As first time parents setting up a new nursery, how can you differentiate the truly essential items from those which are simply "nice to have?". Here's our list of top four essentials for the nursery. The rest are nice to have!
1. The Crib
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good crib. In the US, all crib manufacturers must abide by the same standards. What's important is to research your crib before buying. The Consumer Product Safety Commission's database, SaferProducts.gov, allows consumers to research safety information. It's a great tool to learn about recalls, too.
A crib may seem like a big space for a tiny baby, but, according to the CPSC, "it's the safest place for her to sleep". They're regulated by the federal government and most are also certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). There are currently no federal standards for co-sleepers or Moses baskets. (While some bassinets are certified by the JPMA, many are not.) Steer clear of Moses baskets and bedside sleepers (sometimes called co-sleepers), since there are concerns about their safety.
You definitely want to buy a new crib. Don't be tempted to use your aunt's crib from 10 years ago or one you find in a consignment shop. It's not worth the risks.
Other recommendations from the CPSC:
- bring a ruler with you when you shop to check the spaces between the slats and other places on the crib. If they're greater than 2 3/8 inches wide, they're too far apart.
- If you buy a crib online, measure any openings immediately when it arrives at your home.
- Check for sharp edges and protruding screws, nuts, corner posts, decorative knobs, and other pieces that could catch your baby's clothing at the neck.
2. The Crib Mattress
For crib mattress recommendations, we turned to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for their recommendations. Choosing your crib mattress isn't as fun as decorating, but it's a decision that warrants careful consideration. The mattress is as important as the crib, and the CPSC recommends "buying the best one you can". Their site states, "Why does it matter? For one thing, your baby will spend a lot of time in his crib. It might seem hard to believe, especially when you're getting up to feed a fussy baby in the middle of the night, but infants sleep up to 18 hours a day".
The CPSC recommendations a mattress that fits properly in the crib, without any gaps that could pose a danger to your baby. The mattress should be firm. A soft one "can conform to the shape of your baby's head or face, increasing the risk of suffocation or even sudden infant death syndrome", states the CPSC.
There are two types of crib mattresses: foam and innerspring. Foam tends to be lighter (about 5 to 13 pounds) compared with an innerspring mattress (about 15 to 30 pounds). That's something to consider when you think about how many times a day you may be changing the crib sheets! Secondly, buy a quality mattress. Cheap mattresses have very think coverings and will tear or even crack in time.
Want to go organic? Look for GREENGUARD certification from the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, an independent organization that certifies products for low chemical emissions.
3. A Baby Monitor
The monitor is an essential that's in our top five unless you have a small space. Upstairs/downstairs is a good reason to have a monitor. The Fisher-Price Remote Control Musical Video Monitor, $180, comes highly recommended, as it triples as baby monitor, sound machine, and nightlight. It plays five lullabies and has natural sound effects, all of which can be controlled from the parent handset.
4. The Glider
Next, you'll need a glider or nursing chair. Rockers have been replaced with luxurious chairs that allow mom or dad to sink into bliss while feeding or soothing baby. Babies love the motion of rocking, and today's gliders have locking mechanisms for safety. This is also a must have!
Nice But Not Necessary....
Some opt to use a bassinet or co-sleeper for the first few months, so its up to you whether you purchase a crib initially or save that big ticket purchase for a little later down the track. However, you need to know that there are no federal standards for co-sleepers or Moses baskets. It's worth doing your research before you decide.
A changing table is not a necessity. For one, once your baby is done with diapers, there’s no other use for it. Consider instead a contoured pad that attaches to the top of a dresser. Store all the baby changing essentials as diapers, baby powder, wipes, and diaper rash ointment in the dresser.
A diaper pail and diaper stackers are optional. You can use a garbage bag if you keep up with clean up and remove daily and diapers and such can be stored in the dresser (or closet). Shelving above the dresser or changing area is a good idea for quick retrieval of powder and wipes, etc.
If you can swing them, black-out blinds or curtains will be your friend, because you’ll soon come to appreciate the quality (aka length!) of your baby’s sleeping time just as much as he/she will.
Liz and Roo Fine Baby Bedding offers premium quality baby bedding, contoured changing pad covers, all-cotton crib sheets and baby blankets. The best part? They are all sewn, one by one, in North Carolina. That's made in USA and that means higher quality for you and your baby.
Once you've finished shopping for the nursery essentials, the fun begins. Think nursery design, color, and decor. When you do, consider the quality and workmanship when buying your crib bedding. Will you have more than one baby? Pass your bedding along to your sister or best friend? Purchase baby bedding that is well made, tested, and importantly, know the source of the materials your precious baby is sleeping on. Where was the crib sheet made? Where was the fabric made? Our fabrics are made in Mississippi by a family owned mill, then sewn in North Carolina by experts, one by one!
We offer gender neutral nursery bedding as well as baby boy bedding and baby girl bedding. It’s lovely to be able to purchase a set for your nursery so that baby has matching crib sheets, blanket, crib rail cover and crib skirt, and all in the colors you've been dreaming about for your nursery.
Your nursery won’t be complete without a gorgeous receiving blanket! At Liz and Roo, we have luxurious faux fur blankets (minky blankets). Nothing beats the personal touch of monogrammed baby bedding, and we offer a wide range of products that can be personalized in this way. Take your time, have fun, and enjoy this special time shopping and decorating before your little one arrives!