There are a million and one baby books, advice columns and magazines that will give you a monumental list of everything you need for a nursery (and a baby). And while sometimes these lists are a great starting point, they are often used as advertorials and placements for brands.
Most parents, when they have a few children and are deep into parenting, will have a more defined list of what they really need and what they find useful. Since those reviews come from experience and things being tried and tested – they are usually gold.
But for the basics, the stuff that just makes your life easier, here is a list of the things that both experts and seasoned parents recommend.
No matter how you want to sleep, a cot is something that all people need. It doesn’t matter if you choose a side sleeping cot or a cot in the baby’s room – your baby needs somewhere to sleep. Cots should have no bumps, no toys tied to the side and no stuffed animals. Those things are the cause of a lot of cot deaths and are best avoided entirely.
Cots are great because they help little ones get used to sleeping in their own space and eventually transition to their own ‘big bed’. A cot that can be transformed into a bed when the time is right makes this even easier.
During times when you feel overwhelmed, many experts recommend placing your baby in the cot while you take a moment to collect yourself.
Cots are a staple for the nursery, but it is worth considering cradles for other rooms in the house that you spend a lot of time in.
Not everyone masters the swaddle, so it is worth taking a swaddling class and watching some YouTube videos to make sure that you do. But swaddles, when used regularly, wrap the baby up like a burrito and gives them the same closeness that they had in the womb.
If swaddling with a blanket seems like too much of a fuss and something you aren’t comfortable with, there are swaddles that have zippers and soft-touch velcro that make it even easier.
When you use the right size, your baby will be secure and safe, and you won’t need to worry about blankets coming loose or your baby snuggling too far down.
Save your back and do yourself a big favour in terms of storage. There are many different types of changing tables, but the main thing is that you don’t need to bend to change the baby when you stand next to it. We know that babies should never be left alone when on a changing table, but they tend to wriggle a lot as they grow up! So one that has raised sides is going to be ideal. Not only that, but the raised sides will help keep your changing mat still, too. Making the whole process a lot easier than crouching over your baby and changing them on the floor.
Picture the second, it is the middle of the night, and your baby had their vaccinations during the day, an explosive nappy has occurred, and you’re going through a monumental amount of baby wipes and cotton wool trying to handle the mess.
Fear not, though, because a nappy bin can seal in the smell in seconds and only needs to be taken out when it’s full. No more running to another bin or the outside bin with a leaky nappy.
While a nappy bin might sound like a luxury, if you look at it from the point of view that it is highly convenient and makes your night changes easier, it is worth it.
Every parent you meet will tell you that when their baby is asleep, and long after they grow into toddlers and young children – they’d watch them sleep. Half in awe and half to make sure that everything is okay. Since you probably have other things you need to do and need some time here and there for yourself, a baby monitor can make a huge impact.
There are several different types of baby monitors – for example, the standard will be voice-activated, and you can hear what is happening in the room. There are some baby monitors that are video, so you can watch your baby with ease and see what they are up to – these can be great for babies who are getting a bit more mobile.
More modern tech advancements mean that mats can be placed under the sheet on the bed to monitor the baby’s breathing. And although babies are prone to holding their breath for a second or two here and there, you’ll still get an alert.
You can choose whatever monitor you feel comfortable with in the end.
Stubbing your toe on the crib and you head into a dark room is never fun. And nor is needing to put on the big ceiling lamp – now you’re really awake! Instead, a night lamp that gives a soft, warm glow in the room is ideal. It is dim enough for your baby to be comfortable and get some sleep and bright enough to make sure that you’re not at risk of stubbing your toe or stepping on toys.
For the midnight bottles or breasts, the 3 am rocking them to sleep, or the times you just need to sit down for a minute. A chair in the nursery makes absolute sense for everyone. After birth standing for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable at best, and for those who have complications, rest is necessary.
A soft chair with good back support and even one that rocks to help rock the baby back to sleep should be considered essential.
If one thing is true about having a baby, it is that you may never feel like you have everything you need – and almost everyone buys more than they’ll ever use. But these are the things that will make a difference.
And for those who have older children and are getting ready for a newborn adventure, this can help 6+ Ways to Tell Your Child You’re Pregnant.