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Setting Up the Nursery

With my due date rapidly approaching,
Brian and I are kicking it into high gear to get the nursery (also
known as our bedroom) ready for peanut’s arrival. And as I
rearrange the room and set things in order, it occurs to me that
I’ve come a long way from the first time I set up a nursery.
So I wanted to pass on what I’ve learned – both from my
own experience, and from my girlfriends who passed their helpful
tips on to me.

First, think about zoning your space. You
want a sleep area, a nursing area, and a feeding area. It’s
helpful to store things in the zone in which they’ll be used:
for example, put the crib sheets and extra blankets under the crib,
rather than use those drawers for clothing storage.

If you’ve got a nursing chair, make sure you have a table or
shelf available within arm’s reach for your own snacks and
water. I also stored my href="http://www.lactationconnection.com/detail.aspx?ID=211">Lansinoh
book (yes, I read while nursing), a little notepad to
use for journaling while Maddie ate, and a diary for keeping track
of Maddie’s nursings in that area. A footstool will really
save your bacon, and you don’t need one that matches though
it’s nice if it glides with you. You may want to keep your
nursing or baby reference books here, since it’s one of the
few chances you will have to sit down and look something up. I
rounded out the area with a small blanket thrown over the chair to
draw over Maddie if she fell asleep, the ever-important target="_blank"
boppy and a couple burp cloths perpetually draped over
the chair arms, ready to catch spit-ups.

The all-important changing table station deserves a lot of thought.
Don’t spend money on those diaper holders that match the crib
bumper; they don’t hold many diapers and can’t be hung
over the crib (as they’re always displayed) because
they’re a choking hazard. If your diaper table has a shelf,
you can store your gear on it. Otherwise, spring for a plastic
organizer that clips on the side of the table or rests next to the
changing pad. Storing your diapers in a drawer will quickly become
old as you have to fold like an acrobat to get a diaper out and
keep a hand on your kid. Here’s what I think you should have
at your diaper station:

Puppy pads. You know, those disposable mats you use when
house-breaking a puppy. You can also buy adult incontinence pads
– same thing, just more expensive. We used a cloth cover on
the diaper changing table pillow thingie, but put two puppy pads
overlapping on top of it. Newborns pee a lot and ripping one out
from under the kid’s butt is way easier than having to change
the whole cover. Puppy pads are also great for throwing in the
diaper bag as an emergency diaper changing pad.

Lots of diapers. Make sure the plastic organizer or shelf is full,
then store a bag underneath as well. You go through a ton at first.

Wipes refills. Yes, in addition to the wipes station, make sure
there’s an additional refill underneath at all times. A
blowout of that yellow seedy stool is the worst time to run out of

Diaper pail liner refills. Ditto on that.

Burp cloth. They’re used for everything, and I store the burp
cloths in the changing table drawer.

Swaddling blankets. Again, I prefer to store them there since
that’s where I ended up using them.

Some clothing – at least for sleeping. If your clothing
storage is right next to the diaper station, don’t worry
about it, but if not you’ll want to store at least pjs and
some emergency clothing at the diaper table. I kept the footed
sleepers, the href="http://clickserve.cc-dt.com/link/click?lid=41000000015037006">
sleep sacks
and a couple “emergency blow-out poop
onesies” in the diaper table.

“Wrong size tubs”. Here’s a tip I got from my
girlfriend Abby: since you do baby’s dressing at the diaper
table, keep two small tubs (maybe shoe-box size) in the changing
table, one labeled “too big” and one labeled “too
small”. That way, every time you have a onesie that
doesn’t fit, you don’t simply throw it into the laundry
(and back into circulation) in frustration. I periodically go
through the tubs and store the “too smalls” away, while
putting the “too bigs” back in to circulation after a
growth spurt.

Medicines, ointments, and thermometers. Keeping the rectal
thermometer at the changing table means you’re not running
for it with a naked, feverish baby in your arms. Likewise, having
the infant Motrin or whatever around is helpful.

Hand sanitizer. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you don’t
always think of these things until after your child has smeared
your hand with poo. And believe me, wipes don’t cut it.

The diaper station and nursing station are the two biggest areas of
concern to most people – organizing everything else is often
a matter of preference and available space. Here are a few more
tips to make the nursery easier, though:

Make everything multi-task. My “table” for my nursing
station is actually a tub that stores toys Maddie isn’t using
right now. If you’re going to get a step-stool for your
toddler, consider buying one with extra storage in it. That sort of

Find ways to zone light while staying baby-proof. This is one of
the best tips I can pass on to you. We wanted to have some
soft-light options and avoid overhead lighting much of the time,
but knew that babies and floor lamps don’t go. In addition,
it’s a pain in the butt to stumble through the room in the
dark and find that teeny tiny lightswitch. Fortunately, my husband
found a handy gadget at Radio Shack. Plug one part into the outlet,
and stick the lightswitch part onto the wall by the door, and
you’ve got a remote-control light switch. No drilling
necessary. I really love this; we wall-mounted a small light by the
changing table and I can turn it on from the doorway. The same wall
plate operates up to five different remotes, and we’ve got
Maddie’s reading light on it as well.

Keep up with baby accessories. My girlfriend Renee told me to buy
one of those over-the-door accessory organizers, and it’s the
perfect place to keep up with tiny hats, socks, shoes, hair clips,

Get creative with your storage. Peanut’s changing table is
going into what is currently my closet (sob.) We’re taking
the doors off and sliding the thing in to make more space, and
using the closet hanging rod to help maximize space: I’ve
gotten a hanging sweater rack for peanut’s clothing, and a
hanging accessories organizer to hold her extras. Another great
space saver is that little space under the crib; just barely tall
enough for a shallow box (thesehref="http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=154&PRODID=71606&searchId=8365786&itemIndex=1">
boot boxes
are the perfect height), you can slide toys,
bulky winter clothing, etc. underneath.

And finally, a tip on decking out the crib. I found these target="_blank"
crib-zip sheets to be amazing, and make the bed
infinitely easier to change than having to shove the bumper up,
lift the whole mattress, and remove the whole sheet. I still use a
crib liner underneath it, but changing is much easier. If you
don’t use the crib-zip sheets, take a tip from my friend
Christie: lay down a waterproof liner, then a crib sheet, then
another liner, then another crib sheet, then another liner, then
another crib sheet. Then when you need to change bedding in the
middle of the night you can simply peel one layer off.

That’s it from this mom-to-be; I’m sure there’s
more but I’ve already forgotten it. If you’ve got any
tips, by all means, please post them below and share the


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