Moms who've been there, skipped that, share their list of what baby furniture is essential—and what's not.
Baby Furniture to Buy
- A crib. Sure, you can use a bassinet for baby's first few months, but there's good reason to have a crib from the get-go. "The smartest investment is a crib that converts to a toddler bed later," says Lisa Leslie Williams, a first-time mom in Washington, D.C., who blogs at The Domestic Life Stylist. A crib also helps develop independent sleep habits. "Having a crib gave my baby girl a place for her to identify as 'hers' from the very beginning," Williams says. "I was adamant about putting her in her own crib from the start. My bed is my own and her bed is her own!"
- A Moses basket. "A Moses basket is to parents of babies what Swiss army knives are to campers," says Amanda Magee, a mom of three in Queensbury, New York, who blogs at The Wink. Somewhere between a bassinet and a portable crib, these snug, secure baskets make sleeping babies mobile. Magee's youngest is in preschool now, and she's still got it on hand: "I use it to stow unfolded laundry, toys and all those stuffed animals!" she says.
- A portable crib. A crib on wheels isn't just for road trips, says mom of five Linsey Knerl, who blogs at Lille Punkin' Review. In her small Tekamah, Nebraska, home, where she and her hubby share a room with their youngest, portable crib serves as cradle, crib, and even changing table. "Ours has a bassinet for smaller babies," says Knerl, "as well as a changing station, and a special waterproof mattress pad and sheet set for the crib. I couldn't live without mine!"
- A rocking chair. "A rocking chair in baby's room is a must for late-night feedings," says Sara Merrit, a mom of one in Davidson, North Carolina, who blogs at The Football Wife. "As a mom who nursed for 18 months, I can tell you that a comfortable chair is essential!" Channel your inner Goldilocks and butt-test every rocker or glider in the showroom. "And when your baby gets older," adds Merrit, "it's a great spot to snuggle up and read bedtime stories, too." Tip: Avoid overly-cutesy nursery fabrics and stick with basics. Someday, you might want to move that chair to the family den or basement.
And Feel Free To Skip…
- A changing table. You'll get much more use out of a dresser whose top can be used to change the baby, says Rachel Teichman, an Oakland, California, mom of one who blogs at Tots And Plans. "Changing and storage—that's what you need!" Kids don't wear diapers forever, even though it may feel like they will. A dresser grows with your kid, while a changing table will be on the curb come potty training time. Just make sure the changing pad is secure on the dresser top.
- A bookcase. Reality check: Baby isn't interested in the classics just yet. Wait until he's a little older to buy a bookshelf, then invest in one that can also stow toys and other odds and ends. In the meantime, keep the board books in a basket or a small toy box.
- A daybed. However tempting it may be to have a comfy place to rest your eyes in Baby's room, don't buy a grown-up bed for the nursery. It could make transitioning to independent sleep more challenging for your little night owl if he gets used to snoozing with Mom close by. Invest in a guest-room bed instead, and invite Grandma for a week!