Photography: Ashley Capp
Which items do you really need for your baby's nursery? Check your list against ours
Setting up your baby's nursery is exciting, but debating what to buy, how to decorate and how much money to spend can be overwhelming. If you're not sure where to start, don't fret. We reveal what pieces you need for your baby's bedroom.
Safety should be the top priority when choosing a crib. If you were planning on using a hand-me-down, keep in mind that those manufactured before September 1986 don't meet today's safety standards. Even cribs that are more than 10 years old may have too much wear and tear to be deemed safe. Ensure the crib slats are spaced no more than six centimetres apart.
Drop-side cribs (those with rails that can be raised and lowered) are no longer manufactured or sold in the United States. They are still available in Canada, so if using one, make sure to always raise and secure the rail when your baby is in the crib. More safety information and crib recalls can be found at healthycanadians.gc.ca.
Cribs are often set the tone for a nursery, so you'll want to consider any future use, such as a gender-neutral style (if you're planning to have more children) or a model that converts into a toddler bed.
Choose a firm mattress that is less than 15-centimetres-thick. For safety, it should fit the frame snugly with no more than two fingers width between the edges of the mattress and the sides of the crib. Like the mattresses we buy for ourselves, crib mattresses are available in a range of prices and materials, including organic and eco-friendly options.
Shetland, ON, mom Emily Prangley splurged on the rocker for five-month-old Mackenzie's room. "I figured I was going to be spending a lot of sleepless nights in it, so I might as well be comfortable," she says. "It was a great purchase and it made those late-night feedings more enjoyable."
Alison Hodd, an interior designer and owner of Catherine Alison Interiors in Oakville, ON, agrees. She says investing in a "good-looking, super-comfortable rocker pays in dividends." A rocker is an ideal place to feed your baby, and it's also a cozy place for cuddling. "Look for fabrics that feel soft but are easy to wipe down," recommends Hodd. "My favourite type of fabric is a low-pile synthetic chenille." Don't forget to try it out before you buy, and make sure it's comfortable for your partner, too.
Change table or dresser
You can opt for a traditional change table, or make your own by putting a thick, contoured changing pad on top of a lower set of dresser drawers. "Let the dresser become a piece that adds a zing to your nursery," says Hodd. "There are so many vintage dressers online that look great in a baby's room with a spray of shiny lacquer or a matte coat of chalk paint. Don't worry about the style of the dresser matching the crib, either—the crib will be gone before you know it."
Instead of a standard bookcase, opt for a multipurpose storage unit. "I use it to display pictures, piggy banks and other memorabilia," says Hodd. "And my best friends are storage baskets both big and small. That way, the wipes and diapers are out of sight, and down the road, the unseemly amount of toys and stuffed animals can be successfully camouflaged."