Baby Furniture

Top 10 must-have pieces of baby furniture

One of the joys of pregnancy is planning and outfitting your baby's nursery. Before you start on an endless trawl through baby shops and Internet sites, here are the top ten baby furniture must-haves:

1. Crib. Be kind to your back. Choose a crib with an adjustable base. Put the base at its highest setting, requiring less bending on your part, when the baby is very small. Later, it can be lowered to prevent any escapes.

Many cribs convert into a toddler bed, allowing children to progress to a proper bed without saying goodbye to their cribs. These last until about age four.

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2. Moses Basket. While some parents put their newborn babies in a crib from day one, many parents use a smaller Moses basket at first. These baskets make baby feel safe and secure and are easily transportable for moving around the house, setting up beside parents' bed and taking to friends' houses.

3. Changing Table. These prevent backache and provide an organized center, preventing diaper mayhem. Look for comfort and safety. Designs with barriers stop baby from rolling off. Find a table that includes storage so everything will be at hand.

4. Wardrobe. Newborn babies have more clothes than most adults, and you'll need to store them. For a harassed mother, that storage needs to be organized. Wardrobes keep clothes uncrushed and easy to find, and complete outfits can be kept together on one hanger. Look for child-sized wardrobes that take up minimum space.

5. Drawers. You will need lots of drawers. Many child wardrobes include drawers, but usually not enough. Smaller drawers organize clothes into an easily worked system, and a couple of large drawers store blankets and any bigger-sized clothes baby has been given for future use.

6. Bookcase. A baby's library starts at birth with gifts of often expensive, good-quality books. A bookcase keeps these books safely out of the toy box and makes them easily accessible for you.

7. Toy Storage. Prepare yourself for an influx of toys with lots of colorful tubs and containers. Shelves keep things safely out of reach. Look out for shelving units with built-in tubs. Remember to buy a couple of tubs that baby will be able to reach into (without falling in) when he or she gets a bit bigger.

Beware of toy boxes with lids. There are beautiful designs about, but little fingers are easily caught in the lids.

8. Baby Rocker. Also known as a baby bouncer, this is many a mother's sanity. Babies' love these chairs and are soothed by them. Choose one with overhead toys, a safety harness and handles for easy transportation around the house.

9. Safety Gate. As soon as baby can roll over, he or she can get into trouble. Be prepared with safety gates blocking steps and the doorway into the kitchen. Open fires need a fireguard surround.

10. High Chair. As soon as baby can sit up unsupported, he or she needs to eat in a high chair. Look for comfort, a safety harness, a large tray and easy cleaning.

By Branwen Smith