Whether sleeping or playing, babies spend a lot of time in the nursery. Products such as cots and dressers are essential to ensure their comfort. The right gear can also make life a lot easier on sleep-deprived parents and caregivers.
Georgina Lyons, buyer for Tiny Footprints, recommends items that can perform double duties. 'I love products that promote longevity, lasting more than one phase of their life, or are multifunctioning. The nursery is the perfect place to start nesting.'
The newly opened Central store stocks items such as the Mo-ma Glider from Olli Ella - a nursing chair suitable for any room of the house - and Enfant Terrible Design's Sleepyhead, which can be used as a travel bed, changing mat and cot insert.
Lyons says a changing table is a must, but parents' heights play a big part in choosing this item. 'You will be changing nappies for many months, and who has time for a sore back?' she says. 'It is also good to get something that doubles as storage.'
Quality is also important when choosing products for your nursery, Lyons says. 'Spend the most on items that get the most use. You will be doing a lot of washing and children do a lot of sleeping, so it is a wise choice to look for items that will go the distance instead of purchasing more and more products each year. Spend more on your mattress and bedding so that it can last. You can always update your decor to give the room a change.'
Lucy McLennan, marketing manager of Bumps to Babes, says there are many options for a child's first bed. 'For the first few months after you bring your baby home, you may want to consider a Moses basket with stand or crib, or you may choose to put your baby straight into a cot or a cot bed. They all provide a tranquil and cosy haven.'
The baby superstore features cribs and Moses baskets from brands such as Mamas & Papas, Buttons and Bears, Atlantis and Once Upon a Time alongside bedding sets, anti-allergy duvets and the ever-popular Grobag.
McLennan advises parents to have three or four fitted and flat sheets, three cellular blankets or sleeping bags and one additional mattress protector on hand, just in case your baby is sick and needs spares when things are being washed.
'When choosing and planning for your baby's bedroom, the cot should be placed away from windows, curtains or blinds, heating equipment, appliances, lamps, wires or cords and decorations that could fall into your baby's cot,' she adds.
When light is needed, options include the Baby Zoo nightlight. Designed to help children fall asleep and provide comfort during the night, the turtle-shaped light is adjustable and doesn't get warm. Children can also turn it on and off by themselves.
A stable changing station with a changing mat is also essential. 'Some are designed to function as a chest of drawers, bath and a dresser, which often proves to be a more expensive option, but extends the life of the unit. Babies often go through several changes of clothing each day, making an organised dresser a much-needed piece of nursery furniture. Infant dressers should have at least three drawers and compartments for socks, bibs and other small items,' says McLennan, whose other must-have is a clothes hamper.
Andree Luk, director of Mama's Dear, says parents should look for safe, comfortable products that create a quiet environment to allow babies to sleep soundly.
'It is also important to select furniture that has rounded edges and is without handles to prevent injuries,' she says.
The Kukuu dresser, available at Mama's Dear, has smooth corners, a removable changing tray, self-closing drawers and a built-in hamper.
Safety is also a high priority and one of the new essential nursery items available at Mama's Dear is the Luvion Grand Elite, a digital video baby monitor with a 3.5-inch screen, night vision and multiple camera functions.
Parents can also get advice on greenproofing their home and choosing baby-safe products at Tiny Footprints' seminars and workshops with local childcare experts.
Bumps to Babes also offers an online, printable checklist covering all the essentials from quilts to safety gates.