One of the most enjoyable experiences for expectant families is preparing the nursery for their new baby. All the decisions and choices, from the color of the walls to the style of cribs, can be overwhelming. But it can also be a fun time. Experienced parents have learned that newborn babies need just some basic items at first--a warm and safe place to sleep, food, clothing, and diapers. When you focus on these basics, you can enjoy making the choices to create your nursery.
When you prepare for your nursery, look for sturdy furnishings and equipment as you prepare your home for your new baby. Be sure that all products meet current safety standards. This is especially important if you are borrowing or buying items second-hand.
Safety is the most important issue when choosing your baby's new furniture, especially for the bed and bed linens. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers recommendations for many of these items:
- Crib. Beginning June 28, 2011, all cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The new rules, which apply to full-size and non-full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware, and require more rigorous testing. This also means that you cannot purchase or be given a second-hand crib that does not meet the new crib standards. For complete details, see the official rules at http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr11/cribfinal.pdf. Don't place the crib near draperies or blinds where a child could become entangled and strangle on the cords. When your child reaches 35 inches in height, or can climb and/or fall over the sides, the crib should be replaced with a bed.
- Crib mattress and bedding. Soft bedding may be a major contributor to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths of infants. You should place your baby on his or her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards. Don't put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft products in the crib. Bumper pads and sleep positioners should not be used. And don't place your baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface to sleep.
- Changing table. Changing tables offer a convenient place to change your baby's diaper. The CPSC recommends not leaving a baby on the table unattended. Always use the straps to prevent your baby from falling. For safety reasons, be sure to look for a changing table with safety straps to prevent falls and drawers or shelves that are easily accessible without leaving your baby unattended.
- Rocking chair or glider. For comfort, look for a chair with arms that are wide enough for you to hold your baby, especially when breastfeeding.
Many baby stores offer a gift registry service so that you can list the items you prefer for others to consider when buying a baby gift. Although there are many baby products now available, listed below are the essential items you will want to have ready for your new baby.