Setting up your baby’s nursery is an exciting step toward getting your house prepared for the arrival of your new baby. It’s the one room in your home that will be completely fresh and new, and you need to gather all the nursery must-haves before the arrival!
If you’re starting the nursery from scratch, you’re probably getting overwhelmed picking out color choices and furniture options. While those things are fun, having an organized room will be the most important.
You want the room to be functional and easy to locate items when you’ve got a screaming baby in your arms!
Bringing a new baby into your home will automatically introduce a ton of extra items and clutter. Below are my tips on what items are nursery must haves and the best ways to set it up to maximize space and convenience.
If you’re ready to prepare your WHOLE home for the new baby, check out my most viewed post here on How to Organize Your House Before Bringing Home the New Baby.
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22 Nursery Must Haves
1. Diaper Changing Station
This is probably one of the most important nursery must haves for the first few months since your baby won’t even be in his or her crib yet. You will still have diaper changes in this room since that’s where all of their clothes will be.
To maximize space, you don’t need a changing table. You can use a regular dresser that reaches around waist height and put a changing station right on top.
Securing the pad to the dresser is very important so it doesn’t slide off while your baby is laying on it.
This probably won’t be too much of a problem for a newborn because they don’t move much. However, as your baby starts rolling, you will want to be sure that the pad stays stationary.
Here are some tips on how to secure your changing pad to your dresser.
2. Changing Pad with a Cover
Place a changing pad on top of a standard dresser with a soft cover. Changing pad liners will help so you’re not always changing the cover if there’s a blow out or mess.
3. Diaper Organizer
You’ll need some kind of diaper organizer for all of your diaper stuff. This storage basket can hold everything you will need and even some things that you may need in case of a messy event.
Be sure to include:
- Newborn and size 1 diapers to start – you’ll use at least 10 a day
- pack of wipes – I love water wipes because they are the most pure and safe for newborns
- diaper cream
- baby bum brush – makes applying diaper cream less messy
- burp cloth
- lotion/coconut oil
- hand sanitizer
- nail clipper
- gauze & Aquaphor/Vasoline – for a circumcised boy
Related Post: Blush and Grey Nursery for a Sweet Baby Girl
4. Diaper genie with extra refills
You will need this for the massive amount of diapers you’ll go through. A diaper genie will keep all your diapers in one odor-blocking, covered can until you are ready to empty it.
Bonus Tip: Stock up on extra diaper genie refills, diapers, and wipes when you see a good deal. You will use a ton! However, don’t get too many newborn or size 1 diapers because you never know how big or small your baby will be.
Newborns tend to make a mess of their onesies, burp cloths, bibs, and outfits so it’s best to have an easy place to toss them. I keep my hamper right next to my diaper changing station for convenience after changing baby’s clothes.
Using a hamper with a lid and removable/washable liner is a good addition. The lid will help to block any strong odors from dirty clothes and you want to be able to remove the liner so you can easily wash it. The liner also makes carrying it to the washing machine a breeze!
Related Post: 33 Truths About Childbirth That Every New Mom Should Know
6. Garbage Can
A small garbage can can be helpful for any items that need to be tossed that can’t go in the diaper genie. Make sure you remember to empty this garbage can regularly!
7. Nursery Glider
Most babies are soothed by the calm rocking motion from mom or dad. However, your arms will get really tired from rocking your baby side to side all day.
Sitting in a rocker or glider can give your baby this motion while giving your arms a break. Whether it’s the middle of the night, right before a nap or bedtime, or just a witching hour of fussiness, a glider chair is great to have.
The chair pictured above has been amazing. The Baby Relax Gliding Recliner is so comfortable while also providing the movement my baby needs.
8. A Safe Crib
When it comes to your baby’s crib, that will be a personal preference for which is most aesthetically pleasing to you. It will probably be the center of attention in the room so you want it to match your decor.
Just make sure it is put together correctly to ensure safe sleep for your baby.
Related Post: How to Prepare Yourself For Breastfeeding Your Newborn
9. Mattress & Mattress Protector
A firm mattress is the safest place for a newborn baby to sleep. Although the first few weeks or months may be spent in a bassinet, it’s helpful to have the crib set up before your baby comes.
Don’t forget to also include mattress protectors for unexpected diaper blow outs.
10. Extra Crib Sheets
It’s best to have a couple sets of crib sheets because they will get soiled from spit-ups and diaper messes.
I recommend having three sets of sheets for your baby’s crib. I’ve had nights when my baby used two sets in a night, whether from a sickness or a leaking diaper. Having three sets of crib sheets means you almost always have a clean set.
I love these 100% cotton jersey fitted crib sheets. They’re the Amazon Basics brand, but they hold up well, feel super soft, and have an affordable price – you can’t beat that!
A small book shelf placed next to your recliner is a great spot for any mementos or trinkets for the room. You can also use a shelf for books that you’ll read to your baby during their bedtime routine.
Related Post: 25 Neutral Nursery Room Ideas for Inspiration
12. Nursing Light
Never heard of a nursing light?
It’s a light that gives off a soft glow in the middle of the night. The last thing you want to do during night wakings is to turn on a bright light. It increases the chances that your baby will stay awake longer.
At the same time, you don’t want to stumble around your baby on your arms.
A nursing light gives off just the right glow so you can see what you’re doing, but the lights aren’t bright enough to fully wake your baby up at night.
Related: Top 8 Nursing Lights of 2021 for Breastfeeding and Baby
13. Fabric Baskets for Odds and Ends
Keeping a storage bin of toys in the nursery can be helpful when keeping your baby occupied in there. I love to keep burp cloths, muslin blankets, and heavier blankets for back up use, as well.
14. Video Baby Monitor
For obvious reasons, a baby monitor is one of the most essential nursery must haves. At any point during the day or night when you are not with your baby, you can always have eyes on them.
I highly recommended the Wyze Camera to use as your baby monitor. It’s not marketed as one, but we got it for our second baby and wish we had it for our first. It has great quality video and WIFI so you can see the baby when you’re out of the house.
With the Wyze Camera you can get the video feed right through your phone so if you’re at work or on a date night, you can still check on your baby. It does everything that a regular monitor can do, you just have to use your phone for it.
You really can’t beat it for the price either- only $38! A baby monitor with WIFI will cost you over $200. I also found that I always had my phone on me, but not the video screen monitor so it’s much more convenient.
You should also use a VuSee Monitor Shelf so you can put the monitor up higher and get a full view of the crib. We used to attach the monitor to the crib, but once our baby started sitting up and reaching for things, she would pull it right down.
Related: Top 3 Best Long Range Baby Monitors That Will Make You Feel Secure
15. Closet Organization
Cube storage makes my list of nursery must haves. I contemplated installing shelves instead, but these cubes offer so much more space. In the bins I put blankets, sheets, extra diapers/wipes, swaddles, shoes, socks, extra toys, and everything else that doesn’t go in the drawers and needs to be put in a box.
You don’t need a bin for every cube because in those empty spots you can put books, more blankets, or keepsakes that you want to be shown.
Target has a huge selection of all shapes and sizes of cubes for your closet. Make sure you measure the dimensions precisely because my cubes JUST fit in there, but I wanted to maximize the amount of storage I had, that’s why I used a 3×3 cube. Also, make sure you get the matching bins for what cube set you get because they are all different sizes.
These Room Essentials Hangers are affordable and a good size for baby clothing. Also don’t forget the hangers with clips for whole outfits so you can keep the pants and shirts together.
You also may want to use closet dividers to separate your baby clothes by months. It makes it easier to see exactly which clothes you should be using at that time.
16. Dresser Organization
Roll clothes: The tiny newborn clothes take up very little space in your drawers so you can fit a ton in there. The BEST way to store clothes in a drawer is by rolling them (I organize all my drawers this way as well).
This way you can see every item in your drawer instead of when you stack, you can only see whats on top. You can also do 2 layers if needed.
Organize drawers by age range: 1 Drawer for newborn clothes, 1 rawer for 3 month clothes, 1 drawer for 6 month clothes, etc. Once your baby grows out of each month, you can remove them and change the drawers around.
Label: You may want to use removable labels on the outside of your drawers so you, dad, and any other caregivers know what is in the drawers.
I like to only keep clothing in the drawers for organization purposes. All my extra blankets, swaddles, diapers, wipes, hats, socks, shoes, etc. gets put in bins inside the closet. That’s where the cube storage comes in handy!
If you have hardwood floors, a rug is a good choice. This will protect the floor and add padding when you lie your baby down.
18. White Noise Machine
Not every baby will be soothed by the howling winds or rushing water of a regular sound machine, but I do think that every nursery can benefit from a white noise machine.
White noise will keep a little sound in your baby’s room so any outside noises won’t startle or wake them. The Dohm White Noise Machine is great for this purpose.
There are so many benefits to using a white noise machine, such as:
- Soothing babies to sleep
- Blocking out outside noises
- Helping your baby connect sleep cycles
- Creating a calm environment
Every nursery should have a humidifier to clear your baby’s nasal passages. Especially in the winter, babies can get very stuffy. Having a humidifier in the room can help to soothe or prevent congestion and mucus.
20. Black Out Curtains
A set of high quality nursery blackout curtains is another one of my favorite nursery must haves. They might be pricey, but you’ll use them for years.
Blackout curtains help your baby sleep better!
Instead of being awakened by the sun as soon as it rises, your baby won’t even know that it’s daylight. These curtains also help for nap times; they won’t be disrupted by the sunlight.
21. Toy Box
Infants don’t start out with a lot of toys, but you’ll get a few at your baby shower and hospital visits. Their toys gradually increase, and you need a place to keep all these toys.
I love the Melissa & Doug Wooden Toy Chest. It’s the perfect size to keep in your nursery, and it has a bench on the top.
So, your child can sit on top of the toy box or use it as a place for some decorative pillows and their favorite stuffed animals.
22. Electric Outlet Covers
While we prepare all the adorable parts of our baby’s nursery, it’s easy to forget safety features. Electric outlet covers are definitely one of the most important nursery must haves.
A large pack of outlet covers is so affordable, and you can use them anywhere that your baby might eventually have access to the outlets.
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You can find some beautiful, printable, digital nursery designs here. These are an affordable way to decorate your nursery room. Just print them instantly and place them in a frame and you have simple decor.
When you’re preparing your baby’s room, make sure you include these nursery must haves, especially any items that help your baby sleep better. We all need more sleep!