Welcoming a new baby into your life is a whirlwind of emotions, from sheer joy and amazement to the occasional overwhelming moments of ‘Am I doing this right?’. Creating the perfect sanctuary for our son became more than just another room to design. I quickly realized that a nursery isn’t just about beautiful décor or matching furniture (though a huge part of it in my opinion), but a big part of designing a nursery is about blending functionality with aesthetics, and building a haven where you feel comfortable and prepared to take care of your baby. In this post, I’m excited to share some of the nursery essentials and must-haves that made our nursery not only picture-perfect but also incredibly practical for our day-to-day life with a newborn.
When you’re in the thick of parenting a newborn, every second counts. Fumbling around searching for that favorite toy or a clean blanket can seem like an eternity with a crying baby in the background. That’s why having strategic storage solutions became a priority in our nursery.
Wall Hooks: These became an unexpected lifesaver. Perfect for hanging baby’s next outfit, the diaper bag, or even some toys, hooks ensure that everything is within arm’s reach. Plus, they can be both decorative and functional, adding a touch of charm to the room.
Baskets: Woven baskets have a dual benefit. They’re a trendy décor element that effortlessly fits the room’s aesthetic, but more importantly, they are perfect for housing toys and blankets. Having a designated basket means toys have a ‘home’ to return to, making tidying up simpler and faster.
Book Storage: Even before they can read, fostering a love for books in children is crucial. We opted for acrylic wall bookshelves, allowing our little one to see and reach for their favorite stories. This not only encourages a reading habit but also adds a fun design element with the vibrant book covers on display.
Dresser with Deep and Wide Drawers: Babies might be tiny, but they sure have a lot of stuff! From diapers to those adorable onesies, storage space is essential. We opted for the commonly used Hemnes dresser from Ikea, boasting deep and wide drawers. Its spaciousness ensures everything has its place, making it easier to find items in a pinch and keeping the nursery clutter-free.
Effective storage is more than just about organization; it’s about creating a fluid environment where everything flows seamlessly, making those precious moments with your baby even more enjoyable.
When I pause and think about how our parents did it all without the tech we have today, I’m honestly in awe. We are incredibly lucky to have a world of technology at our fingertips, making those sleep-deprived nights and busy days a touch more smooth. From a monitor that reassures us with just a glance, to lights that obey with a gentle tap, and sounds that soothe on cue, I’m genuinely grateful for the smart nursery essentials that seem to make things a little easier with a baby. Below are the items I found key for sleep, diapering, and monitoring within the nursery.
Hatch Sound Machine
The Hatch Sound Machine is one of those nursery essentials that’s a cult item for a reason. You’ll use it every day whether for just gentle calming music before sleep, a white noise machine or as a nightlight for those dark wake-ups. The features to this machine are endless, and the array of sounds and music will grow with your child.
Infant Optics Monitor
When it comes to monitors there are endless options and a range of features, so this is something I always suggest doing research on in order to decide for yourself what you want in a monitor. I knew I didn’t want ours to rely on wifi (in case it went down) and I didn’t think we really needed the intense tracking features some come with. This Infant Optics monitor is amazing for the price, we can add cameras as needed and has a great battery life.
Hatch Grow Smart Changing Pad & Scale
When I discovered this changing pad, I knew I’d love having the technology abilities that came with it. Once you download the Hatch app you can check on baby’s weight as well as track other daily activities and major milestones. I will say it’s a big firm so I suggest a softer pad for on top!
Okay so this might be a bit extra (especially in the eyes of our parent’s generation) but when you have a sensitive, colicky newborn in the middle of the night you are suddenly very thankful for inventions such as these. I mean, would you want to be shocked with a cold wipe in the middle of the night?!
Touchless Thermometer & Nasal Aspirator
Though my son didn’t get sick or too stuffed up until very recently, these gave me so much peace of mind. As a new mom there’s a lot of unknown, and for me I found myself often wondering, is he sick? Does he have a fever? Can he breathe? I was able to quickly and painlessly check his temperature or clear out his sinuses with these.
I love this humidifier, and they are something I read over and over again should be in your nursery. This is affordable, effective, can be put on a timer, has different UV and intensity levels.
Lighting plays a pivotal role in your baby’s sleep routine, which to me was one of the things I absolutely obsessed over. The following items were pivotal in a solid sleep foundation for my son.
Dimmable Lights: Ideal for various tasks, from changing diapers to playing with your baby. The ability to adjust the brightness ensures the room always has the right amount of illumination without being overly harsh.
Reading Lamp: For those cherished bedtime stories or late-night feeding sessions, a soft reading lamp offers just enough light to get baby ready for dreamland.
Soft Nightlights: These are essential for those middle-of-the-night check-ins, allowing you to navigate the nursery without turning on the main lights and possibly waking the baby. My favorites are this Egg Light from Amazon and the Hatch’s nightlight feature.
Blackout Curtains: An absolute game-changer for daytime naps. These curtains effectively block out any intrusive sunlight, creating a nighttime-like environment. This not only helps in getting the baby to sleep during the day but also ensures they stay asleep, undisturbed by the changing light outside.
In the early days of parenting, I quickly learned that the right furniture in our nursery wasn’t just about matching a theme—it was about making our lives easier and more comfortable. Each piece we chose had a purpose, and boy, did they serve their purpose well. These are the things I thought through for each piece of furniture to make them the most efficient and sensible for the case-use.
Pottery Barn Austen Convertible Crib
I was not set on purchasing a crib from any one brand, I simply fell in love with the shape and overall design of this crib, but, I knew I wanted two features in whatever crib I chose. The first is obviously that it was convertible if I choose to use it as a toddler bed (though I may just keep for the next baby and buy a separate bed). The second was that the ends of the crib are solid. They block light, allow for less area to get limbs stuck and allow for pacifiers to fly out. It’s something I thought was extremely type A, almost unnecessary but now I’m so glad I made sure our crib had the solid end panels.
Everyone says to get the nice crib and spend the money there. I beg to differ. The amount of time you spend in the nursery rocking chair is insane, especially if you move your child to their own room early on (we did at 4 weeks). This chair is so nice, solid but comfortable, velvety, stain-resistent ribbed fabric, and the headrests are an absolute must.
Huge proponent, and something I highly recommend to all new moms, is to get an ottoman for your “nursing” corner. Even if your chair reclines, you want an ottoman because most chairs no longer swivel or rock if reclined.
It’s just a given that you should have a table next to your “nursing” chair. Books, the nightlight, medicine, pacifiers, whatever are often stowed on ours.
I already adressed (no pun intended) this one above, but again, intentionally finding a dresser that allows to also be used as a changing table is huge. Think about the height and depth of each dresser when going to purchase.
I knew I wanted a mirror above the changing station because baby would then be able to look at you and their surroundings in an almost 360 view. It’s really the cutest thing!
Plush, Soft Rug
My son is only 5 months and he’s already playing on the floor! He loves to be on his tummy and just chew on toys. It’s so great that I can set him down on the soft, thick rug, but it also gives the room such a cozy overall feel.
As I look around this room I’ve poured so much thought into, I’m reminded that the true essence of our nursery lies beyond the fabric of the curtains or the grain of the furniture. It’s in the laughter, the late-night whispers, and the first sleepy smiles that greet us in the morning light. Our nursery, with each carefully selected essential, isn’t just a room—it’s a living storybook of our new life with our baby. Whether it’s the soft glow of the nightlight or the sturdy comfort of the changing table, every item has its reason and place. And as you embark on this incredible chapter of your own, remember that the best nurseries aren’t just about the ‘must-haves’—they’re about creating a space that holds your unique love, joy, and the precious beginnings of countless memories to come.