I think that creating our nursery in anticipation of our little one’s arrival was one of my favourite parts of being pregnant. With all of the anxieties and not-so-perky days that come with pregnancy, it’s a lovely feeling when the time finally comes to choose your nursery furniture, grab a paintbrush and go shopping for those ever-so-cute finishing touches. I loved having a project that we could work on together as a couple and for once, even Mr M got excited at the prospect of yet another trip to John Lewis.
Lucky for us, we both had sisters with children who were really helpful in providing us with lists of everything we would need, but it can be a bit of a minefield for first-time parents who haven’t got a clue where to start.
So when the time comes, here is my complete list of must-haves for preparing your nursery.
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. There are hundreds of nursery furniture sets on the market and with the likes of Argos, Ikea and the supermarkets all offering their own , you really don’t need to spend a fortune. We got our whole set (cot, cupboard and wardrobe) from Argos for the bargain price of £249.99. I wrote about it here. Shop around.
You will be amazed at how much space all of those baby grows, vests and blankets take up! Even if you haven’t bought much yourself, be prepared for lots of cute outfits coming your way from your friends and family as soon as your little one enters the world. So you will need a decent set of draws or cupboard. Baskets are also great for adding some order to your cupboards and provide a nifty place to keep those rogue socks, bibs, hats and mittens.
Also have in mind that you will need somewhere to store the outfits once your baby grows out of them – I find myself storing away ‘too small’ outfits and replacing with bigger ones on a monthly basis. I have one of Ikea’s under the bed storage boxes which works really well for this.
A lot of nursery cupboards come with a baby change table on top for you to put your mat on. You don’t of course need a table and the floor/bed will perfectly suffice, but I find it much easier to change nappies whilst standing up and it’s convenient having it within Taylor’s room.
I made the mistake of not getting one of these initially and regretted it from day one. Once your baby starts to sleep through the night, you will want to keep their room as dark as possible if you don’t want a 5am start (needless to say, I now have one). There are some great ones on the market especially for children’s rooms – like these Disney themed ones from VELUX.
Again you don’t need to spend much (if any) money on this – the NHS actually give these out and our health visitor gave us one of these on her first home visit. However if you prefer one that’s a little nicer on the eye there are heaps of fun ones in the shops. We have the Gro-egg which I love because it also acts as a night light and looks cute sat on the book shelf.
In addition to the Gro-egg in the nursery, I also have one of the plug-in night lights in the hallway. When you’re half asleep and have been woken up for the fifth time it’s all too easy to walk into walls in the middle of the night!
Whether you get a video monitor or just one with sound is down to personal choice. We have the Motorola video one and I must admit that I do quite like being able to sneak a peak at Taylor every now and again. It’s particularly useful when you’re not sure if those little whimpers are part of a dream, or the beginning of a full-on meltdown – I like having the heads up.
Book shelf and reading/feeding chair
Your health visitor will tell you how important it is to read to your baby from the early days and encourage you to introduce it into your bedtime routine as early as possible. We were given some free books from the government’s Bookstart initiative after Taylor was born and have gradually added to the collection since then. We’ve created a little reading nook with a shelf and rocking chair which is perfect for those bedtime stories. The chair also doubles up for feeding – you’ll find you need to feed your baby in a quiet place once they get a little more alert (nosy) and they’re more interesting in their surroundings than drinking milk.
You’ll find that you try anything to sooth your baby, particularly in the early months. Cot mobiles are a great distraction, providing something for your little one to look at and listen to as they settle down to sleep. Ours is now part of our routine and I’m sure it signals to Taylor that it’s time for shut-eye – we wind it up before every nap and evening sleep.
Okay, this obviously isn’t a must-have but adding a rug can bring the theme of the nursery together and help to make it cosy. There are some great rugs online for children. I love this pink polka dot one for a girl’s room which can be bought through Amazon.
Again not an essential, but Once Taylor was born I was straight onto notonthehightstreet.com to source some personalised artwork and complete her room. I love this print which takes pride of place above her cot and will be a great keepsake for years to come.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post