Congratulations, you’re pregnant!
What an exciting time. But it can be pretty overwhelming too. I remember when I found out I was pregnant the first time around. All of the questions started creeping in. How will I know what to do? How do I change a diaper? What if he won’t stop crying? What if I can’t breastfeed? What if I don’t bond with him? What do I really need for the nursery? And let’s not even get into childbirth!
The good news is: you’re not alone and we’ve all been there. There’s a whole club of Mommies and Daddies out there willing to share information with you and help calm your fears. You also have your family members (my Mom was a Godsend when my babies were little). Also, there’s a whole list of professionals available to you: the doctors and nurses at the hospital, your pediatrician, your lactation consultant, and your daycare teachers. And then there’s the internet! There’s an endless list of people and technology there with help when you need it most.
But first things first – what do you really need for the nursery? There are lists everywhere that will tell you the basics of what you need for the nursery (just search on google), but that’s not what I’m targeting here because there were things that weren’t really on any list that I have found to be indispensable in the nursery. But, before we get to my favorite things, here’s a few good guides to the basics.
Where can I find a list of everything I will need?
Buy Buy Baby has quite an extensive list with links to items on their site. You can receive a 20% off coupon if you sign up for text messages on your phone and another 20% off coupon if you sign up for emails. Buy Buy Baby also takes Bed Bath and Beyond coupons and you can use up to 5 coupons on a visit, but the coupons cannot be expired.
Babies R Us has several checklists for first-time parents, experienced parents, multiples, and adoptive parents. They also will send coupons for signing up for emails and they offer a free rewards program.
And here’s a good one from Parents.com.
Now for my list. But before I get started, let me share one handy tip:
Get yourself an Amazon Prime account.
Pretty much anything I buy is available on Amazon Prime. When your baby is little, it can be tough to find that little window between nursing and sleeping where you can get them out of the house to shop. When my babies were newborns, the UPS guy was my best friend. Why? Because for an annual fee, Amazon will ship everything to your house for FREE within 2 days. The other great thing on Amazon is Subscribe and Save. Let’s face it…you know you’re going to need diapers and wipes and lots of other household items like garbage bags, toilet paper, and toothpaste. Why waste time picking up these items at the store when you can schedule delivery of these items to your house. And the more you schedule, the bigger discount you get. These are just a couple of the perks on Amazon that I take the most advantage of.
OK, on to my list of items you likely won’t find on any other list…
Here’s a news flash for you – babies pee and poop and spit up a lot (shocker, I know)! If you have a changing table with one of those cute cloth covers on it, you’ll find yourself changing it constantly each time your little one pees, poops or spits up on it. I was thinking it would be really helpful to have those bed pads that they put on the bed in the hospital after you have your baby. Well, here they are: underpads for the Changing Table. The beauty of these underpads is, they are disposable. Once it gets dirty, you toss it. It’s also just the right size to cover almost the entire changing pad. When my boys were really little, I felt like I was tossing these at least once a day. Even now, a good poop will get the changing table dirty so they are still handy.
And while we’re on the topic of messes, here’s another item I love…zipper sheets! In case you don’t know this already, your crib mattress should fit snugly in the crib with no spaces between it and the crib frame. This helps to ensure your baby’s safety from suffocation or getting trapped. Now, while baby’s safety is THE most important thing, that doesn’t eliminate the fact that it makes it a pain in the neck to change the crib sheet. You basically have to lift the mattress out of the crib in order to pull the fitted sheet off and put a new one on. But not with zipper sheets! There is one sheet that fits over the bottom and sides of the mattress and then the top piece zippers off for washing and replacing with another one – and you don’t have to lift the mattress out of the crib. Totally ingenious! Last time my little guy had a cold and a coughing fit in the middle of the night that caused him to throw up some of his dinner, it took me about 20 seconds to unzipper the soiled top sheet and replace it with a fresh one. Also comes in handy for nighttime diaper leaks!
When you’re woken up for a feeding at 3 o’clock in the morning, the last thing you want to do is turn all the lights on. And with a dimmer switch on the lamp in the nursery, there’s no reason to! This is really handy whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding. If you’re nursing and baby is already sleeping in the crib in his/her own room, you can just stumble into baby’s room, turn up the dimmer switch to add enough light to see and be able to feed/change baby, but still keep it dim enough that you aren’t confusing baby into thinking it’s daytime. Yep, it’s a thing…day/night confusion! Keeping rooms dimly lit at night helps to prevent it and also helps your baby fall back to sleep quicker after the feeding. I also suggest keeping a nightlight on in the kitchen and having bottles/formula ready to go so you don’t have to turn on your overhead kitchen light.
When you’re in the sleep-deprived haze of having a newborn, it can be difficult to remember what you’ve done. That’s where a baby tracker comes in handy. This helps you quickly identify what the problem may be if your baby is fussy. Now, sometimes babies are fussy for fussiness sake, but sometimes there’s a real issue they’re trying to communicate (hunger, sleepiness, etc.) and tracking baby’s activity can help you figure out the problem very quickly. If my baby was crying, I could look at the clock and then check the journal to see when the last feeding and nap time were. Then I could quickly tell if he was looking to eat or sleep without relying on trial and error. Now some of you out there may prefer an option on your phone, and there’s apps for it, but I found it quicker to just keep my pen and tracker handy and make a quick note as my kids went down for a nap or while I was nursing, etc.
This one may sound weird, but I still use it daily. A digital clock. Sounds crazy I know, but it relates to the item above. Especially if you’re nursing, having a digital clock in the nursery helps you to quickly identify how long baby has been feeding. You can also track sleep times or just use it to feel sorry for yourself when you’re up at 4 o’clock in the morning while the rest of the world is asleep. One note: try to get a digital clock with red numbers. Other colors may emit blue light which inhibits melatonin production and may impact your baby’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
You’ll soon realize what a pain in the neck daylight savings time is for baby and toddler sleep. To help offset it, we purchased a darkness curtain. It keeps most of the light out of the bedroom so it helps your child fall asleep in the summer months when the days are long and stay asleep in the morning when the sun comes up very early. It will also block out lightning flashes which can be scary for little ones. I realize this one isn’t particularly fashionable, but sleep is more important than fashion in my book.
Now for the big ticket item. A glider. I thought I could get away without having one until I started nursing my firstborn. I couldn’t get comfortable laying down nursing, so I sat up on our bed which was very uncomfortable. I came across a Dad blogger who said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Someone should tell you not to wait to have a baby to get the most comfortable piece of furniture you will ever own.” And he is so right. I finally relented and bought one. Sinking into the glider with one of my sons at bedtime is still my favorite part of the day over 3 years later. And we loved the one we bought in my older son’s room so much, we bought the same one for our little guy’s room. I don’t think they make ours anymore but this one is very similar. And I highly recommend getting one that swivels, rocks and reclines. You might think we wouldn’t need it in our toddler’s room anymore, but try to tell him that – he had a painful double ear infection a week ago and just wanted to rock with me in the glider until he fell asleep. A big investment, yes but a big payoff to be sure!