Baby Furniture Needs

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on December 15, 2020

Pregnancy is 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?

Shh! The Baby Is Sleeping

Many new parents will 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 room.

Right Away: Bassinet, Cradle, or Sidecar. Keeping your baby close by in a bassinet, cradle, or sidecar co-sleeper also makes feeding easier during those first sleep-deprived months!

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 theirs 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.

Twins are comforted by having their womb-mate close by when they sleep. So during the early months, you can probably have them share a sleep space. As they grow, of course, your twins will want and need their own space, and that will mean two cribs.

Many moms of twins report that they learn to sleep according to the same schedule -- or at least sleep through each other's awakenings -- if you keep them in the same room.

Time to Change the Babies

You’re going to have to change your baby’s diapers 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 your baby’s diapers. Babies can roll off the table in the blink of an eye.
  • Just change your 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 baby. 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 to have even while you are 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.

  • Mobile
  • Bookshelf
  • Humidifier
  • Dehumidifier
  • Baby monitor
  • Small lamp
  • Night-light
  • Smoke detector
  • Hamper
  • Furniture straps for safety
  • Area rug for wood floors
  • Toy storage

Show Sources

SOURCES: "AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction," "Choosing a Crib," "Buying Furniture and Baby Equipment," "Changing Diapers," "Nursing Supplies," "Twins: 2 Cribs or 2 Bedrooms."

Consumer Reports: "Changing Table Buying Guide."

Curtis, Glade B. Your Baby's First Year Week by Week, Da Capo Press, 2010.

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