It's easy to become overwhelmed when creating the perfect nursery in anticipation of the arrival of your bundle of joy. There are probably all sorts of items available for sale at your favorite retailer for baby items – all of which might seem like must-haves to ensure your baby's comfort and well-being, but in reality, babies don't need too much. Only a couple of things are genuinely important, and the rest are for added convenience. Here are the essentials you should consider adding to your baby's nursery.
It is of utmost importance that the crib you choose for your little one is safe.
After all, your baby will spend a significant portion of his/her time in the crib – according to Baby Center, newborns spend around 16-17 hours a day sleeping, so a good quality crib is a must-have. An important consideration to keep in mind when choosing a crib is visibility. Make sure you go for a crib that is barred and visible on all four sides so that you don’t have to keep going to the nursery every five minutes to check on your child.
2. A firm, flat mattress
A big debate among parents today is whether to go for organic, foam, or waterproof. However, there are plenty of comfortable mattresses that fall in all these three categories and are also reasonably priced. Choose a flat mattress that is lightweight and durable. You want to go for a mattress made with a high-density core that will provide firm support.
3. A fitted crib sheet
Go for a crib sheet that has fitted corners to keep it secure. The fitted sheet should fit over the mattress snugly –not loosen or bunch up as the baby moves around. Choose a crib sheet made of fabrics that include cotton blends, woven cotton, and lightweight flannel. Three fitted sheets should get you off to a great start.
4. Waterproof mattress cover
Your baby’s crib will need a waterproof mattress cover, as there will be multiple spit-ups and blow-outs. To save yourself the hassle at midnight, cover the crib mattress with a waterproof cover so that all you have to do when there is a spit-up incident is to change the cover, instead of having to change and clean the mattress itself.
5. Diapers, wipes, and clothes
You want to have the basic clothing necessities such as onesies, mittens, socks, hats, diapers and wipes within accessible reach in the nursery as you will need to change your little one pretty frequently.
6. Nursing chair and pillow
A nursing chair makes a great addition to a nursery as it allows you to sit and feed your little one comfortable. A quality rocking chair should allow you to lean, swivel, rock, and put your feet up when you need to. A newborn feeds pretty frequently, so you want to make sure you go for a chair that is as comfortable as possible.
A nursing pillow is just as important. When nursing your child, you will realize that you need to prop his/her head up to reduce the risk of indigestion and gas. Trying to support your little one in this position for a long time without a pillow will lead to carpal tunnel.
7. Drawers and dressers
Babies might be tiny, but they tend to have a lot of clothes because they require frequent changing, so they need plenty of storage for their items as a result. Consider getting a dresser or drawer where you can store all the socks, bibs, mittens, onesies, washcloths, and hats that he/she needs. The top of a dresser or drawer can also serve as a surface for a changing mat, saving you from having to buy a changing table.
8. A night light
You don’t have to worry about your baby being afraid of the dark for another year or so (or maybe he/she never will be), so a night light isn’t for his/her benefit just yet. This device is essential to keep you from inadvertently walking into objects when you stumble into the nursery at 2 in the morning for a feeding. Additionally, the mellow glow of a night light will help your little one learn to distinguish between day and night.
9. Changing mat
Rather than buying a pricey changing table, why not go for a changing mat/pad for a fraction of the price? With a changing mat, you can change your little one on the bed or the top of a dresser or drawer when he/she is tiny, and then on the floor as he/she starts to make movements.
10. Blackout blinds
Once your baby has learned to distinguish between night and day, a darkened nursery can do wonders for your baby’s sleeping pattern. At around 3 months of age, babies start to release a chemical in their brains known as melatonin. This chemical is one of the important ways that our bodies wind down for sleep.
The production of melatonin in babies (and humans, in general) is directly related to the amount of light that we see (timing, brightness, etc.) Therefore, it might be helpful for your baby to keep his/her room dark, non-stimulating, and calm. An effective way to do this is to have good quality blackout blinds in your little one’s sleeping area.
11. A mom zone
While the nursery is the baby’s room, you will find that you spend quite a bit of time in there as well, which is why you might want to consider adding a mommy zone.
Add a side table near the rocking chair, and keep a storage basket on it, stocked with an assortment of snacks that you can munch on during breastfeeding marathons, as well as a water bottle. For your entertainment, consider stashing novels, a couple of magazines or novels, or a Bluetooth speaker so that you can listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts.
Decorating and choosing items and bit and pieces for your little one can be a fun and exciting part of getting ready for your new arrivals. There are a variety of essential items to take into consideration, from the cot to the feeding chair, and of course, the changing pad/mat.