The walls of the nursery are the perfect color, and you’ve hung the cutest décor. Better yet, you’ve finally selected where to register for all those adorable gifts. Now comes the hard part – determining what a brand new nursery (and its soon-to-be inhabitant) actually needs – because, let’s be honest, it’s pretty easy to get carried away. So, before you find yourself buried in baby-wipe heaters, fancy bottle warmers and non-slip socks, peruse our quick list of nursery needs and help cut the excess. Babies don’t need non-slip socks; they can’t even walk.
A baby monitor
This is an essential piece for any nursery, and unfortunately, it can also be one of the priciest depending on how high-tech you’d like to go. Truth be told, the standard walkie-talkie style monitors work just fine, as any new parent will sprint to the nursery at the slightest cry or whine or belch – no one stops to look at the monitor’s video. For those wanting added security, though, there are multiple options available with some boasting screens, others tracking sleep patterns, and top-of-the-line models alerting parents to variations in a child’s heart rate or respirations.
These little life-savers are inexpensive and oh-so-necessary as electrical outlets sit right at baby’s eye level, beckoning tiny fingers to explore. For a couple of bucks, you can snag a box with enough plastic covers to outfit the entire nursery and most of your home, so play it safe and take this extra step.
The crib itself is a no-brainer, but don’t forget to purchase an extra mattress pad and at least one additional fitted sheet. Babies have a tendency to make a mess at the least convenient times and having extra linens ready at 4 a.m. can make all the difference.
Your soon-to-be kiddo has a walk-in closet? That’s great, but baby clothes are teeny tiny and hanging much more than a snowsuit or a couple hoodies is more trouble than it’s worth. It doesn’t have to be a giant armoire; just a simple three drawer dresser will do to house all those hard to hang onesies and leggings, burp rags and blankets.
The most comfortable rocking chair you can find
Everyone thinks the rocking chair is for rocking the baby, but really, it’s for you. Babies don’t sleep, so it is important to have a cozy spot for yourself to curl up on those restless nights. And don’t skimp; your future sleep-deprived self will thank you. On second thought, you might just throw a twin bed in the corner, too.
Stocked diaper/wipe station
It doesn’t have to be a proper changing table (once baby comes, you will find yourself changing diapers all over the place) but you will want to have an area designated for all the diapering needs. A large basket will do just fine. Fill it with diapers, wipes, rash ointment, baby lotion, nail clippers and a thermometer to make sure you have all your bases covered.
Babies aren’t just tiny; they’re also pretty slippery! Sink inserts, mesh slings and plastic mini tubs are all excellent options to keep baby safe and secure during bath time.
Don’t listen to the couple down the street. Their kid was not potty trained by the time he could walk, so this nursery need is not immediate. By the time year two rolls around, however, you’re going to want one, so throw it on your registry in case someone is inclined to gift a toilet.
When it comes to sleep, you will want all the help you can get. Swaddling blankets, pacifiers, sleep sacks, night lights and noise makers are all must-haves for slumber. Creating a nighttime routine for your little one will help everyone in the house, and these items will get you on track a little faster.
No nursery is complete without toys, and for the littlest of babies, an activity mat is a great first option. Babies don’t do much of anything in the beginning, and these play areas provide stimulation and a comfy place to lay or sit. In addition, pick up a few soft sided or big board books and the standard building blocks, rattles and balls to keep baby busy.
When deciding what you do and do not need in your newborn’s nursery, use this guide as a start and then turn to the experts. Pick up the phone and call the woman you know with the most kids. Chances are she’s learned what items are worthwhile and which are a waste. Babies might be small, but they have a tendency to take up a lot of room, so using your resources and space wisely during these first nine months is the key to surviving the next 18 years.
Making a choice on behalf of someone else is a huge responsibility. If you have children or other ...