Congratulations on your new baby (or is the baby still on the way?). Okay, one quick question. Is baby furniture top in your purchasing list? Err… no jumping the gun. Let’s start at the beginning.
The joy of knowing that you are having a baby is one that many people will give all they have in the world to experience. Oh, and preparing to welcome him/her into the world is a feeling second to nothing. Do you agree?
Why do you need baby furniture?
Basically, all you may likely need for a baby are diapers, clothes and a blanket to wrap him in. Once you have these, you are set to have a baby. However, this depends on whether you want to carry this baby on your body all through the day, without having to drop him or her at all.
If that is not your plan, then, you need much more than diapers, clothes, and blankets. You need some furniture. Not just any furniture but baby furniture. You need a place to place the little one while he naps. You need something to sit on while feeding the baby. And of course, the nursery won’t be empty, would it?
As a new parent (most especially, a first-time parent), it could be quite confusing or probably daunting to know which baby furniture to buy or not to buy. You may have done a number of researches towards that and have come up more confused than when you started. We understand how that works because we’ve been there before.
This is the reason we are writing this buying guide to help you outline the basic baby furniture you will need for a start and what to look out for when buying them.
You are welcome to take this journey with us.
List of Essential Baby Furniture
Crib and Bassinet
The first and most important thing you should consider for your baby is a place to sleep. It is the most important baby furniture that you need.
Even though it is advisable that a mother should sleep in the same room as her baby for the first six months of its life, the baby should have its own bassinet or crib.
You may first invest in a bassinet because your baby may feel more at ease in a bassinet since it’s more comfortable than a crib.
The ease of movement helps you keep watch over your sleeping baby. Consider placing it beside you for easy feeding and cuddling at night.
However, while bassinets are good, your baby would probably outgrow them in a few months. It is better to invest in a good and sturdy crib.
The crib should be one with high rails, a very firm mattress and tight bedsheet on the mattress. The firm mattress is important. It won’t affect your baby’s airways and will help the growth of the newly forming bones.
What About Safety?
In order to prevent any occasion for suffocation or SIDS, avoid having throw pillows, soft toys or blankets in the baby’s bassinet or crib.
Crib skirts and other frills are also not necessary, the less the better for the safety of your baby.
In order to save money, many new parents tend to buy a used crib, but it is always better to buy a new one which still has a firm mattress and which you can use for child number two and maybe three (or 12?).
New cribs, however, especially wooden ones, may still carry the smell of fresh paint. You can arrest this by airing the crib outside during the day. Also, ensure that the baby’s room or nursery has good ventilation.
Cribs that come with storage drawers also help to save money on a dresser and on space too.
If you can get a crib with extra features like a protective net, it would be a good option. Your baby won’t be able to climb in and out of the bed at will.
For a more detailed read, see our full article on Cribs.
Dresser/Changing TableThe baby’s dresser can be used as storage to keep your baby’s clothes, toys, bits and pieces and other necessities while its flat surface can be cushioned up and converted to serve as a changing table. This is an essential baby furniture because you need somewhere to store up your baby’s clothes.
It is true that you can change your baby’s diapers anywhere but a mother who has just given birth shouldn’t bend over so much. Therefore, it is necessary to have an upright surface to dress your baby on.
You could also have guard rails or safety straps installed on the dresser to hold a wriggling baby in place during changes. You should know that this will be the case most times – the wriggling.
Even if you do not cushion up the flat top of the dresser, you could lay a waterproof mat on it for your baby’s changes so that the top can be used to display figurines, awards or photos when your baby outgrows it.
Glider and Ottoman
Some gliders come with a matching ottoman and for feeding and comforting of your child either day or night. Your back and feet comfort is very important.
Some parents do not consider this as essential baby furniture but when you consider the implication of a poor back health, you will see its importance.
Gliders that come with a matching ottoman are best to use because they move in sync with one another. Talk about that rocking feeling that keeps you at your zen.
And after your baby outgrows the nursery, you can rock your ottoman in other rooms of the house.
However, even if you get the glider alone, you should get a stool to rest your feet on when feeding or comforting your baby.
Leather-upholstered gliders are also best to use because whether you get a new one or used one, they would be free of dust mites in cloth-upholstered ones.
And the best part is that after your child outgrows its use, you can change its upholstery and move it into the den where you can have your occasional cup of coffee in. Nothing lost at all.
Shelves and Storage Carts
What is the first thing you notice in a house where there are children? Can you guess? If you said toys, then, you must be a genius. Toys are usually the markers of the presence of a child in a home.
This doesn’t mean that everyone who steps into your house has to trip and fall by stepping on a toy.
After playtime, the books, toys, stuffed animals, etc. used in playing has to be put away and stored for another play time. This is why you need shelves and storage carts.
Please, note that a shelf can serve as a storage cart but if you choose, you can have them differently.
Shelves come in different forms:
These are shelves that are hung on the wall (as the name implies). The idea behind this shelf is to take off as many things as possible from the floor and in a more visible place. It can also serve as a decorative piece.
These are more like storage carts that are hung inside a closet. If your baby will be sharing the same closet with you, a hanging closet is what you need to separate his/her things from yours.
These are shelves that look more like drawers. They are placed on the ground and most of them have doors for your child’s safety. Most floor shelves are used to store the child’s gears. Some parents choose to use the top of their floor shelves as changing tables.
As your baby grows older, they will get more independent and desire to do things their own way. One of these things is eating by themselves. Much more than eating by themselves, you might also need the occasional breaks from holding your baby and what better place to “strap them in” than in a strong, sturdy highchair.
That is why you need to invest in a sturdy and easy-to-clean high chair. The high chair should be balanced on the ground enough to keep from toppling over with a wiggling baby in it. It should also be easy to clean of food stains and bits that will definitely get rubbed on it.
A convertible high chair is a great choice since you get to use it for different purposes – eating, rocking, and plain sitting.
In buying a high chair, there are a few other things you need to consider, some of them are:
Check for manufacturer’s certification
It is important to check and see that your baby’s high chair is one that has passed the safety tests by the relevant manufacturer’s association of the country that you live in.
Check for proper restraints
A reliable and durable highchair should have waist and crotch restraints or straps to keep your baby properly secured during feedings or while just enjoying a timeout with any member of the family.
Check for durability
Highchairs should be strong and well balanced on the ground. Its parts should be easy to clean and wash either by hand or by machine.
Check for detachable or loose parts
It is a known fact that babies cause a great deal of wear and tear to products that they encounter. It is important that you regularly be on the lookout for loose nuts, screws, torn fabrics and other parts of the high chair that babies can detach and swallow or cause harm to themselves with.
Check for transportability
Durable highchairs should be foldable and easy to transport for baby to use in any part of the home or when visiting friends and family.
Do you consider a high chair as essential baby furniture?
Large customized or ready-made playpens are also a must-have for babies as they grow older. This is because they will be awake for long periods during the day. And play helps them to grow their cognitive, behavioral and psychomotor skills during that time. A playpen with the right toys is where these skills will be developed. Can you see the need for a playpen now?
Many new parents think they don’t have to bother about buying a playpen until their baby becomes a toddler. That could not be farther from the truth. Some playpens are custom-made to fit infants alone.
Playpens now come in new and exciting combos that also help to save money. Some playpens come with a bassinet, sleeper or napper, a changing station and pocket to store baby’s nappies. These types of playpens actually help to save up on buying these different baby products when you need them.
The bassinet can be useful for moving your baby around the house and especially for night feedings.
The sleeper is a cozy place for your baby to take an afternoon nap in. You can convert the sleeper or napper to a changing station.
Playpens are also good because they help to restrict the movement of a crawling baby away from potential hazards around the house.
More on extras…
Most playpens also come with a thin but firm mattress which is laid on the bottom of the pen for babies to play on. It is comfortable for them to fall asleep on too. The sides of good playpens are also made of breathable mesh material which makes it safe for babies to play and sleep in.
Some stylish playpens have a fun side door that you can unzip and let babies crawl through into or out of the pen.
It is important to note, however, that some playpens hover some inches above the ground, resting on the four rollers. This makes it easy to push the playpen from room to room. The weight of babies tends to make the mattress in this playpen to sag in the middle. This can pose a threat to the baby by obstructing his airway during sleep.
Other playpens, on the other hand, stand flat on the ground and adequately support a baby’s weight during sleep. These are not easy to move from room to room. That’s where the downside to this type lies.
Will this baby furniture make your list?
Safety Gates and Barriers
Babies are naturally curious little beings and one way that they learn is by imitation. Ever seen them trying to do the things you always do? Copy the way you plug in the electric pressing iron and switch on the socket and try to iron your blouse for you. Try to pull open the refrigerator door and take out the pack of milk to prepare breakfast just the way you do it.
They will copy whatever you do and practice doing it whether you are looking or not. When babies begin to walk, their movements can no longer be restricted to playpens or certain rooms in the house.
So, what do you do?
With the appropriate safety fittings and barriers, you can have your baby in any part of the house. You will rest assured that he will come to no harm.
You can have barriers or gates installed in your home to condone off hazardous areas away from your baby’s reach once he begins to crawl and walk.
The kitchen or bathroom door can be locked but places like the fireplace, electric outlets, large passageways, top of staircases etc. need to be barricaded with gates or barriers to prevent baby from coming to harm.
You may ask, which safety device is better to have installed; Gates or Barriers?
A barrier is basically a fixed, immovable device. You will probably need to step over it to gain access to the areas of your house that you are protecting your child from.
Gates, on the other hand, swing open and close this way and that way. They are better recommended for baby’s safety and your own convenience although they may be more expensive to install.
You can read more on safety gates.
For you, is this essential baby furniture or not?
Assuming your baby has hit another milestone-he is ready to transition to sleeping in a real big-kid bed. However, the concern with this is that he can roll off the bed while tossing and turning in his sleep.
This is where bed rails come to the rescue.
But first things first, you need to introduce him into his bed and we will share a few tips with you on how to go about that.
Participation is important.
Just as with potty training, changing to a new school, welcoming a new brother or sister etc. When it comes to moving to the big bed, you should talk to your baby and gradually bring him to sleeping in his new bed with its bed rails.
In order to make the change less dramatic, you could convert your baby’s crib into a toddler bed by removing the front panel.
You should also involve your toddler in picking their new bedsheets and stuffed toys.
You might also need to set limits for the occasional refusal to sleep in their own bed. This includes frequent visits to the bathroom, requests for a glass of water and more escape-from-my-room excuses.
Your patience meter would need to go up a notch higher as you walk him back to his room every time or look for creative ways to help him cope.
Factors to consider when choosing an ideal Bed Rail
Look out for bed rails that can be securely attached on each side of your baby’s bed.
A wall should not be a substitute for bed rails. Use bed rails on both sides of the bed.
You should check that the bed rail you choose meets the standards of manufacturing.
Set up the bed rails properly ensuring that there is no gap in the rails. Your baby won’t get trapped in between the rails.
Look out for strong bed rails that will support the weight of your baby if he rolls and rests against it.
Types of Bed Rails
Fixed toddler bed rails
These rails are permanently installed on your baby’s bed. They are only movable when you uninstall them from the bed. It allows your toddler to climb into the bed through the gap that is left in between the bed rail and bed frame.
Swing down toddler bed
This is good for you too. You can swing down the rail as you make your baby’s bed or tuck him in at night. You can also swing it back up when you are done.
Bumper toddler bed rail
They look like speed bumps and are the easiest bed rails to install. The foam construction ensures there are no injuries from hitting the rail.
If you are looking for something to pack up easily for vacation, we got you. There are inflatable and compact bumper bed rails that you can get.
Finally, not all children will need bed rails. If your baby has fallen out of bed once, chances are that it will happen again. Investing in a strong and durable bed rail may be a wise decision. But if he sleeps still through the night then, you may not need to buy one.
Would you be getting this baby furniture?
And here we are, at the end of the journey. We’ve drawn up a list of the baby furniture you need for starting the journey of parenthood. We would love to let you know that this is not a list of compulsory items to purchase. After going through the list, you can decide that you do not need a Glider and Ottoman yet.
You can decide to use a chair that you can conveniently convert to a nursing chair. You can also look at your budget and decide that you will get a Bed Rail a lot later.
These decisions lie with you. We have only provided you with a guide to help you decide and create a priority list of baby furniture to go for.
Has this guide been a lot helpful to you? We believe that you are now well equipped to get into the market and buy your first baby furniture. Or maybe the next.