pregnant woman mirror selfi - via @mummyuniverse
image via @mummyuniverse

Create a functional nursery space with this checklist of nesting essentials for you and your little one.

Feeling an impossible-to-ignore urge to prepare your home for your baby is a totally natural part of the motherhood journey. Welcome to nesting! To help you focus on the most important items—and save some time, money and effort in the process—we’re breaking down exactly what a new mom needs to know about setting up a sweet, cozy space for baby.

As with almost anything baby-related, every family and home is different, so take this list as a starting point. Your preferences, lifestyle and living situation are all factors that can affect which items you need and which you can skip. You do what works best for you and your baby!

Must-haves

1. A sturdy crib with a firm mattress

A safe place for baby to sleep is a nursery necessity. Set up a crib with a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet (that’s it!) and you can check off a major item on the nesting to-do list.

2. A waterproof mattress cover and an extra sheet

Between spit-up, drool and diaper leaks, babies are messy. Protect the crib mattress with a waterproof cover and have an extra sheet on hand for easy middle-of-the-night clean-ups.

3. A comfortable spot for nursing and pumping

It’s so important to have a supportive, comfortable place to breastfeed. Let’s face it; you’ll be spending a lot of time feeding your baby. So, think of this space as an essential part of your nesting needs. If a chair reclines, rotates, rocks or has any other comfort-inducing features, we say go for it. Add a small table as a perch for pumping supplies, a water bottle or nipple cream.

4. A practical changing station with some storage

A washable or wipeable changing pad, diapers and wipes are all you need to prep for the many daily changes you’ll be doing. (Bonus points for some diaper cream.) Assemble everything on top of a low dresser—perfect for storing clothes, blankets, sheets and other supplies—with a simple diaper pail nearby and you won’t even need a separate changing table.

5. A couple swaddle blankets

If you’ve visited a baby store or asked friends for recommendations, you know there are so many different swaddles and sleep sacks on the market. Choose one or two kinds to try and start there. If your baby sleeps like a dream in them, you’re good to go.

6. Several simple outfits

Leave the tiny skinny jeans, fancy dresses and stiff button-down shirts for photo ops! Day in and day out, you’ll reach for baby clothes that are soft, easy to get on and off (zippers rule!) and are easy to wash. Think one-piece footie pajamas, onesies and soft pants with socks.

7. A breast pump

Whether you will return to work, want to build a stash for time away, plan to exclusively pump or need to boost your milk production, a quality breast pump is a go-to nursery item. Reach out to our team at Ashland Women’s Health and we’ll get you all set up with your insurance-covered breast pump.

Nice-to-haves

8. A baby monitor

It could be an old-school audio-only monitor or a high-tech video one. Either way, a baby monitor offers peace of mind while your little one is sleeping (or not sleeping!) in the nursery. For some families, it may not be hard to hear when the baby’s stirring, so this item may be optional.

9. A handy white noise machine

After all that time in the (surprisingly noisy) womb, a silent sleeping space might be a big change for your baby. A simple white noise machine serves up some soothing sounds—and that could mean more sleep for everyone.

10. A comfy breastfeeding pillow

Prop your baby up closer to your chest while nursing and literally take a load off your arms, back and neck. While any old bed or throw pillow might work, a breastfeeding pillow will hug more closely to your body and provide the perfect amount of support for your baby.

Don’t need

1. An abundance of anything

Yes, it’s nice to have some spare burp cloths or onesies for the inevitable messes to come. But you won’t need a million extras of any one item. Ten pacifiers, twenty blankets and fifteen bibs will only take up extra space and contribute to clutter.

2. Blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals

Babies don’t need anything inside the crib besides a mattress, a waterproof mattress cover and a fitted sheet. All the soft, fuzzy extras are cute, but they can be suffocation hazards, and therefore, unsafe for sleeping. Skip the multi-piece crib sets and stick to the basics.


It’s easy to go overboard with all the baby items and options out there. But when it comes down to it, babies don’t need much to survive and thrive. Start with the essentials and get to know what works best for you, your baby and your home. Our team at Ashland Women’s Health is made up of moms, so we’re happy to chat about any nesting-related questions, as well as take care of the process of securing your insurance-covered breast pump. We want to help you feel as prepared as possible for your baby’s arrival.