Setting up your baby’s nursery is exciting. But OMFG, it can be overwhelming. Consult Instagram or head to a baby store, and it can seem the list of things to buy is neverending (and that you need a $300 linen floor cushion for your baby’s development and happiness in life).
Before you blow your budget, buy too much for the space you’ve got, or have a meltdown in the baby section of Target (we see you, girl), take a deep breath. When it comes to your baby’s nursery, you only really need items for sleeping, feeding, and changing, plus some light storage to organize your little one’s stuff. The rest is a nice-to-have or can be acquired down the line (if you decide you need that floor cushion after all).
Here’s a list of 11 items you actually need for your baby’s nursery. The absolute must-buys, then a handful of items you could probably do without but will make your mom-life easier if you have them. Let’s go.
The must-buy items
You need somewhere for your baby to sleep, and a crib is likely the best option. By the time your babe is ready to move into their nursery (safe sleep guidelines recommend your little one sleeps in the same room as you until at least six months of age), they’ll have outgrown their bassinet or co-sleeper but will be too young for a toddler bed.
Try: IKEA Gulliver Crib
An obvious one, but your baby is hardly going to sleep on slats! When choosing a mattress, make sure it’s firm and fits snugly in your baby’s crib. Too soft or too big/small for the crib, and it becomes a suffocation hazard.
Crib sheets round out the bedding buys – because you can’t have a mattress without sheets, right? They’re lovely and soft for your babe, plus they’re easy to remove and wash should any vomits or diaper breaches happen. Make sure to buy sheets that fit your mattress, and purchase spares because accidents can happen at any time and you don’t want to get caught out.
The make-your-life-easier items
A vomit or diaper breach can be so violent that it seeps through the crib sheet into the mattress. What the f*ck? So, unless you love to spot clean, buy a mattress pad. It’s a water-resistant layer that sits over the mattress but under the sheets to protect the mattress. You can even hack the hell out of this by popping a second cot sheet under the mattress protector, so you can change bedding super fast in the event of a 3am accident.
You’ll likely need something to keep your baby warm while they’re sleeping aside from just pajamas. Blankets in the crib are a no-no during at least your baby’s first year of life because they’re a suffocation risk. But sleepsacks can help your babe stay warm and they get a big tick of safety. Make sure you buy the right size sleep sack to avoid it covering your little one’s face by accident. And purchase the appropriate thickness of sleepsack for the temperature of your baby’s nursery to avoid overheating (which can increase your little one’s risk of SIDS). There are often temperature guides on the sleep sack brand websites (like here).
You can change your baby’s diaper anywhere – on the floor, on a bed, on the couch, you name it. But that’s a lot of awkward bending over, possibly while wrestling a little 20-pound alligator. A changing table can save you from developing lower back pain, plus they often have storage underneath (#winning).
Unless you want to be carting stinky-ass diapers from your baby’s nursery into the kitchen garbage, for example, pick up a diaper pail. Having something that’s near to the changing table and that seals to keep those smells under wraps can be helpful.
Try: Ubbi Diaper Pail
A chair in your baby’s nursery that you can settle into for overnight feeds can be handy. You can buy dedicated nursing chairs, gliders, or rocking chairs, or you could pick up something chic from a furniture store that you could use in your living room, for example, when your babe is grown. Just make sure it’s wide enough to accommodate you and your baby.
Try: IKEA PELLO Armchair
It’s common to worry if your baby is doing ok in their sleep, particularly overnight. When they’re in the same room as you, they’re probably only a few feet from your face so you can hear them breathing or easily see them. But once they move to their nursery, well, who knows what they’re doing in there. Investing in a video baby monitor that connects to your phone or a screen can allow you to check in on them without getting up.
A chest of drawers
Babies have a lot of sh*t relative to their small size. Clothes, bibs, changing gear… the list goes on. While you don’t need to go overboard on storage, having something like a chest of drawers that you can organize these items into can help you know where things are despite the chaos that comes with having a baby.
A low-level night light
Moms have many superpowers, but night vision isn’t one of them. So, having a low-level night light in your nursery that you can turn on during night feeds can help you see where you’re going and what’s happening during eatin’-time. Just pick one that isn’t too bright, otherwise, it might stimulate your baby.
We hope this helps, mama. Now that you know what the essentials are, perhaps it’s time to start designing that nursery…!