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  • Writer's pictureJenny

How to Decorate Your Baby's Nursery (with Must-Haves) from Born to be a Bride

This post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride.

I loved nesting and getting our little nursery “ready” for Willow’s grand arrival. But in two short months, I’ve already learned a ton. Here’s what you need to know as you stock up and decorate. And none of it has anything to do with Pinterest projects, I promise.

1. All of those precious, expensive, earth mommy jars of slime are great for uselessly slathering on the toosh daily, but if your kid gets a diaper rash, reach for the A&D. It’s the only thing that works.

2. Yes, you need a diaper pail. Beg, borrow, steal, pool your resources for weeks. Invest the 80 bucks in the thing that will ensure your entire apartment does not smell of baby crap. I recommend the Ubbi because it’s absurdly easy to use and you can put any bag inside (yes, a Chinese takeout bag has been used in ours — thank you thank you thank you).*

3. Every newborn blanket is referred to as a “swaddler.” Do not be deceived. Sleep-deprived new parents are both mentally and physically incapable of artfully folding a rectangle of fabric into a cocoon for the child. Buy. A. Miracle. Blanket. Hell, buy two! Then you won’t have to do laundry every day. (Okay, I’m lying. You’ll still have to do laundry every day. But at least you’ll always have a Miracle Blanket at the ready.)

4. That said, those $50 four-packs of Aden + Anais “swaddlers” you received at your baby shower are not completely useless. They can be repurposed as nursing covers, photo backdrops, and a quick fix for wrapping baby up before forking him or her over to relatives you’re not sure have washed their hands. And I imagine they’d make an awesome turban on those mornings when you’re nearly sure that you showered earlier, only to glance in the rearview before getting out of the car at Target and discovering that your hair is hideously greasy. Admittedly, I have not used one in this manner yet, but I have my favorite pattern stashed in the diaper bag waiting for its debut.

5. Stalk the Pottery Barn Kids sale like a tiger waiting to pounce. We nabbed Willow’s simple, awesome gray crib at their Memorial Day sale for about 60% off retail. She’s been in it since Night One, and it’s just an all-around great find.*

6. Yes,  you need a white noise maker. No, you don’t need three. But we have three (and a backup in the closet, so — I mean, that’s four) and we’re happy with that choice. Also, download a white noise app on your phone. Do it now before you forget. When you’re wide awake with a screaming infant in your bed at your parents house next time, all of a sudden it will miraculously dawn on you that you have a white noise app and all will be okay.


7. The only rule about newborn clothing is that everything your friends recommend will inevitably be wrong for your child. I cannot tell you how many girls told me they swore by those infant nightgowns for “swift” diaper changes. I loved the things and registered for damn near 100. Stupidly, I ripped the tags off of all of them, washed, dried, and even hung them in her closet. My child hates these things, from the awkward moment the elastic goes over her head to the fact that her legs are just swimming around in there. I always pictured her wearing these little gowns with their matching hats and cooing softly in my arms for hours. In reality, every time I’ve put one on her she’s screamed her head off and has been promptly redressed in a footie. So, the short version of that story is this — every child will need tons of onesies, so buy those. But only get a pack of newborn tees and one or two gowns, and see what works best for you.

8. Do not invest in overpriced “nursery wall art.” Okay, do if you want to. But we’ve really enjoyed throwing together an eclectic bunch of things we already owned or had made specifically for Willow. Our gold dot and monogram decals are from Polka Dot Wall Stickers. We also added a portrait of Josh and me from the wedding and the first piece of art he ever bought me, which depicts a boy hanging stars in the sky for a girl. We still haven’t finished — there’s a “Love is Sweet” banner to hang above the door and a gold, bow-shaped hook that’s to hold the flower crown made for Willow at my shower. But that leads me to #9

9. Do not stress if it’s not all done “in time.” Babies are unpredictable and some come early. Also, pregnancy is unpredictable and for some, myself included, the final stretch is absolute bloody torture. Just like the baby, the room will change over time. As long as your kid has somewhere to sleep and you have a changing pad handy, you don’t really need much else in the beginning. Build your nursery as you get to know your child and it will be fine. I’m a little bummed that every element of Willow’s nursery isn’t totally intact, but I wouldn’t give up those final pregnant naps I took, or the Sunday snuggles we have now, for the world.

Take it easy and add things as you go. Just don’t forget the diaper pail.


*It does not hurt that these items come in pretty colors. Just being honest.

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