Getting the nursery ready is a super fun job, but with so much choice out there, where do you start?
Here’s a quick guide to the essentials and the fun bits too...
At a glance
- Make sure all the furniture is compliant with the most recent British safety standards
- Think about lighting - up lighters can be dazzling when baby is on a changing table
- Choose a theme but don't go mad - it's much easier to change accessories than murals on the wall
A safe cot
Most babies spend their first 6-8 weeks snuggled into a moses basket, so there’s no rush to buy a cot. The choice is vast, but all you really need is a cot that complies with the most recent British safety standards –sturdy and safe with correct spacing between bars, so a curious baby can’t pop their head through. If you’re given a cot that looks slightly ancient, make sure it’s not painted with lead-based paint, which is linked to health problems.
Because young babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs gazing at the ceiling, they love nothing better than a cool mobile. Newborns’ vision is still limited, so go for black and white pictures, or high contrasting colours they can see. Just make sure you move the mobile when babies are old enough to pull themselves up.
Most cots come without mattresses, so you’ll need to buy one separately. And if you’re given a second-hat cot, experts recommend you buy a new mattress to minimise the risk of cot death. If you do keep it, just make sure it’s firm and showing no signs of deterioration.
Changing table luxury
You can change a baby on the floor, but a changing table will save you from a lot of backache! Most come with storage underneath so you can grab wipes, nappies and clothes with one hand, while holding the baby in place with the other. (Never leave your baby unattended on the change table – even tiny ones can wriggle off.)
Best steer clear of bright lights, which can hurt babies’ eyes, opting instead for soft, dimmed lights to help them feel sleepy at bedtime. When you’re using the changing table, ‘up-lighters’ stop babies being dazzled by overhead lights. Night lights are perfect for bedtime as they give just enough light for you to put your baby to bed, but they are soothing enough to help your baby feel sleepy. They can also help if toddlers get scared of the dark.
Blackout, blackout, blackout!
With babies, dark equals sleep, so waste no time in finding blackout blinds, curtains or lining. They might not sound glam, but they actually come in a vast array of lovely colours and designs. All this will minimise the chances of 5am wake-up calls, so don’t stint on blackout stuff!
The fun part – decorating!
You might want to go mad with colours and themes, but remember your children will soon grow out of princesses or racing cars. A good idea is painting your walls white, then accessorising. So when they swap pink fairies for One Direction, all you need to change are rugs, wall friezes, stickers, bedcovers or lighting.
No painting while pregnant
Lots of paints and cleaning materials have chemicals and solvents in them that could affect your unborn baby, so best you don’t help with decorating. (Whoop!) The same goes for scraping paint off walls, as paint used before the 70s was often lead-based and is dangerous to inhale.
It’s hard to imagine how much stuff you accumulate when a baby arrives, so embrace storage – whether that’s a great big wardrobe, toy baskets, bookshelves or under-the-bed storage bags.