The nursery is your baby’s first bedroom. Unlike the bedroom of a toddler or older child, nurseries do not need to have too much going on. Books and toys will likely come to take up space as your little one grows up, but for now you can keep it simple and stick to the essentials. So, what do you really need in your nursery?

Sleeping space

Bassinets are convenient for small spaces and can be useful if you prefer to have your little one close to you during the night. Alternatively, you might like to invest in a good cot from the beginning. Your baby’s cot should have sturdy, vertical surrounding slats. As a rule of thumb, the distance between these slats should be no more than 95mm for your little one’s safety. It must otherwise comply with the relevant Australian mandatory safety standards.

Always practise safe sleeping in your baby’s cot. You need a firm mattress that fits snugly in the cot; there should not be room for the mattress to slide around or for things to get caught between the cot and mattress. In particular, for household cots, the gap between the mattress and the cot side barrier should not be more than 20mm when the mattress is placed in the middle of the cot.

You should never leave toys or pillows in a cot with your little one, so always empty the cot of any items before they head to sleep. Fitted sheets should be very tight so to not slip off and bunch up in the cot. Dress your little one appropriately for the temperature – never with a beanie or anything covering the head.

Changing space

Change tables are very functional as you can store all your changing items under the table. When using a change table, always keep a hand on baby to keep them safe when up high.

Change mats are an alternative to tables. They take up less space, though they don’t have the storage bonus. Change mats are transportable. It can be a good idea to keep one in the car for changes when you’re out and about.

Comfort and safety

Night lights are a great way to keep baby comforted if sleeping in a nursery away from you. You will be checking on your little one throughout the night, so a night light can save you turning harsher lights on and off and potentially disturbing baby or hurting your sleepy eyes.

Thermometers can help keep the nursery at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. As a rule of thumb, try and keep the room between 18-22°. Thermometers may not be ‘essential’ if you’re dressing your little one appropriately for the weather at night time, but they can help with peace of mind.

Baby monitors are extremely helpful for keeping an eye on your sleeping baby. Whether you opt for just audio, or video as well, a monitor will ensure you hear any stirring or crying you may need to tend to throughout the night.

This list is not exhaustive. You can add a chest of drawers or hanging space devoted to baby clothes. You can decorate the nursery. An armchair or somewhere comfortable to feed is a good idea, too. You’ll learn what you need to keep everybody comfortable and safe as you go. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by setting up a nursery. If you have the basics like a cot and change space, the rest can come later.