I have two kids who are growing fast and are way past their nursery rooms and themes, but I still have friends who are expecting their first babies and are feeling lost between the million decisions that need to be made about everything from diapers to bassinets.
When I had my first baby, I obsessed over the theme of the nursery, because you have to have one, about stocking the closet with outfits for my baby girl without knowing her birth size, and about positioning that diaper table just right. I wish I knew what I know now and take it easy, especially with outfit for newborn buying!
This is why I would like to share a few insights and tips about what really matters and how to approach this nursery thing calm before your due date draws near.
This is the most important thing – keep everything you could possibly need within reach and don't leave the baby unattended for a second screaming and rolling in angry post-poop frenzy. I had a corner diaper table with two shelves right under it and kept diapers, cloths, wipes, extra changing pads, butt cream, and pacifiers there for very convenient access.
Don't have any of it, especially at the beginning when you will be up at night walking with that crying baby. Make sure you have enough storage room and nothing is on the floor in your way.
Yes, walls get dirty with the baby right after she sprays poop on them or he hits it with a stream, so you should have either washable paint or washable wall paper. You are welcome!
If you want to help baby fall asleep for naps, you should be able to fake nighttime, at least at first. Having dark curtains or shades can help you and your baby immensely. If you make the room darker, he or she will have easier time falling and staying asleep instead of trying to stay awake and getting cranky. Just don't make the room into a permanent cave.
You don't have to buy special lamps for your baby's room, just get a nightlight bulb at your home store and you can use just about any lamp you want.
Some people are hit with the urge to prepare and organize early in pregnancy, others when the baby arrives, but trust me, your time will come too.
The ideas for a coherent nursery theme can come from anywhere – a gift you received long ago, a cute toy you will find in a store, or a story you will read. It can also hit you while you are at a BuyBuy Baby. I saw this adorable blanket with safari animals and went from there. It's also nothing wrong with not having one set theme at all – it's your baby and so whatever works for you goes!
The size of this necessity depends on your style and the room you have for it. You can go for a full size crib or choose a mini crib that can be folded easily and taken to another room. A crib is a crib.
Some people choose to go for baby name printed across the wall, others pick baby-like decorations and artwork, animal stickers and murals, while a third group of parents enjoy decorating with classic prints or colorful paintings. Decide what rocks your boat and listen to your heart here.
I am not saying that you need to collect every antique item you were ever given, but if you have something that came from loving family and friends, don't be afraid to incorporate it into the nursery for extra warmth.
I understand that snow white rocking chair looks fantastic in your dream nursery, but it will be stained brown in a couple of years, so go for something neutral and forgiving, like grey that can be easily cleaned.
We are going away from crib sets with blankets and bumpers, which can cause more harm than good. Get a nice fitted crib sheet and a zip up wearable blanket for baby's comfort and you will be set.
Pink and blue are cool, but don't rush to shove your newborn girl into princess land and pink room and your son into basketball and deep blue walls. Babies care about milk and ceiling fans at first, they will let you know what sports and colors of their room they like as they get bigger, so if you want to color your boy's room lavender, go right ahead.
Don't think that only baby stores have kid-friendly furniture. You can use your coffee table for playtime and your accent chair from Walmart as a nursery chair.
If that's what you like, do it! Go for giraffes and cute birds now because it's the only time they will let you enjoy that before they reach six years of age and everything turns into LEGO or Harry Potter.
Babies don't need much space and fully prepared nursery. When my daughter was born I felt guilty that her nursery wasn't fully finished. She stayed in our bedroom for 9 months anyway and it was the best time breastfeeding her at night. I have heard of stories about women so overcome with urgency to finish the nursery in time that they start rearranging furniture and going into early labor. Relax, ladies, your baby needs healthy you and definitely not a finished nursery.