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15 Baby Nursery Must Haves for Optimal Sleep

Here are my baby nursery must haves for getting your baby the sleep they need! Setup your baby’s nursery to be conducive for sleep and you’re one step closer to the whole family getting some shut eye!

baby sleeping

There are plenty of must have items you need for your baby’s nursery. Things like a comfortable rocker, diaper pail, and changing table are essential for the many feedings and diaper changes you’ll do in baby’s first year and beyond.

My nursery organization post goes into more detail on how to set up your baby’s nursery as well as all of the items that you need for your baby’s nursery.

This post is specifically for the baby nursery must haves for optimal sleep! Let’s set your baby’s nursery up so her environment is conducive for sleeping!

These items won’t guarantee a good night sleep, but they are the first step in achieving it! I recommend most of these items whether your baby is 4 weeks or 4 years old!

Want a realistic newborn sleep schedule? Download my free newborn sleep schedule to see what a day with your newborn might look like. Click here to grab it, it’ll be super helpful.

1. White Noise Sound Machine

It’s a little weird to love a sound machine as much as I do, but I embrace it!

There are so many benefits of using white noise including helping soothe them, blocking out noises, helps your baby connect sleep cycles, and creates a calm and comfortable environment.

The womb is noisy! Silence can be deafening to our little babies. A white noise sound machine can help remind your baby of the womb, while blocking out noises from older siblings, the mailman, or the neighbor’s dog barking.

Even as infants grow up, white noise can continue to help them sleep. We still use one with my three-year old and my husband and I use one as well. Our whole family sleeps better with their sound machine on!

The Yoga Sleep sound machine is my favorite, but there are plenty of other options as well.

2. Blackout Curtains

A high-quality, dark set of nursery blackout curtains is an absolute must have!

It’s worth spending a bit more on these IMO, because it’s something that will stay in your child’s room for many years.

I’m talking DARK on these!

Any bit of sunlight peaking through in the early morning can be enough to wake up your baby or toddler. Once awake at 5 or 6 am, it can be really challenging to get them back to sleep.

One of my clients was struggling with early morning wake ups with her two year old. I recommended blackout curtains and it was the biggest difference in getting her son to sleep past 5 am each morning!

A good pair of blackout curtains can be a game changer and there are multiple benefits of blackout curtains for sleep.

I went through four sets of blackout curtains before I found some that were dark enough! These curtains are truly blackout. No light gets through these bad boys and we rarely have early morning wake ups these days!

Tip: If you’re wondering if yours are dark enough, turn off the lights in the nursery and stick your hand behind the curtain. If you can’t see it, you’re good to go! And, if you want other ways of how to make the nursery dark, I have some more tips in this post!

baby bassinet

3. Bassinet

Before you transition your baby to the crib, you’ll have her in your room with you. The AAP recommends room sharing for the first six months, though some parents choose to move their babies to their nursery sooner.

When to move your baby to their own room will vary based on different factors.

When your baby is sleeping in your bedroom with you, she still needs her own safe sleep place. You can use a bassinet, co-sleeper, or pack and play for this. Items like the DockATot are not intended for sleep.

The good thing about the bassinet is that it is small, easy to maneuver in the middle of the night, and often comes with vibrating or rocking features to help newborn babies sleep. See the best bassinets for small spaces here.

Wondering how long your baby can sleep in the bassinet? I’ve got you covered! Check out when is baby too big for the bassinet to know when to make the transition to crib safely.

There are also several bassinet alternatives to the Rock N Play—a beloved sleeping rocker that has since been recalled.

You can also choose a pack and play with a newborn insert, which is a great option because you’ll get a bit more use out of it than a bassinet.(You can take out the insert and use it for traveling as your baby grows).

Wondering whether you need a bassinet and crib? Check out my bassinet vs crib post!


4. Crib

Whether you start with a co-sleeper or bassinet, eventually you’ll need a crib for your baby in their nursery.

I always recommend using a new crib for an infant. Crib guidelines have changed in the last decade and are more stringent to protect babies and reduce the risk of SIDS. Buying a new crib from a retailer insures you’re getting the most up-to-date safety standards.

baby awake on crib mattress

5. Crib Mattress

You’ll obviously need a mattress for the crib. The crib mattress should be firm and tight fitting. You want it to fit inside the crib without any big gaps.

The Sleepout Crib Mattress is breathable and hypo-allergenic. The bamboo cover is machine washable and stain resistant for any middle of the night mishaps. Grab your crib mattress here.

newborn sleep schedule opt-in
swaddles for baby

6. Swaddles & Sleep Sacks

Swaddling an infant can help calm your baby and prevent the startle reflex, meaning your baby won’t startle herself awake in the middle of the night.

It can also make her feel safe and secure, much like she did in the womb. Learn more about the pros and cons of swaddling baby.

Some babies don’t like to be swaddled at first, but eventually they come to enjoy it if swaddled properly. Here are some tips if your baby hates the swaddle as well as some of the best swaddle options.

Once your baby starts rolling in their sleep, it’s time to stop using the swaddle, you can transition to a sleep sack.

I love using sleep sacks before my baby could sleep with a blanket, as it’s a great way of how to keep baby warm at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping objects out of the crib until baby is 12 months old.

See the differences in a swaddle vs sleep sack here as well as some of the best sleep sacks here.

7. Pacifier

Babies have a natural need and desire to suck and pacifiers can help meet that need.

Using a pacifier can also help prevent SIDS and help babies self soothe. Once breastfeeding is established pacifiers can be a great aid in helping your baby sleep for naps and bedtime.

There are plenty of pacifiers to choose from. Choose one without any cords attached to it to keep your baby safe. If you’re creating your second baby registry, make sure to add new pacifiers to it since the plastic breaks down over time.

8. Baby Movement Monitor

Okay, this one won’t help your baby sleep, but it might help you sleep!

Once my daughter started sleeping longer stretches at night, I could never sleep! I was so incredibly nervous about SIDS. I would wake up in the middle of the night and check on her to make sure she was breathing and it made me an exhausted mess the next day.

A friend lent me her Snuza movement monitor and it seriously saved my sanity! It monitors your baby’s movement on their stomach, so if it doesn’t feel your baby’s tummy going up and down for an amount of time the alarm goes off.

We did have a few false alarms with it, but overall it was so worth it! I’ll take a few false alarms here and there for the peace of mind it gave me!

There are tons of options when it comes to baby movement monitors including the thefy Baby Smart Sock Snuza, and Angelcare.

9. Crib Sheets & Waterproof Mattress Pad

Just in case you ever wake up to wet crib sheets, the waterproof mattress pad will be a lifesaver! It goes under the sheets to protect the mattress from getting soaked.

A great newborn hack is to layer a waterproof mattress pad, a set of sheets, and then another waterproof mattress pad and another set of sheets.

If you ever wake up to wet sheets in the middle of the night, you can pull off the first layer of bedding and save yourself the trouble of changing a crib sheet in the middle of the night.

If you’re wondering how many crib sheets do I need, the answer is definitely more than one!

10. Video Monitor

This is another one for the parent’s sanity, but is so helpful! A video monitor allows you to check on your baby without entering their room and disturbing their sleep!

I loved having a video monitor, especially when we transitioned to a crib in the nursery. Once our daughter wasn’t in our room anymore, I loved being able to take a quick peak at her through the monitor and know that everything was okay.

11. Hatch Rest

When you feed your baby in the middle of the night, you want to keep the lights dim and the environment calm. The goal is to keep your baby in a sleepy state during the feeding and then get her back to bed!

Use the Hatch Rest or Rest Plus to keep the room dim for those middle of the night feeds. You can turn the light to a dim orange or red color with your phone to light up the room just enough before you go in to feed your baby. Then you can turn it off when you’re done to create a dark environment for sleeping.

This light is also great down the road as a toddler okay to wake clock. As your baby grows into a toddler, you can teach her to stay in her bed until the light turns green.

It also has a sound machine, so it really is multifunctional!

12. Humidifier

If your little one struggles with congestion, then it might be a good idea to have a humidifier in her room. It can help so much to get your sick baby to sleep when she comes down with a cold!

A humidifier adds moisture to the air in baby’s nursery and can help reduce symptoms like congestion, eczema, or a sore throat.

We always ran our humidifier when Evelyn had a cold. Some families like to run theirs throughout the winter months as well.

13. Overnight Diapers

Once your baby starts sleeping longer stretches at night (or through the night!) you’ll want to use the best overnight diapers to keep them dry,

Not all diapers are created equal. Here are the best overnight diapers as well as tricks for using diapers at night time to keep your baby dry!

newborn sleep program

14. Newborn Sleep Course

Learn how to setup good sleep habits for your newborn from the start! My Newborn Sleep Course is self-paced and gives you step-by-step instructions on how to help your newborn sleep and set a foundation for good sleep habits for life! Check it out here!

15. Ceiling Fan

Infants who sleep in a room with a ceiling fan have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In fact, sleeping with a fan lowers SIDS risk by more than 70%!

A ceiling fan is also nice if you live in a warmer climate and are wondering how to dress your baby in the summer.

How to dress my baby for sleep was always a looming question in our hot summers, so having the ceiling fan really gave me peace of mind that my daughter wouldn’t be too warm.

We all sleep a little better when we sleep on the cooler side. We got one at our local hardware store and my husband installed it in an afternoon.

There you have it! Those are the baby nursery must haves that I recommend for creating an optimum sleep environment!

Of course there are tons of other factors that can affect your baby’s sleep, but set up a good environment and you’re on you way to a good night’s rest!