lifting, I got to enjoy putting the house together without the horrors of lifting sofas and what not!
posted by katypickle at 6:19 AM on February 15, 2012

Move in the second tri, if that works for your schedule.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:23 AM on February 15, 2012

Move while pregnant, but don't freak out if you have to move after you're pregnant because the house doesn't sell. It isn't ideal, but it is totally doable. Especially if you're talking about moving in the 7th month of pregnancy, you're going to be largely unable to help with heavy lifting, etc. So, if you have to move with a six month old, strap the baby to your chest and do the same thing you would have pregnant - point at what you want to go where, throw things out, whatever. Both will be okay.

Congrats on the baby :)
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:46 AM on February 15, 2012

Hm. I'm a single mom and moved while I was six months pregnant, then again when my daughter was 15 months old. Moving with a 15 month old was a million times easier. Clearly, I am in the minority, however. Possibly it's different with a husband, but 15 months post partum I could lift things, build things and move shit around without worry. This wasn't true at 6 months pregnant.

I also found house hunting while pregnant to be extremely stressful as I felt like I was running against the clock. I've moved 10 times in the past 22 years, several times cross country, and the move while pregnant was the worst, by far.
posted by looli at 6:48 AM on February 15, 2012

Move now. Truly.
posted by k8t at 6:49 AM on February 15, 2012

Move now. Everything is easier when the baby is on the inside. I say this as I plan a move to a new house in 3 weeks or so when I will be 35 weeks pregnant. Much easier than moving with a baby (we have a 2yo).
posted by LyndsayMW at 7:08 AM on February 15, 2012

First kid? doesn't really matter since you two will basically be playing tag-team with the kid anyways.

Second kid? absolutely move before the kid comes.
posted by zombieApoc at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2012

We moved when our twins were three months old. It was very, very, very difficult. It would've been easier to move when my wife was six months pregnant. However, at seven months it pregnant it would've been different. They're now six months and if we moved now it would be a little easier than at three months...I'm not sure where exactly the balance tips, but I would say that you should move before you're seven months pregnant or after the kid is six months old but definitely not anywhere in between. If the move might take longer than you estimate and you're looking at maybe 7 months pregnant vs. 7-month-old baby, then I would wait for the baby; if you can speed things up and it's 5 months pregnant vs. 5-month-old baby I would do it while pregnant. It depends whether you think things might drag out longer than planned.
posted by creasy boy at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2012

Move now and plan to call in your chits with your friends for lifting and loading. Then you can relax and focus on the birth and your new little one. Congratulations!
posted by summerstorm at 8:23 AM on February 15, 2012

Hm. I have a 6-month-old and I think now would actually be a good time to move. We have to babyproof in the coming weeks and it would be so easy to do that while setting up the apartment anew. In the first 6 months, we didn't have any baby-specific changes to our setup (other than a changing table and a sidecarred crib - you don't need a nursery for the first year). Now is the time we actually have to change stuff because baby is getting mobile. And we know now what we'll have to change - that's a bit hard to predict when the baby is not even there yet. At 6 months she's still small enough to go up in a back carry and be out of the way and happy, so no real problem there either.
I had a picture perfect pregnancy but would have hated to move because boy, I really needed my naps...and I needed to avoid all kinds of stress. And carrying heavy stuff: not so great for pregnant women, OK at 6 months postpartum.
That seems to be a minority opinion though, so maybe just ignore me.
posted by The Toad at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2012

I moved with a 6-month-old and it really wasn't that bad. I did have to take a week off work while still sending him to his babysitter so I could pack with him out of the way, and we had a few friends to help us on moving day (baby was also at the sitter's on moving day).

The baby started rolling the week we moved which made things a little bit more difficult because he no longer reliably stayed where you put him. If we had moved one week sooner things would have been a bit easier!

Of course, 8 months later, some of our stuff is still in boxes... it is difficult to get things done with a little one around!

On the flip side, if your pregnancy is healthy and uncomplicated, it is definitely logistically easier to move while pregnant. First trimester is hard because you're exhausted and maybe sick, and toward the end of the third tri is hard because you're just so big, but 6-7 months shouldn't be bad at all. Though carrying boxes would be very hard on your back, because you'd have to carry them so far out front.

Either way, I think you're going to need help, either recruit friends or hire professionals.

One other thing: buying and selling real estate can be stressful, which can raise your stress hormones, which can be bad for the baby. Stressing after the baby is born means only one of you is affected. Just something to keep in mind.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2012

We moved with a 6 month old, and I found that the hardest part was not the moving, it was looking at houses with a 2-4 month old. I had an incredibly hard time focusing on the important aspects of construction etc carrying the little guy around, and he would lose patience after 2 houses or 30 minutes, whichever came first, and it was hard to give and get information with our agent in those brief periods of time, while also taking care of the needs of the baby, and working full time, and, y'know eating and sleeping. If we'd been showing our home at the same time it would have been truly brutal (we'd been renting). The moving was not so bad because it was a one-time thing so we could actually get friends and out-of-town family to help out.

If we'd done it while I was very pregnant, the hardest part would have been the packing because I would not have been much help. I was in good health but couldn't carry anything bulkier than a toaster, with the belly in the way (I couldn't even reach parts of my belly, by the end, much less carry something in front of it).
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:41 AM on February 15, 2012

Move while pregnant. I moved twice while pregnant with my first. We had our house massively remodeled, so we moved out to an apartment when I was about 5 months pregnant, then moved back in to the house 3 days before I gave birth. I can't imagine moving while you have a tiny baby. Definitely, definitely plan on having someone else do the packing though. I did some packing but no box-carrying at 5 months, and at 9 months I just waddled around with a list trying to feel useful. We had the moving company do the packing and unpacking on the second move, and while it definitely adds to the cost, its very worth it. Apart from anything else, professional movers are 100 times faster at packing and unpacking than us mere mortals, so it get the moving done that much faster. If you can't afford to pay movers to pack and unpack, then recruit an army of friends and family to help you.
posted by Joh at 11:17 AM on February 15, 2012

I'd say, if you truly have a choice, move while pregnant. But! Do not fear if things don't work out and you have to move with a 6-month old. That will also be possible!

We moved with a 13 month old across the country, and it was fine. A 6 month old and only 20 miles would be even easier, I think, because we ended up with me flying with our daughter and my husband driving one of our cars with our dog, all concerns you wouldn't have.
posted by freezer cake at 11:49 AM on February 15, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks to all! This was very helpful, some of the concerns I am having about waiting are exactly what many of you have mentioned.

We decided to put the house on the market and see what happens. Worst case scenario, we don't sell it quickly enough, and we end up with a clean and clutter-free home in which to have our child. I also have so much momentum to move house now that I am over my morning sickness for the most part, so it will be good to take advantage of it.
posted by smalls at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2012

« Older Roommate issues - how to level?   |   How can I protect my javascript code from being... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.