You've cleared out your home office to make room for a nursery, and now you're standing in the doorway of the empty room with no idea where to begin. To create a soothing, peaceful, and comfortable nursery, here are a few things you'll need.
- Rocking chair with a footstool: Babies like motion, and you'll like to put your feet up while you're rocking your little one. Select a comfortable chair with washable cushions.
- CD player with bedtime and playtime CD's: A simple portable CD player will do the trick. Select soothing classical music to help your baby fall asleep, and fun music you can both sing along to during playtime.
- Hamper: During the first few months, some experts recommend washing baby clothes separately from the family laundry in mild detergent, because harsh detergents may irritate baby's sensitive skin. A separate hamper for baby will save you some sorting time later. But if you're using gentle detergent for the whole family, you can throw it all in together.
- Shelves: Select low shelves with a wipe-able surface to store books and toys within your child's reach. Young toddlers will appreciate the independence this provides them.
- Crib: The centerpiece of the nursery, this may be the biggest investment you make for the room. If you're buying a new one, consider a model that converts to a toddler bed so you don't have to store outgrown furniture. If you're using a hand-me-down crib, make sure it wasn't painted with lead-based paint, and that the rails are less than 2-3/8 inches apart. Place it away from lamps, windows, shelving, curtains and cords.
- Changing Table: Place the changing table on a carpeted or padded surface, with shelves to store diapers, wipes and pins within arms' reach so you never leave baby, even for a second.
- Diaper Pail: Any container with a tight fitting lid will do the trick.
- Curtains or Blinds: During the early weeks, baby will sleep soundly no matter how bright or dim the nursery is. But as she gets older, shutting out the sunlight will be helpful for cueing naptime or bedtime. Make sure cords and tiebacks are far from baby's reach.
After you've filled the nursery with furniture, you'll need to stock those shelves and drawers. Here are some ideas to consider.
- Toys and books: To foster a love of reading, start early. Select sturdy board books for the young baby-she'll enjoy being able to handle the books herself. Keep the books with paper pages up on a high shelf, reserved for reading sessions with you. Ignite your child's imagination by stocking the nursery with simple toys that don't do all of the work for them. To make sure they're safe, check out the National Network for Child Care website: www.nncc.org.
- Clothing and blankets: Choose soft fabrics that will feel good against baby's delicate skin.
- Crib Sheets Choose sheets with a soft feel and buy at least three sets. Consider buying a waterproof mattress pad to protect the mattress from leaks.
- Bulb syringe
- Baby monitor
- Nail clipper
- Emery boards (for filing nails in those early weeks)
- Baby soap
- Diaper rash cream
- LOTS of bibs and burp cloths
- Something to read during late night rocking sessions
After the nursery is stocked with all of the essentials, you'll just need one more item, which will be delivered on your due date. Enjoy!