Congratulations, you’re having a baby! You've got a short list of names, you've got the swollen ankles, had the morning sickness and felt the baby kicking… this sh*t is getting real!
Now for the fun stuff… the buying. When I had my first baby I allowed myself to buy one small thing, before the all-important-past-the-scary-stage, 12 week scan. Then after that I bought a couple more pieces but it was only once I’d had the 20 week scan that I went wild in the aisles. Not so much wild though, as well-organised in the aisles. You see, I love to organise stuff and I love a list. I had a list of clothes to get for the baby, which I mostly stuck to, but it was with his bedroom that I allowed myself to get creative and do tonnes of research and planning. I didn’t know at this stage that I was having a boy, so neutrality was important.
We (I) decided on a colour scheme of turquoise and yellow with lots of pops of colour, which we felt was neutral enough. Not quite enough for my Dad, who described the turquoise as being ‘too blue for a girl’! Luckily for Grandad his grandchild was a boy ;-)
I had Pinterest boards coming out of my ears and all I can say is that it was lucky I hadn’t discovered Instagram back then.
I managed to find all the bits I needed for the nursery but it took weeks of searching online to find exactly what I wanted and I had to order lots of it from overseas. One of the things I ordered from the US, when I was 6 months pregnant, arrived the week after baby was born! Not ideal.
This process led to the first seeds of Mini Maison and I learnt a lot doing it, so here are my top tips for planning your baby’s nursery or first bedroom. Anyhow, here we go.
RECYCLE / REUSE
If you’ve got a chest of drawers hanging around, then please USE IT! You don’t need to buy a fancy changing table-topped chest of drawers, just use what you already have. And if it’s not in the colour you want, a bit of sanding and a few coats of paint will rectify that minor problem. Pop a changing mat on top and hey presto you have yourself a changing table with drawers.
However, I was a bit paranoid about the changing mat slipping off of the table so put a couple of bits of sticky Velcro on each corner of the mat and the drawer top to prevent this from happening (not that it even nearly did!).
Other things you don’t need to buy new, if you're feeling a bit skint or looking to save a few pennies are:
Nursing chair – if you’re planning on getting one of these then you absolutely should. Some people say it was the best thing they bought and they spent many a wonderful hour rocking and feeding their baby to sleep, whereas others say they barely sat in theirs. You’re not going to know which camp you fall into, until baby comes, so why spend £500 plus on it?! My two solutions are to either buy second hand via Ebay or Gumtree, or to buy a really nice rocking chair that can stay in the bedroom way into toddlerdom, or even be used in another room in the house.
This is the rocking chair we ended up buying and I love that it still looks great in my almost-three year old's bedroom:
Stay tuned to Mini Maison in 2016 for more on rocking / nursing chairs!
Shelf Units – as with the drawers, these can be taken from elsewhere in the house. Just remember to tether them to the wall to prevent an inquisitive baby from climbing them like a ladder!
The only things I was insistent on buying new were the cot(bed) and the mattress. I read lots online about people buying second-hand cots and painting them in the colour of their choice but to be honest the thought of a teething baby chewing the flaky paint off an old cot would give me nightmares. And for obvious reasons, a mattress should always be bought new. They aren't that expensive, and you can buy a plain white one for a reasonable price these days. Plus, if you buy a cot bed, it will last for about 4-5 years.
You can never have too much storage when you’ve got a little nipper. We found the big square shelves from Ikea (currently called Kallax) are the most useful (we literally have them dotted all over the house) as you can use them for displaying knick-knacks or buy the baskets for storage.
I also find that organisers for inside the drawers / wardrobes all lead to an easier life. Check out our amazeballs wardrobe dividers (coming soon) to help sort out the clothes for your bubba (especially useful as you’ll get given lots of different sized clothes as gifts at your baby shower or when baby is born), plus our great storage baskets are ideal for putting nappies (the rectangular one) and nappy rash creams and baby products in (the square one).
When you’ve got a screaming baby in your arms, you’ll be grateful that you haven’t got to root around for a clean babygrow, the right sized nappy and the nappy rash cream.
If you’ve spent lots of time and effort to make your home a reflection of your personality, don’t stop with the nursery! Pick some colours, pick a theme if that’s your thing and go to town. Don’t worry if your ideas aren’t particularly ‘baby-ish’, embrace your personal style make your baby’s bedroom a comfortable and enjoyable place to be.
Remember, your baby isn't going to be a baby forever. Are you really going to want to redo the wallpaper in two years when your baby boy isn’t so keen on teddy bears and is more into cars?! The products we make and stock at Mini Maison are modern and most will last well into childhood… hurrah!
Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your nursery! Some items might be out of stock or might arrive and be different to what you were expecting. Plus (and most importantly), you’ll want to use those few weeks of maternity leave before baby arrives putting your feet up, watching box-sets and eating mounds of cake.
I hope you find these little tips useful and that Mini Maison provides you with the products you’re looking for. If you think that there’s anything we ought to be stocking then please let us know… although bear with us while we’re starting up and getting everything in stock that we want!