What Do You Need For Your Nursery?

Author: Lottie Manns

Getting the nursery ready for your new arrival is actually a really fun project. Who doesn’t love choosing cute colour schemes and pretty decor. However, it’s easy to get carried away and purchase every possible piece of baby paraphernalia but what is an essential and what is a nice to have? That’s where I can hopefully help.

Having gone through the process of preparing the nursery twice I’ve learnt what items you really need and what just get shoved in the cupboard. With all the expense that comes with a new baby you need to spend your money wisely (and maybe save a few pennies for some frivolous garlands and related pretty). Below is what I found to be essentials for when baby first arrives. The only other thing I would probably add in is a comfy chair but this is very much dependent upon available space.




  • Moses Basket or Crib – For the first 4-6 months baby should be in your room and so unless you fancy squishing a huge cot in you will need a moses basket or crib. These also help baby to feel safe and secure as it is a smaller space. I can also highly recommend a bedside crib such a The Snuzpod. You can see Charlotte’s review here and find out why it is such a great purchase.
  • Cot or Cot Bed – Baby won’t need this initially as they will be in your room but if you are like me you will want to have the room all ready. The debate between a cot or cot bed is one that we had. With Molly we opted for this cot bed from John Lewis as it could then turn in to a little toddler bed when she was big enough. When Alice was born Molly was still using her cot so this time we just bought this cot. It will depend on available space but I would say a cot bed is a good option due to the longevity of it.
  • New Mattress – It is recommended that you buy a new mattress for each child. I was a bit baffled by all the choices; sprung, foam or organic. The list went on. I will admit that my way of choosing was standing in Mothercare asking the assistant but not really understanding. I simply chose the middle priced one!
  • Chest of Drawers – Although you may be tempted by that cute little bedroom set you don’t necessarily need a wardrobe to start with. Obviously this will depend on the amount of clothes your new arrival possesses but I found I folded most in to the drawers (and still do). Rather than purchasing a separate changing table we chose the white drawers from Ikea which were the perfect height for adding a changing mat on top.Just make sure they are sturdy/secured to the wall if you plan to lay baby on top.
  • Black out blind/curtains – Keeping your little’s room dark is essential for a good nights sleep, especially in the summer months. Go for a good quality black out blind or curtains. Alternatively I can highly recommend the gro anywhere black out blind which we had for Alice.
  • Storage boxes/baskets – Believe me, you can never have enough storage! Perfect for storing everything from nappies to muslins, cute hats to teeny socks. I can recommend adding some divider storage in to drawers to avoid all the baby socks, vests and so on getting jumbled together. Charlotte had some great little boxes from Ikea which I may have now purchased.
  • Mattress Protector – A mattress protector is a must. You can of course go for one of the plastic waterproof ones but there are some great options out there now. I have the organic ones from The Little Green Sheep which are lovely and soft but still waterproof. John Lewis has some good options too.
  • Sheets – You will need at least 4 sheets in each size (moses basket and cot/cot bed). They will need frequent washing so its good to have spares. I went for fitted sheets for ease and opted for the jersey cotton.
  • 2 x Swaddling Blankets – Most babies love to be swaddled. You can choose to do this with a sheet or blanket but I had these fabulous swaddling blankets from The Gro Company. They were super soft and the shape of them made it easy to understand how to actually swaddle a baby.
  • 2 x Sleeping bag – As baby gets a bit bigger you can move them in to a sleeping bag. These are a god send as covers don’t get kicked off and there is no risk of little one burrowing under the blanket. They come in a different togs for summer (1 tog) or winter (2 or 2.5 tog). Buy two. Believe me there may often be middle of the night leakages!
  • 2 x cellular blankets – Cellular blankets are those blankets that you can use for everything. Tucking over baby in the cot or pram or laying on the floor as a play mat. You will use them quite a bit. I also loved a nice soft jersey blanket for the girls and had a few of these from Frugi.
  • Room Thermometer – It is recommended that you keep babies room at 18 c. Personally I found this a bit cool so you can go a few degrees warmer if you feel it is appropriate. I had this thermometer which is also suitable for use in the bath. If you don’t fancy buying one Gro bags come with a little cardboard version that does the job.
  • Baby monitor – This is one of those purchases that many people dither over. I know I did. Do you get a standard monitor, a sensor mat or a video monitor? This is probably a post in itself. I opted for a standard with Molly but got the Angel care sensor mat for Alice, mainly as she slept on her tummy. Most of the team have this and we all love it.
  • Night Light – A small night light is useful for middle of the night feeds/changes when you don’t want a harsh bright light.
  • Changing mat – Perfect for night time changes or if you choose to take baby in to their own room for changes during the day. I liked the soft towelling insert on this one from Mamas & Papas. You can buy extra inserts which I recommend.
  • Nappies – Lots of them!
  • Wipes and cotton wool – To create a little changing station.
  • Nappy Bin – I had the Tommy Tepee nappy bin which was good as it locks each nappy away in a little pouch which definitely helps with the smell!
  • Muslin squares – Useful for EVERYTHING! I also used a muslin tucked over the sheet under the girl’s head. It meant I didn’t have to change the whole sheet everytime they were inevitably sick!


So there you have my round up of the items that you probably need to get your nursery started. Do you have any more suggestions that you can share with our soon to be mammas?

Author: Lottie Manns
Cake baker (and cake eater!) extraordinaire. Drawn to all things girly and glittery.
Follow Lottie on instagram @buttercreamanddreams
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17 thoughts on “What Do You Need For Your Nursery?

  1. Great post – I would certainly agree that everything listed here is an essential item. The Tommee Tippee nappy bin was a very late purchase as someone recommended it to me only a few weeks before I gave birth, but what a recommendation! Don’t know what I would’ve done without it except traipse up and down the stairs emptying a smelly bin several times a day.

    Just a note on nappies – mamas obviously we want to give our precious babies the best of everything but please consider trying own-brand nappies as well as Pampers. When you change a newborn baby 10-12 times a day the cost soon mounts up. We were given a free pack of maybe 4 or 5 Aldi nappies in the hospital and I found them just as good as Pampers. It’s a good idea to get a small pack from lots of places to work out the best fit for your baby – we’ve tried Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi, Boots, Pampers and Morrisons!

    A couple of items that aren’t necessarily essential but have worked well for us are the Clevamama memory foam pillow which reduces pressure on baby’s head and neck (bearing in mind they sleep on their back all the time) and Ewan the Dream Sheep who plays a combo of white noise and melody for 20mins each time you press one of his legs. It makes a similar noise that baby would’ve heard in the womb such as your heartbeat so it can help to settle them at night, particularly in those first few weeks.

    My final suggestion before I write too huge an essay is to take full advantage of all the Cyber Monday deals and January sales! We got our Moses basket for under £30 in the Mothercare Jan sale and our stand for it was a Mamas and Papas one that my Mum found on EBay for £10!

    1. Definitely agree on the nappies. Lots of my friends swear by Aldi ones. And deals are the best. We kept an eye out for price drops on all our key items and bought things a little at a time. So many deals out there. x

      1. Aldi nappies are by far the best I have tried – and I have tried everything with my champion piddler! Plus they are cheap as chips to boot. And their wipes are awesome too.

  2. We had Noah in a cocoonababy in his cot but luckily we had space in our room for a cot. This meant he has always been in and used to his cot and the cocoon made him feel safe and secure as it mimics the feeling of being in the womb. He also has reflux so my number one baby purchase. We also got bought the tranquil turtle which he loves and is a great bedtime que which we also use for Naps. He knows it’s time to sleep when the turtles on. It makes ocean sounds and projects blue moving waves onto the ceiling. It sends me to sleep! We have used this since newborn.

    1. Oooh, the tranquil turtle sounds fabulous. I know a few people who have had cocoonababy and loved them so sounds like a winner to me x

  3. I like that your list covers the basics, some of the ones on the net have ridiculous amounts of stuff on their! the other thing I would say is don’t worry about having nursery ready straight away since they are in your room for the first months! We kept ours as the spare room and just got drawers/changing mat and decorated a little and didn’t buy all the proper nursery stuff until he was 5 months and ready to go in his own room as he was too big for his crib at that point. It took the pressure off getting everything ready before baby arrived (though I was 37 weeks just before xmas so had a lot on at the time!)
    And secondly I would say the more sheets the better! We had bad reflux and changed the sheets everyday sometimes twice if he napped in his crib, which makes for regular washing if you only have a couple of sheets. Also agree with the Muslim over the sheets for quick middle of the night changes.

    1. Hi Claire. Yep, you can definitely never have too many sheets! We too didn’t actually have the nursery ready for Molly. In truth we were having the house rewired when she was born (she was 4 weeks early!) so it was absolute chaos. As you said, it doesn’t really matter as they don’t need it for quite a while. xx

  4. Space is really limited in our sons bedroom, but as i had worked as a nanny for the last 4 years (for my sisters 4 children under 4yrs!!!!) ; i knew quite well what items i felt were essential.
    I would say that a laundry basket, in easy reach of the changing table is pretty useful. Make sure it is easily washable, as you will be throwing all manner of delightful things in there. I went with a simple white plastic bin from ikea.
    I also brought a large under-bed storage box, which fits under the cot, to store all the nappies and wipes in. Inevitably it is cheaper to buy in bulk (and it saves you having to go out shopping all the time!), so having somewhere to hide them all away is great.
    Oh and as you said, a nappy bin is a top priority! We went with the Ubbi bin, mainly for its aesthetics as it comes in lots of different colours; but it has worked out much cheaper than the tommy tippee as you can use normal bin liners in it.

    1. You must have been a pro after looking after 4 under 4!! A laundry bin is a great idea and one I wish I had thought of. x

  5. This is very helpful, thank you!
    I noticed that one of the nurseries in the slider has an eames style rocker in and I was considering buying one as my feeding chair but wasn’t sure how comfy it would be…?

    1. Hi Laura. That is actually my daughters nursery. I always found it comfortable but I would add a cushion and/or throw in to the mix to make it cosier. It probably isn’t one to sit in for hours on end but for a night time feed it was fine. I also loved the rocking motion of it. I would definitely recommend it xx

    2. Hi Laura,

      For a breastfeeding chair, I would say it probably wouldn’t be the best as you want something really supportive, but still soft and comfortable. It’s all about supporting your arms and back and take it from me – you really need to do that when you’re feeding a newborn. And actually sometimes seats with arms aren’t the best anyway, as they aren’t at the right height to actually help you feed comfortably – baby needs to be higher than you think.

      I personally found this pillow the most useful thing for feeding comfortably – http://www.johnlewis.com/widgey-donut-nursing-pillow-silver-star/p231826977 then you can move from sofa/bed/chair and know that you can get into the right position for feeding (and almost 11 months in I’m still using it!!) I was just using pillows from the bed to begin with and they just weren’t firm enough to support the baby properly.

      Hope that helps!


  6. Thank you both! Fern – my sister gave me one of those pillows in a pile of baby things she gave me. I had no idea what it was! Now I do!

  7. My personal opinion is that a nappy bin is a complete waste of money! We used a plastic bin with a close fitting lid which we lined with either leftover plastic bags or bin liners. We used to empty it every day or every other day which I found to be just as often as the “proper” nappy bins had to be emptied. We never had a problem with smells although my daughter was exclusively breastfed and I think those poohs are less smelly!! Haha I can’t believe I just wrote that….. Certainly once we started weaning they got more pungent but we usually “flick & flush” nowadays! 😀

  8. Do you mind me asking where the cotbed is from your banner picture with the sheepskin rug and stripe curtains? I am a bit obsessed with the ‘nobodinoz’ cotbeds and LOVE the Kalon Studios Caravan cotbed, but can’t justify the price as we are also renovating our house. Any blog posts you have on cotbeds would also be great. 🙂

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