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How to Combine a Home Office With a Nursery

Well Rounded's news editor shares how she made room for her second baby.

How to Combine a Home Office With a Nursery

When I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, I was faced with a major dilemma: give up my office for a second nursery or let my two girls bunk together. Neither option felt right for us, so I decided to create a space that I would share with my new baby -- an office that moonlights as a nursery (or maybe it's the other way around?).

This teeny-tiny room is basically a glorified closet. So I really tried to maximize the space and function of the room, while creating an environment that felt like home for both my daughter and me.

Here's how my tiny nursery + office hybrid came to life, in four steps.

Step 1: Common Ground

The unifying force in this room is the mural. I've been pining for a wall mural somewhere in our house for quite a while, and I even considered trying to paint my own before I found this gorgeous paint stroke mural from Anewall. I love the modern look it gives to the room the second you peek in. It's striking and eye catching, even to my three month old daughter, Gentry, who loves staring at it.

The shelving is also a place for our worlds to intertwine: my computer, camera and photos blend so perfectly with her toys, towels and baby monitor. The Japanese language blocks are from Bitte, my go-to for cute shelfie items. You can't go wrong on their site. They also have Chinese, Spanish, Korean and ASL blocks. My husband is Japanese -- my girls are Mila Yayoi and Gentry Miyoko -- so we thought the Japanese blocks might pique their interest in the language. The lovey and the little wooden bunnies are from Bitte, too.

Step 2: Baby Essentials

Although I get the most use out of this room, it is, ultimately, the room my baby sleeps in. The crib, the rocker and the blankets are all must-haves.

I fell in love with the Jubilee crib from Babyletto the second I saw it. It's a 30in-1 convertible crib, and it's one of the only new things in the room. I'm also obsessed with how soft the muslin quilt from Little Unicorn -- a registry must-have.

The rocking chair is the same one I've rocked my older daughter, Mila, in since she was born. It is so comfortable, but dreadfully covered in stains, so sheepskin Ikea sheepskin to the rescue.

Step 2: Mama Essentials

My half of the room is this glorious DIY wall mounted desk my husband put together for me.

The rails and brackets are Rubbermade from Home Depot. They come white, but we painted them green. The chair is one of our dining room chairs from Ikea that I sanded and painted gold a few years back. When we have extra dinner guests, I'll just carry the chair back to the dining table.

I mostly work from my laptop, but when I edit video I like to use a larger screen, which I keep in the closet with my wifi printer when they're not in use, so the room doesn't feel too cluttered.

Step 4: All the extras

A long time ago, a friend of mine taught me to first "go shopping" in my own house when redecorating. It's some of the best design advice I've ever received; and I love repurposing things (mostly because I'm sort of a hoarder and hate throwing things out), so I welcome it with open arms.

I love that nearly every piece in this room brings some nostalgia to the space. The cacti hanging on the wall are tiny pillows I made for Mila's mobile when she was a newborn. I didn't do a mobile in this room, so instead I literally went outside and got a stick off a tree in our yard and strung them up.

The brass swan (similar here) is from a vintage store in Baltimore, where my husband and I lived before becoming parents -- a little nod to our pre-kid life. Plus, I spotted the exact same swan in a scene of Mad Men in Don and Megan's Manhattan apartment. Kind of weird, but also kind of cool!

The cowhide rug is a gift from a friend who recently sold everything he owned and now lives on a sailboat. The camera is my first DLSR and the lens is from on of the Sony BetaCams I used back in my days as a television reporter.

For now, this space really works for us. Having a beautiful place to get my work done really motivates me more than sitting at the dining room table; and I love that I can stay close to my snoozing baby while getting work done.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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