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Finding that perfect balance
Finding out that you're having a baby girl can be a terrifying thing for many new dads. The plethora of worries that must instantly run through their heads, I'll never know the half of it, but can surely think up a few concerns of my own. On the lighter side of these dad-fears may be the sickening thought of being overrun by everything pink and ruffly. It can be easy for new moms to cave to the wide variety of girly apparel, decor and accessories, but how about we all take a step back, reel it in, and create a space that both mom AND dad can get on board with.
Pick a more neutral accent color
Mints were recently huge, shades of gray are big and forest greens are making a surge, but we decided to go another route which is always a classic, yellow. There will always be opportunity to get your fix of pinks and purples through clothes, blankets and other accessories for your little girl (trust me, you'll get plenty of pink) but picking a more gender neutral color for the nursery can help dad feel more at ease. Plus, items can grow with the child when they inevitably go through that "I hate everything pink" phase, or be used with baby number two no matter what gender they turn out to be!
Watch what you hang
Hanging heavy items above the crib or changing table is a huge no-no. Maybe if you are Bob Villa and 100% trust your handy-man skills you can get away with it, but for me it's not worth the risk. My hanging skills consist of centering, leveling and securing to the wall via command strips. While I love velcro, I'm pretty sure that stuff's bound to fall off at some point and I don't want my baby trying to take a snooze under it when it does.
Pick a few key items and hang in strategic spots that make the biggest impact. My favorite wall decor in our nursery is the yellow bible verse print topped with white antlers (picked by Brian). These antlers tie perfectly with the verse as well as with some of the other framed art that we picked out for the bookshelf. You can get a digital download of the bible verse to print yourself here. The antlers can be found here.
The other items we hung were these fabulous vintage-style Disney princess canvases. To be honest, my mom and I found these at Target years ago and loved them. She bought them in hopes that I would someday have a baby girl, and sure enough brought them down from the closet the day we told them Bdubs was a she! While Brian was not a huge fan, his animal theme on the opposite wall assuaged him a bit. Personally, I love them and think they are perfect above a bookshelf full of fairytales and other books. You can find them here.
Form follows function
The baby industry is out of control. You can find a zillion items that you never knew you needed (and guess what, you don't!) at the click of a button. They have the most beautiful and elaborate furniture out there and it's easy to find yourself wanting to put together a designer nursery fit for the stars. In case you forgot though, this is a room for a child. An infant is not going to care (or notice at all) that you got the latest trending crib, glider or top of the line pillows and accessories. Get what's comfortable and affordable and add a few cute accents along the way that can be repurposed somewhere else in the home down the road. You have 9 months (well, 10 months really) to plan for this nursery so you should refuse to pay full price for anything. Be patient and wait for sales.
For a long while I was set on a big cushy arm-chair glider. It was SO comfortable but it was also $600+. I had tried the most recent Dutailier gliders that are all the rage but really didn't think it was all that comfortable (maybe they just need to be broken in). The next day my neighbor posted that she was trying to sell hers. I went over and sat in it and found it to be much more comfortable than the new one I had previously tested and of course you couldn't beat the price of buying it used, so we took it!
Next to the rocker we have a leaning bookshelf with a few decorative accents. There's a shelf that's at perfect arm height for me to rest a drink and a book on as I rock Baby Winters back to sleep. Once she gets to crawling and climbing, this bookshelf can easily be reused in our guest bedroom.
I love how the crisp white of the furniture adds another level of brightness to the room against the gray walls. Tying in with the room trim, white provides a blank slate for accent colors to be introduced via blankets, art and other accessories. The bookshelves in here are just Threshold's 4 cube organizers with yellow drawers. We decided to go with the 4 cube instead of 6 or 8 so we'd have more versatility when rearranging. The crib is the DaVinci Porter 4-in-1 Convertible Crib in white. We can use the convertible feature as baby girl grows or reuse the crib for baby #2!
You're probably recognizing a theme here. Amazon and Target (conflicting, I know) are gold for nurseries, but don't forget about good ol' Ikea. Their Hemnes dresser is perfect for storing all of the fabulous onesies and sleepers that people love to gift you and a covered changing pad secured (by command strips if you're me) to the top makes it a perfectly spacious changing station. Reserve the top drawers for some diapers, wipes and creams and put a diaper pail (ours is the Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail) next to it and you're all set for the thousands of changings in your near future.
There's always time to evolve
Good news! Babies don't need a whole lot. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat, right? You've got time to develop your nursery and acquire items that you'd like to have but just aren't necessary right off the bat. Some things I'd LOVE to do if we get around to it? I'd love to add wall decals onto the wall behind the changing station. Something like this would be adorable!
The other thing I'd like to do at some point would be to make some letter cut-outs that spell out baby girl's name (whenever we decide on one!) and wrap them in twine/yard/ribbon/whatever and hang on the wall above the changing station or crib. Making them out of cardboard will keep them lightweight and easy to hang so no need to worry about them falling down and hurting our little!
6 Must-have Baby Items
It's easy to get wrapped up in everything the outrageous baby industry has to offer but remember, babies don't need a whole lot right off the bat. They'll need a car-seat, a place to sleep, you (or another food source) and some diapers/wipes. With that being said, not all baby items are created equally and there certainly are some that are worth purchasing to help make your life easier. Below are some of our favorites that you'll be glad to have right from the start.
We love this because it can be put together in an instant, can be easily taken anywhere and is the perfect height for keeping baby right next to your bed. Plus it's spacious for your growing baby, and has vented sides for better airflow and to help you keep an eye on your little. Best part? It won't break the bank. It's awesome and one of the cheaper bassinets we found.
Quality materials and a chic look. Black is a classic and makes for a diaper bag that you can feel good about hauling around with you all day every day. Practical compartments and a manageable size, this is your must have diaper bag. We also decided to get a backpack diaper bag for bike rides and other times when having the bag out of the way will be nice. You can find it here.
While the Boppy nursing pillow is another staple, this Boppy Newborn Lounger is GOLD. Seriously put it just about anywhere and you can plop your newborn on it while you go about making dinner, getting work done, laying on the couch, whatever. Perfect for when your baby is still in that immobile phase.
Alright, so not really an essential but seriously so cute! We love that it has a variety of sound and music options, from lullabies, to nature noises and even a heartbeat to simulate the noise baby was used to inside the womb! The body lights up for a subtle nightlight and the coolest part? It can project stars onto the ceiling! Oh, and did I mention there's a timer so you don't even have to remember to turn it off? Yeah, it's pretty sweet.
Definitely not the most exciting of baby items but an essential nonetheless. This one was great size and quality with an equally great price tag. Buy some soft changing pad covers and set up on top of a dresser for a spacious changing station with built in storage.
Back to the fun stuff. This swing is so cute! Plug it in and again, you've got a plethora of sound/music options and swing speeds. A battery powered vibration pack is built in as well for times when a full on swing isn't needed. The best thing about this swing is that it doesn't take up as much room as a lot of them but is well up off the ground so you don't have to break your back getting baby in and out!
What are your favorite life-saving baby items?
Comment below or tweet us (@melaniehughes1) your favorite baby items and nursery inspiration photos! Any that are a total waste of money? We'd love to hear about those too!