Creating Your Dream Baby Nursery
Designing the perfect baby nursery does not need to be challenging. As long as you start in time and have access to all the essentials, you’ll have a comfortable nursery ready once bub arrives home.
When should I start planning for a nursery?
The best time to plan and shop for all your nursery essentials is during the second trimester. During this period, the symptoms you experienced in your first trimester would have significantly reduced, leaving you with more energy to begin your nursery prep. Most significantly, you’d also learn about bub’s gender by then, which makes nursery planning a lot more meaningful!
At Mothercare, we understand that new parents may not be too sure of how to start, and that’s perfectly alright. This article will hopefully provide you with the guidance you need. From design ideas and practicality to the essential products every nursery needs, we have put together a handy guide that will take you through it all just in time when your bub arrives!
1. Research and get a firm idea before buying anything
Whatever you do, avoid jumping into it headfirst and purchasing baby nursery products sporadically. You want to arrive at a clear idea of what you want for your baby. It’s definitely exciting to start shopping and ordering things early for your baby nursery. But you may end up with a mish-mash of colours and decor variations and many “I should haves” when it comes to functionality.
Take a step back and breathe. Start with an items checklist:
- Bedding: Baby cots and cot beds, mattresses, moses baskets, sleeping bags, bedsheets, pillows, and blankets
- Breastfeeding/feeding: Breastfeeding pillows, swaddles, breast pumps, and bottle sterilisers
- Changing units: Towels, bathtubs, diapers, nappies, wipes, hand creams, powders, and other baby toiletries
- Accessories: Baby monitors, baby bouncers, playmats, and toys
Now that you know what you need to turn a room into a functional baby nursery, you can then think about sizes, designs, decor, and colour palette. Searching for ideas online can give you some inspiration and a direction to move towards.
Here are some quick tips when you do your research:
- Begin a baby register by creating an excel file of the items you need alongside the size and colours to pick.
- Include the images you sourced with easily identifiable filenames (e.g. baby bed 1, baby bouncer 3, etc.). These can also be copied into the baby register for easier reference when required.
- When you search for products on Mothercare Malaysia, you can register for a free account and drop items into your wishlist, so you can come back to them again and make your purchase when you’re ready.
2. Design something that’ll grow with them
If you’d like to minimise the costs involved as they grow (and they do grow quickly), you might want to think about keeping the design and aesthetics of your baby’s nursery a little more adaptable than you first had in mind. This most definitely includes the furniture you end up buying and the accessories that go with them.
The colours and designs you choose will depend on your tastes – you’d know best. What is more important to pay attention to – at least at the first stage of designing – is understanding the type of sleeping furniture you’ll need. Here’s a quick overview of them so that you can better match your needs against what’s available:
Suitable for newborns till they turn two, cots are ideal if you’re looking for a smaller bedding option which you will eventually put away. Most cots come with fixed sides, while some may come with a drop-down for greater convenience.
Cotbeds typically come with removable sides and end panels, so you can turn it into a low bed once bub hits toddler age. Unlike cots, cot beds are larger and will require a mattress designed for them. While the cot bed mattresses are sold separately, you will be able to find the right-sized one, nonetheless. Since the cot bed is still smaller than a normal single bed, your growing little one will need to switch to something more suitable eventually. Regardless, many parents find the cotbed a more practical option for its longevity and versatility.
Cribs are often used as a term interchangeably with the cot, but some features set them apart. Cribs, unlike cots, are generally more mobile. They come with wheels, which means you can move bub from the nursery to the living room to your bedroom as and when you need. In addition, you can adjust their heights easily, and the panels are removable, making them one of the best co-sleeper options available. These can also be folded and stored away when not in use.
4. Moses basket
Ideal for babies up to three or four months, the moses basket comes with carrying handles for mobility and is designed with foam bedding for bub’s comfort. Some also come with removable hoods and can be placed on a separate stand to make it more convenient for co-sleeping. Once your baby can pull themselves upright, the moses basket will no longer be an ideal option – transition them to a cot, cot bed or crib instead.
Bonus baby sleeping tips:
- Co-sleeping: It’s advisable for mummies to sleep with their babies for the first six months. One of the main benefits is that both bub’s and mom’s heart rates, oxygen levels, brain waves, breathing and temperature can influence one another. This helps to protect bub’s biological system as it completes gestation outside of the mother’s body. Having bub next to you also means that you’d rouse more often. While this may sound challenging, it is necessary as you can keep checking on bub and recalibrate their breathing with yours. You’d also be more alert when bub cries – the nearer they are to you, the easier you can hear them and wake up to assist. Having your baby by your side to check on them instead of walking over to the nursery to cajole or feed them makes you less tired, and more well-rested. This helps to reduce the risk of postpartum depression and increase your emotional regulation so that you can interact better with your little one during the day. While co-sleeping is advised, do prevent yourself from dozing off with bub on a sofa or chair, as the position they may be held at can be uncomfortable. If you have bub on the sofa, you may increase the risk of them rolling and falling down when you’re not alert.
- Baby’s sleeping position: Ensure your baby sleeps flat on their back for the first six months to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Your baby’s head should be uncovered while they are asleep as well. When co-sleeping, ensure the baby is at the side – not between two adults – to prevent them from being rolled on and overheated. You’re also advised to remove any item that can be a strangling risk, such as teething necklaces and jewellery. If you have long hair, tie it back too when co-sleeping.
- Room conditions: For a good baby’s sleep, keep your room cool and ventilated, so bub feels and breathes comfortably.
In addition, here are some quick ideas for adaptable nursery accessories:
- Chicco Next2Me Air Co: A modern take on the moses basket, this baby cot can be moved easily around the nursery and allows you to shift it by your bedside for co-sleeping. It can be transformed into a standalone cot or a floor bed, supporting your child till they turn four.
- Stokke Sleepi Bed: Another option for baby cots is Stokke’s versatile Sleepi Bed that will last your child till they turn 10 when you purchase the Stokke Sleepi Junior Bed Extension Kit.
- Mothercare Spring Flower Extra-Large Muslins: A multi-functional bedding accessory, these larger muslins are perfect as a swaddle (if you need more support), lightweight blanket, nursing cover, burp cloth or bib, a nappy change mat, or for tummy time (with enough folds, of course).
3. Storage should be a focus
If you already have one or more children, you know exactly why this is the case. For soon-to-be new parents, prepare to be completely inundated with… lots of baby essentials. Being the parent of a baby means you’ll need to stock up on a lot of different items, and they need to be stored somewhere!
For the uninitiated, it’ll surprise you just how many nappies you go through. And if you thought you’d get away with a couple of bodysuits that you’ll have on rotation, think again.
For example, feeding time often becomes a bit messy, which means changing their clothes every time. Plus, the changing weather means a stack of tops, shorts and pants, socks, and whatever else bub needs to stay at the perfect temperature. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, too – we haven’t even got into toys and other accessories yet!
The bottom line is that babies need a lot of items to ensure they’re clean, comfortable, and happy. As such, you want to have storage at the front of your mind when designing your baby’s nursery. These can help:
- Drawers: A chest of drawers is an incredibly versatile piece of furniture that can begin its life storing nappies, wipes, towels, toiletries and baby bedding sets and graduate to a clothing dresser when they’re older. Some changing units come with drawers, which makes diaper changing incredibly convenient.
- Portable trolleys: Having a portable trolley with all the essentials organised can also make diaper changing easier. Whether you’re placing bub on the changing unit or in your bedroom, simply roll over the trolley, and you’ll have what you need within easy reach.
- Shelving: You’d also be surprised how functional and practical a bookshelf or floating shelves can be throughout the years. You may initially use it to store nappies and wipes, muslin swaddles, sleeping bags, baby bedding sets and all kinds of accessories for bub. Then, these will be perfect for storing toys off the floor. One day, the shelves can be substituted for the books with those stories your toddler loves to hear you read to them when they get into bed at night.
4. Keep it practical (at least within reason)
We know how tempting it can be to design your baby’s nursery in a way that is purely for aesthetics. And there are a few ways to get it looking fantastic while keeping practicality in the picture as well!
For example, as bub cycles through the seemingly endless array of clothes from birth to toddler and beyond, it’ll make your life much easier to keep things nice and organised. So right from the start, we recommend labelling the various drawers and tubs where you will keep the different types of clothing and accessories. These include the muslin swaddles or the crowd-favourite bamboo Love To Dream Swaddles, including socks, cable-knit tights, and even hangers. For the lucky parents who have welcomed twins, triplets, or more, you can also identify them as clothing for the baby girl and apparel for the baby boy.
It will help to maintain at least some semblance of order with their items, and you can choose a label design and colour combination to give the space a bit more character too.
Also, with all the nursing and cuddling you’ll be doing, you’ll want to find a chair that provides you with a high level of comfort, especially during breastfeeding, as opposed to one that just looks nice. You’ll also love the support a quality breastfeeding pillow provides, and you can add things like rugs and pillows to better align the design with your vision.
There’s also the room’s lighting you need to take into consideration. A cute set of kids’ curtains are good in theory but may not offer the greatest lighting blackout. Bub is going to spend a lot of time sleeping during the day, so getting a set of blackout curtains or blinds will be your best option.
And let’s not forget the positioning of everything in the nursery. Your baby’s cot bed should be away from things like lamps, heaters, windows, cords, and wall decorations you’ve hung up. You’ll also want to have wipes, nappies, and a new set of clothes within arm’s reach of the changing table to make changing a breeze.
5. Other nursery accessories
Aside from the above, you’d also want to consider all other nursery essentials.
Add a bouncer or play mat to level up the aesthetics while ensuring you have all you need to keep bub entertained at any time of the day. Attach a cot mobile to the crib or cot bed too, and have bub enter a world of exploration.
You’d also want to have spare pillows, blankets and bedsheets, so you won’t have to make rushed purchases in the event you need a fresh set.
In addition, you’d want to further personalise the space. It’s your home, and as such, you can add a few splashes of what represents you and your family.
One way to do this is by hanging some wall decorations around (remember though, not directly above where the cot will be), which can include family photos, quotes that are meaningful to you, and ultrasound images of bub when they were still in the womb.
It can also come in the form of different objects with a deep family connection, such as a decorative item passed down from generation to generation or a pillow or blanket handmade by a relative (or even yourself!).
Adding these personal touches can bring warmth into the space and provide a real feeling of comfort.
6. Make safety a priority
You always want to ensure bub is as protected as possible, and there are a few ways you can make their nursery much safer for them. Start with these:
- Baby monitors: This is an essential item in every nursery, as it allows you to keep an ear (and eye, depending on the baby monitor you choose) on them while you’re out of the room doing something else. Motorola’s Audio Baby Monitor not only delivers a stellar range but also offers two-way communication, which means you can sing to bub from the kitchen or your bed.
- Baby cot mattresses: Go with a baby mattress that is firm and perfectly sized for the baby cot. Malaysian parents have a few options (latex, foam, pocket spring), and if you’re unsure which is best for you, we suggest visiting your nearest Mothercare store to get a feel for each of them in person.
- Electrical thermometer: With a handy digital thermometer, you can take a quick and easy temperature reading if you feel they’re not well. Go for Braun’s Ear Thermometer, which uses a Patented Age Precision Technology to provide colour-coded displays of temperatures according to your child’s age, making this a device that’ll last. If bub finds that uncomfortable, you can opt for the Tommee Tippee Forehead Thermometer for a non-intrusive temperature-reading experience.
With Mothercare Malaysia, shopping is a breeze
Once you’ve had your baby, it can be incredibly hard to find enough hours in the day to get everything done. Combine that with their sleeping schedule (or lack thereof), and you can essentially wave goodbye to heading out to shop for baby products.
But fret not, you can be completely prepared for their arrival at home and the nursery when you shop our extensive range at Mothercare today. We stock everything from cot mattresses, cot, cribs, cot beds, baby monitors and breastfeeding pillows to muslin swaddles, baby bouncers, and so much more.
Find your nearest store or shop online now and take advantage of our offer of free shipping direct to your door for any order over MYR400 (West Malaysia only).
And if you have any questions about any available products or would like some advice, simply WhatsApp the Digital Nursing Advisor from the store closest to you. They can even help you place your order quickly and easily.