There may be a biological reason that buying things for your baby’s room is so satisfying: like avian parents-to-be, expectant humans seem to be wired with a nesting instinct, which typically kicks in around a woman’s fifth to eighth month of pregnancy.
Start shopping and you’ll quickly realize that there is no lack of cute and fun baby decor to fill up a nursery. Before you get carried away, remember that your baby likely won’t notice the lot of it, and your baby won’t be a baby for long! Of course, add some whimsy to your baby’s space and enjoy the process; but maybe think twice before picking up 7 sets of matching crib and curtain decor. What do you really need versus the stuff that’s just extra? Here are five essentials to help you keep your shopping in check.
A place for baby to sleep. A crib comes to mind first, and as long as you are using a modern version that complies with current safety standards, there are plenty to choose from. There are other options when it comes to baby’s sleep, however. Bedside co-sleepers, such as those from Arm’s Reach have gained popularity in recent years and may last a little longer than a traditional bassinet. If you have minimalist tendencies, consider a baby box. In Scotland and Finland, the government actually mails these to expectant parents with the intent that they will be repurposed once the baby grows out of it. Wherever you choose to lay your baby, you will also need a mattress and a few fitted sheets.
A changing table. A changing table is invaluable for its height, which can save you from back pain. Look for a model with side rails, a safety strap, and a waterproof pad with a washable cover. Most provide space to store diapers, wipes, ointment, blankets, etc, but make sure you like the way it’s organized.
A rocking or gliding chair. A rocking or gliding chair provides a comfortable place for nursing and can help lull your baby to sleep. Traditional hardwood rocking chairs are still available along with newer, cushier gliders, some of which come with matching ottomans. Invest in a comfy wingback glider that reclines, and you may find yourself spending far more hours than you anticipated hanging out in baby’s nursery.
A dresser. When shopping for a dresser, keep in mind that the tiny clothes you need it to hold now will soon be replaced with much larger versions. You may want to get a chest of drawers that will serve your bouncing baby boy, for example, until he’s 17 years old and 6 feet tall.
A bouncy chair. You can always lay baby on a blanket on the floor (unless you have pets, and not on a bed or couch), but it’s nice to have a place to put baby down in the house. Some parents will keep baby in a sling or carrier all the time, but if you find you need a break once in a while, a bouncy chair that you can move from room to room, such as this one from BabyBjorn, does the trick.
Organizational storage bins or toy shelves. You’ve probably already received a few baby toys and books. Rest assured, more are coming! Think about how you want to manage new baby’s things so that you can corral that clutter in the coming months!
Remember, as long as you have the basics, you can still shop once baby is born, particularly online. If you are not sure about something, it is alright to wait until baby comes to decide if it would be necessary or helpful.
By A. Louise Yoder