Baby Furniture: What You Need, What Can Wait
Your first official act as a parent -- besides having a baby -- is buying baby furniture.
The same emotions apply to both: You're excited at first. A little nervous, too. Then come the questions and plans. And just like that, you're completely overwhelmed.
Relax: Baby furniture doesn’t have to be complicated. Put down the pretty magazines and let experts who've been there and tried that walk you through it.
The best nurseries start with honest answers about your space, style, and budget. Once you figure out what will work for you, move forward with confidence, whether you're sticking with baby basics or going over the top.
"Nurseries are a no-guilt zone," says Sandra Gordon, mother of two. "The baby doesn't care -- it's really for you. Don't be afraid to make your mark or be low-key about it. It's not a contest. "
Kick the Tires
Online stores and express shipping bring the world of baby gear to your doorstep, but it pays to take your time checking things out. "You want to get everything settled fast. It can feel like you don’t have time to get everything done, but you do,” says Heather Branch, mother of a 5-month-old girl.
Dog-ear those magazines and bookmark baby furniture websites, but don't skip scouting local shops before you buy, even if you plan to purchase online. Sit in the chairs. Bend over the cribs and pretend you're picking up a baby. Comfort is key. An in-person look can give you a better idea of the quality, too.
Start With Sleep
Everyone has different opinions about sleeping arrangements, but no one can argue this: You need sleep and so does your baby. Start with a crib and build your nursery around it.
"The most important piece of furniture is the crib," Gordon says. "It's highly regulated and the safest sleep environment possible."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing the same room with your baby for the first 6 months. (Though not the same bed -- babies should always have their own sleep surface.) Gordon recommends setting up a stationary crib from the get-go. If space is an issue, start with a bassinet instead.