When you’re expecting a baby, whether it’s your first or your tenth, setting up the nursery is one of the most exciting times. Read our best baby nursery checklist for the things that just have to get done! Given the number of must-have nursery items available on the market today, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out exactly what you and baby will truly need.
Liz and Roo is here to help you sort out the needs from the wants. Our best baby nursery checklist is a great place to start. Next up? Our free nursery interior design consultation!
Best Baby Nursery Checklist: Top 10 Must-Haves
1. Crib Furniture and Crib Bedding
Even if you’re planning to have baby sleep in a bassinet during the first few months, you’ll want to select and purchase a crib right from the start. It’s a great, safe place to lay baby down, and he or she will get comfortable with the space when it’s time to make the nighttime move.
Liz and Roo recommends two crib bedding manufacturers, one very high end, and one moderate line. First, Natart Juvenile offers designed in Italy and made in Canada furniture with a commitment to quality and excellence. Pioneering the concept of providing a healthy environment for your child, Natart was the first in our industry to become Greenguard GOLD certified for all beds, cribs and furniture. Natart sonly use low VOC materials and solid woods to provide you with an item of impeccable craftsmanship, quality and design. All items are made from 100% solid wood – beech, birch or oak. All drawer interiors are finished with either a clear-coat varnish or paint in order to reduce dust accumulation. All drawers are joined by either English Dovetail or French Dovetail which prevents the drawer front from separating from the drawer box. Their drawer boxes carry a lifetime warranty and use commercial grade, adjustable locking drawer glides imported from Austria. These glides are used in high-end kitchen cabinets and carry a lifetime warranty. The glides endure a performance test cycle of 100,000 openings & closing with a 75 lb. weight placed in the drawer. Natart offers a full line of furniture including Classic, Farmhouse, Modern and Rustic. Natart cribs and furniture is sold in specialty stores like Tots to Teens and Bambi Baby.
Our other favorite manufacturer is Westwood Designs. This moderately priced line offers superb quality for the money. As a general rule, the furniture is solid hardwood, typically poplar. Occasionally, the factory will use rubberwood in place of poplar for some components (never slats). The only exceptions to the solid wood rule are cribs with a panel headboard. These us MDF in their panels, with a cherry or walnut veneer on both sides. Our favorite rustic inspired Westwood crib, the Urban Rustic, is shown below with Liz and Roo’s buffalo check farmhouse skirt and cubby crib sheet.
Westwood uses a durable, non-toxic lacquer finish. They test finishes for lead, phthalates, cadmium, and other heavy metals and harmful substances. You’ll find Westwood Designs at Buybuy Baby and Amazon.
If you live in a small condo, Westwood offers scaled-down furniture pieces (the company calls them “euro-sized”) for folks trying to fit furniture in a small nursery.
In specialty stores, Westwood is sold as Stella Baby, which has its own web site (stellababyandchild.com). Stella has four collections with prices that range from $400 to $800 for convertible cribs. Basically, the same furniture as Westwood but with fancier finishes and detailing.
Once you have chosen your crib, it is time to think about crib bedding. Purchase the coordinating crib bedding before baby is born and get your crib set up and ready to go, and you’ll be happy once baby arrives. Get crib bedding inspiration here.
Late night feedings will be so much more comfortable for both you and baby when you have a designated place to snuggle together. Your husband will love it too. He’ll be doing some nighttime duty, too! Gliders today are a must-have nursery item and have come a long way from what your mother used (a rocker) but a rocker will do the job, too!
Read the rest of the Top 10 Must Haves!
For the best value, and overall ranked one of the highest by most glider reviews is the Babyletto Madison Nursery Glider. It is only $249. We found it on Amazon. It is $249 and comes in five colors: blush pink, mocha, slate (gray), ecru, and navy. Other features:
- Made with a water-resistant, stain-resistant microsuede and metal base
- Smooth and effortless gliding motion; Swivels 360 Degrees
- Upholstery is free of chemical flame retardants
Westwood Designs makes a swiveling glider with power controls that we also love. Featuring power recline, swivel, and rocking capabilities, upholstered in stain-resistant polyester and nylon, and a cool built-in USB charger, you’ll be ready to drift away with baby any time! Check out the YouTube with more info on this must-have nursery item here.
3. Sound machine or white-noise app/device
Help baby sleep more soundly, and help the rest of the family live their lives without constant worry about making noise that will wake baby.
The Bump has done all our homework for our best baby nursery checklist. Take a look at their comprehensive review of the best sound machines for 2019.
4. Baby monitor
There are lots of options available – from super simple to high-tech cameras with sensors and alarms. Gauge your comfort-level to decide the best fit for your family and you’ll breathe easier knowing you can keep an ear and/or eye on baby at all times. The new monitors with video can provide real peace of mind. Parents.com has a great review of baby monitors with all the pros and cons and tips for buying.
5. Odor-free diaper pail
You will never regret this purchase, especially after you’ve dealt with your first few blow-outs.
The Diaper Genie takes the prize in this category.
Like a regular trash can, the Diaper Genie filters dirty diapers into a plastic sleeve, keeping the unit clean (and dry) and allowing you to easily empty the pail. The key difference between a Diaper Genie and your run-of-the-mill kitchen can is a mechanism that keeps that the main storage compartment closed at all times, even when the lid is open
6. Blackout Curtains
We recommend blackout curtains because they fake nighttime when it’s time for that morning or afternoon nap. A valance may be adorable, but it will do nothing to block out sunlight. Same for simple lined curtains. And, most babies are smart enough to know that sunlight means playtime, and darkness means bedtime! You’ll be the one who benefits the most from this.
Looking for inspiration? Take a peek at these custom curtains available in over 75 different fabrics. They are hand sewn (custom) to your requirements for length and finished in tab top, rod pocket, or pleated!
7. Changing pad and washable changing pad cover
Having a designated spot for changing baby makes it much easier to keep your nursery and changing materials organized. Plus, a contoured changing pad (the most popular style) gives baby a soft, safe place for diaper changes. Contoured changing pad covers can tie into the overall nursery theme and add a stylish touch to the room. Make sure that it is high-quality, durable, and washable. This is an item that will get washed regularly for sure! Check out the Liz and Roo selection of contoured changing pad covers here.
8. Playmat or rug
Give baby a place to spread out and play. Tummy time and crawling practice will become a part of daily life as baby grows, and you’ll be happy to have a safe spot for baby to hang out. We suggest these stunning, machine washable Lorena Canals rugs. They make a great finishing touch to nursery decor. When they get dirty (and they will), just pop it in the washing machine. We’ve tested these rugs and they come out of the dryer looking like a new rug.
Another thing we absolutely LOVE about Lorena Canals is their social mission. With the purchase of a rug, you’ll help a child in India attend school. Believing that education is the key to mobility and vital in breaking the poverty cycle, those who purchase Lorena Canals’ rugs not only help children to get an education but also the opportunity to live a better life.
Their Sakula project built a nursery in India for children who were on the streets without protection and security. They provide a place to go, meals, and education. What is not to love about that!
9. Swing or bouncer
This item is likely to become your best friend and sanity saver. You’ll soon realize you don’t know how you’d function without it, especially if you ever need to do anything that requires 2 hands, like cooking dinner! Here’s a great link to a review of the Top Five Baby Bouncers.
Using baby swings or bouncers SAFELY is important. Please read this comprehensive guide on “How To Use a New Baby Swing or Bouncer”.
10. Books, softs toys, stuffed animals
You want baby to love their nursery (it makes night time so much easier!), so make sure it’s a fun and inviting place for them. Get lots of books. Reading to baby should be a nightly event. Remember never to put anything in the crib, no matter how cute, with your newborn. Stuffed animals belong outside the crib.
Round your best baby nursery checklist with plenty of clothes, diapers and wipes, and bathing and feeding supplies, and you’ll be ready for your new baby!
Visit our Liz and Roo website for nursery decor ideas.