Over the years working as a nanny, then becoming a Doula, working in home with new families and entering motherhood in my 30's I feel like I have a unique view on preparations for a baby and what is truly "needed" for a babies arrival.
Personally I love to decorate but also like being more of a minimalist when it comes to "things". We own a small 1935 farm house in Washington and it helps us keep things simple. One of the reasons I feel in love with this house was that our master bedroom has a nook (small room next to our bed, joined by French doors). When I saw this room I saw it being our future nursery. Up until this point it served as my closet/workout room. The space isn't huge but it is PERFECT for what we need!
Essentially our king size bed is in the middle of our master bedroom and I sleep on the left side, closest to the double doors that lead to the nursery nook. I have the Halo Bassinet next to my side of the bed. I chose this bassinet because it swivels back and forth so you can move it out of the way in order to get up, but can pull baby close, essentially on top of your bed if you want. I ordered 2 organic cotton mattress covers for it and have the Snuggle Me inside of it. I chose the Snuggle Me because it's organic materials, small, it will serve as something to snuggle her while she sleeps swaddled at night but also something I can bring with me to the living room or onto my bed for her to nap in during the day. Safe sleep is important. I wont go down that rabbit hole in this post but please educate yourself on safe sleep. I stress it with my clients. FLAT, FIRM surfaces only. Not tilted rockers, swings or car seats!!!
To the left side of the French doors leading into the nursery we have a rolling cart from Target. This is the "new parent" life hack I suggest to all my clients.. Essentially this cart holds all things baby and breastfeeding. You can wheel it to whatever room you are in so you aren't going from one room to another just to grab stuff! Also personal opinion, changing tables are a waste of space and money. I have no plans to change her diaper in a designated spot. I certainly don't recommend it if your nursery is not on the same level as your bedroom/living room. Stairs with a new baby, plus sleep deprivation and a healing body just doesn't make sense! Here is a breakdown of my must have baby essentials on this cart.
The top of the cart has all our changing table stuff, burp cloths (sloth pattern, hand made from a family friend + Burt's Bee's white tri fold cloths). I have bamboo cotton fold out changing pad that I can use on my bed. in her bassinet, on the couch or the floor to change her diaper. A basket with cloth diaper covers and Honest Company NB size diapers. WE plan to cloth diaper once she is big enough and essentially once we get our heads above water as new parents. The other small bin has Water Wipes, a Butt Paste Spatula to use for diaper cream. I have a tub of Boudreaux's Butt Paste a friend sent us but I plan to use good old coconut oil after that.
On the middle self I have breastfeeding supplies. I have a tin of Bamboo Nipple pads for milk that randomly leaks. during the day/night. I have a Milkies milk catcher, it essentially goes on the breast that isn't being pumped or nursed on, to collect any milk leaks. Breastmilk is gold, plus who wants to soak through their shirt all the time? Also on that level is Wild Carrot calendula nipple cream and my Cimilre F1 breast bump. If you live in Kitsap County, WA you have to go to Nurturing Expressions, they bill insurance for you and give you ALL the info on the pumps they carry. If you're not in my area I highly suggest find a store who supplies and educates about breast pumps. Not all pumps are created equal and don't just get the Medela pump because the hospital had it. In my experience helping new moms, it isn't the best option on the market, hence why I went with the Cimilre F1. You will also see on that level a baggie, it has all the breast pump accessories to catch milk!
On the bottom shelf of the cart are extras. Extra diapers, extra wipes, extra cloth diaper inserts, extra burp cloths and milk storage bags!
Once you open the French doors the nook consists of two main pieces of furniture. In the right back corner is my beloved, most expensive piece of preparing for baby girl, my glider. I went back and forth for a while on this and it was actually the final piece we got. I care a lot about limiting toxins in our home, especially with baby. We have made a choice as a family to prioritize non toxic products. After much research I chose to invest in the Babyletto Toco Swivel Glider. I love that it doesn't have chemical off gassing so the room doesn't smell of chemicals. The chair itself is super comfortable and it comes with a foot rest which is great.
Next to the chair we have a basket of books, we asked for books instead of cards or in place of a gift at my baby shower.. The white side table is from Ikea, the lamp is from Target. We were gifted a cloud lamp that I love. it is super sleek and minimal. The basket under the side table is full of muslin blankets and a few thicker blankets. Our books over flowed the basket quickly so I bought two white shelves from Ikea for her more precious books. Ya know the kind that babies rip the pages of before you can blink? The flower hoop around the port hole window is from my baby shower. My Aunt made it and it just happened to fit there just right!
To the left of the chair is a Better Homes and Gardens 3 cube storage. I liked how this one was thicker and more sturdy then most I have seen. The bins are from Home goods. They contain the random toys we have been given. I personally asked for Green toys or wooden toys to limit the chemicals found in plastics. On top is my letter board and the Humidifier. Between the cube storage and the dresser is a hang me down air purifier. Our farm house gets dusty and we have a dog so I wanted to make sure she had a small one in her space so that it was as clean of air as our bedroom is. We have a large air purifier in our master.
The 6 drawer dresser was in this room before, along with the large mirror. They shaped my choices for keeping the colors in here white and grey with a pop of green and blush. I received the dresser as a gift from my father for Christmas last year. The top 2 drawers contain drawer organizers from Amazon. the left drawer has all her winter outdoor body suits. You know those cute fuzzy bear once pieces and bath towels. The right side has wash cloths, bibs, head bands and LOTS of shoes. People can't help but send you lots of shoes and headbands when you're having a girl! The middle two drawers are her clothes. From newborn to 6 months. We have 2 small Tupperware upstairs of 6-12 months clothes. The bottom 2 drawers are extra sheets, burp cloths, Mommy's Bliss probiotic drops, nail clippers, a newborn Thermometer, The Fredababy pack: which has the nose frida, Windi and mama Frida. spray bottle, extra Honest company diapers, extra milk storage bags and breast pump parts. There are 2 cloth carriers; one is a Moby the other is an off brand of that same style, I have had it for years and use it/show clients how to use it for their newborns! I also have a ring sling in there.. Since we have such minimal space/stuff and also want to support bonding and just keep things easy postpartum we plan to babywear as much as possible.
The wood sign above the dresser was made by a family friend here locally! I knew I wanted the saying and for it to have a small wood frame. She surprised me with this custom beauty at my baby shower! Check out her Instagram @livinglovelydiy
Last but not least in the right corner there is a small space behind the door that I put a shelf from Target. The jar on the left I had before but now contains more headbands! The toys are wooden Montessori learning toys. The Diver doll was my husbands addition, a fellow Navy Diver wife made it! Under the shelf is elephant hooks that my Aunt gave me pretty soon after we found out I was pregnant. This also helped me decide to throw wood accents into the room. On the hook hangs out LilleBaby carrier. This carrier is nice for partners to wear but also just a good activities carrier and best once they are a bit older and have better neck control.
Not pictured is our only "thing to put the baby in" its a bouncer/swing. It is a Nuna Leaf. It sways back and forth with baby's body weight but you can also add the Wind attachment to it to make it a natural movement swing! The fabric on this is non toxic and I actually got it on the resale site Mercari. They are really pricey because of the quality but I got it for half price, gently used.
We chose to go with the Britax convertible car seat. My mom gifted it to us. I chose this instead of purchasing a newborn car seat AND a convertible. car seat My reasons were price and reality that I have always hated lugging an infant car seat around. They are terrible for you body and aren't safe sleep for babies. The position changes when you take the bucket out of the base and it is no longer safe for babies to be in it. SPECAILLY sleeping. With that in mind. I plan to have my carrier on me when I go to get baby out of the car, ill slip her into the carrier and we will go from there.
We also got one stroller. The Bumble Ridge. It was gifted to us by my in laws. It was again quit an investment as it was a top quality, non flame retardant/non toxic stroller. I loved that it was all terrane also. We have local parks we love to walk our dog at and they aren't paved. This should work just fine!
We chose as a family to not purchase a crib until we know what our sleeping arrangement will be once she is too big for the bassinet. Co sleeping or bed sharing is most likely our future. We would move the glider into a corner in our master and put up a crib in the nursery nook so she would "co sleep" aka sleep in the same room as us. Most likely that will still entail her coming to sleep in our bed in the middle of the night while I breastfeed. If we both feel safe sleeping with a baby in the bed, I assume we will skip the crib. Both options are safe. Both come with precautions and a lot of benefits for baby and our sleep deprivation levels as parents.
We also did not purchase bottles, a play mat, plastic toys or musical/light up toys, a traditional swing or bounder, bath tub or pack n play. Again we don't have the space, we didn't want to have more THINGS and we want to see what we truly need and to purchase it at that time.
We were gifted cloth diaper service from my dad. This will help make cloth diapering easy for us. They supply the inserts and a pale to put them in. They come each week to pick up the soiled ones and replace them with clean inserts. This will help us save money by not having to buy inserts and the hassle of figuring out washing cloth diapers as new parents!
I hope this was helpful as a base for things to consider for a new baby. When all else fails I know Amazon delivers next day!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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