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 for your baby’s room is neverending (and that you need a $300 linen floor cushion for your baby’s development and happiness in life).
Before you blow your baby budget, buy too much for the space you’ve got, or have a meltdown in the baby section of Kmart (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 organise 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 are 14 must-buys to add to your baby nursery essentials checklist, with products for all budgets to boot. Let’s go.
The must-buy items
These are the absolute essentials you’ll need for your baby’s nursery.
You need somewhere for your baby to sleep, and a baby cot is likely the best option. By the time you’re ready to move your baby 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.
Ikea Gulliver Cot ($199) – it’s thrifty, yet doesn’t compromise on design. It’s also roomy, meaning your little one can use it for years to come.
Stokke Sleepi Bed ($1,390) – its oval shape is so gorgeous. Stokke also sells a wide range of accessories for this cot, including a baby cot canopy drape to really up the ante on your baby’s room decor.
Baby cot mattress
An obvious one, but your baby is hardly going to sleep on slats. When choosing a cot mattress, the best type of mattress for a baby’s cot is one that is firm and fits snugly in the cot. Too soft or too big/small for the cot, and it becomes a suffocation hazard. Pro tip? Many baby cot brands sell accompanying cot mattresses. If you can afford to, buy the baby cot mattress that matches the cot you’ve purchased to ensure everything is a safe fit.
Ikea Jättetrött Mattress ($149) – it’s made from safe, sustainable materials and is free from harmful chemicals. And it fits perfectly with the Ikea Gulliver Cot.
Stokke Sleepi Mattress ($279) – it’s hypoallergenic, breathable and – thanks to its removable cover – easy AF to clean. It fits snugly with the Stokke Sleepi Bed.
Baby cot bed sheets
You can’t have a cot mattress without cot bed sheets, right? They’re lovely and soft for your babe, plus they’re easy to remove and wash should any vomits or nappy breaches happen. Make sure to buy cot bed sheets that fit your cot mattress, and purchase spares because accidents can happen at any time and you don’t want to get caught out.
Target bub. Organic Cotton Arlo Washed Fitted Cot Sheet ($15) – it’s wonderfully soft and comes in the dreamiest muted tones.
Snuggle Hunny Sunflower Fitted Cot Sheet ($49.95) – just look at the stunning design!
Source: Snuggle Hunny
Baby swaddle wraps
While they might seem like a simple rectangle of fabric, swaddle wraps are absolutely essential for your baby nursery checklist. You can use them to calm your wee one down throughout the day, and to keep them safe and snuggly warm overnight – swaddling your babe for sleep is said to help reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping your bub on their back, and some studies have shown that swaddled babies sleep longer and wake less than their non-swaddled counterparts.
Kmart 3 Pack Organic Cotton Interlock Wraps ($17) – because who doesn’t love a multi-pack?
Designer Bums Palm Springs Swaddle ($36.95) – this swaddle is big, soft and beautiful as hell.
Source: Designer Bums
The make-your-life-easier items
While not essential, these items will help you to ‘mum’ that much easier.
Baby mattress pad
A vomit or nappy breach can be so violent that it seeps through the cot sheet into the cot mattress. What the f*ck? So, unless you love to spot clean, buy a baby mattress pad. It’s a sort of water-resistant cot mattress cover that sits over the mattress but under the sheets to protect the mattress from, well, vomit, poop and pee. You can even mum-hack the hell out of this by popping a second cot sheet under your baby’s mattress pad, so you can change bedding super fast in the event of a 3am accident.
Big W Dymples Terry Cot Mattress Protector ($10) – it’s breathable, yet waterproof (i.e., it’s perfect).
Source: Big W
Sheridan Ultracool Cotton Waterproof Baby Mattress Protector ($69.95) – it’s cool and breathable, will keep your baby’s cot mattress protected and features a plush cotton percale cover.
You’ll likely need something to keep your baby warm while they’re sleeping aside from just pyjamas. (Blankets in the cot are a no-no during at least your baby’s first year of life because they’re a suffocation risk.) You can swaddle your baby… or you zip them into a baby sleepsack. A baby sleepsack is sort of like a sleeping bag for wee ones, and it helps alleviate the risk of loose fabric (which is, you guessed it, a suffocation risk) around your baby’s face should they wriggle out of their baby swaddle. It’s a ‘peace-of-mind’ option.
Two tips when buying a baby sleepsack:
- Make sure you buy the right size baby sleepsack to avoid it covering your little one’s face by accident.
- Purchase the appropriate thickness of baby 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 baby sleepsack brand websites.
Love To Dream Swaddle Up Sleep Suit ($44.95) – it washes and wears like a dream and has a two-way zip for easy nappy changes overnight.
Source: Love to Dream
Billie & Bobbie Joey Merino Swaddle Sack ($89.95) – it’s made from lush merino wool meaning it’ll keep your babe warm across a range of temperatures (unlike other brands where you need to buy different thicknesses of sleepsuits to accommodate for different temperatures).
Source: Billie & Bobbie
Baby changing table
You can change your baby’s nappy 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 wriggly little crocodile. A changing table can save you from developing lower back pain, plus they often have storage underneath (#winning).
Ikea Sniglar Changing Table ($79) – its minimalist design will fit any baby nursery decor style.
Mocka Aspen Change Table ($319.95) – this, right here, is a baby change table with drawers. The storage! The organisation! Need we say more?
Unless you want to be carting stinky-a*s nappies from your baby’s nursery into the kitchen bin, for example, pick up a nappy bin. Having something that’s near to the changing table and that seals to keep those smells under wraps can be helpful.
Korbell Nappy Disposal Bin Unit ($29) – it’s simple, economical and easy to use (it’s got a foot-press opening), making it one of the best nappy bins for nurseries.
Source: Baby Bunting
Ubbi Nappy Disposal Unit ($139) – it has a lovely sleek design and really seals in those nasty smells (we’re speaking from experience). It also doesn’t require special nappy bin liners; you can use a regular bin bag inside.
Source: Baby Bunting
Nursery rocking chair or glider
A chair that you can settle into for overnight feeds is a nursery furniture must. You can buy dedicated nursery 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 during feeds.
Ikea Pello Armchair ($89) – it offers good back support and has a classic design.
Il Tutto Lulu Velvet Gliding Chair ($699) – say it with us: pink velvet. (Though it comes in teal, black and grey, too, as options for baby girl nursery decor and baby boy nursery decor.) It glides, swivels and looks damn cute.
Source: Il Tutto
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 centimetres 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.
Vtech Video Baby Monitor BM3800 ($199) – it offers night vision, a temperature sensor, soothing sounds and a high-quality colour display.
Source: Baby Bunting
Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor ($499) – it looks cute as a button, connects straight to an app on your phone for easy baby viewing and offers alerts if your baby’s face is covered or if they’ve rolled over. It’s one of the best baby monitors in Australia.
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 organise these items into can help you know where things are despite the chaos that comes with having a baby.
Ikea Koppang Chest of 3 Drawers ($199) – it’s a classic style with plenty of space. ‘
Freedom Raffles Dresser ($1,399) – it’s boho-chic at its finest.
Hang a mobile over your little one’s changing table or cot and it can provide entertainment galore during a nappy change or soothing sounds and movements as your bub is drifting off to sleep. Acquiring one for your angel’s room might not seem like a must, but trust us; you’ll thank yourself for picking one up.
Bubba Blue Aussie Animals Musical Mobile ($64.95) – this baby musical mobile plays peaceful tunes, oozes cuteness and is stylish to boot. Oh, and it’s got an inbuilt room thermometer too.
Source: Bubba Blue
Flensted Drifting Clouds Mobile ($285) – this mobile is elegant AF… so much so that you might even use it as decor in your home once your bub has outgrown it.
Source: Design Stuff
Mums have many superpowers, but night vision isn’t one of them. So, having a low-level night light in your baby’s 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.
OSC Mini Snow Mountain Lamp ($45) – this low-level nightlight is cordless and rechargeable, meaning you can pop it where you need (and making it one of the best nightlights for babies in our books).
Source: Design Stuff
Mr Maria Miffy First Light Lamp ($179.95) – it features six brightness settings (including one specifically for nighttime) and is just all-around adorable AF.
Source: Metro Baby
Like swaddles, baby blankets are one of those multi-use items that you’ll be patting yourself on the back for having picked up. You can use them to keep your bub warm when they’re in their car seat or pram… and you can lay them down on the floor for padding during playtime, use them as a rug in the park or even display them as nursery decor, draped over your nursery rocking chair (because some baby blankets are just so damn beautiful). Plus they’re a lovely keepsake item (cue all the feels).
One Little Day Personalised Knitted Blanket ($49.90) – personalised baby blankets are all the rage, and we love this option that’s subtle and super soft (it’s made from 100 per cent cotton).
Source: One Little Day
Waverley Mills Merino Wool Baby Blanket ($229) – Waverley Mills’ blankets are an Aussie household staple (we bet your grandparents have one!) thanks to their quality design and stunning colourings. This baby-sized version is stunning.
Source: Waverley Mills
Well now, looks like it’s time to go prep your baby’s nursery, mama-to-be. (And to prep for birth and delivery, of course… priorities!) Click here for more baby room ideas and design inspiration (in case you don’t already have 15 Pinterest boards on the go) and read here for more information on newborn essentials.
All product information and availability is relevant as of February 2022.