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Nursery Essentials: How to Prepare for Your New Baby

You may not be able to predict every challenge you'll face in parenthood, but you can start off on the right foot by filling your baby's nursery with all the essentials. With so many baby items on the market, deciding what to buy can be an overwhelming task. These simple steps will guide you towards creating a nursery that is functional and fits your personal needs.





Designate a Space

Before you begin collecting baby furniture, you'll need to decide where in your home to put the nursery. Parents will often choose to convert a spare bedroom into a nursery, but sometimes the best spot for the baby is in your bedroom or in a living room or den. Knowing how much space you have to work with will greatly help when choosing furniture.

Knowing where the nursery will be set up also aids in determining whether certain accessories will be necessary. For example, if the nursery space is separate from your own bedroom, a baby monitor is an important tool. Your baby will also nap throughout the day, so you'll need to make sure whichever space you choose has proper curtains to block out the sun.

Assemble Your Crib

The crib is one of the most important nursery essentials. Baby cribs come in a variety of styles, with choices ranging from natural and traditional wooden cribs to modern painted cribs in a rainbow of colours. No matter the look, you'll want to ensure your baby's crib is sturdy and that all four sides are high. A bassinet or cradle is a crib alternative which is usually smaller and lighter than standard cribs and can be moved easily, giving you a little more flexibility. However, bassinets are only recommended for babies up to three or four months of age.

Inside the crib or bassinet, you'll need a mattress, a waterproof mattress protector and a fitted crib sheet, plus an extra sheet or two for laundry day. Look for cute crib sheets that suit your nursery's theme. A matching crib skirt is a fun decorative touch but is not a necessity. Keep cushions, blankets, toys and crib bumpers out of the crib until your baby is older (1-2 years).

Set up a Changing Station

Since changing diapers is a huge job in a baby's first year, an organized changing station is a great investment. You can use a specially-designed changing table or simply place a comfortable and waterproof changing pad on top of an existing dresser. Be sure to stand at your changing table before the baby arrives to ensure it's at the proper height.

Most changing tables include storage drawers or shelves so you can keep extra diapers, wipes and creams at your fingertips. You'll also want to have a diaper pail or trash can nearby to contain the dirty diapers. Diaper pails are generally favored among parents as they are designed with special features to absorb and minimize odors. If you're using a regular trash can, make sure it has a tight-fitting lid.

Add Storage Solutions

Even with diapers and creams being organized at your changing station, you'll still require additional storage for all the clothing and toys your baby will collect. A classic dresser with opaque drawers is the ideal piece of nursery furniture for keeping socks, hats and onesies neat and easily accessible. Stuffed animals and toys can be stored in classic wooden toy chests or in plastic storage bins and books can be arranged onto floating shelves on the walls. In small spaces, stackable storage bins are a great choice for organizing many items without taking up much floor space.

Create a Cozy Spot for Feedings

Your baby will need to feed a lot, especially in their first few months, so having a designated spot for feedings is invaluable. You'll want a space that's private, quiet and comfortable enough to sit in for long periods of time.

Consider choosing a glider or rocking chair rather than a stationary armchair, as this allows your feeding chair to double as a spot to soothe your baby and rock them to sleep. If you have the space, you should also set a side table near the chair with a small lamp for late-night use. The table can also be useful for holding things like your cell phone, books and drinks.

Accessorize

While decorative items like wall art may not be essential elements in a nursery, they serve an important purpose by elevating your mood levels. Picking out beautiful accessories for your nursery is a way to bond with your baby before they're even here. Having a nursery that is customized to your tastes and makes you feel happy will also be helpful on those inevitable days when you're feeling tired and overwhelmed. The right accessories allow you to create a comforting and inviting nursery that you'll be happy to spend time in.

Every functional nursery space consists mostly of the same elements, like a sturdy crib, a changing station and a comfortable chair for feedings. The important thing to remember when furnishing your nursery is to ensure each piece fits your unique space constraints and your personal needs. Once you've covered all the basics, small decorative touches add personality and flair to your nursery.