Has it been in a car that was involved in an accident?
What is the expiry date? In the nursery The cot or bassinet Your baby needs somewhere to sleep and this could either be a bassinet or cot. In fact the important thing is to ensure it meets the correct safety requirements. And look at how adjustable it is — does the side go up and down and does the base have different levels?
The mattress Make sure you invest in a good quality, well-fitting mattress as it is going to have to last for a minimum of two years. It is important when buying the mattress that it is brand new and fits correctly into your cot.
Ideally the cot should never go on the outside wall as in winter it will be damp and cold. I recommend a cotton quilted mattress protector or a basic cotton blanket over the mattress. Linens I also suggest having four fitted sheets, because I work on the principle of having one on the cot, one in the cupboard, one in the wash and one drying on the line. Blankets I only use blankets while the baby is swaddled, and I suggest a minimum of two — one merino and the other cotton.
Your baby will be comfortable when their hands and feet are a bit colder than their body. In fact the recommendation by Plunket is that parents sleep with their baby in a separate bed next to theirs for the first months. You can then either opt for a removable changing tabletop or a standard changing mat on the tabletop.
Bumper Look for air vent mesh-wrap style bumpers, as the fine mesh allows good ventilation and protects little arms and legs from going between the slats. My recommendation is a set of drawers that is the right height for changing and this will double as storage as well as a changing area. My favourite choice is a set of drawers with a top drawer that divides into three, for bottom products, undershirts, and head products.
The remaining drawers are full width.
You can then either opt for a removable changing tabletop or a standard changing mat on the tabletop. Then once the baby grows, you still have a useful piece of furniture. The other alternative is to set up a changing area on the floor or on a bed — I tend to have a basket or bag with all the products in it so that you can put it away or move around the house.
The nappy bin This will depend on your budget, but I prefer a regular pedal bin with a lid. There are various other types of bins that are designed for the nursery, but if you choose to a designer nursery bin, remember the cylinders inside the bin can be quite costly. Curtains Make sure you have good thick curtains on your windows. Some other options for blacking out windows are a cassette system with side guides, or roller blackout blinds.
You could also buy blackout material so you can make your own blackout blinds with Velcro to fix the material over the windows. Avoid curtains with tassels because your baby will pull on them when he or she grows older.
Non-essentials — but practical A chair You will spend a lot of time holding and feeding your baby, so ensure that somewhere in the house you have a good comfy chair. A side table I find having a little table next to the chair is a handy place to put your drink, snacks, bibs and burp clothes within easy reach.
Heating and cooling A temperature controlled heater is ideal for winter, and a fan is a useful way to help keep a nursery cool on hot summer days. Monitors Whether you choose to buy a monitor will depend on the size of your house and how concerned you are with your baby being in another room.
I prefer three in one monitors that note movement and sound, and have a camera. A room thermometer There are various brands available. The non-essentials Decorating walls Neutral colours work well, and can be brightened with a colourful wall frieze. This means that you can change the look of the room inexpensively as your child grows, or if you decide to sell your house and move on.
A light with a dimmer switch is an advantage as it provides bright light for changing and a softer option for night feeds. Mirror A mirror in a nursery is best placed on the wall behind the change table. Mobiles I recommend putting these above the change table and not over the cot.
Cots are for sleeping, not stimulation.
Once a baby can sit up, mobiles need to be removed for safety reasons and, if a baby is used to going off to sleep with one, it can cause sleep issues. Instead, when used over the change table, mobiles act as a welcome distraction for your baby, resulting in an easier nappy changing experience for you both.
White noise Remember your baby is looking for shushing noises, however there are some good products on the market such as the Baby Shusher.
The baby bath There are various styles and shapes around - this is a non-essential piece of equipment as all homes have hand basins, kitchen sinks, laundry tubs and baths and showers. And some parents find it easier to shower their babies instead of giving them a bath. The bouncy chair There are lots of choices here too and the kind you might choose will depend on your budget.
Buggies These are such a personal choice and are very expensive.
Do your research and work out what suits you best. How easy is it to fold and unfold? Is this something I can do with one hand?
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