Creating a nursery seems like a simple task, right? Not sure where you should begin when it comes to preparing for a new baby? This should be a fun project, but long-term thinking is essential because they grow so quickly into the toddler stage. Choosing the perfect nursery decor for your child doesn’t need to be complicated. We reached out to the experts for advice to help get you started.
Where do I begin when starting to plan for the nursery?
I would begin by choosing a theme. To do so, start by asking yourself if you want the decor to be specific to a boy or girl.
For example, I knew that I was not going to find out the sex of the baby beforehand, so I knew I wanted to choose a unisex theme. I also wanted to be able to reuse the nursery for our second baby, so a non-gender-oriented theme set me in the right direction. Finally, I liked the idea of not setting the baby directly into preconceived notions of what colors are for girls or boys. I chose a mint green color and zoo animals for the nursery theme. But there are endless color choices and theme options.
Once you decide if you want a boy, girl, or unisex nursery theme, you can set out to look for inspiration on Pinterest. Or you can set off to a few stores and wait for something to grab you. I found a crib bedding set that I absolutely loved, so I built the rest of the room around that. I made art to match the bedding and selected a wall color that went with it. Then it was just easy to build on from there as I assembled the furniture and accessory items needed to complete the room cohesively.
Most of all, savor the moment. Enjoy nesting and creating a dreamy space for you and your new baby to enjoy together!
-Scarlet Paolicchi from Family Focus Blog
Safety features to think about when designing a nursery room
When designing a nursery, there’s lots of obvious safety stuff to think about—selecting a crib from a reputable manufacturer, ensuring furniture is secured to the wall and more. I think it’s important to also consider some of the less obvious (and less popular) recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, including: no lovies in the crib for at least 6 months, nothing hanging above the crib (including mobiles and pictures on the wall above), no crib bumpers.
There’s one more recommendation that might challenge your concept of what a “nursery” actually means—the AAP recommends that new babies sleep in their parent’s room for at least 6 months. Note this does not mean in your bed (co-sleeping is strongly discouraged), but rather in a crib or bassinet that’s located in your room.
These recommendations might challenge your view of a picture-perfect nursery that your baby sleeps in from Day 1, with a stylish mobile, a stuffed animal propped in the corner of your baby’s crib, and a cute framed picture on the wall above it—you know, all the stuff you might be dying to show off to your friends or post on Instagram. You might also have mixed feelings about having a full-time roommate in your bedroom for a while.
And, we’re not saying you can’t have this stuff, or that parents shouldn’t make their own choices—just make sure you understand what experts recommend, and why they recommend it. And by all means get cute stuff for your new baby, just consider the timing!
-Paul Zalewski, Co-founder of Fathercraft
When should I begin preparing for my nursery?
While decorating the nursery is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t start too early.
Firstly, you want to make sure that your pregnancy is progressing properly. Around the 12 week mark is a high probability that everything is going smoothly and the baby is healthy.
If you are finding out the gender of the baby, you may want to wait until after that to start designing. While you may think you’re going to buy neutral-colored furniture or paint the walls a unisex color, your vision may change once you find out the gender. For example, gray is a neutral color, but it tends to lean more towards boy. Therefore, if you find out you’re having a girl after deciding on a gray nursery, you may end up rethinking that decision.
Your style and vision may change as the pregnancy progresses as well. You don’t want to give yourself more work (especially during pregnancy), so don’t put yourself in the position of having to redecorate the room!
Another good time to start decorating your baby’s nursery is after your baby shower. You may receive many gifts from family and friends that will help you prepare, so you don’t have to shell out the money for it. You may also be registering for many items that you won’t know you’re receiving until the day of your shower.
Lastly, make sure that you’re not waiting until the last minute and stressing out that it’s not done before the baby’s arrival. Doing a little bit at a time as the weeks go by is a great idea.
-Marissa Labuz from Just Simply Mom
What do I need for my baby nursery?
As your glowing baby bump grows, it can seem like your to-do list to get everything organized in time grows twice as fast. There’s a lot to think about, and there are even more conflicting opinions and advice on the newborn necessities. We’re here to help those stress levels subside. We’ve curated this blog post to bring a little bit of calm to the chaos that comes with growing a tiny human and ensuring everything is sorted for when they enter the world.
Not only do we design and manufacture baby furniture, but we also spend a large portion of our days around our pieces, talking to people about the what and why of our baby furniture features. The majority of our team has felt the pressures of the pre-baby stresses, which we think qualifies us to offer some sound advice on nursery preparations.
First things first. Baby needs somewhere to sleep. Whether they go straight into their cot or you opt for a bassinet for the first couple of months, a cot will form the cornerstone of your nursery space and set the tone for the rest of the room. There’s plenty on the market that can make the decision process slightly overwhelming, but we, of course, will play favorites and suggest us, Australia’s favorite nursery brand! We’ve been in the game long enough to know what works, what doesn’t, and what the absolute non-negotiables are when it comes to cot design.
Whether it’s Incy’s wooden style that takes your fancy or our sturdy metal range, there are a few features we are extremely proud to include in our cots:
- Sustainably sourced wood
- Recycled aluminum
- Non-toxic, VOC free paint
- Adjustable mattress heights
- Toddler bed convertible
And for added peace of mind, we also offer a 10-year manufacturing warranty on our entire nursery range. Explore your Incy Cot options here.
A cot isn’t much good without a cot mattress, and thankfully, we’ve got one to make your baby’s slumber as comfortable as possible – and we all know when the baby sleeps well, Mum does too. Incy’s cot mattresses are suitable for every style of Incy cot available, but unlike our cot range, we’ve designed just one, dare we say perfect cot mattress. A pocket spring design for comfort, a cotton blend outer for breathability, and a medium firmness for support. Shop your Incy Cot Mattress here.
A Rocking Chair is an essential part of a nursery, whether it’s rocking baby to sleep or rocking some sanity back into your life during those midnight screams and feeds. What you’re looking for is something with a high back for extra comfort and a chair with some serious lumbar support – because lord only knows how long you will be spending here. In addition, the perfect Nursery Rocking Chair should feature a soft rock, which comes from this size and positioning of the stoppers on the base of the legs. This gentle rock will take some labor out of getting your little one back to sleep, as you can rely solely on the chair for movement rather than grinding through a whole body workout at 3 am. Check Incy’s range of Nursery Rocking Chairs here.
BABY CHANGE TABLE
Match your Nursery Change Table back with your Cot, or go for something completely different; our only recommendation is don’t sacrifice storage space for style. Storage in a nursery is essential, and utilizing your Baby’s Change Table is the perfect way to hide away a few extra nursery necessities. Incy has an extensive range of Change Tables that will serve their purpose in the nursery but conveniently convert to a handy dresser once the nappy changes are done with. A decade in the industry and using several different Change Tables in our nurseries over the years means we know a thing or two about what makes a good one. So, excuse us for being extremely bias but here are a few features that we think make our Change Tables hard to compete with:
- Sustainably sourced wood
- Recycled aluminum
- Non-toxic, VOC free paint
- A matching change table topper
- Ample storage
- Tip kit for wall attachment
-Kristy Whiters from Incy Interiors
How do you balance stylish interiors with kid-friendly functionality?
Speaking specifically to setting up your baby’s nursery, look for classically styled cribs that convert into toddler beds and infant to toddler crib mattresses with a grow-with-me 2-stage design. Crib mattresses that are 2-stage are designed with a firmer feel for your newborn and a softer feel for your growing toddler. Many nursery furniture these days have a very contemporary look while the round corners of a crib offer safety, and even crib mattresses and bedding have must-have functions like soothing vibrations, waterproofing, and antibacterial surfaces. It is functionality you absolutely need but don’t realize until you’re about to be a new parent! Finally, top off a room design with chalk walls to leave important messages for your significant other, grandparents, and caregivers about the baby’s sleep and eating schedule. That chalk wall eventually becomes a toddler favorite!
-Andrea Ostapa from Kolcraft
Which eco-friendly, vegan and non toxic materials do you recommend choosing for our baby’s crib and bedding?
When setting up a nursery for optimal mental and physical growth and development for your baby, one must consider clean, non toxic and non animal based (vegan) materials and as few chemicals as possible. I believe the three most important items in a nursery are;
#1 – A crib mattress – a critical item for the development of an infant’s brain and body and of course, safety is key. Mattresses, even crib mattresses, are legally allowed to contain toxic foam, pesticides, highly allergic latex , not be waterproof nor breathable. Make sure to get a certified organic cotton, waterproof, non latex, breathable mattress for your baby. Also, never get a mattress with wool.
#2 – Crib Sheets–Take Organic printed crib sheets. The sheet itself might be certified organic, but the printed dye on the sheet could be loaded with chemicals. Stay away. Only use organic cotton sheets and if they’re printed, make sure the dye is natural and not originating from chemicals.
#3 – The Crib – Choose a crib made without fake wood, paints, stains, or glues that contain toxic chemicals. A lot of cribs are loaded with them. Look for Greenguard Gold Certification. The least toxic cribs originate from unfinished solid wood such as cherry, oak, maple, birch and hickory. They can be coated with a food grade oil. That is also safe.
So, stay away from chemicals and never use animal based materials. We only want happy, clean materials with good energy.
-Deborah DiMare – DiMare Design
Designing your nursery from the ground up isn’t nearly as difficult as you might expect it to be. All you have to do is think through a couple of steps and daydream about the possibilities. Before making a decision, brainstorm ideas and compare them with one another.
Being a parent can be a stressful experience, especially when you receive so much advice from so many people. We’ve put together this handy guide of quick tips from well-informed parents and experts to get you started and give you the confidence you need to embrace your new position.
How to stay “you” as a mom, including cultivating your talents and embracing your interests with your children?
“One of the hardest things to do after having kids is to let go of your preconceived notions of what “being a mom” looks like. Asking questions like “what do typical moms do?” or “is this a normal ‘mom’ thing?” is counterproductive to staying “you.”
Remember that your identity is not how many kids you choose to have, the car you drive, or the job you have (and don’t have). Those are all products of your choices but don’t make you who you are.
To stay you as a mom, you continue to do things you love and make you happy. However, sometimes it will feel like your children aren’t getting enough of you while you continue to pursue your dreams and follow your passions. Although “mommy guilt” is typical, you’re going to deal with it at every turn, so you might as well resolve to be more than a mom.
To stay “you,” you make your hopes and dreams known to those who love you and then seek support from friends and family to make these things happen. You convince yourself that you’re teaching your children to respect themselves enough not to lose themselves to please anyone else. And you find ways to include your children by taking them along with you (if appropriate) or discussing/sharing your successes & excitement with them.
Finally, remind yourself that your children won’t thrive with an unhappy mom. Instead, your children will be much better off with a happy, fulfilled mom who takes time to nurture herself. In addition, you’ll be more appreciative of the quality time you do spend with your kids.”
-Ivy Boyter from SAHM, Plus
3 tips for handling a tantrum of a toddler
My oldest was a pretty quiet and easy-going kid, but then his brother came along just 17 months later. Once they were both toddlers, it got pretty crazy with my two little monsters. My boys were definitely high-strung and fed off each other. Tantrums, unfortunately, became an occurrence when we were out because one of them was always tired, hungry, or just bored of what we were doing.
Here are my 3 Tips for handling a tantrum of a toddler:
- First, see if the solution is an easy one. Are they hungry or tired? Just a simple snack might perk them up and bring up their blood sugar levels. Don’t we all sometimes get a little angry when hungry! While I was never strict with naptimes, there were definitely times when I could tell my kids were overtired and needed a break.
- Take them outside and let them have it out. I have carried my boys out of a store before to get all their crying out in the parking lot. It is funny how once they were done, they were done. They just had to get it out and realize they would not win and get what they wanted.
- Stay calm. Whatever you do, don’t get upset and yell; when a child has a tantrum, they cannot control their emotions, and yelling will make it worse. You cannot punish a child for something out of their control.
However you handle a tantrum, just know you are doing the best you can, and we have all been there. Every kid has a tantrum at some point, and while it may feel embarrassing, it will end eventually!
-Cher Kachelmuss from Mom and More
Tips on balancing and maintaining energy for motherhood and work
We live in a society that expects mothers to be constantly on and always productive, striving to meet unrealistic standards. We also feel like we need to demonstrate our love for our families by sacrificing our own needs to care for them. This is unsustainable and a recipe for burnout. Like a bucket with a leak in it, our energy levels are decreasing as we go about our days, and if we aren’t replenishing it by topping up that bucket, we will eventually run out altogether.
Rest is essential for replenishing your energy, but this doesn’t just involve sleep. Rest can involve any activity that helps us unwind the stress we feel and replenish our energy. Personally, I find walking in nature, reading, and painting very restorative. These activities help me feel more energized, fulfilled, and equipped to tackle whatever comes next.
What works for one woman may not be as effective for another, so it’s important to notice how different rest activities make you feel to determine what works for you.
Here are some different types of rest that you may like to try:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Taking a break from screens
- Writing down all your thoughts and feelings on paper to release them from your mind
- Listening to your favorite music or appreciating art
- Spending time with people who refresh you, rather than drain you
- Spending time alone
- Freely expressing how you feel to a trusted person
- Contributing to something meaningful, with a greater purpose
- Using noise-canceling headphones to sit in silence
- Closing your eyes or dimming the lights
- Doing something creative.
-Louise East from More to Mum
How important is it to set up a routine for your newborn?
Let’s face it, your newborn is going to be running your schedule for the first couple of months. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s too early to start setting up a routine for your newborn and yourself.
For example, during their first nap of the day, you may decide to go ahead and get dressed, and during the second nap, you could start tackling daily chores.
As far as their routines, having a bedtime routine can help you encourage good sleeping habits as they age. It can be as simple as putting on special lights, listening to bedtime lullabies, or reading bedtime stories.
Starting to put in place general routines for yourself and your newborn can help you adapt to this stage of the parenting journey.
While during the early months, they’ll mainly follow an “eat,” “sleep,” and “poop” routine, as they advance, they’ll realize that there are specific rules that must be followed, such as after storytime, it means its time to sleep.
One of the most important routines for me to have with my infant daughter is daily gum/teeth brushing (yes, even before she started teething). I put this daily routine in place with my older boys when they were newborns also, and it resulted in excellent hygiene practices, and they love going to the dentist.
By setting up routines with your newborns, you’ll find that both of your days will go more smoothly when their schedules become more predictable.
– Victoria Heckstall from Giveaways 4 Mom
Top 5 baby essentials for a new mum?
Baby carrier or sling–having a baby carrier in which you can wear the baby on you while keeping your hands free is essential. Newborns enjoy a lot of physical contact and soothing, so this helps greatly. Plus, with your hands-free, you can still take care of other needs like making meals, doing chores, or caring for older children.
– Swing or bouncer–most babies enjoy some form of gentle movement like swinging or bouncing. Having a baby swing or bouncer allows your baby to have another place to sleep contently. Most swings or bouncers come with a battery-powered feature, so you won’t have to swing or bounce it yourself. This is a great way to allow the baby to sleep and give you a little break.
– Baby onesies–new babies go through several outfits a day. New moms might be surprised at how often they find themselves changing their baby’s clothing. Having a lot of onesies on hand can be helpful, so you don’t have to do laundry quite so often.
– Nursing/feeding support pillow–whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, a support pillow is super helpful when babies are newly home. Feeding your baby as often as they need (up to 8-12 times a day as newborns) can take a toll on mom’s posture. A support pillow can help bring the baby up to your level, so you don’t find yourself hunching over and getting a backache.
– Nightlights–it sounds like an obvious item, but many moms forget to buy nightlights for their newborn’s room (or wherever the baby will be sleeping). Having a soft nightlight helps you so much during nighttime feedings or diaper changes. You aren’t startled awake by the bright overhead light, but you have enough lighting to see. Plus, keeping the lighting low can help your baby adjust to day/night sleeping cycles sooner and hopefully keep them more sleepy at night.
– Amy Webb from The Thoughtful Parent
How do you teach your children chores and responsibilities?
Chores teach children responsibility. Chores can teach children how to work with others, follow instructions, and take care of themselves, which is essential in life.
There are many different ways to get children to do their chores, but for me, the best way by far has been motivation rather than reward. By encouraging them and motivating them to achieve a goal (even if that is financial), they are far more willing to do the chores than if they are made to do it for a token payment, for example. Motivating them to do chores is also an excellent way to teach children the satisfaction of completing tasks.
However, it’s important to remember to give children age-appropriate chores. Overloading younger children with chores they struggle to achieve will lead to resentment. Instead, give them tasks that are possible for their age and that they see as an achievement rather than a chore.
Remember: Children don’t only respond to monetary incentives to do chores – do what works best for your family, working towards a day out, saving for a specific toy, Robux, or even extra screen-time. Do what works best for your family.
In terms of finding age-appropriate chores, there is no need to start from scratch. There are many age-appropriate chore lists available on the internet. Pinterest is also an excellent place to search for inspiration. What is important is to start easy and then change it up as they get older. Kids get bored easily, so you need to change the chores up every few months. There can also be a fair amount of rivalry between siblings, so if you have children close in age, remember to alternate specific chores to avoid arguments.
Top Tip: If you can make it fun rather than a punishment, they will always be more receptive.
-Carly Crawford from Mom of Two Little Girls
The most important thing to remember in your journey of being a parent is that you’re not alone! Friends and family will be there by your side every step of the way to help you with whatever you need. Parenting, in general, can come with a set of challenges and changes in our daily lives and when it comes to doing it on your own, check out this incredible article with advice from experienced single parents.