Baby Furniture: What Do You Really Need?
Shopping for baby furniture is a fun task on a long list of errands that new parents have to complete before their baby arrives. It can be tempting to rely on family and friends to help provide the essential pieces of baby furniture you will need or to “make do” with a few pieces instead of buying extra pieces you may need depending on space or the room.
Shopping for baby furniture is essentially shopping for furniture for another person, and this may be overwhelming for many new parents. Something so small couldn’t possibly need so much stuff, right? But the truth is, picking out and buying the correct furniture and accessories for your child is instrumental in setting them up for a bright future. The correct furniture means convenience and saved time, and will provide a safer environment for your baby to enjoy.
The correct furniture can follow your child all the way to adulthood. Imagine the pride, love and connection a child can develop for their furniture, knowing it has been with them since childhood. Plan correctly, and the furniture you are shopping for won’t just be furniture, but heirloom items your child will cherish well into adulthood.
Baby Furniture Essentials
To furnish your baby’s bedroom, you will need at least one each of the following:
- A crib, mini crib and/or co-sleeper
- A nursing or rocking chair
- A changing table and/or dresser
- A high chair
This is the absolute minimum amount of furniture you will need to care for and raise your child safely in your home. Your baby needs an independent place to sleep, and you will need places to help you comfort, change and feed your child.
Depending on the type of space you have as well as you and your baby’s needs, you might need several versions of baby furniture. It is important to buy the right kind of baby furniture you will need as you move from space to space.
As your baby grows, he or she will not be confined to just one room. As a parent with needs of your own, you won’t always be able to go back to a designated spot to change a diaper or nurse. To make it easier for yourself and your child, consider the different types of furniture in each of the following sections and how they might help simplify your life as your child grows.
All you need is to make a few deliberate decisions focusing on quality, usefulness and your child’s long-term needs. Once you have these items, you will be glad you thought ahead.
How to Choose a Baby Crib
Cribs come in many different types based on function. Your options include:
- Convertible cribs
- Co-sleeper cribs
- Wooden baby cradles
Depending on your space and needs, you may have a convertible or combination crib in your child’s bedroom, and at least one mini crib, cradle, bassinet or co-sleeper in another room of your home, not to mention any cribs that you may keep with family and/or friends. Below, we describe the pros of each type of crib to help you choose the right one for you and your baby.
All the rage today, convertible cribs are incredibly useful because they can be converted into toddler beds, day beds, full-sized beds or all three. Convertible cribs are a smart investment for new parents and can be the only bed you will need to buy for your baby. They come in many designs that are timeless and stylish, and are mostly made of wood for added durability and quality.
If you buy a convertible crib, make sure to also buy all the accessories needed to make the conversion possible. It will save you time down the road, because the last thing you want is to need a piece later on that has long since been discontinued.
How does a convertible crib work? All you have to do is adjust the sides into a beframe and you have a full-sized bed. All of the convertible cribs on the market will come with instructions to make the conversion easier, so you will not be left in the dark.
Co-sleeper cribs make it possible for your baby to sleep right next to you safely. For new parents who are still not ready to sleep too far away from their baby, a co-sleeper is a must have. They are made to be level with most beds for easy reaching, and most provide added storage, so you will always have the things you need within arm’s reach.
A bassinet is a hybrid of the co-sleeper crib. It can be stationary or portable, light or sturdy, and can rock or stay still. Bassinets are also referred to as Moses baskets and are often made with that design in mind. A bassinet is usually for smaller babies, and in most cases helps carry a baby from place to place.
Bassinets are not typically considered long-term sleeping solutions. Depending of the kind on the space or portability you need, a bassinet can be a complementary accessory along with a crib and some sort of co-sleeper.
A cradle is exactly what the name implies. It’s made to rock and comfort your child. For short naps in the afternoon, or to soothe interrupted sleep in the middle of the night, a cradle might be just what you need. It can also help you soothe your child in times when you still need one hand or both.
Cradles often come in wood, and while there are always new designs, the classic cradle has not gone out of style. Cradles are also quintessential to babies and thechild-rearingg experience. When people picture raising a baby, a cradle always comes to mind.
Combination cribs can come with a combination of storage or a changing table. If you have limited space, a combination crib might be the best option to furnish your baby’s room. They’re an incredibly useful option to help increase storage and maximize space, and can be a one-stop-shop for your baby’s needs. Keep in mind however, that a combination crib cannot be converted into a bed like a convertible crib can. Once your baby grows out of it, you will need to replace it with something more age-appropriate.
Mini cribs are a more stylish and useful alternative to the plastic Pack n’ Play. They are often made of wood for added durably and quality, and are a much more useful option in the long term. Mini cribs are portable, and most can be folded for storage or transportation. Many mini cribs can also be converted into toddler beds or twin beds long after a plastic Pack n’ Play has stretched out or ripped.
Nursing or Rocking Chairs
The majority of the furniture you will need aside from a crib will function to make the child-rearing experience easier on you as a parent. Nursing or rocking chairs are considered a splurge and are often overlooked, but you will never regret having one. They will provide arm and back support as you’re feeding or comforting your child, and can be handed down for generations. Nursing or rocking chairs come in three different styles:
- A stationary chair with or without a footstool
- A glider with or without a footstool
- A comfortable rocking chair for the nursery
A stationary chair provides a safe and comfortable place to sit in your nursery. Once you’ve been nursing for a few months, you’ll be thankful for your stationary chair because of the added support it provides. For added comfort, consider a glider or a rocking chair. Treat yourself to a footstool. Your comfort is just as important as your baby’s and with the right investment and care, you will have durable pieces such as a wooden glider chair for a long time.
A Changing Table and/or Dresser
Once you bring your baby home, you will realize quickly that a designated place to change your baby is essential. A changing table is most often recommended, as it provides a designated space and added storage for all your baby changing needs.
If a designated changing table is not an option for you, consider a changing table and dresser combo. For added function, some parents choose a dresser their child can use well into adulthood and add a changing pad on top. You may prefer to buy a quality wooden baby dresser, knowing it can be part of your family for a long time, or a separate changing table with chest of drawers.
Whatever option you decide, keep in mind you will never have too many places to store things, and having more options is always better than less. You may want to have a separate changing table and dresser in your baby’s room, and a changing pad in yours.
A High Chair
As your baby grows and becomes more independent, feeding time will go from the nursing chair to the high chair. While plastic high chairs may be very popular, they can be difficult to clean and don’t age very well despite all of your efforts. If the paint starts to wear off or if there are any food stains such as spaghetti or sauce, there’s little more you can do aside from cleaning it.
However, wooden baby high chairs can be painted, refurbished and repurposed as time goes by with only minimal maintenance and care. Consider these points when shopping for one, and make the best decision that fits your needs.
Why Wooden Baby Bedroom Furniture Is the Best Investment
As we’ve mentioned, there are real advantages to buying wooden baby furniture. Most plastic baby furniture is made with a metal frame covered with plastic and netting. This design is susceptible to sagging, ripping or normal wear and tear over time. Plastic is much more difficult to clean, as certain key components have small crevices that are hard to reach.
Plastic can also become a breeding ground for germs, never mind the hard-to-reach spots. Over time, plastic can develop microscopic scratches that are undetectable to the human eye, making it a perfect environment for germs to grow unchecked.
Wood, on the other hand, is easy to clean and leaves little room for surprises. It is also an eco-friendly option, as it is made from natural materials. At the very worst, wood furniture can be sanded down and painted over. You can’t sand down a plastic crib or co-sleeper, but you can sand down a wooden one and repaint it to match your furniture as time goes by.
To get the most bang for your money, invest in wooden baby furniture that will continue to be useful as your needs change. Whatever your choice, keep in mind that baby furniture should never go to waste. A convertible crib will follow your child well into adulthood. A rocking chair, cradle or bassinet can be handed down for generations, or at the very least, it can be kept in storage just long enough until your next child is born.
Made from natural materials, wood furniture is susceptible to some elements. It only takes a bit of maintenance to keep your wood furniture looking great for decades. Just keep these things in mind:
- Do keep wood furniture away from direct sunlight or heat
- Do polish and dust regularly to keep it looking great
- Do protect it from infestation such as beetles and termites
- Do clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to the wood
- Do keep a Wood Repair Kit handy for small repairs
- Don’t use harsh chemicals, as they may damage the wood
- Don’t rest plastic items on the wood for long amounts of time, as the colors may leach into the wood
These simple tips will keep your furniture looking its best, and you will find that it wont take much of your time. Many of the care instructions are preventative measures to help the wood last. For a more in-depth list on how to care for your wood furniture, click here.
Start Shopping for Your Baby’s New Furniture Today
Amish Outlet Store carries many different pieces of furniture for you and your baby in solid woods such as oak and cherry, so your furniture will be as durable as it is stylish. To learn more, subscribe to our newsletter or look online at the many different types of furniture we sell. Soon enough, worrying about the appropriate furniture you need will become a thing of the past.