Nursery Checklist: Must-Haves in 2021

Nursery Checklist: Must-Haves in 2021

One of the most exciting parts of having a baby is getting their nursery ready. Maybe you are just starting to envision your dream nursery, or you are in full-on nesting mode. You can easily browse for hours, looking at different nursery decor and furniture as you prepare for your baby’s arrival. 

There are overwhelming options when it comes to picking out all the items you and your baby will need. Countless questions may be formulated in your mind, “Do I need a theme?”, “Where will I put the furniture?”, “Which rocker should we get?” 

Read on for must-have items in your baby’s nursery.

Choosing a Crib

Ahh your baby’s crib. This is the most important piece of furniture in the nursery and the place where your little one will hopefully sleep through the night. There are countless options when choosing a crib. Do you want a crib that you can keep for future siblings? Or do you want a crib that will grow with your baby as they grow up? Do you want a brand new crib? Do you want to use the hand-me-down crib that you and your siblings slept in?

You may also consider using a bassinet for the first few months of your baby’s life. Since infants need constant feeding every two to three hours, having to walk from your room to the nursery can be the last thing you’d want to do in the middle of the night.

Having a bassinet close by can be a convenience when you are feeling incredibly sleep-deprived. Even bassinets open on one side and connect to your bed as a safe way to co-sleep in the early days. 

As your baby grows and starts to have fewer wake-ups during the night, they can transition over to their crib. Of course, your baby does not have to start out sleeping in a bassinet. They can sleep in their crib from the very beginning. It is all up to your preference as a parent. 

No matter if your baby starts to sleep in a bassinet or crib, you’ll want to be sure that this space is as safe as possible.

New vs. Old: Which Is Better?

It is charming to use family heirlooms and hand-me-downs for your baby. Many sentimental moments are made when you dress your baby in an outfit that you once wore or when they are wrapped in the same receiving blanket you came home from the hospital in. You may want to pause on using a hand-me-down crib, which may be unsafe by today’s standards.

In 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission set to increase safety standards for cribs. Spaces between the crib’s slats are now tightly regulated, with no more than two ⅜ inches between each slat. Any hardware should be flush with the crib and not able to scratch or pinch your baby. 

If you have purchased a new crib, you can rest easy. Any crib manufactured after 2011 must meet all these safety standards. If you are using an old crib, make sure that the crib meets all the safety standards as prescribed. 

Don’t forget to check the paint on the crib. It may contain lead if it is older paint, and the crib will need to be stripped and repainted. Make sure that the paint is not wearing off or chipping in any place. 

Mattress & Bedding

No matter if you use a crib or a bassinet, you’ll want to check that the mattress is up to par. The mattress should be firm and breathable. It should also fit very snugly inside the crib or bassinet. Once the mattress is in, you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib or bassinet. 

When it comes to bedding, less is best. The only bedding you need for the crib is a fitted sheet to go over the crib mattress. Bedding sets for babies can be absolutely adorable, and it is tempting to purchase the cute pillows, stuffed animals, comforters, and crib bumpers to go into your baby's crib or bassinet. 

These items can be risky for young babies as they are very soft and can be a potential hazard. If it is chilly, you can dress your baby in a wearable sleep sack, which will keep them cozy and warm.

Location, Location, Location

You may have sketched out where the furniture will go in the nursery on a piece of paper, or you have it mapped out in your head. When choosing the location of your baby’s crib, you’ll want to take several things into account. 

Make sure to place the crib out of direct sunlight, as the bright sun may wake your baby in the morning or keep them awake on those long summer evenings. If you have air vents in your ceilings, be sure to avoid where the air comes directly out, so your baby does not get cold. 

If you have a radiator in your child’s room, be sure to place the crib far enough away so your baby doesn’t get too warm, or they can reach out and touch the radiator. 


Your baby will be spending a lot of time in their crib, and you’ll be spending a lot of time rocking or comforting your baby. A must-have for the nursery is a comfy chair to sit in while you snuggle with your little one for storytime or those late-night feedings. There are a multitude of options when it comes to choosing the chair for your nursery.

You can have gliding or rocking chairs. It all depends on what motion you prefer. Rocking chairs have an up and down motion, while gliding chairs have a back and forth motion.

You can choose from chairs that have ottomans or chairs that have kick-out footrests. An added plus of an ottoman is that it can also serve as an extra storage space, or you can use it as a mini-changing table whenever you need to make a quick diaper change and quickly go back to rocking. 

With a kick-out footrest, you can stretch out comfortably when holding your baby, and not having a separate ottoman is a space-saver.

Chairs come in many different materials and colors to complement your nursery's color theme. Consider materials that are long-lasting and can be cleaned easily. You should also have your comfort in mind as well as your baby’s. 

Make sure the armrests, seat, and back of the chair are supportive but soft in any position you may find yourself in. Check out any reviews as well! If it has rave reviews from parents who have sat through the wee hours of the morning in the chair, you’ll know it’s a good pick!

Changing Table

Having a devoted spot to change your baby makes this duty a little easier. Many parents are opting for changing tables that also double as dressers. 

A separate table topper can be securely fastened to the dresser, and you can place a changing pad in this topper. Once the diaper days are behind you, remove the table topper and use the dresser as normal. This piece grows with your child and can be used long-term. 

Using a dresser as a changing table is convenient as you can use some of the drawers for storage space for clothes and use the top drawer for everything diaper-related. 

Baby Swings

Baby swings can be a helping hand when your baby needs soothing, but you need your hands free to work, cook dinner, or even because your tired arms just need a break! Baby swings, bouncers, and rockers are helpful when your baby falls asleep easily with motion. Once asleep, they can be moved to their crib or bassinet. 

Many of the must-have baby swings have music so that you can play some tunes for your baby! 

They also come with safety straps and restraints, so you know that your baby is safely tucked into their swing. You should always supervise your baby while in a swing or rocker, as baby’s may change positions that may require you to rearrange how they are laying or sitting in the swing.

Baby Monitors

Anytime you tiptoe into your baby’s room to check on them could be a risk in waking them up. Baby monitors are convenient when you want the convenience of checking on your baby across the house, enjoying some fresh air in the backyard, or maybe catching up on your favorite shows. 

Using baby monitors to confirm that your baby is resting peacefully helps anxious parents relax when trying to fall asleep. 

New baby monitors have cameras, so you can visually check in on your baby as well. There are many extra bells and whistles with video baby monitors, depending on how much you are willing to invest in the monitor. 

There are options to adjust the camera from the handheld monitor, zoom capabilities, and there are even wide-angle camera lenses so you can see their entire room. Two-way communication on some monitors is helpful when your baby needs a loving word of encouragement if they start to become a little fussy. 

In addition to the audio/visual baby monitors, there are wearable monitors that you can place on your baby to record their movement, heartbeat, and breathing. Although these monitors are not tested as a preventative to potential risks, they can give peace of mind to parents who may tend to over-worry.


As you fill your nursery with furniture and storage containers, you also will think about all the little details to fill the nursery. Outlet covers to protect against curious fingers, blackout curtains to block any sunlight from waking your baby, tiny hangers to hang tiny clothes (can it get any cuter?!), and all diaper rash creams, lotions, and bath time products that you think you’ll possibly need. 

Make bedtime a breeze for you and your baby by using products from Little Yawn Collective. When bath time comes, calm and cleanse your little buddy with natural, melatonin-free products that create a relaxing environment that helps your little one fall and stay asleep. Our formulas are dermatologist-approved and scientifically backed to help your child wind down for bedtime.

You can first use a Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula to get your baby squeaky clean. Next, soothe your little one’s skin with Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter, as a way to physically bond with your baby and promote relaxation.

As you continually use these products, your baby will learn to recognize this smell and associate it with the most relaxing time of day, time spent with you getting cozy, snoozy, and sleepy!


Your baby’s nursery is the space where you get to bond with your baby as they grow and change over the next few months. Although this space may only be known as a nursery for a short time, you will always be a parent! Through the late-night feedings, belly laughs, and sweet rocking sessions, you’ve made this space one that is both comfy and cozy for you and your little buddy.

As your baby learns about the world around them, you’re there to support your baby as they grow. You’ll need support as well through the late nights, early mornings, and everything in between. 

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we help to empower parents and build confidence to establish bedtime routines that work. 



Crib Safety Tips |

Is It Safe for Babies to Sleep in Swings, Baby Seats, and Car Seats? | Kars4Kids Parenting

9 Best Baby Monitors of 2021 | Babylist


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