Setting up a baby nursery


Toward the end of my pregnancy, I asked several other mommies how to set up my nursery, and they all looked at me like I had asked the silliest question ever.

The question does seem a little silly to me now that I’m a mom because I know how all the “tools” work and where they should be kept; however, when I was pregnant, it was no different to me than asking me to set up a workshop for a mechanic. I was told to purchase all kinds of stuff I’d never used before, and, not knowing it’s purpose, I didn’t know if it needed to be within reach, or stowed away for random, special occasions.

In hopes that I’m not the only person to ever ask this question, I’m going to do my best to answer it. I still recall how hard it was to get my brain to function while I was pregnant, so I’m going to make it really easy. Obviously, there is room for personalization and flexibility. I’m not trying to be a nursery design star, I’m just covering what you need handy, without any fluff or fancy additions.

Here are the basics for setting up your nursery:

  • You’ll need some sort of crib, with a mattress, a mattress wetness protector of some sort, and a sheet.
  • Small bins slide easily under the crib to hold extra sheets and blankets. You’ll want these nearby so you can set the baby on the changing table while you change a wet/dirty sheet, without having to leave the room to go to the linen closet.
  • You’ll also need a changing table, with a changing pad, and pad covers.
  • Within reach of the changing table you need diapers, wipes, diaper and wipe disposal bins, hand sanitizer, onesies/swaddles/wearable blankets, diaper cream, lotion, and cloth wipes/burp cloths. As with the mattress sheets, you’ll want fresh, clean pad covers handy so you can move the baby to the crib for a quick change should there be a poop explosion. (There will be a poop explosion.)
  • Optional items: monitor, mobile, lamp, decorations, hamper, etc.

I have a tiny nursery. It holds a crib, a changing table (with shelves underneath), a tall lamp, and some corner shelving with books, q-tips, etc. That’s it, and it works fine. Any baby clothes that aren’t kept in a bin are kept in the guest room because they aren’t items that need to be within reach at a moment’s notice.

Speaking of baby clothes, you don’t need to have every item washed and ready to go for baby’s arrival. Have a few outfits, onesies and swaddles ready to go, but set the others aside for now. Do laundry as you need more clothes, and keep the tags on items you don’t end up using in case you choose to return/re-gift/donate them. My doula actually suggested taking pictures of baby in clothes with tags hidden if we wanted to show a gifter that it was worn. We didn’t go that route, but it’s not a bad idea!

I hope this helps you mommies-to-be get ready for baby!

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