The prospect of getting ready for baby by preparing the nursery is an exciting one for parents. But in all the excitement of exercising regularly, taking prenatal vitamins, eating right and regular doctor visits, many expectant mothers forget to put this on their to-do list before the baby arrives. This may leave some parents running around in circles trying to find the ideal place for baby’s crib and other baby paraphernalia when it comes time to bring the baby home. But whether you do this before the baby arrives or after, creating a nursery can be a whole lot of fun.

In all likelihood, you don’t know the gender of the baby before it is born (unless you are going by your mother-in-law’s prediction), so it is important to make sure that the room is decorated in neutral tones. But above everything else, keep child safety in mind. While your baby may not be sticking her fingers in electrical outlets for a while, covering them up right now will leave you with one less thing to worry about down the road.

Designate a feeding station

If your house is large enough to dedicate an entire room to your new baby, then the sky is the limit with what your nursery can look like. Specifically, design an area where mom or dad can feed the baby. If you are planning to breast-feed, it may be worthwhile investing in a rocking chair with arms, perfect for cradling your baby while she is feeding. This rocker can come in just as handy if dad wants to feed the baby with a bottle. It is also desirable to have a side table that can hold essentials such as a bottle, a bib or burp cloth, and even a rattle or two. Of course, the phone will ring the moment you sit down to feed the baby, so the table will be ideal as a catch-all. Keeping this feeding station close to a lamp or a light switch can also afford you the ability to control the brightness of the room when baby is ready to fall asleep.

Invest in sturdy nursery furniture

nursery decorating ideasIf you are about to have your first baby, you may be tempted to go all out and pick up every conceivable piece of baby furniture available. But in reality, all you really need is a good quality crib (that can ideally turn into a toddler bed in a year) and a surface to change your baby’s diaper. Storage shelves for babies clothes, diapers, wipes and lotions don’t necessarily need to be from the baby furniture department unless coordinated decor is a priority. Just make sure that your crib and diaper changing surface are at the right height so as to put the least strain on your back.

The all-important question of where the crib should be placed is ideally a location that is not in direct sunlight and one that is easily accessible from the parent’s bedroom. Although you may use a baby monitor and spring right out of bed the moment you hear your baby, it will be helpful if you don’t have to navigate your way around several pieces of furniture in your half-asleep state! Another consideration is to keep your crib close to the rocker so that transferring your baby after she falls asleep is only a few tip-toes away. You will be thanking your decision in a few months, I promise!

Finally, just about any preparations you make may need to be tweaked once the baby is born. You will figure out what works best for your family’s needs within a few weeks after your baby’s arrival. So if setting up your nursery has left you breathless, especially with all that weight you have been carrying around, take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet – it may not last for very long!