As you probably know, if you’re a regular reader around here, I’m expecting Baby #3 (who is currently named Peanut, until we come up with a real name after his/her birth) in just a couple of months. So, I’ve got babies on the brain.
Speaking of “on the brain” – you know that phrase “pregnancy brain” where the expecting mother is supposedly airheaded and forgetful? For my last two pregnancies, I called it a myth and said it was complete bs. Then yesterday, I was making a simple box of Chicken Helper and found myself coating the chicken with mashed potatoes instead of the Chicken Helper seasonings. Now, I’m starting to question it – maybe it is a real thing. Did you experience the “pregnancy brain” during any of your pregnancies?
Today I’m writing about Baby’s Nursery. What’s necessary and what’s not? First, the NURSERY is not even a necessity. My second daughter was born when we still lived in a 2-bedroom apartment. She had no nursery. I stashed her clothes in her sister’s closet, stored her cloth diapers and baby gear in a Thirty One tote that I kept in the living room, and let her sleep in an Arms Reach Co-Sleeper until we decided just to cosleep with her.
So, take all of my personal advice here with a grain of salt. Do what works for you and your baby.
Not necessary. Now, our Baby Boomer moms would generally disagree here, but I have a crib that we bought while expecting my first daughter, and it’s barely EVER been used as a crib. It’s a fancy thing that is supposed to turn into toddler bed, then with an $80 kit that you can only buy online, it turns into a full size bed. They call them convertible. We used the toddler bed feature for several years for both Princess and Punky. I’m going to try the crib thing with Peanut when he/she’s born. I’m sure Peanut will use the toddler bed feature for several years, too. But the full size bed feature? It’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever use that and I hope that my dear beloved Baby Boomer mother didn’t spend much extra for that feature when she purchased it as a gift.
So what did my kids sleep in, you might be asking, knowing they rarely used a crib. An Arm’s Reach Original Co-Sleeper, regular bassinet, a Graco Pack N Play without all the bells and whistles available, a Close and Secure sleeper like this SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper, and my own bed. Peanut took the majority of her naps in the Fisher-Price Rock N Play Sleeper. Princess preferred to take her naps in the living room on a blanket. My point here is that there is plenty of options that your baby can sleep in, so don’t feel like you need to have a crib.
Bumper pads & blankets?
Again, not necessary. Bumper pads are not recommended (and haven’t been for several years, even when Princess was born in 2008) for safety reasons. It’s also not recommended to use heavy blankets or stuffed animals in the crib. If you do get that fancy Pottery Barn quilt, trust me, it will likely be folded up on the back of a chair or on a shelf. You’re not going to want to scrub spit-up off of your $100 “investment.”
You will want some blankets for your baby, of course. When Princess was a winter newborn, I loved the HALO SleepSack Swaddle and when Punky was a jumpy, sensitive newborn, I loved the SwaddleMe swaddles. When she was older, she outgrew nearly all of the swaddling blankets but still fit in the aden + anais Swaddle Blankets that measure 47″x47″.
Since all babies are different, I truly recommend buying just a few options for blankets before your baby’s arrival. Not all babies want or need to be swaddled. Some (like my second child) probably would still benefit from being swaddled until preschool. Or college.
Mobiles? Decorations? Fancy lights?
Yes, you will need a night light. You will not need mobiles, decorations, or fancy lights.
Mobiles are great for catching the baby’s eyes when they get a little bit older. They will hold their attention for a little while so you can do something quick, like getting dressed or feeding your cats or whatever. They’re a great *extra* to have. I loved the Tiny Love Take Along Mobilebecause it fit on the Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper and Pack N Play, crib, and Rock N Play, and was removable in a way that you could clip it to the infant car seat and some strollers, too.
Nursery decorations will be entirely for you. Babies don’t care. If you can afford them and that’s the sort of thing that brings you joy, go for it. In Princess’s first nursery, I had homemade wood painted circles that matched her dotted bedding. Then after our move, I replaced them with vinyl dots that were much easier to maintain and remove when she outgrew it. Punky got her first nursery/bedroom around her first birthday, and I decorated it with a large black and white photograph of a cat that I’d printed when I entered it in our local State Fair. She had some antiques on her shelves and her nursery looked well put together despite not being expensive to decorate.
This item, generally, is a non-necessity. Most mothers seem to say that they rarely used theirs. I, on the other hand, loved my changing table. Mine was a free hand-me-down, and between Princess and Punky, I painted it black to make it look more modern. I regularly changed my kids clothes and diapers on the changing table until they were around 2 and able to help dress themselves. I personally preferred this height to having to bend down to the couch or sit the baby on our hard floors. You can live without it yes, but I will say that I really, really enjoyed mine.
Diaper Genie – no. What a waste. Any trash can will do. Buy a heavy duty stainless steel version and it will conceal most odors without the extra plastic waste and cost of the Diaper Genie.
Diaper pail for cloth diapers? YES, necessary. Unless you want to use a large hanging wetbag, which is equivalent to a pail without needing a trash can. With modern cloth diapers, you will not have to soak them. There’s really no mess at all. I found that cloth diapers generally have less odor than using disposables.
For storing dirty cloth diapers, I love to get Planet Wise pail liners and hanging wet/dry bags from Nicki’s Diapers. The pail liners are awesome because they can be used with one hand, however you have to use them with a trash can! The hanging bags are awesome because they can be moved from room to room easily or used for travel.
Glider or Rocking Chair?
Optional. I used a glider during Princess’s first six months or so. She nursed in it on occasion. It was in her nursery, which I found to be boring and inconvenient. I preferred to nurse all of my babies on the couch or in m bed, where I could spread out and quietly watch tv or flip through a magazine while doing so. I found it most comfortable to nurse sitting cross legged or while lying down. My babies didn’t mind being rocked to sleep while I held them in a rocking chair or glider, but it wasn’t a must-have.
So what’s really necessary in baby’s nursery? Nothing but love and hugs and kisses and snuggles. Many modern and thrifty parents have found that cribs, Diaper Genies, fancy decorations, and toys are NOT necessary.
My personal nursery favorite was the changing table. It offers storage and a comfortable spot to change baby that you don’t have to bend down to use. But I easily lived without it while Punky was a newborn. A nursery is not even necessary for baby. She didn’t even have a nursery until she was nearly a year old.
What was your favorite nursery item? What was nursery item did you think you had to have but then found you didn’t use?