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Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Your baby’s nursery serves many purposes other than providing a restful place for her to sleep. It’s essentially a bathroom, a storage room, a dining room, a playroom and a sanctuary. Putting it together is one of the first significant steps to parenting. It takes time, money and care to set up a happy, healthy and well-organized nursery. Here are five steps to help simplify the process.

Set Up Creature Comforts
There are three essentials when it comes to “accommodations” for your little one’s nursery: a crib, a glider or rocker, and a changing station. Having each of these pieces of furniture in the nursery will simplify your life more than you know.

Crib: This is the foundation for baby’s ideal sleep environment. Consider crib size, style, color, and features when designing the room. A convertible crib is a nice choice because it will grow with your child.

Glider or Rocker: One of the biggest pleasures of having a newborn is nursing or bottle-feeding, and rocking her to sleep. Having a chair in the nursery allows you and baby to have a routine which helps baby feel more comfortable in this new world. This is a great place to set up a mom’s station, as well.

Changing Station: Having a place to change your baby’s diaper is one of the best ways to save your sanity, whether you choose to put a changing pad on a dresser or buy a changing table. You’ll have all of your necessary supplies within reach. It’s also a great place to change your baby’s clothes and put on lotion after a bath.

Prepare Functional Storage Spaces
Because you will accumulate so many clothes, toys, extra bedding, blankets, etc. for the baby before he is even born, you’ll want to set up functional storage spaces in the nursery. One of the best places to start is the closet.

Find an organization system that works best for your closet. For example, if you have sliding doors, remove them and divide the vertical space. Hang stacking organizers, which are good for shoes and blankets. If you have a door that opens into your closet, get a utility door, and wall rack or over-the-door organizer.

Hang clothes based on baby’s age, size and season with closet dividers that attach to the bar. Fold everything neatly and use bins and baskets.

Embrace Noise-Reducing Elements
Not only are window shades or blackout curtains important for nap time; they help reduce outside noises. You don’t get to choose what time the baby sleeps, and much of her slumber will be during the day when the sun is shining and people are outside and active.

Another soundproof technique is to run a humidifier or sound machine while the baby is in deep slumber. There are several apps that play either classical music or white noise.

Consider Aromatherapy
Essential oils can be a good resource for promoting sleep, relieving colic and fighting illness. Lavender and chamomile are good introductions for your baby because they are the most gentle of the oils. It’s very important to follow guidelines and safety instructions when using aromatherapy on your baby’s skin or diffused in their room. Here’s an aromatherapy guide that spells it all out for you.

Speaking of nursery aromas, add a diaper pail to your registry. It really helps fight that smell.

Know Your Safety Features
Parents need to be aware of the dangers that lurk among the products available for the baby’s nursery. Here is a list of some things to look out for when setting up the room, according to Consumer Reports.

·      Crib bumpers are no longer considered safe (due to possible suffocation and risk of SIDS).

·      Keep baby’s crib free of blankets and pillows until they are one (same risks as bumpers).

·      Use the safety straps on the changing pad. As baby grows, they can wiggle and twist their way onto the floor before you know what happened.

·      Cribs should have slats less than 2-3/8″ apart with no cutouts and top rails 26″ above the mattress.

·      Avoid furniture tip-overs by securing your furniture to the wall with straps.

·      Tie up all hanging cords and keep away from the crib.

·      Avoid warm-mist humidifiers.

Essentials Checklist

  • Crib
  • Firm mattress
  • 2 crib mattress pads
  • 2+ fitted crib sheets
  • 2-4 light receiving blankets
  • 1 heavier, soft baby blanket
  • Chair
  • Sound machine
  • Baby monitor
  • Nightlight
  • Changing table
  • Dresser
  • Diaper pail
  • Door gate (if you have pets)
  • Electric outlet covers
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Light dimmer

You don’t need to spend a bunch of money when setting up a nursery for your baby. By providing her a safe place to sleep, a place for you to change diapers, and a chair for you to feed her and get maximum cuddles, you’re setting yourself up for successful parenting.

Anne-Marie Pritchett is a freelance writer, storyteller and idea girl who has lived in six states and two countries. She has a great passion for sustainability and dancing in the rain. She writes handwritten letters to her parents and believes that music can connect souls.

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