When designing nurseries, most parents think only of what would be good for their baby. They spend hours choosing design elements, from the color of the walls to the type of linens for the crib. Often, however, they forget to include details for other frequent occupants of a nursery: themselves.
The Nursery Is Not Just Your Baby’s Room
A nursery is very much your room as well as your child’s. After all, you’ll be spending the better part of the day in the room with your infant, caring for him or her, attending to his or her every need. You might even be reluctant to leave your baby’s side for more than an hour. As such, it’s only right to design your child’s nursery with your needs in mind, too.
Here are some nursery must-haves for your benefit.
In old times, a high-backed chair often sits beside a bassinet, intended for the mother or nursemaid’s use. It is a charming, old-school set-up, but as many parents can attest, a chair doesn’t offer much comfort when you’re holding a baby in your arms for more than an hour. Armrests help to take the weight of the baby off of your arms, but they don’t do much for your tired back and stiff hips and legs.
So when furnishing your nursery, include a comfortable recliner or a lightly-padded rocking chair where you can be comfortable even as you’re rocking your baby to sleep.
A couch is an extra touch that will come useful when you need to take a nap. A modern chaise is also a good idea because the backless section can double as a changing station. It’s nicely padded and spacious; you only have to lay a waterproof baby mat on top when it’s time to change your baby’s diaper.
High Table with Attached Storage
If you think it’s too risky to use a chaise or couch as a changing station, find a table that’s just the right height that you can easily change your baby’s clothes and diapers while standing. The rule of thumb is if you have to bend, your changing table is too low. Similarly, if your arms get tired quickly because you have to keep your elbows up, your changing table is too high.
Also, choose a changing table with built-in shelves or cabinets. It’s for your convenience: you’ll want to have an assortment of items within reach when you have your child on the table. Baby wipes, powder, lotion, diapers, towels, and safety pins and clips are just a few of them.
You can save five to ten minutes if you have these at arm’s reach. You won’t need to leave your child unattended for even just a few moments reach for a fresh diaper, too.
Alternatively, you can have a tall shelf or floating shelves next to your changing table. It’ll be easier to reach for essentials (no need to open and close cabinets and covered containers), plus you get more storage space for other items. A dresser will also work, but having to pull out drawers in the midst of changing your baby’s diapers might be a bit of a handful.
Babies grow impressively fast. During their first six months, they can grow an inch per month and gain up to seven ounces a week. From their sixth month until they turn one, their growth slows a little at one centimeter a month and weight gain of up to 5 ounces per week. Pretty soon your child will need a bigger bed to sleep and play in.
With a convertible crib, you won’t have to spend another couple hundred dollars once your baby has outgrown his or her first crib. It’s because of three key features that make convertible cribs a smart purchase that benefit babies and parents:
- The crib’s height is often adjustable. You can elevate the bed, so you don’t have to bend too low when putting your child to sleep, lifting them, adjusting their beddings, playing with them, or changing their clothes.
- You may take down the sides or rails of the crib for better access to your baby. Some models even have height-adjustable rails, which are perfect for when your baby grows and learns to stand on his or her own. You’ll be thankful for anything that allows you to take your hands and eyes off your infant for more than a few minutes.
- Convertible cribs are practical and let you save a couple hundred dollars down the road. They come with expansion parts, so by the time your child outgrows the crib, you can convert it into a toddler bed or even a twin bed. This two-in-one purchase will not only benefit your child but also give you a financial advantage.
A parent-friendly nursery doesn’t only have toys for the baby; it also has items that are for the guardian’s entertainment. Think about what you like to do during your free time. You can keep books or an ebook reader; crochet, knitting, sewing, or cross-stitching materials; writing or drawing materials, or a tablet.
The idea is to do something that helps you relax as your baby sleeps. It should be something you can set aside now and then, not a major project that you need to finish in one sitting. Be careful with what you keep in the nursery, however. Avoid anything that’s loud (television, radio), has a strong smell (painting materials), or are potential allergens (chalkboard, pillow stuffing).
Getting your baby to sleep undisturbed ultimately benefits you. A good night’s sleep reduces crying spells and tantrums, plus it ensures you get some hours of quality sleep, too. One way to control your baby’s nap time is to keep the room in relative darkness and quiet. Blackout curtains can be useful for this.
A mini fridge in a nursery may seem frivolous, but it is handy if you need to return to work soon after giving birth. Instead of storing breast milk in your kitchen refrigerator, you can keep it fresh and accessible right in the nursery.
Nurseries are often a floor or several rooms away from the noisy rooms, including the kitchen. You can save more time and spare yourself the hassle of running from the kitchen and back to the nursery.
Keeping your baby’s milk in a separate mini-fridge also reduces the risk of contamination. Kitchen refrigerators get opened and closed frequently during the day. They may also contain a hodgepodge of open food containers. By dedicating a fridge for your baby’s milk, it will be easier to keep clean and organize breast milk containers so you can follow the “first in, first out” rule.
Keep these tips in mind when it’s time for you to design a nursery. These simple comforts can give you relief during those sleepless months right after your child’s birth.