BASIC MUST-HAVES (PLUS A FEW CLEVER IDEAS)
When choosing a cot, make sure it is solid. You’ll be surprised how wobbly they can get with a lot of use so the sturdier the better.
I’d also recommend buying a cot that can turn into a toddler bed and then a day bed so you have it for years to come. If you get a cot without these features, you will most likely end up replacing it after one or two years! Not great value for money.
I also recommend a adult bed in baby's room as well. You would not believe how helpful it is to have it (even if it is only a single). This way, if baby is having a hard night or is sick, one parent can sleep there so the other can get a good night sleep and take over in the morning. Musical beds will be a part of your life.
Chest of Drawers
You’ll be amazed how many changes of clothes your baby will get through each day! A chest of drawers where you can store and easily locate baby clothes, muslin's, socks etc is really handy.
My top tip here is to buy the dividers that you pop into each drawer so that all the little things have their own space. You can get them easily at Ikea.
Changing table and mat
You will spend hours changing nappies, wiping and cleaning your baby, discussing poo, changing clothes.
Buy a solid and sturdy changing table so that everything you need is to hand – most are wooden but take a look at metal ones too as they will have a really long life.
I’d recommend getting one with drawers or dedicated storage space so that everything is right where you need it – nappies, wipes, creams etc. Make sure all these things are within reach, so you are never tempted to take a hand off your baby.
I have a few thoughts about the mat too. Most are made of cheap plastic, which gets cold and clammy on your baby’s skin. (You would scream too if someone put you on a cold plastic mat after a warm, relaxing bath…eeeek!) You can buy fabric covers that are much nicer for your baby and which can be easily removed and thrown into the washing machine. Here is one I love:
I had one of these for my daughter and I absolutely loved it. Get one with a temperature function if you can. It gives you full reassurance and you can check in on your baby at any time. You can also record your baby, which is brilliant – you’ll be amazed at how many huge farts you will record for future embarrassment!
Kodak produces a truly well thought-out monitor that has everything you’ll need; the Cherish C525. It has 2-way vision (great for talking to Dad and telling him what he is doing wrong hahaha), a tilting screen (for when baby wiggles away from where you put him), a temperature check (you would not believe how important the right temperature is for good long sleep), white noise and recording feature.
LIKE WOW! GET IT - YOU WONT REGRET IT!
If you plan to bottle feed, a prep machine is a must (see our bottle feeding section for more advice).
Have a look at the Tommy Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. It’s a bit like a coffee machine – but for babies – you just push a button and have the perfect bottle of milk ready in under 2 minutes.
No need to trek to the kitchen in the middle of the night so, in my opinion, it is worth every penny. A lot of people set the Prep Machine up in their kitchen, but I’d have it in the nursery or wherever baby is sleeping ie. your bedroom. Then, it’s right there when you need it most.
Here is where to get yours:
When planning your nursery, try to think beyond the first few weeks. Your new baby won’t have too many toys initially, but it won’t be long before you are overrun with them. And having somewhere easily accessible to put them away is a great idea.
A small wardrobe with space at the bottom is ideal or a storage unit with tubs that you can swap around. The key thing here is that the toys are not all on display or strewn across the nursery floor. Treat the nursery as a room that is primarily for sleep so distractions should be kept at a minimum.
(While you have the time, check out the Montessori method of playing. I use this and, if you like it too, it might change the way you buy toys.)
And while I’m talking about the nursery being for sleeping, not partying, I just wanted to mention my thoughts on mobiles. There are so many lovely ones to purchase, but I’d suggest putting them over the changing table. This will keep your baby entertained while you are changing her. If you hang a mobile over the cot, you might find your baby distracted at bedtime.
It would be remiss of me not to mention photos in the nursery! A large one on the wall over the cot sounds lovely but isn’t such a great idea in real-life. Just imagine what happens when they can stand in their cot and bash on the wall…eeek. So, it’s probably best to put a large photo of mummy, daddy and baby above the chest of drawers and then include lots of images of important people dotted around the nursery in frames.
Photos of Dad, Mum and grandparents builds self-esteem and, also softens separation anxiety. Documenting your baby’s first couple of years with classic photos albums - printing as many of your day-to-day photos as you can - will be a treasure for them to discover in their adult years.
Black Out Curtains
This is a must-have. You need to help your baby to calm down, block out the world and fall asleep. Daylight doesn’t do this so keep the room totally dark during day and night naps.