The amount of questions that form in your head during the months of preparation for the new baby is incredible, especially if you are a bit of an anxious person like me.
I have found that the "Mucus Extractor" is a real product that I apparently need to invest in. And I learned that my husband and I have about 10,000 decisions to make when it comes to getting our place ready before our baby comes.
Should I get a bassinet for my newborn in addition to the bassinet? Where should the changing table go to best relieve my exhausted self in the middle of the night?
Thankfully, I wasn't the only mother-to-be looking for answers. Fortunately, several of my co-workers are parents and share their helpful tips - relieving my stress as we get closer to that looming due date.
So from us to you, here's what parents TODAY wish they had known before setting up their daycare:
1. Make sure everything you need is within reach of the changing table.
Think diapers, wipes, more wipes, changing mats, laundry basket, poop bucket (i.e. your diaper cleanup system), burp cloths, a pacifier, etc. The last thing you want to do is step away from baby and risk rolling him off because you need to grab something clean to sliding under his butt explosion after pooping.
2. Avoid clutter.
You will have to carry a baby back and forth in the middle of the night and a misplaced chair (or play mat, toy, book, etc.) can be brutal to trip over when you least expect it. In this regard, make sure you have plenty of functional storage space so that you can easily put things away when you're done using them, rather than leaving them scattered on the floor.
Two words: wipeable wallpaper.
A pee and poop mishap will happen, and to be able to wipe it off and move on is all.
4. Don't be afraid of the dark.
Make sure the lighting in your nursery can mimic the night at all times. That means a curtain or blind heavy enough (some people recommend blackout shades) to fake the dark when it's time for a nap during the day. We installed a really cute window shade only to realize a few months later when we started using the crib for naps that the shade barely blocks the daylight. And babies are not dummies! Ours thought bright lights meant partying and he wouldn't want to be left out of all the fun that's going on, so he makes an effort to stay awake even when he's grumpy. But if he knows that darkness means bedtime, of course he would go into sleep mode. You don't have to make your nursery a dungeon, but give yourself the opportunity to fake it and you'll all rest easier.
7. Choose a theme.
Having a theme doesn't have to be complicated, but it will definitely help keep the baby's room cohesive. If you can't think of a theme, choose a feeling, such as cosy, fresh, romantic, dramatic, vintage, retro, it definitely helps with baby's room decisions.
I've personally gotten a few posters, some shelves with a natural woven basket, which adds warmth and texture to the room and is also great for storage. A beautiful wallpaper that can grow with the baby (at least until he turns 5 years old)
8. Baby stuff doesn't have to stay in the nursery.
You can often find relatively cheap, stylish versions of sideboards, lamps, storage bins, art or mirrors in children's stores such as Ikea, Kwantum. My coffee table doubles as a game table. A friend uses this low height adjustable play table with her kids and then raises it for dinner parties.
9. Babies don't care what the nursery looks like.
While nursery decor can be fun to plan, don't beat yourself up if you don't hang those monogrammed lettering or nautical wallpaper in time. And if you don't have room for that elaborate, hand-carved crib, know that you'll be keeping baby in a crib in your room for quite some time, and she'll be happier there anyway.
10. Skip the crib sets.
Cute crib bumpers are a danger to your child and you should not have a blanket or other bedding in the crib for the first year. Don't worry, the crib looks super cute with a fitted sheet - because your baby is in it.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself! What could not be done today can still be done tomorrow and even if the baby is there, and in no case do you have to do everything.
Remember, what your baby needs is YOU, love and food (diapers come in handy too)!