Pregnancy: your admission ticket to the dizzying aisles of your local baby superstore. There are so many adorable things to buy for your baby's room, but what do you need to get right away and what could wait until later?
Shhh... Baby Is Sleeping
Many new parents invest in their baby's crib first, but you might not need to. Research shows that newborns and young infants are safest from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) when sleeping in the same room with their parents, so you may consider placing the crib in your own room.
Later: Crib and Mattress. When you do get your baby's crib, make sure it meets safety standards -- especially if a friend is handing down hers, or you're shopping at garage sales. Drop-side cribs were banned from sale in 2011. Keep in mind you often have to buy the mattress separately.
Time to Change the Baby
You’re going to have to change the baby’s diaper right from the start. So this is an area you need to have ready.
Right Away: Changing Area. You have several options for setting up a changing table.
- Buy a specially designed changing table, which will usually have 2-inch guard rails around all sides of the changing area for extra safety. They're also designed to be at the right height for changing little ones.
- Repurpose almost any mid-height dresser by attaching a soft, contoured changing pad with a concave middle and higher sides. Make sure the changing pad has safety straps, and always secure them when you're changing the baby's diaper. Babies can roll off the table in the blink of an eye.
- Just change the baby on the floor: Invest in one or two folding, portable changing pads with zippered pockets for diapers, wipes, and cream.
Right Away: Diaper Pail. Place this near the changing table. There are dozens of options, from simple pails with lids to "flip it and forget it" models. Some require their own special liners and others can use any kitchen garbage bag. Just make sure that your pail can be shut tightly for sanitation and safety.
Time for Parent-Baby Bonding
Whether you breastfeed, bottle-feed, or both, you'll need somewhere to sit while feeding your little one. You'll also want a space to rock the baby or just get to know your little one better.
Later: Rocking Chair or Glider. You can make any chair work if you need to. But a softly padded glider or rocker can make feeding time more comfortable. (These and footstools are nice even while still pregnant.)
Later: Footstool. You can wait on this, but you may wonder why you did when you get one. A footstool lifts your lap, making nursing easier and straightening your back.
Other Baby Items That Can Wait
There are many other things you can buy for your nursery to make your baby's first room more comfortable and fun. But having them usually isn’t urgent.