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Your home nursery checklist

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The months before your baby comes into the world are full of excitement, and there’s certainly a lot to do to prepare for their arrival! It can be a little overwhelming at times; in between celebrating your good news, stocking up on baby wipes and researching the best prams and sterilisers, the all-important nursery can often fall to the back of your mind. Your baby’s nursery is a full-blown project in itself, but with a little inspiration and help from friends and family, you’ll get it put together in no time at all.

We’ve created this nursery checklist to help you make sure you have all the essentials prepped and ready to go in time for your new baby’s much-anticipated arrival.

 

Where to start

Pregnancy is an exciting but sometimes overwhelming time, so you may be struggling with where to start. The first step is always organisation! Whatever you do, try to avoid impulse buying. We all love cute baby clothes, but buying “just one more thing” can soon turn into drawers full of newborn clothes that your little one will grow out of in the blink of an eye. Start small, and don’t be scared to ask the other parents in your life for advice.

  1. Decide what baby needs

Create a list of what you need for the baby’s arrival. Our checklist below can help you figure out what you’re missing—separate your list into big items like furniture and smaller items like muslin cloths and nappies.

  1. Figure out your budget

Put together a ‘baby budget’. Do some shopping around, find out the ballpark cost for what you need, and decide what you want to spend. There are some great tools online to help figure out the financial side of this; some of our favourites are:

  1. Think about your needs too!

Don’t forget about yourself! Although the baby is the star of the show when it comes to the nursery, you need to think about what supplies you’ll need to keep close as your body recovers.

 

When to start buying for baby

Some parents start buying clothes & toys for their baby as soon as they leave the first scan, whereas other parents take a more relaxed approach. When you start stocking up on supplies for your newborn depends on what works for you, but these are general rules to follow while deciding when to begin buying baby stuff:

  • The first trimester can be an uncertain period in pregnancy, so try to hold off until your 12-week scan.
  • Wait until your 20-week scan to start making big purchases like cots, prams and nursing chairs.
  • If you want to buy baby items that reflect their sex, wait until you’ve found it out at your 20-week scan before making these purchases.
  • If your family and friends want to give you presents for your baby, create a baby registry to let them know what you need and keep a record of this so you don’t end up with duplicates.

 

Baby Nursery Essentials List

Now we have a better idea of where to start, let’s focus on the essential items you should have either in your nursery or within easy reach.

Every child is different, and they grow at different rates, so take the below as a general guide and be prepared to buy more if needed, or to not use all of your supplies.

 

Sleeping area

A well-prepared sleeping area is a must in any nursery. Having everything you need in one place will make sure you can get baby back to sleep with ease.

Doctor’s recommend that you sleep in the same room as your baby for the first 6 months so you can be close by if anything goes wrong. Keep this in mind when sorting out furniture and buy what works best for your space.

Item Check
Cot or bedside crib  
Mattress – flat, firm & waterproof  
Moses basket  
Fitted sheets (at least 4)  
Blankets (at least 4)  
Swaddling blanket  
Room thermometer  
Baby monitor (audio or video system)  

 

Changing area

Newborn babies need changing for anything up to 12 times a day, so when your baby comes home you’ll be thankful to have a well-stocked, organised changing area[i].

Buy enough for the first month or so of their lives, but don’t go over the top. Your baby may need larger nappies sooner than you’d think, or they could end up being sensitive to the products you’ve chosen and need alternatives.

Item Check
Changing table  
Changing mat  
Nappies  
Baby wipes  
Nappy cream  
Talcum powder  
Nappy sack / bin  
Cotton wool  
Muslins (at least 10)  
Grooming kit (nail clippers, brush, scratch mitts)  

 

Feeding area

Although most feeding equipment will be kept in the kitchen, it’s wise to have a feeding area set up in the nursery for late night feeds.

Item Check
Nursing/glider chair  
Breastfeeding pillow  
Nipple shields + cream*  
Breast pump + accessories*  
Muslins  

*these items only apply if baby is being breastfed.

 

Baby’s wardrobe

Make sure you have enough clothes for your newborn’s first few months. It’s important to not go overboard here – baby will grow out of their first clothes quickly.

Item Check
4+ short-sleeved onesies  
4+ long-sleeved onesies  
4+ t-shirts  
4+ trousers  
2+ button down jumpers or cardigans  
7+ pairs of socks/booties  
Hats and mittens (weather appropriate)  
Wearable blankets  
Winter suit / snow suit  

 

Nice to Have’s

Now we’ve covered the essentials, let’s look at items that aren’t completely necessary but are nice to have in the nursery.

  • Playmat – a playmat will encourage baby to interact with objects surrounding them in a safe way and can be a comfortable spot for them to practice rolling over, grabbing and reaching for items. Playmats can be used as soon as your little one can lay on their back without being swaddled and can be used for ‘tummy time’ when they reach 3 months[ii].
  • Baby bouncer – baby bouncers can be used by newborns for short lengths of time, and they get the most use between 3-6 months[iii]. Bouncers help babies develop their muscles, which will lead to them hitting sitting and crawling milestones.
  • Toy box/basket – although you might not have too many toys for baby at the start, they’ll quickly build up. A toy box will make cleaning the nursery much quicker when you’re pressed for time.

 

Managing the costs

Preparing for a baby can be expensive, but if you plan well you can pick up most of your larger items for a fraction of the price.

Second-hand furniture

Not everything has to be bought brand new. You can pick up second-hand furniture from charity shops for a fraction of the price and upcycle it to fit your chosen colour scheme.

Although this can help reduce costs significantly, you should never buy your baby’s mattress second hand, as it may contain bacteria, dust mites and mould that are linked to illness and SIDS[iv].

Repurpose furniture

Although you’ll probably be able to pass on or sell nursery furniture when your child has grown out of it, this prospect can be daunting. Look around your house and see if there’s anything you can repurpose for your nursery. You could use a stylish wingback armchair instead of splashing out on a nursing chair or repurpose an old set of drawers as a changing table.

Ask around

There’s no shame in asking your parent friends if they have any items their children have aged out of that they’d be willing to pass on to you! They might even offer before you have the chance to ask. Often, they’ll have boxes full of stuff that they haven’t gotten round to organising and will be glad to see someone they know making use of furniture, toys and clothing that their children don’t need anymore.

 


References

BabyCenter, n.d. Buying action equipment for your baby. [Online]
Available at: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a561820/buying-action-equipment-for-your-baby
[Accessed February 2021].

Davis, A., 2018. What is the average cost to have a baby?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/what-is-the-average-cost-to-have-a-baby
[Accessed February 2021].

D’Eletto, V., 2020. The age all babies should have their first play mat. [Online]
Available at: https://www.newfolks.com/activities/baby-age-play-mat/
[Accessed February 2021].

NHS, n.d. How to change your baby’s nappy. [Online]
Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/nappies/
[Accessed February 2021].

Smith, N., n.d. What not to buy secondhand – from car seats to mattresses. [Online]
Available at: https://www.madeformums.com/reviews/what-not-to-buy-secondhand-from-car-seats-to-mattresses/#:~:text=SIDS%20and%20secondhand%20baby%20mattress,could%20be%20linked%20to%20SIDS.
[Accessed February 2021].

 

Sources

[i] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/nappies/

[ii] https://www.newfolks.com/activities/baby-age-play-mat/

[iii] https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a561820/buying-action-equipment-for-your-baby

[iv] https://www.madeformums.com/reviews/what-not-to-buy-secondhand-from-car-seats-to-mattresses/#:~:text=SIDS%20and%20secondhand%20baby%20mattress,could%20be%20linked%20to%20SIDS.

Anna Sharples

Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.

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