Ah, the nursery! When a new baby is on the way, the nursery presents the most fun and the most challenges. It doesn’t take long to realize you need more than a crib and a few outfits, but how do you know when you’ve gone overboard? Need to plan a nursery? Here’s how:
Pick the Room For Your Nursery
Your nursery should ideally be a room that is away from loud traffic or the neighbor’s barking dogs. You might prefer it have a western window to help your baby sleep later in the morning without the sun streaming in as it rises. It does not have to be large, but it will probably help to have a closet and some wall space for furniture placement.
Pick the Theme
How is the rest of your house decorated? Will this room be similar? Sketch out a rough plan in your head of what you would like the room to look like. What colors do you like? What kind of furniture do you need? Will the wood be dark or light?
Buy the Linens
While it might seem like the furniture would be next, you should buy the linens. The dust ruffle, crib bumper, sheets, quilt and curtains will determine the color and overall look of the room. Neutral will suit future babies in the room, while gender specific colors and patterns can be more fun. Sheets will get the most use, so buy a few extras. Quilts can’t be used in the bed until much later, so consider buying a rod and making it a wall hanging for decoration.
Paint Your New Nursery
After you have the color scheme, buy paint and/or wall paper and get busy putting color on the walls. Remember to let Dad do the painting; pregnant women should avoid the fumes if possible.
Buy the Furniture
Now it’s time to buy a crib, dresser, changing table and any other furniture you might need in the room. Changing tables are often used only for a year or two, so it might be better to get a pad for the top of the dresser. Also consider putting a full or twin bed in the room for times a parent wants to sleep near baby. Be sure to get coordinating linens if you do get a bed for the room. The furniture may take some time to be delivered, but set it up once it does arrive.
Buy the Rocker or Glider
You should have something to rock your baby in. Gliders are popular, and traditional rocking chairs will also do the trick. Buy one that is comfortable and sturdy. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this chair.
Buy the Decorations
Up to this point, you’ve taken care of the big items. You’ve painted, and you’ve set up furniture. You’ve got the linens. Now you get to buy decorations. Buy picture frames, rugs, wall signs or letters, toy boxes, lined baskets and anything else that suits your fancy.
Buy the Extras
Don’t forget to include the extra baby items in the room as well. You’ll need something for wet and dirty diapers, storage for clean diapers, a mobile, a place to store toys and linens, possibly a white noise machine or fan, a humidifier, and a baby monitor.
Buy the Layette
Now, it’s time to buy the layette. Layette is a fancy word for all the clothing and blankets a newborn needs. You should buy a few clothing items in the newborn size along with receiving blankets, burp clothes, washcloths, swaddling blankets and socks or booties to be ready. Be sure to pre wash all linens including sheets and blankets that will come in contact with baby’s sensitive skin.
Put Your New Nursery All Together
Finally spend a few days putting it all together. Remember to get help moving and setting up heavy items and take your time. Put the linens on the crib and hang curtains in the window. Hang pictures and place your rug. Then put the layette into your new dresser, sit in your rocker and anticipate bringing that new baby home.
Babies can sleep in many things, but the most traditional bed is a full-sized crib. Other options include a bassinet, a play yard, a co-sleeper, or a Moses basket. But if you’re ready to put the nursery together, here’s how to buy a baby crib.
Assess Your Needs
Baby cribs come in many forms. Some are just a crib and others transform to toddler beds, and then headboards once the baby is grown. If you already have a full bedroom of furniture, you probably don’t need to buy a convertible crib. A basic crib will do for the two years before your baby is ready to graduate to the existing bed.
If you are starting from scratch and the nursery is bare, a convertible crib might be the best option. These cribs usually have matching furniture available, so you can purchase an entire bedroom of furniture and the crib will coordinate for years in one form or another.
Assess Your Price Range
There are sturdy cribs in every price range. Some baby cribs start as low as $100 and are just as safe and sturdy as those that retail for $1000 or more. Find an amount that is comfortable for you. Remember, most babies are out of the crib by 30 months of age, so this is not a long-term investment unless you are buying a convertible crib or plan on using the crib for more children.
Start the Search
Begin searching for cribs that appeal to you. You can find cribs at baby specialty stores, large retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target, department stores, furniture stores and many online retailers. Many of the different locations carry the same brands of cribs, so it is wise to do a bit of price comparison before buying. You can also look for cribs at garage sales or baby resale shops, but be careful to check for quality and safety with used cribs.
Keep it Safe
Keep in mind the recommended safety guidelines for cribs. Your crib should have a drop side to allow you to get the baby in ad out of the bed safely. The level of the mattress should be capable of raising and lowering for safety and convenience. The mechanism that controls the raising and lowering of the mattress should be sturdy and foolproof to keep your baby or toddler from knocking it loose.
The slats on a crib should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This prevents your baby from slipping through or getting stuck. When the drop side is lowered, it should be 9 inches above the top of the mattress to keep the baby from rolling out. When the drop side is up, it should be at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress.
Give the crib a good shake in the store to check for stability. If it’s wobbly or rickety, pass on it. Your toddler will do more than a simple shake to this crib and you want it solid. Also check to see how snug the mattress fits inside the crib. If you can fit more than two fingers into the crack around the edges, it isn’t safe.
Keep it Easy
The drop side should lower quietly and easily – preferably with one hand since you’ll be holding a sleeping baby when using it. Try it out in the store a few times. A crib on casters will be easier to move around the room – a feature that is especially nice when trying to change the sheets.