Your Baby’s Nursery: Everything You Really Need


If you’re due your first baby, this can be a very confusing path to go down…full of conflicting advice, endless adverts and a million ‘must haves’ which makes you question, “must I though??”

Navigating the essentials, the needs from the wants…The difference between the desirables and the ‘can’t do withouts’ can be a bit of a minefield! Just how DO you plan a space for this tiny person you haven’t yet met? How do you know what they need?

I’m currently in the final few weeks of my pregnancy with number 3 and taking into account the current cost of living crisis and additional financial pressures on families at the moment, I’m going to let you into a BIG secret: You don’t even really need a nursery! I mean yes, they look gorgeous all set up on display for Pinterest and Instagram but what you need as a parent of a newborn is function, not a show room. For the first 6 months at least, it is recommended that baby sleeps in your room with you to help regulate their breathing, heart rate, and reduce the risk of SIDS. We tried the 6 month rule with my first and he swiftly ended up back in our bedroom most nights. With number 2 we didn’t even attempt moving her until she was 2 years old. I’m not even planning a nursery this time around.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t need anything though – it just means that you may choose to have products for your baby within your own room, where baby will be sleeping, rather than set up in another separate room. Whichever you decide, here are a few things you don’t and definitely DO need for your baby:

Products you DO need for your baby’s nursery:

Somewhere to sleep – this does not need to be a moses basket. They outgrow them so quickly that you may as well purchase a co-sleeper cot or a larger cot from the start. Travel cots are absolutely fine and the mesh sides are actually a godsend for when they throw their dummies! They are a bit of a back killer though when reaching in. Co-sleeper cribs really help for establishing breastfeeding and make it much easier to soothe your baby without getting out of bed. If push comes to shove, you CAN actually use your pram (flat crib base, not tilted buggy) as a bed whilst they’re small.

Somewhere to change your baby – at the very least you will need a changing mat (plus essentials like nappies, wipes etc). You definitely do not need a fancy changing station – change mats can be placed on a bed, on the floor, or, on top of a chest of drawers used as a changing table. As long as you have a safe space which can be cleaned and disinfected regularly you will be fine. Some cots even come with a detachable changing top. If you have had a C-section you may prefer something at standup height just to make it easier for you to change your baby without bending over. Remember – you must never leave your baby unattended on a change mat or a changing table.

Somewhere for baby’s clothes – This does not have to be a fancy wardrobe or chest of draws. A basket, bag or box is fine, or even a space within your own wardrobe or draws.

Thermometer – this is actually quite a handy one, as maintaining a safe temperature for your baby is important in the hot summer months or the cold winter months, particularly in smaller, south facing rooms which can be prone to overheating.

Baby monitor – If you’re going to leave your baby unattended whilst sleeping/napping then being able to keep a check on them is really important. You can get lots of fancy video monitors or even ones with inbuilt heart rate or breathing monitors, but the standard noise/sound monitors are completely fine and will let you know if your baby is stirring or crying.

Night light – for night time feeding or nappy changing, a dim light (or even better, a dim red light) is really handy for being able to check on baby and see what you’re doing without making everything too bright and rousing them.

Products you DON’T need for your baby’s nursery (but you may desire):

Matching furniture – it may look lovely, but definitely a desirable option rather than a necessity. Babies don’t need as many clothes as you think and they grow out of them really quickly!

Wall murals and decorations – again, they can look beautiful, but a newborn is unlikely to even be able to SEE the pictures and decorations until they are older as their eyesight for distance is so poor in the first few months.

Moses basket AND a cot – as explained in my point above, if you’re going to invest in one, go for longevity. Moses baskets are quickly redundant, especially if you gave birth to a larger baby.

Cot bumpers – These are incredibly dangerous and should never be used. So many babies have lost their lives becoming entangled or stuck within a cot bumper, please don’t ever be tempted to try these.

Lots of toys – Unless you’re using your nursery as a playroom, then you do not need to adorn their sleeping space with lots of toys and stimuli for play. Play items ARE important, but it is better to have these on a playmat, at child level, away from their sleeping area whilst you’re establishing a positive sleep and rest area.

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