Babies: tiny, adorable bundles who steal our hearts and what little space in our homes that we may have. They are so small and sweet, with their itty bitty outfits and soft little coos. Looking at them you'd never guess one baby would need so much stuff.
As you continue in your pregnancy and browse through the multitude of baby items for sale, you realize these little stinkers need a lot. Sure there are all sorts of neat gizmos and gadgets out there along with cool doodads and whoozits too. But what do you really need? Aside from the obvious of diapers, wipes, and clothes; which you will want a lot of, at least of the first two items anyway. Kids tend to outgrow outfits at an alarming rate. What are the essentials, especially when talking about your nursery?
There are a lot of opinions about what's important. Some things seem more of one person’s opinion on what to have rather than true necessity items. So to help simplify things, I've researched and put together a list of the eight most essential nursery items.
8 Crib, Crib Mattress and Sheets
A crib is a pretty important part of the nursery. Where else will your baby sleep at night or during naps? Ok, so you start looking into cribs and OMG there are a lot of choices. Do you get the old fashioned style crib, which is just a crib or the newer convertible crib, which becomes a toddler bed, then a full size bed for an older child?
My advice is to get whatever you think will work best for you and your budget. Remember as good as the convertible cribs are, usually the pieces to convert them later are sold separately and some will argue that they look odd once made into a regular bed. Personally I think they look ok, and when browsing the selections remember you can usually find pictures of the crib in all three stages.
Looking now at the old fashioned cribs, they usually take up less space and cost a lot less money to purchase, with no extra parts needed for later, they are a one and done deal.
Think a crib is not in the cards? Try a pack and play, they are inexpensive and portable so if you should need to travel, your baby’s bed can go with you. Many parents choose this option while saving up for a crib or bed. If you're unsure the crib you picked is the right crib for you and baby, read the reviews.
Now your baby’s crib is all picked out. You’re done here, yes? No.
Cribs don’t come with mattresses and the sheets to go on them. It’s a pain but it’s true. When picking out your baby’s mattress you want one that is firm and fits properly into your crib, per the safety standards to prevent SIDS. Take your crib’s mattress size recommendation into consideration when buying a crib mattress. Most crib mattresses come in a waterproof vinyl casing but you still might want to look into a mattress protector or washable chucks along with the sheets. You’re going to want at least 3 crib sheets, a spare for any poop or pee blowouts and one for any spit up messes that will occur.
7 Dresser/Changing Table
At your baby shower family members and friends will have given you lots of cute little outfits, diapers, wipes, burp cloths, bibs, etc. Now where to put it all? In a dresser of course, this will help you stay a little more organized so when your tiny bundle comes home you can grab stuff from a drawer lickity split.
Again, there are tons of different dressers out there intended for nurseries, but as always, your budget and style will dictate what works best for you. Unfortunately, dressers aren’t exactly cheap. You can look for used ones in yard sales or second hand stores to save yourself some money. Just remember to clean it good before loading it up with stuff.
You'll want to organize all your baby's clothes in a dresser
Next you’ll need a changing table, or do you? If you are cramped for space, like moi, the easiest and least expensive option is just to put a changing pad right on top of that nice dresser you just got there. Or, if that idea does not catch your fancy, you can buy a small changing pad like what you get in a diaper bag/designate a blanket and change your little one anywhere, anytime the need arises.
6 Glider/Rocker Chair
Cramped for space or not this piece will be your best investment. A glider chair or rocker will be the place where you nurse/feed your new baby, the place you read stories, sing songs, and lull your love to sleep. You will be spending a lot of time in this chair, don’t cheap out on this.
Go to the stores and try them out. Let me warn you though, the price tags are a bit scary. When you think about it, for something you will be spending a lot of time in, and I do mean a lot of time, it’s worth the price tag as long as it suits your comfort and needs.
A rocker makes putting your baby to sleep much easier
This too can be something you find used, but make sure to try it out before you buy it, and clean it well before you use it for yourself and baby. If it’s too squeaky once you get it home, have hubby try and spray the moving parts with WD-40. I cannot tell you how much of a miracle that stuff is on squeaks, works wonders every time.
If you do want to buy one new, but aren’t sure what would be best for you, reading the reviews others write about the product might help you in making your decision, after you have gone and tried them for yourself of course!
5 Baby Monitor
Baby monitors, some today are so advanced you can stream them to your phone via Wi-Fi from wherever. But like I have said throughout this article, always read up on and look at the reviews of the things you are unsure of. This is something that you might want to buy new. You wouldn’t want to buy it at a yard sale only to get home, plug it in, change the batteries and find out it doesn’t work. If it’s new and that happens you can return it for a new one or different monitor altogether.
Being a busy mom who works full time, writes articles, and most importantly cares for her baby girl, I want the peace of mind knowing that I can hear her should she wake up in the middle of the night or on the weekends during nap while I'm doing my dailies in and out of the house. If your home is small, you won’t need the fancy one that can go up to a million yards. However if your home is larger, or you do a lot of stuff outside, then a monitor with a long range will be best.
There are so many different monitors to choose from
There are new breeds of high tech monitors that have a baby cam so you can watch your little one sleep. This is a double edged sword, as you can watch and wonder if what you're seeing on the monitor is normal, or it'll make you paranoid about not watching the monitor just in case. Or being able to watch your baby will genuinely make you feel more comfortable as a new parent.
4 Open Storage Baskets
The baby growing in your belly will accumulate a lot of things before you even realize it’s happening. My daughters’ bedroom, which used to be nicely organized, has turned into a mine field of baby toys, clothes and books. I am not even sure when or how it occurred. To help organize the clutter get some open storage baskets so that you can have things neat and within easy reach.
Storage bins are usually stackable, so if you happen to need--or have--2-4 baskets, you can neatly stack them and set them out of the way or in a closet until the time that you need to pull them out. You might even be surprised about how handy these little plastic boxes can be.
Think about investing in some plastic baskets for storage
You could, if you wanted to, personalize the baskets with cute labels of the contents or appliqués that match the theme of the room. That’s the great thing about open storage baskets. They don’t have to be boring things that sit in the corner or on a shelf. You can make them fun and when baby is older and no longer needs say a burp bib basket you can repurpose it for toys and games.
3 Night Light
A night light is extremely essential in your nursery; your little baby will not be afraid of the dark, but during those middle of the night feedings the baby is going to wake for, it will be a lifesaver to you.
You don’t want to rouse them more at night by bumping around their room in the dark, so put in a soft night light to help you find your way around. Its bad enough you’re going to be half awake, don’t add stubbing your toe into the mix because you can’t see.
The night light is really for you
Like anything else, your child will get used to the night light and it will help them to learn the difference between day and night. Big bright lights will equal day while the small soft light will equal night time.
2 White Noise Machine
Now I know I wrote white noise machine, but really this can be anything that makes a constant steady noise. Some examples include a fan, humidifier, tune the radio in between stations for the sound of static, or download an app on your phone for white noise, yes they totally exist. I used one with my daughter for the longest time. They will have sounds such as rain, thunderstorms, wind, whale songs, fire crackling, crickets, and even the sound of a heartbeat.
Some of you might be wondering why this is an essential nursery item. Think about your baby’s first environment for a minute, they grow inside you and with the entire goings on in your body it’s pretty loud. Babies are used to a loud environment, rushing blood, mom’s heartbeat, gurgling sounds of your inner workings. You get the idea. Then your baby is born and all that stops, it’s very quiet. It makes sense that the white noise will help them sleep better.
A constant steady noise might be the key to your baby sleeping better
White noise machines help people to sleep better too. According to Popular Science, people sleep better when they listen to white noise is that it blocks out other noises that would potentially disturb their sleep. The noise you hear all day is called pink noise, it's noise you hear at a higher frequency, this noise is louder and more powerful. White noise is equal across all frequencies, which is why it usually works best.
1 Smoke Detector/Carbon Monoxide Detector
This is probably the least thought of, but most crucial item to have in your nursery. Aside from SIDS, carbon monoxide poisoning is another heavy hitter in infant deaths. Baby’s are sensitive and will die from carbon monoxide poisoning long before an adult will. Too many people each year die from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a lack of detection in their home. I have two in my home, one in the kitchen right near the entrance to my living room and one in my daughters’ room.
They don’t cost much, less than $15 at Walmart and as low as $7 from Amazon. It’s worth all the money for this safety item and the peace of mind it will give you. Whatever you do, do not skip this item. Skip any other item on the list, but please do not skip this one. It’s too big of a risk to take with your precious gem.
I’m sure that there are other things some people will find extremely important for their nursery, and others will disagree, but in my opinion this is the list of necessity for your nursery. Everything else can be a must have, but these essentials are fundamental to your sanity. They will make life with your new baby go much smoother.
Whether you think one item is more significant than another, you'll eventually need all of these items
Other items of note you might want to have on hand would be a diaper pail of some kind, even if it’s just a securely lidded trash can you take out daily. A hamper for all the dirty clothes you will accumulate, never underestimate a baby’s ability to poop through their diapers, then right after they’ve been changed, spit up all over themselves.
When they are too little to sit up on their own, a bouncer chair will come in handy so that your little one can watch you as you put away laundry or change their crib sheet they just spit up on for the third time. Oh the list goes on.