Preparing for the arrival of your baby can be a magical time. Designing a theme, choosing colors and selecting all the furniture and accessories to make the nursery the perfect environment for your infant can be completely engrossing and great fun. It'll take your mind off your aching back and shift your focus to the happy future instead of down to your swollen feet -- if you can see your feet at all, that is.
Because it's such a wonderful time, and parents naturally want their babies to have everything necessary to get a good start in life, there are lots and lots of products out there touted as must-haves for a well-outfitted, attractive nursery. If you're on a budget, dislike waste or just disapprove of buying items that have limited functionality, our list of 10 things your new nursery doesn't need will help separate the hype from the real deal when it comes to creating a practical and efficient room for your baby.
Decorative wallpaper designed with baby in mind will make your friends sigh and give you a warm feeling -- until you try to remove it in a couple of years. Save yourself the aggravation by sticking with stencils, vinyl decals or decorative framed prints for the walls. If you must, go with a ceiling or chair rail wallpaper border and leave it at that.
A Pink or Blue Color Scheme
Those distinctive pink and blue pastels that shout "New baby!" will be beguiling for about 15 minutes. Paint your nursery a color that can grow as your child grows. The room can still be pink or blue -- or green or yellow -- but select vibrant hues. Choose a shade that won't make your youngster cringe at the thought of inviting friends into his "baby" room in a few years. That way you may be able to avoid re-painting during the nursery-to-kid's-room transition.
An Expensive Crib
There's a natural tendency for new parents to want to buy the best baby furniture they can afford, and a lot of that money and attention is spent choosing a crib. You may be planning a large family or have a dream of passing down a beautifully crafted crib to your child when she grows up. In the interim, you'll have to maintain and store that crib, though -- possibly through multiple moves. You may also feel compelled to lend it to a sibling or two who won't be as careful with it as you'd like. Is a crib really worth the added cost, stress and hassle?
One exception may be a convertible crib that can grow with your baby. Convertible cribs can cost as much as a crib and toddler bed purchased separately, so do some cost analysis before you decide this option is for you.
New, New, New Stuff
Shiny new baby stuff is so nice. It smells new, feels new -- and costs a lot more than used baby gear. Baby items typically sustain very little wear and can look good and be fully functional through multiple owners. If you buy used items, accept hand-me-downs from relatives or borrow items from friends, they'll be just as useful as costly new baby gear. Even if you have an unlimited budget, think of all those cribs, strollers, rockers, changing tables and high chairs cluttering up landfills across the country and start building a more eco-friendly future for your infant by stocking your nursery with some gently used items
A Baby Wipe Warmer
If you ask any grandmother about specialized baby items like wipe warmers, you're likely to get a head shake and maybe even a derisive snort. Babies don't really need much, so a lot of the baby gear you'll encounter is a want-to-have and not a need-to-have. In the case of wipe warmers, if you live in a temperate climate or keep your home warm in winter, they're unnecessary. If you live where it gets cold and you keep your home cool, you can warm wipes with the heat of your hands or stick them in the microwave for a couple of seconds. At best, baby wipe warmers are novelty items that you probably won't use much if at all.
A Baby Bathtub
Generations of mothers and fathers made do with using the sink or the tub to bathe baby. Baby bathtubs sound cool in theory, but they aren't really necessary. In fact, they're one more thing to stow, clean, sanitize and dispose of later. After your baby starts to grow, you'll look back on all the baby paraphernalia you've accumulated and regret buying most of it. Chances are the baby bathtub will be somewhere toward the top of the list.
Glider Rockers and Specialty Chairs
Spending prime time with baby rocking back and forth may turn out to be one of your best memories. Baby won't remember, but you sure will. Although we do recommend that you invest in a comfortable chair, splurging on an expensive glider upholstered to match the nursery is probably a mistake. We like the idea of an all-wood rocker like the one your grandmother used to have in the den. It takes up less space than a fancy upholstered glider chair, and cleanup is a breeze.
Décor items for nurseries can get extravagant in the extreme, and hand-painted murals are only one example. From custom paint jobs to stained glass fixtures with baby themes, keeping the glitz under control in the nursery can be hard, especially when your imagination and hormones are in overdrive. If you want a reality check before you buy something you don't need, take a look at a few experienced moms who are outfitting nurseries for the second or third time. They know the value of keeping things simple and efficient.
Baby Diaper Disposal Systems
If you're a new parent, diapers will be a big part of family life for the foreseeable future. There are a number of ways to handle diaper duty, but investing in a disposable diaper handling system like the Diaper Genie may be a bit excessive, especially if you have qualms about contributing more volume than necessary to the local landfill. It takes about 500 years for a disposable diaper to biodegrade in landfill, and the average baby goes through 5,000 to 9,000 diapers. When you add the extra layers of plastic contributed by diaper bundling systems, you aren't doing your great, great, great grandchildren (there are quite a few more greats here) any favors. Good daily maintenance and a garbage pail with a lid and foot lever will work great -- and costs a lot less, too.
Baby Changing Table
This one is controversial because it can be a convenient tool if you have the room and budget for it. But the fact is that you can change a baby anywhere, and the top of a plain low chest of drawers will work just fine. Yes, changing tables are just the right height, but we don't like furniture items that can't multitask unless they're essential, like a crib, or have a very long useful life, like a chair. If you have money to burn, go for it, but chances are you'll think it was a silly extra before too long. The one exception is a changing table and dresser combo where the table can be removed, leaving the dresser to function as a handy piece of kid's room furniture.
Are you looking how to involve your kids in room decorating? Read our guide on How to Involve Your Kids in Room Decorating now!
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