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What dad can do: nursery prep

#3—Put the furniture together. Please? ?

What dad can do: nursery prep

Your body is growing and changing to accommodate baby, you’re prepping for maternity leave and you’re reading about how to be a breastfeeding boss. There are lots of ways for mama to connect with baby throughout her pregnancy.


But what about dad? He may be thinking, “When is this going to feel real?” And we think it’s safe to say that once you set up your little one’s room—it’s a game changer. Their little clothes in the drawers, their stuffed teddy bear sitting on the glider, the diapers lining the changing table...it all reminds you that yes, this is actually happening.

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Nursery prep is the perfect way for dad to bond with the baby and be a huge help to you.

Here are 7 ways the papa-to-be can dive right into setting up the nursery.

1. Pick a theme or a color scheme.

Dad could start his own Pinterest board to gather ideas of things he likes for the nursery. Compare notes and together finalize a theme for the room or specific colors you want to use. Then he can go buy the paints and painting materials so you can start the transformation.

2. Consider wall-to-wall carpeting or an area rug.

Your little one is going to spend some time on the floor in their nursery. Whether you guys are playing with their toys or getting a quick diaper change, it’s going to happen. Ask your husband to check out wall-to-wall carpeting and rug options so the nursery is a soft place for baby to spend time.

3. Put furniture together.

You’ll most likely have some combination of a crib, a glider/rocker, a changing table, a dresser, a bookshelf, etc. Have dad grab his toolbox and start putting these pieces together! Remember, mamas shouldn’t be lifting heavy things, so dads may be on their own for this one. You can do it! (And make sure you do it safely—remember to harness furniture to the wall.)

4. Set up changing table area.

A photo posted by Bouthybek (@bouthybek) on

Once the changing table is put together, add all the necessary items to it—diapers, wipes, butt paste, onesies, a diaper pail, extra changing pad covers, hand sanitizer, etc. Preparation is key.

5. Set up the monitor.

Ask your husband to find a good, clear, safe space to set up your monitor. Your monitor will be a super-helpful gadget to use once baby is sleeping in her crib. It’ll allow you two time to yourselves without having to worry about constantly checking on baby.

6. Wash the baby’s clothes.

You probably have lots of new clothes for the baby. And now it’s officially time to start getting them ready. Wash them in baby-safe detergent, then fold them and put them away in the drawers, and wait patiently for your chance to dress her in that amazingly cute little dress.

7. Take care of the little details.

There may be little additions that will make the nursery even more amazing for your child, like blackout curtains and a sound machine. These can truly do wonders for relaxation.

If you have a couple of rooms to choose from for the nursery, it’s probably best to choose the room closest to yours. That way, it’ll be easier to hear your little one and you won’t have to trek too far.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re following all safety protocol from the International Association for Child Safety.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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