■ The changing table
Get one that is a comfortable height for you to stand at while changing your baby’s diaper; after all, you will be changing thousands of them! There should be a strap to keep the baby secure during diaper changes and space to keep diapers, cream, wipes, and a few small toys. For babies younger than six weeks, many pediatricians recommend using warm water for cleaning their bottoms since commercial wipes can irritate their skin. So consider purchasing a small thermos to keep on the changing table along with cotton balls. Do not hang shelves on the wall near the changing table.
Since parents and their babies inevitably spend a lot of time on the floor together, you may want to invest in a soft area rug for baby’s room, but look for one that will be easy to clean. Remember not to get one with too big a pile, which can be unsafe for a baby. Another idea is to buy carpet modules of all one color, or in several colors to create a checkerboard effect. These are great because if one gets stained, it can be cleaned or replaced easily without having to replace the entire carpet.
■ Storage containers
If you don’t have a lot of closet space, you may want to purchase an armoire; some large wicker or wire baskets to hold baby’s books, blankets, and clothes; and a toy chest (one with a slow-closing hinge and lid space so that fingers don’t get pinched). Another idea: Stack a few square wood boxes on top of each other to hold books or toys (again, you could buy them unpainted and go to town with your own paint colors).