One of the most fun parts of anticipating the arrival of your new baby is setting up the nursery. What colours will you choose? What theme? How will you arrange the furniture? What decor items should you get? It’s an exciting time.
But it can also be a daunting task. What are the “must-have” items versus the “nice-to-haves?” Here’s a checklist to help you get started.
Furniture & related accessories
Naturally, at the top of the list is a crib that will serve as baby’s bed for the first few years of his life, potentially longer. Opting for a convertible crib can be a good idea because it provides more bang for the buck. You get the crib, plus a daybed once your child is ready to convert to the “big boy” daybed, then a toddler bed. The Graco Maple Ridge 4-in-1 Convertible Crib can also convert to a full-sized bed using its parts as a headboard and footboard. And the sleigh-like design is a beautiful look for any nursery.
Going along with the crib is, of course, a crib mattress. You want one that’s firm, yet comfortable for your little one. There are other worthwhile features to consider as well. For example, the Sealy Soybean Natural Dream Crib Mattress is made from breathable PVC-free cotton, and comes with a waterproof and stain-resistant cover, which will make it easy to clean in the event of the inevitable night-time diaper leaps or spit-up accidents. And its foam core prevents sagging so that your little one gets full support. (I’d still suggest getting a protective mattress pad on top of that as well.)
Add to that a set of crib bumpers to help prevent an active baby from bumping his head against the edge of the crib, or getting his fingers or toes stuck in between the slats. If you’ve decided not to find out the sex of your baby, opt for a neutral colour and design. The Baby’s First Crib Bumper Set comes in a cute Safari pattern, with soft pastel yellows, browns, and greens, and a series of smiling animals to greet your baby when he wakes up. It’s made from 100% polyester microfiber material.
You’ve already stocked up on piles and piles of clothes for baby, and you’ll need somewhere to put them. You could get a dresser, armoire, or both. The good thing about am armoire is that the ability to hang clothing up will come in handy as your child grows. And it’s especially useful if the room does not have a sizeable closet.
The South Shore Beehive Transitional 8-Shelves Armoire is neat because you can hang items up on one side, fold clothing to stack on the three shelves, plus keep other small items, like socks, hats, and even diapers, in the two bottom drawers.
A change table should also be on your list, as a safe place for frequent diaper changes. A parent’s first worry with change tables, however, is that the second they turn away to grab something, baby will scoot over and fall down. The Graco Transitional Changing Table has a slotted crib-style railing that will provide added peace-of-mind if you need to duck away for half a second to grab a fresh diaper or some wipes. Two shelves below can accommodate everything you need, from diapers and wipes, to diaper cream, baby powder, clothes, and other supplies. Once your baby gets older, switch it up and use the unit to hold toys, stuffed animals, or other items.
My glider and ottoman was an after-thought purchase, but had I known how much I would use it, it would have been top-of-mind. You’ll be seated there to rock baby to sleep, feed/nurse, play, and just hold and comfort baby for much of his first year of life. So you’ll want it to be comfortable, but also attractive so that it adds to the decor of the nursery. The Stork Craft Tuscany Glider and Ottoman Set in white and slate grey is a nice complement to a variety of room designs and colour schemes. And you’ll appreciate the side pockets for holding baby’s bottle, toy, and wipe clothes, as well as your own essentials, like smartphone, book, eyeglasses, or quick snack. The matching lumbar support pillow is a nice touch, too.
The very first item I purchased for my baby’s nursery, before even the crib, was a baby monitor. It’s essential to be able to keep an eye on baby while she’s tucked away in her crib at night or during naptime. The Angelcare Movement Baby Monitor is nice because it comes with two parent units which is not only handy for mom and dad to each keep one, but also to leave one on each level of the home, or different rooms. Maybe put one in the living room and the other in the basement, for example, so you can listen in, and see, your baby as you move about the house without having to bring a monitor with you everywhere you go. But what really sets it apart is a movement sensor that you can place under the mattress. It will detect movement, and advise if your child has not moved for more than 20 seconds.
Whether it’s to cover baby while he’s fast asleep in your arms in the glider, throw over your own legs, or spread out on the floor for daily tummy time, a nice, oversized blanket is good to have as part of the nursery. The aden + anais Bamboo Dream Blanket is perfectly unisex in the leafy green and white pattern, and large enough to cover both you and baby during feeding time on a cold night, or to provide enough surface for your baby to practice laying on his tummy and working those neck muscles. When you aren’t using it, drape it over the glider, or fold it neatly on the armoire for a pop of colour in the room.
A smaller, more colourful blanket is also good to keep in the nursery, for when baby wants some quiet play time in his crib, in the glider, or during tummy time. The Mary Meyer Taggies Dipsey Duck Blanket boasts tons of bright colours to excite older babies that can see beyond just black and white, plus it provides tactile stimulation through different materials and textures. Keep it on top of the change table so baby has something to play around with during diaper changes, too.
Last, you face the dilemma in wanting to paint the nursery in the cutest way possible, but not having to redo everything in a few years once your child starts to develop his own tastes. Now that my son is 4, we underwent the laborious task of removing an elaborate mural in his room, and doing an entirely new paint job. But for the decor, we used stick-on Star Wars decals. This makes it easy to switch things up once he decides that he prefers Avengers or cars and trucks a few years down the line. For a nursery, you could consider something like the NuWallpaper Elephant Parade Peel and Stick Wallpaper, which you can simply stick onto the wall, or any other flat surface, for that matter. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind. Grab a few of the 20.5 x 18-foot rolls, and cut strips to add matching decor on furniture. For example, you might want to cover the door of the armoire with the pattern, or stick some on the side of the change table too. Conversely, you might want to only use it for furniture, and leave the walls a solid, light colour. Once your baby becomes a full-blown child, peel the stickers off, and create an entirely new room.
Check out more gear for the nursery at Best Buy Online.