When you first find out you’re having a baby, there’s often a lot to plan for. Cloth or disposable nappies? To pump or not to pump? And in amongst all of that – where is baby going to sleep? Many parents plan to have bubs in their room with them for at least the early weeks or months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a room prepared for when they’re older, or even just for daytime naps! Today, let’s look at some of the options out there when it comes to setting up your baby’s nursery!
First, and most importantly, is somewhere for your new arrival to sleep – and that’s true regardless of whether they have their own room or if they’re staying in with you. There are a lot of different choices out there. Many families find bassinets a great first bed – they’re just the right size for a newborn and are often raised to make it easier to reach in and out of. It does pay to bear in mind that they are only for the first few months, as once they are able to roll or pull themselves up, they can fall out quite quickly. Another option is to have them straight in a cot (aka crib). These can be used for much longer as the base is lower to the ground, and the sides are high enough to prevent young babies from being able to climb out. They are, however, a lot bigger and bulkier than a bassinet and may not be easy to fit into your room if you plan on having them next to you. A third choice is to use a Moses basket. As the name suggests, this is a basket your baby can sleep in. They often come with stands or rockers they can be put into, making them resemble a bassinet, though they are much more lightweight – though also like the bassinet, baby will also need to be transferred to a bigger bed after a few months. If a Moses basket is used, it’s essential to ensure the handles never dangle inside the basket where your baby may get tangled in them.
Remember that decorations are as much for the parents as for the baby. A newborn is unlikely to be particularly bothered by the shade of paint you choose or the pattern on the wallpaper. That said, keeping decorations to a minimum can be a little more practical, especially at the beginning when you’re more likely to be in a sleep-deprived fog. Reducing the risk of tripping over a toy that’s fallen to the floor can only be a good thing!
As far as getting the decorating done goes, it really depends on what type of person you are. Some love to take charge, doing each part – building furniture, painting, and general preparations – themselves over a long stretch of time. Others find it more beneficial to arrange a working bee, getting friends and family over for a fast and furious round of work followed up with a thank you lunch or dinner. Of course, there are also those who are happy to keep the room just as it is, other than giving things a good, thorough cleaning. Any way you choose to prepare is fine, as long as it results in you being as relaxed and comfortable as it’s possible to be with a new little one!
When it comes to the more traditional things we think of regarding decorating, good news! With babies, less is usually more. Little ones are easy to overstimulate, so keeping things calm and simple is not only more manageable for you, it’s better for them! Complicated, bright, shiny objects are not necessary for a new baby; rather, keeping things warm, safe and secure is what’s important. Creating an environment that makes it easy for them to sleep is ideally what will happen, but don’t forget – even after baby has arrived, you can continue changing things if that’s what is required. You certainly aren’t locked into things as they are from day one!
Changing tables, clothing drawers, toy chests, nappy storage – they’re all things that might cross your mind to have in your baby’s nursery. And each family will have different priorities. Some parents find it easier to have a change table, while others prefer to use a change mat directly on the floor. One family might choose to have dedicated drawers for nappy-changing items, while another is happy to put them in a cupboard. All this is to say that furniture is personal – it’s always a good idea to go with what you think will work best for you rather than what you feel you’re supposed to do.
One key piece of furniture that you’ll need – whether in the nursery or elsewhere – is a feeding chair. This should be chosen based on its comfort rather than its aesthetic, as you’ll be spending a good amount of time sitting in it, especially if you are going to be breastfeeding.
Bits & Pieces
There is a whole host of other smaller items that you might need, though they may not be directly in the nursery. Breast pumps can be enormously valuable for a lot of families (especially since they allow the non-breastfeeding parents, grandparents or other family members to take part in feeding time!). Cloths are an absolute staple to keep near both your changing area and your feeding chair – some for cleaning up after a nappy change, and some to deal with the spitting up that is so common with young babies after a feed. Haakaa’s Cotton Cloth Wipes are perfect – soft, absorbent, and reusable. They are able to be put to almost any use you can think of for a cloth and come in a range of sizes and in four gorgeous, calm colours.