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Mom and dad setting up nursery for new baby

The baby is coming soon, I need what?

Oh boy…or girl! Your new baby will arrive soon. Everywhere you turn there are new products for expectant parents and babies, but how do you know what you actually need and what you might have forgotten to help set up your nursery?

Once you have all the big ticket items — a safe crib, dresser and changing table — remembering a few often forgotten items and tips can make the baby’s arrival a little smoother.

The truth is less is more in the nursery, but a few necessary items will help ensure comfort and safety for new parents and baby.

Creating a comfort zone

With the arrival of a new baby, parents are definitely out of their comfort zone! So create a space in the baby’s room where mom or dad can comfortably feed or soothe a baby, especially during those late night feedings.

Include a chair in the nursery. Decide if you prefer a rocking, gliding or stationary chair. Movement can be a great tool to help soothe a fussy baby without putting a strain on you. Choose a chair that is comfortable and offers enough support that you can get out of the chair easily with your sleepy baby.

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If you choose a chair that moves, look for one with a locking mechanism so it’s safe and won’t move when you don’t want it to. Avoid chairs with sharp corners or exposed hardware.

Footrests are another handy feature. Elevating the feet takes pressure off your back and allows you to settle more deeply into the chair.

You might consider putting a side table next to the chair. Then, you’ll be able to have everything within reach while the baby is in your arms…burp cloths, a drink or a snack. 

Nightlights or light dimmers

A soft nightlight or installing a light dimmer in the baby’s room can help keep baby sleepy during late night feedings.

Swaddling blankets

While loose blankets and other soft bedding should never be in a baby’s crib, swaddling blankets can keep your baby snuggled up, reminding her of the womb, in addition to keeping her warm. But don’t swaddle too tightly, your baby needs to be able to breathe comfortably.

Cold season tools

Yes, there are tools for tackling cold season! When cold season hits, a nasal aspirator, such as a nose frida, can help unblock a baby’s nose. Use a cool mist humidifier, rather than a hot mist which can cause burns, to help your baby breathe easier. Remember to clean it frequently, and empty it when not in use to prevent bacteria and mold growth.

Sounds machines or fans

Sounds machines or fans can provide white noise to help lull a baby to sleep and to keep out distracting noises (think door bells or barking dogs) that might wake up a light sleeper. No sound machine? You can download a white noise app on your phone. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode while your baby sleeps!

Crib position

Now that your baby is all set for a restful sleep, did you know where you put the crib in the room is also important? Do not put the crib near a window or outside wall, if possible. In certain climates, windows and outside walls can be drafty. Also, consider how light enters the room. The rising sun or a bright street light can affect sleep. Thoughtful placement of the crib may help your baby get a few extra minutes of much-needed sleep.

Big furniture

Any big furniture in the baby’s room — dresser, changing table, bookcase — should be secured to the wall. You can safely and easily secure these items to the wall using a standard kit you can purchase at any baby goods, home goods, or online. Additionally, a changing table should always have a strap to secure your baby and never leave your baby unattended. Even newborns can roll off.

Smoke detector

If you don’t have a working smoke detector near or in the baby’s room, it’s time to install one before he arrives.

Last, avoid clutter. Skip the toys! You don’t need to clutter up your baby’s room with the latest and greatest toys. Save that for a play room when your baby can actually play with toys. You will be walking in your baby’s room, many times with her in your arms. You don’t want to trip, especially with precious cargo.

While the above tips are helpful in getting you started, always check with your Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin primary care doctor with any questions or issues you may have regarding your baby’s health and safety.