Setting up a nursery is one of the most exciting parts of bringing a new baby home. It’s a chance for expectant couples to let their creativity roam free and partners can do a lot more to help with getting things set up, organizing, and creating the perfect environment for baby and mother alike. There are a thousand things to consider when setting up a nursery, from the color scheme to the design of the crib to more serious things like the nursery’s location in the house and how to most effectively buy a secure crib.
A person doesn’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have a safe, fun, and happy nursery. In fact, often the expensive equipment can be impractical in the long run. While there isn’t any ‘wrong’ way to set up the perfect nursery for parents and baby, there are certainly ways to go about it to make it easier, more cost-effective, and ultimately safer for the baby.
There are even some ways to make it better for the parent, too, and make it a place to stay and relax as well as fret and worry.
This article will discuss tips and tricks to setting up the perfect dream nursery while also keeping everything safe and cheap. No one needs to sacrifice price for practicality here. Stay tuned for our list of common mistakes that parents often make when they set up their first nursery; some of them might surprise the reader, and some might even inform.
15 No ‘Me’ Space
One of the first mistakes parents make when setting up a nursery is setting the whole thing up to benefit the baby—and only the baby. Parents forget sometimes that they will also spend lots of time in that nursery too, and they should plan accordingly. Creating an environment where both parent and child feel comfortable is key in creating a good place to be during long nights or even troublesome days.
To combat this mistake, try taking the parents into account when setting up a home nursery. Set up a space that allows for comfort as well as practicality. Creating places for the parent to be and creating places for the parent to rest are important. Make sure the room gets good air conditioning and heating during the appropriate seasons and make sure there’s good circulation in the room to make for a comfortable place to be for a long period of time.
14 Buying Bumper Pads
Most people and new parents think that bumpers are an additional safety feature on cribs to keep babies from being able to roll out the sides and from hurting themselves on tough wooden or plastic edges. However, bumpers are a waste of money. They’re also a waste of space and can be dangerous. It’s best to forgo bumpers altogether and get a crib that doesn’t allow for the baby to fall out.
The reason bumpers are so dangerous is not the cotton pads themselves but the strings used to hold them up. If babies manage to yank them around—which they do more often than not—they can be dangerous. These strings and cotton fabric pieces can be a choking hazard as well as a strangulation hazard. It’s best to not get one and find a crib with thin slats so that there will be minimal harsh edges for the baby to bump on or fall out through.
13 No Comfy Seating
One of the things that often goes forgone in setting up a nursery is a specifically comfortable place for a parent; not just as an environment as a whole, but a particular place to be. Specifically, there needs to be a good place to sit down with the baby for a parent. It’s important to invest in a good place for a new parent to nest in the nursery to optimize comfort for a new parent and baby.
Try getting different styles of chairs and deciding which one works the best for the specific parent. Chairs that rock are often a lifesaver for a crying child at night, while some people prefer to have ottomans to relax on. It should be a space where a parent feels comfortable and can catch a few seconds of rest while the child is sleeping or sitting in the crib for a few moments.
12 No Food Stash
One of the first things that come to mind in creating the perfect atmosphere is food, and for good reason. It’s delicious, provides the perfect note to a good time, and eating can be a great distraction. It’s important to keep a stash of snacks for the parent in the room somewhere. Keep them ideally in a drawer that a crawling toddler or sitting baby can’t reach and yank by accident.
Things like trail mix, crackers, and chips can be kept in drawers at room temperature without worry about rotting or spoiling. Any open bags should be kept securely shut with a bag clamp or re-sealed with a bag sealer to avoid attracting ants or other pests that might take interest in snacks. Keep them out of reach of the baby as well—these snacks should be for the benefit of the mother, not the choking hazard of the new baby.
11 Buying an Expensive Crib
Buying a new crib is a tricky thing. It’s important to get the perfect one for baby and parent, and it’s hard to know what to get the first time around with children. Often products that have tons of different features and a hefty price tag seem like the best option—if a person pays more, than they’re getting a better product, right? This isn’t the case most of the time. With cribs, it’s impractical to spend a huge amount of money on a crib.
The only real requirements for a crib are that it’s at a height that can keep the baby in but the parent can still reach over and that it’s decently sturdy. Those are the only real concerns. A laundry basket that’s been padded down is as good a crib as a seven hundred dollar all-stops-pulled masterpiece from IKEA. Know what’s needed for the specific nursery and then buy something accordingly, but know that spending a whole bunch of money isn’t necessary.
10 Buying a Cheap Crib
Just like buying a hugely expensive crib with all the fixin's, deciding to buy a super cheap crib that isn’t built well can be a huge mistake in the long run. Cribs often have to last a few years and they should be good for generations; parents should consider the crib they buy to be good for the next kids they plan to have, too. Buying a cheap crib means it won’t be reusable, sure. But more importantly, it means that it won’t be safe for the baby, and that’s the most important thing.
A cheap crib will have the tendency to fall apart more easily. What people forget when thinking about this is that the crib might fall apart while the baby is inside of it. All of those broken pieces of wood or plastic smashing down on top of each other isn’t exactly safe. It’s the opposite of safe. Buying a super, souped-up crib might not be necessary, but it’s also important to get a decent crib to avoid any accidents.
9 Buying a Crib Skirt
Similar to getting a bumper, crib skirts are a waste of time and money. While they might add just the right amount of frill to the nursery and look just oh-so-cute with the bedspread, they aren’t worth the money they cost. If a baby manages to get a hold of the skirt while on the floor or in the crib, it can be a strangulation hazard or a choking hazard. It’s best to save dollars and go without the crib skirt.
If decoration is absolutely necessary, invest in a nice rug—we’ll talk about the benefits of a good rug in the nursery later. But crib skirts aren’t necessary and while it’s the parent’s choice to waste money where the parent wants to, safety is another thing. A wandering baby isn’t safe around a crib skirt, even under parental supervision. Go without; find somewhere else to put the extra frill and fanciness.
8 The Changing Table
A changing table seems like something that a new parent will need in the nursery. Babies, to no one’s surprise, wear diapers. One of the things necessary in a room is a place to change said diapers. Changing tables are a place to change diapers, so they must be necessary, right? Wrong. Changing tables are actually an impractical purchase because they don’t age well and aren’t useful in the long run.
The thing that people forget when they buy changing tables is that the baby will grow up at some point and no longer need it. At that point, the changing table will have to be stored or tossed and a dresser bought. Instead of spending the extra money, invest in a good dresser and buy a changing table top for it. This way a parent has the convenience of a table without spending money on an entire piece of furniture that won’t even be necessary in a few years.
7 Hardwood Floors
While a new parent might not be able to control what the flooring situation is in the house, it is important to consider what floor the nursery will have. Carpets are fine and safe for babies, but hardwood surfaces are slippery and tough. Babies that fall over might get hurt. If a baby falls out of the crib, they’re more likely to get hurt on a hardwood surface, too. To prevent this, consider investing in an area rug for the nursery.
Area rugs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and should be purchased even if the nursery has a carpet. It makes an extra-soft surface for the new baby to roll around on when they aren’t in the crib. Shaggy carpets can offer something for the baby to grab at, too. Extra fun, extra safe, and extra affordable if a parent knows where to look—these are the perks of getting an area rug and padding up those hardwood floors.
6 Diaper Pail Next to the Crib
Diaper pails are little wastebaskets with a closing lid that can be used to store diapers for long periods of time. This minimizes trips to the trash can and most of them have some kind of odor blocking mechanism to keep the smell from being too foul. They’re highly practical and great for the busy lifestyle of a parent. However, where a parent puts a diaper pail can be a big deal.
Putting a diaper pail right by the crib isn’t a good idea. This may sound obvious, but the diaper pail might start to smell over time. It isn’t good to have a bag full of feces-soaked fabric right next to a sleeping baby in any scenario, odor-blocking mechanism or not. If the nursery is too small for this to be an option, consider putting the diaper pail in a different place in the house. Try to distance the baby from it as much as possible to make for a healthier, happier little fellow.
5 Crib by the Window
Having a crib by the window might seem like the perfect idea for a baby. Many people say that it’s perfectly fine and healthy so long as a parent buys appropriate sun-blocking equipment to keep the harsh rays of light from hitting the newborn’s eyes. However, cribs should never be placed by the window. They’re quite a huge safety hazard and create many problems for babies, and by juxtaposition, problems for new parents.
For one, sunlight can be damaging to a young baby’s unprotected eyes. Even with a black filter over the window to block the light, there’s still risk with blinds and curtains. A baby will grab and pull and bite at anything that they can. These decorations are no exception. Expect anything dangling near the baby to be a choking hazard, blinds included, and put the crib somewhere where the baby can’t grab them and hurt themselves on them.
4 Cluttered Crib Area
Clutter in any part of the house isn’t good for anyone. It makes for a bad atmosphere, creates lazy vibes, and potentially makes for safety hazards. In the nursery, though, it’s all the more important to keep things clean. It’s important not to leave clutter around the crib area, even in the form of toys because these things are all safety hazards to a newborn baby that doesn’t know not to put anything and everything in their mouth.
One thing to consider is finding bins and using them for different things. A toy box, for example, to store toys in, and a box for supplies, et cetera. Finding a way to organize can be relaxing and rewarding. In addition, it’s crucial that the nursery remains clean. Newborns can’t clean up themselves, after all, and they require a sanitary and clutter-free environment to grow and explore in. It’s worth noting that if a person buys bins, they should have secure lids that a curious baby can’t take off easily.
3 Mobiles Too Close to Baby
Mobiles are an excellent way to entertain babies that need a little extra something to get them to relax. They come in assortments of colors and shapes. Everything from dinosaurs to fairies can be put on a mobile and they can even make sounds when they spin, too. These are something that any parent should absolutely get, but with one precaution: do not hang them close to the baby.
All hanging objects, really, should be kept away from a baby’s reach. Even if the baby sits up, they should not be able to reach over and grab the mobile. This is because a mobile offers tons of things for a baby to get hurt on. Either the strings are a strangulation hazard, the pieces are a choking hazard or the falling mobile is a bruising or broken limb hazard; it’s all dangerous. Keep mobiles fastened up high where a baby can’t grab them.
2 Preparing the Nursery Late
When a person gets pregnant, the list of things to do might seem endless. There’s the baby shower, getting a doctor, and deciding whether to go to a hospital, and if so, which one. Setting up the nursery can get pushed to the background, and while all the planning in the world might have gone into it, many couples find themselves tossing the nursery together at the last minute. This is a huge mistake to make because the thing many people forget is that when the baby comes, there’s time for nothing.
Get all the big things set up at least four months before the due date. Get everything ready and completely prepared for the baby at least sixteen weeks in advance because once the baby comes, there will be little to no time for anything extra. And the baby will need that nursery the moment that they come home. Getting the nursery ready as early as possible takes one more stressor off a new parent’s mind and provides a good environment for the baby without having things constantly changed and flipped around at the last minute.
1 Not Stocking Up on Supplies
While a pregnant person is preparing their nursery a solid four weeks in advance, they should also be stocking up on supplies. Things like diapers, rash ointment, baby powder, and even baby food all need to be purchased in advance and purchased in bulk. Start organizing things vertically to save space and keep labeled bins with childproof tops on them to store bulkier things. When the baby comes, there will be no time to constantly go back and forth to the store.
It can also be cheaper to buy in bulk. Many stores that offer bulk items offer a cheaper per-unit price—for example, the bulk package of a hundred diapers might be forty dollars, but that’s less than $2 per diaper. In a regular grocery store, a pack of twelve diapers might be $25, which is significantly more per diaper. Buying in bulk in advance saves valuable money and time; stock up in bulk and store it all up well before the baby is on their way.