by Christie Leman
Planning a baby nursery can be an overwhelming task. With so many baby items available, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are really worth buying. The items you buy will depend partly on your personal preferences, but a few nursery decor basics can assist every new parent. These essentials will get you started and inspire you to add the additional items that will be right for you and your parenting style.
Crib or bassinet. One of the most important baby nursery essentials is baby's bed. Whether you choose an elaborate crib or a simple bassinet, your little one's sleeping spot will likely be the focal point of the nursery. Cribs and bassinets come in a variety of styles and price ranges. However much you choose to spend and whichever style you choose, be sure that the crib or bassinet is sturdy and made of quality materials. Avoid drop-side cribs, as they fail to provide adequate support and were banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Bedding. Baby bedding is not just a necessity for your child's comfort; it can also be a fun part of the decorating process. You can choose from a variety of bedding, including crib sheets, bumper pads, pillows, blankets and crib skirts. If you choose to use a sleep sack to keep baby warm throughout the night, you can still display a baby quilt as part of the nursery decor.
Baby monitor. It's hard for new parents to rest easy in a separate room from their baby. Baby monitors allow parents to be in constant audio or visual contact with their child, which is why they are top essentials for most parents. While traditional audio-only baby monitors are sufficient for many moms and dads, others prefer to purchase video monitors so that they can hear and see their baby throughout the day and night.
Changing table. There are going to be thousands of dirty diapers in your baby's first year. While you will become skilled at changing these diapers on the fly, it's always a good idea to have an organized, stationary changing table in a baby's nursery. Changing tables come in many varieties, some with shelves for organizing diapers and other must-haves, such as wipes and ointments. Most changing tables also feature a comfortable pad to lay baby on.
Diaper pail. Parents will need a handy place to toss all of those dirty diapers, making a diaper pail an important nursery item. There are several types of diaper pails available that help seal off odor and keep baby's nursery tidy and sanitary. A diaper pail will also save you the headache of running to the trash each time you change a diaper.
Dresser. Babies often go through several changes of clothing each day, making an organized dresser a much-needed piece of nursery furniture. Infant dressers should have at least three drawers and feature compartments for socks, bibs and other small items.
Mobile. Mobiles have long been a baby nursery fundamental, as they help to soothe new babies to sleep and entertain them when they wake up. Some crib bedding sets come with matching mobiles, but there are also many mobiles on the market that can be purchased separately with varying features. Most mobiles include a music feature and moving figurines. Others have lights, mirrors and calming nature sounds.
Nightlight. You will be making many late-night visits to your child's nursery, making a nightlight a helpful nursery necessity. Instead of turning on a bright overhead light, you can use a nightlight to guide you in feeding and changing your baby, keeping the lighting low and soothing.
Clothes hamper. With all the clothes that your baby will wear, you will find a clothes hamper to be a baby nursery essential. Hampers are available in a wide range of materials and styles, and many bedding sets offer coordinating hamper designs.
Rocking chair. A comfortable rocking chair or glider for parents to sit in while feeding and rocking their baby to sleep is very helpful. Babies are soothed by the rocking motion offered by chairs and gliders, and these chairs also offer a comfortable spot for breastfeeding.