Friday, March 10, 2006

Equipping the Nursery

Equipping the room that your baby will sleep in can seem like a monumental task. While you want to make sure that everything is perfect, you also have a budget. You want to work within the budget to get the best of what you can for baby. Here are the basics of equipping the nursery so that you can begin spending your money wisely.

For starters, you will need to get a crib. Be sure that you look for one that meets current safety regulations. (If you get a new one, that is not much of an issue. It is only if you are purchasing one second-hand that you have to worry about it.) You probably will want to get a crib bedding set for your baby. Should you or someone you know be handy with a sewing machine, your least expensive choice would be to make crib bumpers. Otherwise you will want to purchase a full set as you will get it for less that way than buying each piece separately.

Next you will need somewhere to put the clothes. Think ahead here. A lot of people dissuade future parents from getting a changing table, but I think that is premature. After all, a changing table can do you a lot of good. Most of them these days are convertible so that they can be used as a dresser later. Even if you are looking at a low-end model that is not advertised as a combination piece, you can still use it for a bookshelf or as a shelf to put baskets of toys. What does not make sense is purchasing furniture that cannot be used again. Go with a changing table if you will get years of use from it.

Every nursery should have a rocking chair. While it is nice to go all out, it is not necessary. You can get an inexpensive wooden model rocking chair without spending a fortune. Just be sure that whatever type of rocking chair you get has a way to attach a seat cushion. Long nights rocking a teething baby can mean a sore bottom if you are sitting on straight-back wood.

A hamper also is a must for any baby. You should begin washing the baby clothes with an infant detergent. These detergents are gentler on little clothes and on little skin. They are good because most babies have sensitive skin. It would be a royal pain, however, to put the baby clothes with the big people clothes and then have to sort them out again later. Just get a hamper for the nursery, and you have solved the problem.

Buy a few baskets. Even if you do not see a need for baskets right now, you will later. You will find that they are great for storing small toiletry items, pacifiers, or even tiny toys. Pick up a few when you are out, and you can get ready for them when you need them.

You should purchase either a diaper pail or a trashcan for the nursery as well. Personally we have a trashcan with a hinged lid. It fits into our changing table really well, and it will work long after our son is out of diapers. As long as you change the trashcan every couple of days, you do not have smell issues. One of the benefits of the diaper pail, however, is that many of them have built-in air fresheners or have sealing mechanisms so that you will not be able to smell the dirty diapers.

Beyond these basics, there are plenty of options for your nursery. The main thing is to be sure that you will have room for everything. Do not try to purchase everything under the sun. It will only cause you to lose money because you certainly will not use everything. If you do get something and realize that you will not use it after all, donate it to charity or give it to someone you know who is expecting a baby. We never used our baby bathtub, for instance. It just never worked for us, and at this point, it is long gone from our home.

Babies are fun. Just watch what you spend.

By Julia Mercer

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