You Don’t Need These: 5 Nursery Non-Essentials And What To Get Instead


By: Mich Lagdameo

A nursery is a special place, and every mom has her own idea of how it should be outfitted and decorated. Preparing baby’s room for his or her arrival is a rite of passage a lot of moms look forward to while expecting. It’s definitely easy to get carried away—which often leaves us with a nursery that’s nice to look at, but not very functional. Avoid wasting money by keeping your nursery simple but sweet! This list of non-essential nice-to-haves should get you started.

Nice To Have: Fancy crib or Moses basket

Many moms would love to have a beautiful vintage crib or dainty Moses basket or bassinet as the centerpiece of the nursery, but the truth is, it’s pretty rare for a newborn to consistently sleep in their cribs from day one. Most babies end up co-sleeping with their parents, at least until they’re big enough to sleep alone.

What to get instead: Sidecar-style co-sleepers are proving to be a popular choice nowadays. Another practical choice is the playpen-and-bassinet style (like a Pack and Play) that gives parents more mileage (and bang for their buck).

Nice To Have: A wall full of framed photos and art

All Pinterest-worthy nurseries seem to be decorated with wall-to-wall mounted frames of family photos, quaint watercolor paintings, or adorable typography. Again, while it makes a great visual impact, it’s not really a functional or safe choice. Frames could fall and shatter, or worse, fall on your baby! One or two secure frames with meaningful photos should do the trick.

What to get instead: Help your newborn’s development by mounting lightweight drawings or printed posters of black and white shapes and patterns. Or, if it’s texture you’re after, it’s become quite trendy to install stick-on padding on the walls.

Nice To Have: Crib bedding

Along with the fancy crib, a plush and luxurious crib bedding looks adorable and romantic! It’s the perfect backdrop for the millions of photos you’re sure to be taking of your baby right after birth. However, safe sleep practices dictate that there should be as little on and inside the baby’s sleeping space as possible—in fact, all you really need is a fitted crib sheet. Pillows and blankets (especially fluffy, frilly ones) can be suffocation hazards.

What to get instead: If you want a cute, photo-worthy “backdrop” for your baby to rest on, invest in burp cloths or lightweight receiving blankets in nice prints. These are versatile and can be used in many ways throughout babyhood.

Nice To Have: A separate changing table
A separate counter or tabletop outfitted with a changing mat seems practical, but in the early months, you’ll pretty much be changing your baby’s diaper anywhere in the house—the bed, the sofa, the crib are all common spots. You might not get as much use out of that changing table, so you might want to allocate that space to perhaps more storage for your baby’s growing collection of clothes and toys.

What to get instead: A rolling trolley stocked with the essentials, like diapers, wipes, and burp cloths, is a better investment. You can move this around with you and have it within arm’s reach whenever you need a diaper change.

Nice To Have: Too many stuffed animals and toys

In the early months, babies don’t have much use for expensive toys and trinkets. And when they reach toddlerhood, you might be surprised to see how your baby will show more interest in household items than in actual toys! You’re also sure to receive a lot of toys and stuffed animals as gifts, so save your money and don’t give in to temptation to have a whole zoo’s worth of animals on display in the nursery. Plus, stuffed toys get dusty very quickly, and the stuffing can trigger allergies in more sensitive babies.

What to get instead: A nice floor mat for tummy time and, eventually, playing. A lot of floor mats now have designs that help stimulate your baby, and they’re versatile enough to be used for most of the first year or two.

A new baby is definitely cause for excitement and celebration, but it’s also a good opportunity to practice practicality and forward thinking. Stick to the basics and essentials, and you’ll find yourself with more time and energy to focus on your baby instead of fretting over space, wasted money, or functionality. Happy nesting!


Mich Lagdameo is a mom to a precocious 1-year-old. She is a writer and editor by trade and calling, and she lives for books, leisurely grocery trips, cups of good coffee, long drives with her husband, and the Food Network. Her days are punctuated by the sound of her computer keys and her daughter banging into things.


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