Getting the nursery ready is an exciting time for any prospective parents. There are so many options to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming. I’ve done it twice now and it’s been a completely different experience both times, and I have to say I made a lot of mistakes initially.
So here’s my advice when it comes to building the perfect nursery for your little one.
Try not to stress about timescales
I obsessed over every little detail when it came to getting Alex’s nursery ready for him being born. I was convinced that if I didn’t have a perfect nursery all ready to go by the time I hit 34 weeks, there must be something wrong with me. I had bought an obscene amount of baby clothes that I had washed and folded into drawers which turned out to be a big mistake. Alex was a big baby so didn’t even fit into the first clothing size I had bought him and he wore about 30% of the clothes he was bought because there were so many and he grew so fast. Because I’d taken the tags off, I couldn’t return them or regift them.
I did keep a lot of clothes in case we had a little boy next, but Ava ended up having far fewer clothes than Alex. I donated them to the local community clothing bank but I’d spent hundreds of pounds more than I needed to.
Sometimes, the nursery gives you something to focus on as you come up to your due date, but with the safe sleep guidelines recommending that your baby should sleep in your room for the first six months, the nursery is often just used for storing clothes and changing nappies.
There’s so much to think about when it comes to keeping babies safe and happy. I’m a very safety-conscious person and getting everything in the nursery made secure was really important to me. This included fitting safety locks to the windows (we have the type that opens fully). Securing the cords for the blinds and securing furniture to the walls so that it couldn’t be pulled over by an exploring baby.
When it came to the cot, I made sure that I stayed away from cot bumpers and from having anything else in the cot with them while they were asleep.
We also fitted a baby monitor that had a built-in thermometer, night vision and was sound activated.
When you’re designing your nursery. Think about what potential hazards there are in the room and make them as safe as possible.
Less is more
It’s tempting to fill your nursery and your house with every possible toy, book, and gadget under the sun, but as I’ve become more experienced (it’s probably an age thing too), I’ve realized that I would rather spend my money on fewer, but better quality products for my children. Whereas in the past I would have spent £5 buying 20 muslins that would pretty much disintegrate with one wash, I would perhaps spend £10 on 5 good quality ones which I still use years later.
It doesn’t mean you have to spend the most money, there are still plenty of sales around where you can pick up a bargain. Beware the false economies of buying cheap items that might not last. When it comes to toys, start with a few basic, age-appropriate ones and build up from there.
Involve the nursery in building their routine
While I don’t believe that you should try and get your baby (and yourselves) into a strict routine from the get-go, this is one area that I think we dropped the ball the first time around. We were quite smug about not being stressed about routines etc when Alex was first born that we completely missed the window to get him into good habits, and now have a four-year-old that refuses to sleep in his own bed.
We didn’t use his nursery for anything but nappy changes and bed. So when we would try and get him to sleep in his cot, he saw it as a punishment and a place he didn’t want to be. The second time around, even though Ava was in our room, I used her nursery as a place to play with toys and do tummy time. I put a feeding chair in there so that I could breastfeed her there before bed. She began to associate going into the nursery with somewhere she wanted to be. It was far easier to get her to settle on her own at night.
Hopefully, you’ve found this advice helpful. As with most things in life and parenting, it’s finding what works for you and your family. Planning your baby’s nursery is a special time and you should do what makes you happy. Our next job is turning Ava’s nursery into a toddler bedroom.