14 Essential Items For Your Baby’s Nursery

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My child is already 9 years old, but there were many babies born into my family and to friends in the last 3 years, (and there’s another two due soon). Babies, babies, everywhere! I couldn’t help but think about all the nurseries. Are you about to set up your baby’s nursery?

What are the essential items needed for a baby’s nursery? Decorating the nursery is a separate issue. You can read about colours that will create a calm environment here.

A baby’s physical needs are simple. They sleep, feed, poop, and learn. They need to be safe and comfortable. They need love. They don’t care about anything else. YOU need storage space for all the baby stuff that seems to multiply. All the items in your baby’s nursery should support these functions. I’ve put together a list of essential items for your baby’s nursery so you can have a clearer idea of what to get and what not to bother with.

I’ve included some links to 4Akid for a few of the items. 4Akid is an affordable South African supplier of baby and child products. Show Design Elements some love by following the links to buy some cool nursery gear. Affiliate links won’t cost you any extra on your purchase. Read right to the end of the post for a special coupon code.

1. Bassinet & Cot/Crib

A safe and comfortable place for your baby to sleep is essential. For the first 3 to 6 months it’s best for your baby to sleep in a bassinet of some kind in your own bedroom. It’s much easier for night feeding and safety as well as more comforting for your baby.

Between 3-6 months babies usually move to their nursery – on a firm mattress in a sturdy cot. And if there’s space, it’s convenient to have a normal bed in the nursery for a parent to sleep on if baby is ill. Even if your 3 months+ baby sleeps in your bedroom at night, try to use the nursery cot for day naps

I wish I could have had this 2-in-1 Rocking Baby Co- Sleeper Bassinet when my boy was a baby. I hope some other new parents will enjoy it. It is easy to assemble, has wheels, has a rocking function, is height-adjustable, and it’s portable. Your baby can sleep in it up to about 6 months (weight dependent).

Speaking of portable, there will likely be times when your baby won’t be able to sleep in their lovely nursery. You don’t need to stay cloistered at home until your baby is walking. You can easily visit family or friends or go for a weekend away with an infant. Baby won’t be able to sleep in their own peaceful nursery, but there are solutions. Travel beds are very portable and easy to set up.

Camp cots are great for when you’re staying over for a night or two. We had a camp cot permanently set up at my in-laws for weekend visits, but I wish I’d had a more portable option for day visits. Leaving a baby to sleep in a car seat or pram is terrible on a hot day. And safety is a concern if you put them down on someone’s bed. Especially if they have pets. You’ll end up checking on your baby every 5-10 minutes. With a portable bed, you can have peace of mind and enjoy being with your loved ones while your baby naps.

2. Bedding

All those blankets you got at the baby shower and the handmade cot quilt granny made? Sorry, those can’t be in the cot at bedtime. They’re a suffocation risk. All a newborn needs in a breathable swaddles and a fitted sheet on the mattress. You can add a sleeping wedge to keep them snug in a comfy sleeping position. You can use this lovely little 2-in-1 Baby Sleep Pillow from 4AKid. They don’t need a pillow for their head. A waterproof cover on the mattress is a good idea in case of messes. Have a backup set close at hand in case you need to do a 2 am bedding change.

Baby Bed Safety Tips:

  • You can use a secondhand cot, but baby needs a new mattress. Don’t use a second-hand mattress for your baby unless it was used by baby’s own sibling. Old cot mattresses brought in from another home can be a SIDS risk. Even between cousins.
  • Avoid PVC and vinyl waterproof mattress protectors as they will increase baby’s temperature, make noise, and also release toxic VOCs.
  • No toys in the cot while the baby is sleeping – they’re a choking hazard. No bumpers – they’re unfortunately a hazard too.

3. Sound Control

Sound in the womb is very different to sound in the real world. To help your baby adjust to their new surroundings, you can use a pink or white noise machine. Music and lullabies with a slow tempo will be helpful to settle your child for sleep, especially from 3 to 6 months. My 9-year old son is still quickly lulled to sleep by soothing music after a busy day of school and sport.

Check out this White Noise Sound Machine that also has LED nightlight capabilities, or create a soothing playlist on your preferred music streaming app.

Essential For Baby’s Clean Bum

4. Changing Station

You’ll be changing nappies all day and night (at least in the newborn phase). Gotta keep your baby’s bum clean and comfy. A surface height that allows you to stand upright will save you a lot of back pain. Sure, you can change baby on a bed or sofa every now and again, but not all the time. But make your ‘mom life’ easier with a properly set up station for 90% of changes. You need a designated area with storage for nappy-changing essentials. And a waterproof cushioned changing pad on your surface.

Spring for this Shnuggle Squishy Baby Changing Pad for a stress-free diaper changing experience.

5. Organise Items With Baskets & Caddies

Navigating the array of baby products for such a tiny human can be overwhelming. From nappies and wet wipes, to bum cream and colic drops. I hope you’ve had a good baby shower haul and have plenty of stock to store away. But where to keep it all? There are a few clever storage solutions to come to the rescue.

Baskets and caddies prove indispensable, offering both style and functionality in your nursery.

Place baskets up on a shelf to contain, packets of wipes, and all the goodies you get from your baby shower. Baskets are also great to coral baby toys and teethers. They will keep everything both neat and accessible.

Yes, I know – you’ve just set up the changing station to do all the nappy changes at, but trust me on this: use a caddy with handles to house wipes, a few nappies, creams, and a changing mat. You’ll need it for a seamless transition from nursery to living area for impromptu nappy changes. This is super convenient for larger homes or duplexes with stairs. And this particular Grey Felt Nappy Organiser Caddy is stylish to boot. 4AKid also has a different one with teal detailing: The Nuovo Nursery Organiser.

Parenting a baby can be chaotic. Every day is different, no matter what routine you institute. Practical solutions are the key to fighting the chaos. There are some days where you’ll be giving your baby multiple outfit changes in one day. Not because you like ‘playing dolls’, but because of blowouts and vom.

In a baby’s room, it’s important to have smart ways to keep clothes tidy. From tiny shirts to cute onesies, organizing your baby’s outfits can be fun and easy. You can use things like dressers with drawers for folded clothes or closet organizers with shelves and bins to make the most of the space. Hang up delicate clothes on small hangers or put in hanging racks for easy access. You can also use baskets to keep everything neat and stylish. With these simple tricks, keeping your baby’s clothes organized will be a breeze!

7. Feeding Chair

Whether your baby will be fed by breast or bottle (or both), you need a comfortable feeding chair. Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body and can leave some with nerve or joint pain. Not to mention C-section pain. And while you may think your tiny newborn is light and easy to hold, your arms will need support in a few short months. Feeding happens multiple times a day and it’s a perfect time for a cosy cuddle and bonding with your baby.

Make sure your feeding chair is super comfy. An upholstered armchair glider is the best feeding chair option. The classic wooden rocking chairs are actually quite uncomfortable. They’re hard and not very supportive. A normal upholstered armchair is preferable to a wooden rocking chair if you can’t get a glider. Babies prefer a quiet cosy spot with low light to feed in. If they get distracted or uncomfortable they don’t feed well. With a dedicated feeding chair used for most of your baby’s feeds, your baby they get the most benefit.

8. Nursing Pillow

A supportive nursing pillow will allow you to transform any armchair into a comfortable feeding chair. I had to make do with a large cane armchair with cushions. The cane arms were hard and uncomfortable, but their height was perfect to sit under a nursing pillow. Nursing pillows help you support your baby during feeding. They also help with your own posture support. Holding a heavy baby in your arms is much easier with a nursing pillow.

9. Baby Monitor

Whether you’re doing household chores or sleeping while baby sleeps (hah!), a baby monitor keeps your eyes/ears in the nursery. Baby monitors have all sorts of special features to help you keep your baby safe without having to hang out in their nursery.

10. Temperature Control

Regulate the nursery’s temperature to ensure your baby is comfortable. Like Goldilocks, your baby won’t be happy with ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’. Use a room thermometer and heating/cooling methods to make sure the space is just right. Aircons will dispel humidity as they dry the air (Coastal Summer). Add a humidifier if the air is too dry, whether from an aircon or Highveld climate.

11. Mosquito Protection

This is Africa – protect your baby from mozzies. Tender infant blood is a mosquito’s favourite meal. Your little one will be uncomfortable with bites and become niggly. Suspend a mosquito net above your baby’s cot and save your little one from nasty bites. All you need is a cup hook in the ceiling. If you’re renting your home ask for permission first, but it’s quite easy to patch up. There are lots of pretty options on the market, but a mozzie net may not work for your situation. You can apply products directly to your baby’s skin. Those popular brand-name sprays are harsh and full of chemicals.  Use a safe and natural insect repellent like Nunuki® Pesky Insect Repellent for Babies & Toddlers instead.

A soft rug is essential in a baby’s room for several reasons. Firstly, it will provide a comfortable and safe surface for babies to crawl, play, and explore as they grow. Babies spend a significant amount of time on the floor. A soft rug ensures a cushioned area for them to enjoy tummy time and move around on.

A soft rug helps to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the nursery. It’ll be comforting for both babies and parents during feeding, diaper changes, and bonding time. The texture of a natural fibre rug can also be a great tactile experience for your baby.

Furthermore, a soft rug helps to dampen noise in the room. Another element for sound control. This creates a peaceful environment for nap times and bedtime.

A washable rug would be the best option for a practical and functional addition to baby’s room.

Toys and books are important for helping your baby learn. Babies are constantly learning about their new world. Playing with toys of different colors, shapes, and textures help babies develop their brains and muscles. Books, even simple ones, teach babies about words and stories, getting them ready to read later on.

Toys give babies something fun to interact with during. Sit quietly in the nursery with your little one to read to them before they go to sleep. Toys and books help parents and babies bond when they play together or read stories. You can also add a mobile to your baby’s cot – some even play music.

  1. Bassinet & Cot/Crib
  2. Bedding
  3. Sound Control
  4. Changing Station
  5. Storage for Stuff
  6. Storage for Clothing
  7. Feeding Chair
  8. Nursing Pillow
  9. Baby Monitor
  10. Temperature Control
  11. Mosquito Protection
  12. A Soft Rug
  13. Toys & Books

Here’s a bonus item that you need very nearby, but maybe not in the nursery:

Don’t forget the bin. You’ll need a designated nappy bin at hand, with a well-sealed lid. I would suggest it be kept in a bathroom nearby though. You do not want that smell clinging to the nursery. Look, you can put one in the nursery if the lid has a good seal, but don’t forget to empty the bin regularly – a nappy bin can get quite pungent.

Becoming a parent can be overwhelming. Most new parents feel anxious about getting all the ‘right’ things before baby’s imminent arrival. Take your time and do your research. Use Pinterest and watch YouTube videos to get ideas to create your own list of what to get. With the internet as your oyster, there’s no excuse to be in the dark. I hope this little post can be helpful to you, and I wish you well for the arrival of your own bundle of joy.

Do you need help decorating and finding what you need to set up your nursery? Or just a concept board? It’s my absolute favourite room to create. Contact me by email to chat about your project.

Blessings, Chantal

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