When a new baby is on the way, expectant parents can use their baby registry to fill in a lot of the blanks. And when you're making that list of everything you need for your baby's nursery, keep in mind that you'll be spending a lot of time there too. From form to function (nursery decor to changing tables), the things you choose for your baby's room matter. So, to help you make your baby's nursery a perfect sleep zone, we put together the following list of must-haves.
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8 Nursery Must-Haves
Your baby's crib is one of the most important pieces of nursery furniture in their room — so much so that the nursery's overall design often revolves around it.
But beyond aesthetics, it's equally important to keep your baby's safety in mind. While most parents are probably well aware that their baby should be placed on their back when sleeping, new parents may not know that the American Academy of Pediatrics goes quite a bit further with its guidelines.
Specifically, crib mattresses should fit snugly in your child's crib, leaving no gaps between the crib and the mattress along the perimeter. Other highlights of the AAP guidelines include using fitted sheets only, skipping loose blankets, and keeping the clutter to a minimum.
Our pick: Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, $499
2. Crib Mattress
Keeping safe infant sleep guidelines in mind, the safest sleeping position for your baby is on their back. To that end, the ideal mattress is one that's firm but soft enough to cradle and cushion your little one while they sleep. Parents of newborns can also tell you that our little darlings are little balls of heat, so breathability is key too. A breathable mattress will maintain enough airflow to keep your little bundle of joy cool and comfy — not transform them into a sweaty mess by 2:00 a.m., as sweet as they may be.
Our pick: Graco Premium Foam Crib Mattress, $149.99
3. Mattress Pad
Diaper blowouts, spit-up, and leaky diapers are a fact of life, and crib mattresses aren't exactly cheap. So, to keep things clean and to protect your baby's sleeping surface no matter what curve balls their digestive system throws your way, you might consider investing in a quality mattress pad as well. For the most part, baby gear manufacturers understand what parents are up against, so mattress pads are typically comfy, breathable, waterproof (or at least water-resistant), and perhaps most importantly, washable.
Bassinets can be a great investment, particularly for what we affectionately call the fourth trimester (the immediate days and weeks after your baby arrives). Moms who choose to breastfeed their newborn may especially like this option, as it keeps your baby close while affording you the opportunity to sleep in your own bed. Once your baby starts sleeping for longer overnight stretches, you can forgo the bassinet and graduate your little one to a crib.
5. Night Light
While night lights aren't necessary for your child during their first few months on the planet (they'll become more important as your child grows, gets mobile, and sleeps in their own room), they're pretty important for parents who need to navigate a nursery, change diapers, and deliver feedings without throwing on the overhead lights and sending everything off the rails.
Our pick: Westinghouse 4-in-1 Night Light, $34.99
6. Baby Monitor
Like night lights, baby monitors may not be necessary if your baby is bunking with you. But once your little one is ready to go it alone, baby monitors can do some heavy lifting to give you peace of mind.
Our pick: Nanit Pro Camera, $379
Gliders are an important addition to nurseries for new parents — and their babies. It gives parents a comfy spot for nighttime feedings, and babies certainly enjoy the feeling of being rocked back to sleep.
And while aesthetics matter, your comfort is far more important. You'll be spending a lot of time on this piece of furniture, so next to your baby's crib, this is another nursery item that's absolutely splurgeworthy.
It's worth noting that parents have two choices here: rockers and gliders. The primary difference between the two is how they move. While rockers sway in an arc, gliders move back and forth. Rockers can be a little bumpy, but the mechanism that moves the gliders tends to be smoother and quieter, which is why many parents choose them.
Mechanics aside, be sure to pick a rocker or glider with enough cushioning to keep your rear end happy as well as being roomy enough for you and your little one.
Our pick: Serena & Lily Grady Swivel Glider, $3,698
8. Changing Table
Next to your baby's crib, a changing table is another nonnegotiable. While the changing pad will provide a safe, soft surface for all those diaper changes, changing tables can also be a one-and-done storage solution for baby clothes and the tsunami of stuff that new babies require.
Our pick: Davinci Jayden 3-Drawer Changer Dresser, $338.99