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registry guide: Nursery
We know that expecting parents can feel a lot of pressure to create the “perfect” nursery...which does nothing but create a whole lot of stress. Remember that there’s no need to decorate the entire nursery in one shopping trip. Take the time to browse, and look for inspiration everywhere from magazines and blogs to your favorite pieces of artwork. (And don’t be afraid to work backwards from something you know you love, be it a color or a light fixture or a fabric.) Just keep in mind as you begin the nursery-design process that furniture and bedding can have long delivery dates. Most furniture will take 3 to 14 weeks to deliver, while crib bedding can take up to 12 weeks to deliver.
We believe that there are five essential pieces when creating a nursery: The crib, the crib mattress (which is always sold separately from the crib itself), the crib bedding, the changing table, and a chair. Some tips and guidance from our combined years of experience about each of these items, below:
If only we all could spend as much time in bed as a baby does in its crib! Between naps (most little ones take two a day up to one-year of age) and overnight, your baby will spend a significant amount of time snuggled in this safe haven, so choose a crib that’s as safe and comfortable as possible.
Several cribs offer the option to convert to a toddler bed or a full-size bed: Many parents-to-be find this option to be a more-than-worthy investment. Likewise, some cribs come with a built-in drawer at the base which can be a great addition if you’re short on space, creating a tucked away place to organize and store clothing, blankets, and extra bed linens.
When choosing a crib mattress, look for something foam and firm. Foam mattresses are lighter than inner-spring mattresses, making changing crib sheets that much easier on new parents. And remember, when it comes to crib mattresses, the firmer the better. Newborns need the firm support for their growing bodies.
Before selecting your crib bedding, we highly suggest you decide on your crib style. If you’re buying an oval or round crib, you’ll need to select bedding specifically designed for those shapes.
Also keep in mind that, as a matter of safety, it is best to remove the bumper pad from the crib when your little one can sit or stand-up (and thus use the bumper to help them climb out of their crib). In recent years, several safety organizations have recommended against the use of bumpers (as a possible cause of suffocation), though many parents do continue to use them, carefully following the safety precautions.
When selecting your crib bedding, keep in mind that fitted sheets are the only ones you need. (Baby will use a sleepsack for warmth at night: Keep the crib clear of blankets or other loose sheets for your little one’s safety.) Consider different weights of fabric for use during different times of year. Chenille sheets are especially great for fall and winter babies, and muslin breathes beautifully in the spring and summer months.
LIke a bumper pad, a crib skirt is another decorative element that does double duty as a great camouflage should you choose to store toys or anything else that needs tucking away under the crib. Keep in mind that the crib mattress position will change (from high to low as your baby grows, which means the crib skirt position will also change.
Trust us when we tell you that, aside from the crib, your changing table will be the item that you and your little one use the most. (Most infants go through ten to twelve diapers a day!) Changing your child at waist-level makes it a lot easier on you and your back, and much more comfortable for baby, too.
There are two general options in selecting a changing table: Open-Shelving, or a combined Dresser / Changer. An Open-Shelving changer is a compact solution offering a stand-alone changing table up top, with tiers of open shelving below for store your diaper changing essentials. If choosing an Open-Shelving, we particularly love styles that allow baby to face you directly, as opposed to laying longways, to sneak in additional bonding time midday. A combination Dresser / Changer is a dresser with a removable changing table top. The bonus of buying this style is that it allows you to invest in a piece of furniture that has great longevity with the room, and your home. Once you remove the changer top, you have a dresser that can be used for years to come. If selecting this option, choose a style that can can remain relevant design-wise, not only through your child’s infant and toddler years, but long into their adolescence as well.
No matter which style of changing table you choose, make sure there is enough space on top of your changing table for both your changing pad plus a container of all your changing necessities -- diaper rash cream, baby wipes, Vaseline, extra changing pad covers, a thermometer...and even an extra change of clothes for baby. Many parents find it convenient to set up a “changing caddy” with all of these essentials packed in it to keep in the main living space of their homes, too, so that they can readily change their little ones without having to go back to the nursery each time.
Think lots of late nights and early morning, and all the times in between: Whether feeding, reading, sleeping, or just snuggling, make your quality time with your little one as comfortable as possible with a great cozy chair. When planning your nursery, consider how much space you want to dedicate to your chair...and make sure you choose a chair that can fit in your nursery! Many parents like having a coordinating ottoman to go with their chair, as a way to offer additional seating for your partner, friends, and family during feeding and reading time, but remember that this is by no means a necessity.
There are two main styles of nursery chairs, rockers and gliders. Both are equally comfortable and simply offer different types of movement -- choose whatever feels best for you and your partner. We recommend selecting a chair that’s design you love, that can easily grow with your child or can be moved when your little one is older to another part of the house and seamlessly fit in with your overall decor style.
It is also important to consider who will be using the chair. If you are tall, make sure you have adequate head and neck support from the back of the chair; if you are breast-feeding make sure you have enough room for a nursing pillow and also room to add a back pillow to position yourself more upright. And if you have the space, it’s wonderful to select a chair roomy enough to fit two children snuggled in with you for bedtime reading, so your chair can continue to be a part of your children’s lives as your family grows.
You can usually choose from either a slipcovered or upholstered chair, both of which can be customized in the fabric of your choosing. We’re especially partial to slipcovers since they can be so easily cleaned...and of course we always love going with white, since it plays so nicely with bleach.