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Think you’re ready for the baby? Think again

Parentingmagazine’s new book: “Baby Must-Haves: The Essential Guide to Everything from Cribs to Bibs," lives up to its title. Here's an excerpt:

Babies spend about two-thirds of their time snoozing, so most won’t notice or even care where they’re napping, at least for the first year or so. But you will. Even if you plan to have the baby sleep in your room in the early months, or simply put a used crib in a corner of the guest room, it’s likely you’ll do an about-face once you start flipping through catalogs or wandering through stores.   

Your baby’s nursery can be frilly and old-fashioned or sleek and modern, pastel and calming or brightly colored and stimulating. It can feature creatures from dragons to dragonflies or characters from ballerinas to cowboys. Whatever you choose, your child’s room should contain several essential elements:

  • A place for the baby to sleep. Some newborns sleep in cribs in their own rooms from day one; others spend the first weeks sleeping in their parents’ bedrooms, preferably in a bassinet or a co-sleeper (a baby bed that attaches to your bed). Where your baby sleeps depends on whether you nurse (if so, having him close will make wee-hour feedings much easier), and whether you’re a light sleeper (newborns can be noisy nappers).   
  • A place for diaper changing. You don’t need to have a changing table, but it will make life easier. You can also buy a changing table that “grows up” to be a regular dresser that your child can use for years.
  • A place for cuddling and feeding. As a cozy place to nurse or give your baby a bottle or kick up your feet while you’re calming him down, a glider or rocking chair can be an invaluable investment. As your baby gets older, it will be a favorite spot for snuggling and storytime.   
  • A way to keep tabs on her while you’re out of the room.  In most homes—especially if you close the door to the nursery — you may not be able to hear your baby crying when she wakes up. This is where a baby monitor comes in.

Beyond these essentials, there are plenty of items you’ll want or need for your baby’s room. Some of the Parenting magazine Mom-Testers’ favorites include:

The Wicker Bassinet from L.A. Baby ($299, lababyco.com) lifts off of its wheeled base so that you can take the basket from room to room.  Also features an extra shelf, which comes in handy for storage of burp cloths, wipes, diapers and more.

The Arm’s Reach mini co-sleeper ($190, armsreach.com) is smaller than standard co-sleepers and ideal for bedrooms that don’t have a lot of space. 

The Pottery Barn Kids Kendall crib’s ($599, potterybarnkids.com) simple design will coordinate with lots of decorating styles.  This crib is also available in white, espresso and sun valley red finishes and can be converted into a toddler bed, which allows parents to create a room that grows with their child.

The Dreams in Sight Mobile ($40, learningcurve.com) projects stars and moons onto the ceiling above the crib, and comes with a remote so that you can be the DJ from across the room. 

The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium ($30, fisher-price.com) is an alternative to a mobile, and attaches to the side of the crib.

Amy Coe’s infant bedding line for Target is fresh, colorful, and reasonably priced ($5-$90, target.com)

Gummi Crib Rails ($14, kidkusion.com) help protect the crib’s finish from toothmarks when teething babies are looking for something hard to chew on.

The Quick Zip Crib Sheet ($33, cloudsandstars.com) is a fitted sheet with a rectangular panel that zips on and off for laundering.

A number of moms swear by teddy bears that make womb noises (like a heart-beat) to help soothe their babies.  One to try: the Womb Sounds Teddy Bear ($20, target.com)

The Land of Nod changing table attachment ($119) can be removed from its dresser counterpart ($599, landofnod.com) to turn it into an instant “grown-up” dresser.  The attachment also includes a changing pad with contoured edges to help keep baby in one place during diaper changes. 

IKEA’s basic changing table ($30, ikea.com) is a nice option if you already have clothing storage in a closet with drawers, or an armoire.

Dutailier’s glider has a matching ottoman that glides, too ($700 for the set, dutailier.com) – and elevating your legs can help take pressure off your back, especially when you’re nursing.

Audio monitors: The Graco Décor monitor comes in a variety of pastel hues to coordinate with your nursery ($40, gracobaby.com)

Video monitors: Summer Infant offers a small, lightweight handheld video monitor with 1.8 inch screen and night vision so that parents can see their baby in a darkened room.  ($250, summerinfant.com).

Excerpted from “Baby Must-Haves: The Essential Guide to Everything from Cribs to Bibs” by Parenting magazine. Copyright 2007 by Parenting Group. All rights reserved.

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