Since having had the priviledge of becoming mom and dad of the cutest little girl on earth, I deviated a little from the food theme of my blog to share our lessons learned about how to best prepare the arrival of your mini-me and how to navigate through motherhood on this blog.
While going through the prep motions for the nursery of our daughter and while having her with us in our home, I took stock of a couple of smart baby prep hacks we came across in the hope it might help others keep their cool in one of the most exciting times of their lives.
A very common myth – that you encounter no matter where you’re from – is that having a newborn comes with approximately one million things you supposedly need to buy right away to make sure your baby is healthy and happy. Couple that with a billion (rough personal estimate) websites and checklists on the internet on all the supposed must-have items and nursery tips for the arrival of your brand new family member.
All of this creates more confusion than clarity and leaves a couple in nesting mode with the uneasy feeling of having missed something essential. And I am certainly not excluding ourselves from that, as I guess every new parent kinda falls into this trap. One list will promote a certain item as an absolute essential for your newborn’s survival, while others do not even mention the aforementioned device/clothing piece/nursery accessory, etc.
When should I set up the nursery for my baby?
Anytime that feels good for you, but don’t pressure yourself. Movies, TV-shows, social media and quiet frankly almost everyone around you, will give you the impression that you need to have everything ready by the time the little one is born. YOU DON’T. But you can.
Chances are high, that your little baby, like so many other baby before him/her will not actually actively set foot in their own room before they are one year old. The only reason to enter the nursery will probably be for a diaper change (unless you have the opportunity to set up the diaper changing station in your bath room which I cannot recommend highly enough. Do it, if possible! check out the paragraph of this article where I talk about WHY).
You also do not need to buy a bed right away. You can opt to buying it later when you child is already there and when they are 6 month plus old. Again when they arrive in your life, they do not need a fully furnished room.
In essence: the most important of all nursery tips
Spend your money on things that last a long time in your child’s life (like a bed). Look for saving potential with products that you will need in abundance (like diapers) or items that your baby will only need within a limited timeframe (like a stroller or a swing). And always remember: we live in a world of online shopping and overnight delivery. Anything that you didn’t get before your newborn arrives can be ordered and on your doorstep in no time, so do not feel pressured to already have absolutely everything before the big day.
In fact, with a lot of products, it makes sense to wait till your baby is actually there to determine if you even need it. Like a swing or a rocking chair for example – while some kids love sitting in them, others are completely indifferent or even become anxious. Since a rocking chair is NOT essential for your child’s survival, it makes sense to hold out till your little one is there and then to try your mini-me out in one to see if it is a worthwhile purchase for your family.
All those non-essentials are also a great area to save a few bucks as there are usually so many, barely used products out there to get second hand. While you are in the situation of having a newborn time feels slow and you will feel a strong nesting instinct, but don’t forget a whole lot of baby products are only used for 3 or 6 month before you need to upgrade.
You will spend some serious money later on new shoes, bikes, daycare etc. Therefore allow yourself to be a little frugal here, where you really can. It doesn’t mean you are a stingy mom who doesn’t want the best for her baby. No, you are thereby a mom who sets her priorities straight. Your baby is not a grumpy teenager who insists on THAT jeans or wants to have what everyone has, they only want to feel your love and that you care for them. They couldn’t care less, if the crib that they lay in or the stroller you use to push them around are second hand.
What furniture do you actually need for the nursery of your newborn
Let’s get real on furniture. In the beginning all your baby truly need is the following:
- a place to sleep,
- a diaper-changing station,
- a chest of drawers for your baby’s clothing.
Anything else is truly optional and more for the parents to enjoy looking at than for your infant to actually use.
Our baby, for instance, didn’t like sleeping in a crib by the bedside – she only slumbered into sweet dreams when she was placed in a little nest – this one – in her parents’ bed in the first six month. So while those cute baby cribs might melt your heart when you see them in store, keep in mind that they would most likely only be in use for maybe six months, before your little one moves into his or her own little bed.
That being said, before you sink serious money into a new crib, I highly recommend getting it second hand, as you will only need it for a limited amount of time and a remarkably high number of babies do not really like laying in a crib as they like to be close to their parents, plus it’s not like it will have to endure a lot of wear and tear, as a newborn baby isn’t exactly mobile or strong enough to accomplish that.
Same goes for a baby bedside cribs, a.k.a. a tiny bed that can be directly attached to the parents’ bed. Again: you will only use this for a very limited amount of time, so why not get it second hand and save yourself a few bucks.
Baby beds – what makes sense
Sooner or later, however, your little one will need her own bed. That point may come as early as six month, some families keep the little one in their own bedroom or attached to their bed longer. Whatever feels best here for you personally, is something that only you can answer. the only thing that is for sure, is that there will be a point where your mini-me will sleep in their own bed.
A smart money-saving hack we discovered is baby beds that can be modified according to your child’s changing needs (this one is a great example). This bed basically grows with the kid until pre K. The companies will try to advertise to you that these bed work for kids age +/- 10. That might be true in theory, in practice it’s a great solution for your child until he or she is 4 to 5 years old.
In any case, these 3-in1 solutions can be assembled as a baby bed with an elevated mattress so you can easily life your little one in and out. It can later then be reassembled to fit a toddler, which means the mattress can be lowered and often those beds enable the child to climb in and out through an opening in the wodden bed rail. Later, it can be set up as a standard kid bed.
Thus, you basically get a 3-for-1 deal and so spare yourself the need to constantly buy new sleeping solutions for your mini-me. That being said, since this furniture piece can stay in your child’s life for a substantial time of its upbringing, it is worth investing in one that is made from good, long-lasting materials. These however also tend to have a good resell value.
Chest of drawers
Something that your kid will always need thoughout their entire childhood is a chest of drawers for their clothing, etc. Hence, it makes sense to invest in good quality, as the furniture piece may stay in your little one’s life for the majority of his upbringing.
Therefore, it makes sense to get it new as you will get many years of usage out of it. That being said, it is absolutely essential to get a strong, stable and sturdy furniture piece that can ideally even be fixed to the wall, as kids are adventurous and can AND will climb on everything within reach and the last thing you want is a chest of drawers falling on your child while it tries to climb up.
The amount of times we had to plug our daughter off the chest of drawers or lift her out of one of the drawers was actually exponentially highter than I thought in my wildest dreams. Granted not everyone’s kid is a thrill seeking free-climbing adrenalin junkie. But isn’t it much better to know they are okay, if they are?
The diaper changing spot
By getting a diaper-changing tabletop (like this one) that you can secure on top of a chest of drawers, you save space and make sure you do not end up with an extra piece of furniture that is “only” a diaper-changing table and goes out of style as soon as your toddler moves on to using the bathroom like a grown-up.
A great tip we got from friends of ours was to set up the diaper changing station in the bathroom. It might be less needed with a newborn, but sooner or later there WILL be accidents that make you glad that you are very close to a source of running water (a.k.a. the sink) and also enables you to wash your hands right there and then.
A great bonus of having the diaper changing location in the bathroom is the prxomity to the bathtub and/or shower. Both in the event of greater accidents and mishaps as well as for being able to change your baby right away after they have taken a bath. In this case you safe yourself a trip to their nursery.
Plus, having the diaper changing station in the bathroom makes the transition from diapers to potty training a little easier as your child is already accustomed to handling bathroom related issues in the bathroom – though this is our working theory and every child might have different take on their transition.
Of course, you thereby also keep the diaper waste bin in the bathroom instead of having a stinky bucket full of them in your childs nursery where they sleep.