Monday, January 20, 2014

Baby Nursery on a Budget 101

When we found out we're going to have a baby, we were in the middle of the remodeling of our house so I had a limited budget to count on, so I had 2 options: First - buy everything people are talking about...all the traditional nursery furniture BUT I would have to look for the cheapest options available. OR I could limit my search to the stuff that I really need, and get the things I LOVE. So I chose the 2nd option and here are some of my ways to save some money on nursery.

I know this may sound surreal and pretty weird (especially after you visit baby stores and see all the gigandous amount of stuff that is "oh so nice to have", but in reality you can live without EVERYTHING that you normally considered a nursery furniture: Crib,Changing table, Rocking chair, Dresser.
In theory, you can co-sleep with your baby, change his diaper on your bed, rock him on your arms, and put his clothes in your own dresser, right? So lets start with this idea in mind, and decide which of the stuff listed we need.

Here is my point of view:

      Sleeping with a baby in his first 2-3 months of life I consider to be not safe. And the WHO too as far as I know) They are just too tiny and not as mobile. I've also heard about some cases when babies actually died of suffocation as a result of co-sleeping. So yes. Crib was an absolute must-have for us. 

Now let's talk about cribs.

        Prices are anywhere in the range 100-1000$ depending on the amount you want to pay. But again its only function is to be a good sturdy bed for your little one, and something tells me that on average the cheapest and the most expensive options do this job equally good, and it is only a matter of how fancy you want to go and what design of the crib you need.
We were looking for the white crib made of hardwood and that's pretty much it=)))
I did my job and made a huge research on reviews,prices,quality etc across the stores...
And well...Walmart...I personally not a fan of that store...but you just can't beat it.
At the time we got our crib the had a sale - get a crib and a mattress for 150$ (And they still have it actually)
 And this is our Graco Lauren Convertible 4 in 1 crib. 

simple,white,hardwood,easy to assemble and just beautiful. The reviews on walmart website were controversial. Some stated that the product comes with imperfections, scratches etc. I was aware of it, and we checked every single plank on the crib -everything was perfect and nicely packed. Even in case if its not you can always return it to the store and get a new one, right?
(on amazon you will pay the same 150$ only for this crib without mattress)

and a mattress we got is Kolcraft - Pediatric 800 Crib and Toddler Mattress

unlike the crib, the quality of the mattress is VERY important for the baby's back, and I didn't want to save on that. However, how surprised I was when I realized that this mattress that we are getting for free as a bundle has more positive reviews and better ratings than the most popular mattress sold on amazon (safety 1st - 763 reviews 4.5 stars) vs 1420 reviews and 4.5 stars for this one. Impressive, isn't it? 
So far after 5.5 months of everyday use, I'm happier than ever with the choice we made.

Next is rocking chair. Is it nice to have a rocking chair to cuddle you tiny bundle of joy?-Well, yeah...
Is it necessary to have one?-not at all. It is that type of thing you can easily skip. The price range for rocking chairs is anywhere from 100$ to 700$ on Amazon. When our daughter was colicky (at a period 3-7 weeks) I used the yoga ball, I bought during pregnancy, to rock her (exercising for mama and rocking for the baby)). But honestly,I don't remember when was the last time I had to rock her. And I never actually felt sorry that I didn't get a rocking chair. So yup- money saved. 

Changing Table

hmmm...this is the interesting one. every nursery MUST have a changing table,right?)Well...not exactly.
First of all, Are you planning on sharing a room with your baby for a bit? We decided to sleep in the same room till she is 6 months-1 year (to save on baby monitor))So if you plan to be in the same room with you baby then you probably won't even need a changing table - it is much more comfortable to do everything on your bed. Trying to stand up,hold your baby and change her with your eyes half-closed at 3AM is not fun . And well after 5-6 months I wouldn't even risk putting my baby on the changing table -because they do roll and move and crawl so fast...I would just be scared that she may fall from such height.
 If that's not the case and the baby is sleeping in the separate room then there is an amazing alternative - Dresser+changing pad instead of official changing table and dresser. Isn't that an awesome idea to same space and money? That's exactly what we did. 
So let's notice that Changing table price range is 80-500$
And so we're moving to the tricky one - dresser.


So As I've mentioned before we decided to skip on changing table and get a dresser and put changing pad on top.
The dresser we needed had to be white, hardwood, appropriate height (I needed to use it as a changing table so it had to be around waste-line tall. Also the drawers had to be deep and nice size. And so the dresser-hunt began. Dressers are quite expensive -especially the tall ones (and it had to be a pretty wide one too) so price tags 250-650$.
It took me a long time but I finally figured that Ikea has a perfect-sized hardwood dresser. It was manufactured in 3 different colors : red,greyish, white. BUT the first two were actually hardwood and the white one (the one I needed) was laminated. aaand the price was 160$ for the grey one but 200$ for the white. Guess what? We bought a grey one and partially painted it white. I also got some fancy knobs from world market and here we go: fancy,custom,beautiful, perfect dresser for 160$.

+ Changing pad (15$) (Summer infant contoured changing pad)

Can you beat the price?)))

A little side not - I really DO love this dresser. The drawers are so big. It fits all baby's clothes, wash clothes, hygiene supplies, first aid kit, diapers, wipes, snowsuit (2 of them actually)) baby carrier...everything is in there at one place and I couldn't be happier.
 I did sew a beautiful cover for the changing pad and was very excited to use it...but to be completely honest I never did. From the first day of our daughter's life till now I change her on our bed...Just can't force myself to stand by her side, trying to hold her with one hand and change her diaper with the other when she makes her attempts to roll from me like 50 times in those 2 minutes.
But for those who won't have their bed in the same room with the baby this solution will really save you space and more money.

So this was my story of creating the nursery I love with the amount of money I felt confident to spend. 
And here are some pictures of our nursery (though it doesn't have all the decorations yet you can still get an idea.))I have a huge nursery remodeling post coming too.

I hope you liked the post :)
So overall I've spent 150$ for the crib and mattress +10$ mattress cover ("keep me dry")+ 160$ for the dresser+ 15$ changing pad. = 335$ total
Papasan chair - 15$ Menards (was on clearance)
Ikea lamp - 15$
Thread ball lamp , changing pad cover + all the bedding are made by me.