In an ideal world, we all have the small fortune to walk into our favourite designer baby furniture store and buy everything that our nesting hearts desire. But the reality is that very few of us are privileged enough to be able to do that. The baby industry – not unlike the wedding industry – is a very big and powerful machine that can be very daunting when you first encounter it. But if you stay sensible amidst those raging pregnancy hormones, you will come to realize that babies actually need very few (furniture!) things in those first few months.
1) Cot. This could be new cot, old cot, camping cot, crib, whatever. Gumtree or your local used furniture store might have amazing finds. But make sure that you buy a new, special baby mattress for the cot to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – one with holes in it so that baby doesn’t suffocate in case he rolls over onto his face. Good ones at Mr Price Home and Baby City.
2) Changing table with changing mat. Note, I don’t say compactum. I don’t believe you need an expensive compactum with built in bath and other fancy bits. In fact, most people don’t even know that you call those fancy contraptions with built-in baths a compactum. Your baby will be bathed in the nursery for a very short period of time and then you won’t use the built-in bath anymore. A simple dresser with lots of storage that can grow with your child works just as well. If the top of the dresser is too small, go your local hardware store and buy a piece of laminated wood (they will edge it for you as well) to put on top – move the dresser away from the wall so that front of the wood is flush with the front of the dresser. Also keep in mind that the plastic-covered changing mats definitely are a better option than the fabric-covered ones: buy a pack of toweling nappies and have them handy to throw over the mat for warmth and comfort. This way it can readily be replaced with a clean, dry one should an accident happen.
3) Chair. Again, you will be spending LOTS of time in this chair, so make sure you’re comfortable with it. A rocker and matching ottoman is a very nice to have, but come at a price. I took my favourite armchair from the sitting room and it worked beautifully. If your chosen chair doesn’t fit in with the room, make a simple loose cover of throw a pieces of matching fabric over it. In fact, unless it’s a wipe-able fabric, a loose cover is always a good idea so that spills can be cleaned up – it’s amazing how much fluid those little bodies are able to bring forth!
4) Night light / dimmer switch. You don’t want to have bright lights on every time you have to feed or change a nappy, so have a small night light that gives you enough light to do what you need to but not enough to fully wake baby. If you have dimmer switches installed, perfect. If you don’t, call a local electrician and get a quote, it’s usually not a very expensive endeavor.
5) Wardrobes. Even though they are very small, babies tend to have A LOT of stuff – nappies, clothes, blankets, meds, wipes, creams, the list is virtually endless. So if your dresser cannot take everything and you don’t have built-ins, you’ll need to invest in wardrobes to house said paraphernalia. Or sort out your own wardrobe to make space. Spring cleaning is always a great idea before baby comes!
And that’s it really. There are many other nice-to-haves: a bed for you and shelving and toy boxes and mobiles and rocking horses – it goes on. But from a practical point of view, the above items are all you really NEED.
Happy shopping, and remember, you can always add more things later when you understand your new little person’s needs a bit better!