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How to set up a Nursery before Baby arrives – Dorothy Waide’s Advice

How to set up a Nursery before Baby arrives

The prospect having to create and set up a nursery can sometime be a daunting and overwhelming task. I suggest that you don’t leave this until you’re heavily pregnant and exhausted – but rather tackle it in the first or second trimester, when you’re hopefully still feeling energetic. Carrying (or building) furniture is not a job for the 39th week of your pregnancy…

If you run out of time, don’t panic – your baby will most likely be sleeping in your room for at least the first couple of months (as I write this, my baby is 9 months old and I haven’t moved him out yet!), but it is ideal to have set up your nursery before your baby is born.

I’m writing this with assistance from Dorothy Waide, New Zealand’s most sought after baby consultant and author of “You Simply Can’t Spoil a Newborn” – my favourite book from the ‘fourth trimester’.

You will also find a comprehensive list of items to buy to set up a nursery in made with love – your pregnancy journal.

Here’s a pic of when I set up our Nursery (it’s a lot messier now!)


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What to buy to set up a Nursery?


The major purchase (and only true necessity) of your baby’s nursery will be a cot. When you choose a cot, keep in mind not only aesthetics, but how easy it will be to manoevre with your ever-growing baby. Dorothy advocates the use of a cot with one side that moves up and down. If your baby needs help to settle and resettle, it is easier to do so without leaning too far over the sides. In the early days you may find it far easier to lower the level of the mattress and keep the side rail of the cot that moves up and down in its ‘down’ position until it is no longer safe to do so (when baby is more able to move).

Many parents choose not to purchase a new cot or simply find them unaffordable. If borrowing or buying second-hand, it is best to purchase a new mattress. You can skip using a bassinet and put your baby straight into their cot if you wish.

There are many cots on the market now which are adjustable as your baby grows into a toddler and beyond. Personally, we have the Stokke Sleepi cot pictured above from Dimples with the rounded edges which eventually becomes a large bed.

When purchasing products for your cot, all you really need are bottom fitted sheets and mattress protectors, no pillows, duvets etc. As you are creating your baby’s safe sleeping space, please read How to Set up Your Baby’s Cot Safely

Change Table

There’s no getting around it… you’re going to be spending a lot of time changing nappies, especially in those first few months (or should I say first few years). When you set up a nursery, you need to think about how you can comfortably and safely change your baby, without compromising on space. Dorothy recommends using a set of drawers that come up to your hip height – which gives you more space in the nursery and also provides a place to keep all your baby’s clothes. See Stokke Home Dresser.

As you set up the nursery, think about whether you will need a specific ‘nappy bin’ which masks the scent, or whether you will be regularly emptying the bin, in which case you may just have a plain pedal bin. For us, as our bedroom is two storeys above the main bins, we have a Sangenic bin from Winkalotts – it’s cheap to buy but can get expensive for the refills.

P.S. We recommend Treasures Care nappies – good for baby and the environment and the only nappy Made in New Zealand, and our favourite nappy change cream is Weleda’s Calendula Cream

Breastfeeding Chair

Personally, I have always just sat in bed to breastfeed. Our baby is still in our room, and he spent the first 6 months of his life sleeping in a SnuzPod (3 colours available from The Sleep Store) attached to our bed – pictured below.

Of course, if you have separate room to set up the nursery, you will need somewhere comfortable to sit. Dorothy suggests that before purchasing your chair have a trial run of both you and your partner sitting in the chair and imagine holding a baby for a long period of time in your arms and ensure that the chair has arm rests to support you while holding your baby. Ideally your feet are firmly on the ground or on a footrest – it is extremely important to be comfortable.


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One of the hardest things about having a baby is getting anything done because you can’t stop staring them while they sleep ? So, I put ‘made with love’ in the photo and now it counts as work #winwin

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Baby Monitor

If you have a very small house, you may not need a baby monitor, especially if your baby is in your room for the first little while. Whichever monitor you choose should last for all of your children, and of course it’s an easy, safe product to buy second-hand. We bought Arlo baby which connects to our home security system, described as “the all-in-one smart baby monitoring camera with 1080p HD video, lullaby player, night light, rechargeable battery and air sensors”. The only feature it doesn’t have which I might want for our next baby is the Angelcare sensory pads which sounds an alarm if your baby has not been breathing for 20 seconds. Dorothy recommends the Angelcare 3-in-1.

FAQ for How to Set up a Nursery before Baby Arrives

Should you Blackout your room?

Initially, your little person may not be so affected by light, but it is a good idea to at least darken the room for sleeps. Dorothy has travelled the world with babies and has always used darkened rooms for both their day and night sleeps. Some are light-sensitive and will find it hard to fall asleep easily in a bright room, or will wake up after only a short time. I suggest blackening out their windows totally and all the little lights from the electrical equipment in their room and see if this helps. Darkness triggers melatonin, a hormone that is released from your (and your baby’s) pineal gland, and is associated with your circadian clock and strengthening your immune system. I believe that having both daytime naps and night-time sleeping in a darkened room is the best option.

Dorothy’s favourite blackout product, and the one we now use, is the very affordable, quick and effective Sleepy Sundays instant blackout blinds – 100% blackout guaranteed.

How do you set up a nursery for twins or multiples?

To set up a nursery for twins or other multiples, think about doing so in a way that one person can work with both babies, ideally at the same time. It is best to have the cots side by side with standing room between them. For this reason, Dorothy also suggests you have cots with sides that go up and down because you are going to be settling and resettling two babies at once and this makes this step so much easier.

If you’re currently pregnant, don’t miss ‘made with love’ pregnancy journal and see also What to do when you find out you’re pregnant

What to do when you find out you’re Pregnant

The moment you find out you’re pregnant will be one of the most emotional and overwhelming feelings of your life – whether the pregnancy is a complete surprise or a long-awaited miracle, you may be wondering exactly what to do. Try not to stress, there isn’t a long list to follow, the most important thing will be to relax and take it easy as much as you can, but here’s a little guidance about what to do when you find out you’re pregnant.

What to do when you find out you’re Pregnant

  • Confirm your pregnancy with a urine test or HCG blood test
  • Find a midwife or other LMC
  • Immediately stop drinking alcohol
  • You may need to change your diet and supplements (i.e. Folic Acid and Iron)
  • Talk to a PT or midwife about continuity of exercise
  • If you do not wish to continue your pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

What to do when you suspect you might be Pregnant

Perhaps your period is late and you’re still wondering if you’re pregnant. If you suspect that you might be pregnant, take a test at your earliest opportunity to confirm your pregnancy, either with a home pregnancy test (available over-the-counter at supermarkets or pharmacies), or at your doctor’s. Pregnancy tests ascertain the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in your urine. HCG hormone will only be present if you are pregnant. The instructions will generally be to collect a little urine in a cup and use an eyedropper to move a small amount of urine onto the testing stick.

In most normal pregnancies, HCG hormone levels doubles every 48-72 hours, so even if you can’t remember when your last menstrual cycle (period) was, the HCG levels can be used to give you an estimate of ‘how pregnant’ you are. Once you have confirmed the pregnancy with the ‘pee stick’ test, you may wish to visit your doctor to get a blood test, which can tell you the exact HCG levels.

When do you need to find a Midwife or LMC after you find out you’re Pregnant?

When you find out out you’re pregnant, you may feel anxious to speak to an expert, and possibly find your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) – either a midwife or an obstetrician. Midwifery care in New Zealand is one of the best in the world, and unless you have a high risk pregnancy, there is no need to use an obstetrician, though some people choose to. The cost of using an obstetrician is approximately $5-7,000, whereas pregnancy care by Midwives in New Zealand is free. If your midwife discovers any complications during your pregnancy, you will be referred to an obstetrician and the remainder of your care with them will be free of charge.

It is advisable to find your midwife within your first trimester. The earlier you get in touch with one, the better the likelihood that she has availability to take you on as a patient. See How to find a Midwife in New Zealand.

When you find out you’re Pregnant, you need to look after your body and your baby

The advice from is to stop drinking alcohol if you could be pregnant, are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Every time you drink alcohol, your baby’s tiny body absorbs the alcohol which is carried from your blood stream, through the placenta, to your baby. Your baby can’t break down alcohol like you can.

It is also advisable to immediately change your diet, because some foods harbour risky bacteria which can cause food poisoning. Food poisoning can also seriously harm your baby and put your pregnancy at risk. See What Foods to Avoid When Pregnant, and also, increase your nutritional value with Foods to Eat When Pregnant.

If you have not already been doing so, you should take prenatal vitamins and/or iron supplements if necessary.

What to do about exercise when you find out you’re Pregnant

It is advisable to stay as fit and healthy as you can during your pregnancy, while also taking care of your growing baby. I have shared my exercise and F45 journey during my pregnancy, as well as some general advice around taking care of yourself. It is advisable to talk to a personal trainer or at least discuss with your midwife or LMC how to look after your body safely during pregnancy.

Put your feet up

It is so important for both mother and baby that you rest during your pregnancy. Put your feet up, relax, try not to stress, get lots of sleep, and create a keepsake of this beautiful time with the made with love pregnancy journal (NZ link/Aus link) journalling is so therapeutic and you will be so glad you did in years to come.

If you do not wish to continue your Pregnancy

For some women pregnancy can be a difficult time. You may need someone to talk to or you may want some specific support. A midwife or your doctor will be able to talk to you about any issues you face. It is your right to terminate your pregnancy if you want to. Visit Abortion Services in New Zealand, ring 0800 ABORTION (0800 226 784) or talk to your doctor or nurse.

The best engagement gifts for the Bride-to-be!

Whether she’s your best friend, your colleague or even your daughter, we’re rolling out the red carpet of the absolute best engagement gifts for a new bride to be. Whatever your budget, these are thoughtful ideas for engagement gifts the bride will treasure. Cue the Celebrations…

The Best engagement gifts for your Bestie

BFFs, you don’t have an unlimited budget (maybe you’re planning your own wedding too) but you want your engagement gift to stand out as special. You’ve probably already celebrated over Champagne, so how can you best mark the occasion with a physical gift?

Chances are you’re also part of the bridal party, so as well as organising her bachelorette party, you’ll be tagging along to wedding-dress shopping trips, and then helping her pick out the bridesmaids gowns. You can make all of the above easier on yourself too, by buying her a wedding planner book – somewhere she can make a note of all her appointments and inspirations. Enter the little white book – if you’re married you may have used it yourself. I can ship to New Zealand and Australia within a week (see Australian little white books store).

Gifts for your newly Engaged Work Wife

It can be tricky to choose the right present for your colleague, and finding engagement gifts which strike the right note for your work wife might be hard. You two probably see more of each other than most of your best friends, maybe even your fiance, but the relationship is slightly different, because she’s still a coworker. You may not know if you’ll be invited to the wedding, so you don’t want to go overboard. If you and a few others want to contribute together on a gift, dinner for the newly engaged couple is a thoughtful gesture, or if it’s just you, something small for the home such as cake forks or cheese knives.

Engagement Gifts from the Bridal Party

Instead of each separately purchasing engagement gifts for the bride-to-be, you and the other bridesmaids might want to contribute to something together. Something blue bridal boxes offer New Zealand’s only bridal subscription box. You can send the bride a monthly treat (8-10 engagement gifts per month) for just $37 – the perfect way to keep her in good spirits and feeling excited about wedding planning. Gifts include planning essentials (the Luxe box even includes the little white book wedding planner).

Unique and Personal Engagement Gifts

If you’ve been scrolling through lists of engagement gifts and don’t feel inspired by any of the traditional choices, don’t feel pressured to pick something specifically ‘bridal’ or that has anything to do with wedding planning. Anything can be an engagement gift – you’ll know the couple best and what will be treasured by them personally. If you have enough time, something personalised will always feel special – this personalised engagement ring dish is one of the most beautiful engagement gifts I’ve found, though the time-frame to create this gift is about 3-4 weeks plus shipping.


Mama knows best!

Choosing an engagement gift for your Daughter or future Daughter in Law? We already know you’re going to be invaluable in helping her plan her big day, so why not give her something just to spoil her? Book a nail date for you to both enjoy while her hands are the centre of attention or give the gift of a pampering facial and massage, I recently had the most divine one at Sydney Beauty (if you’re in Auckland).

Bridal Bargains for a Luxe Wedding

Noone wants a “budget” wedding, but the reality is we’re all trying to plan the wedding of our dreams while spending comfortably within our means. There’s no recipe for unease like heading into your newlywed years with crippling wedding debt, and I’d much rather help you to plan and budget for a wedding you can afford, with money left over to splurge on your honeymoon too. With that in mind, I’ve curated a list of bridal bargains that’ll still have you feeling a million dollars on your big day.

Location, Location, Location – Wedding Venues that Don’t Cost the Earth

Your wedding venue is not only most likely your biggest expense, but what you choose will impact so many other wedding budget variables. For instance, the hireage fee at one venue may be larger than another, but if it allows you to supply alcohol or off-site catering, you’re likely to be able to save more there. Have a look at what’s involved in a DIY or ‘BYO style’ wedding venue -, this will involve more work on your part, but if you get organised early, it’s definitely achievable.

It’s worth thinking outside the box for your venue, too, see 20 Alternative & Unique Wedding Venues for every budget. Does anyone in your family have a great backyard you can convert into a dreamy garden party, or is your favourite restaurant suitable for a large group? The most expensive options are often all-inclusive wedding venues and vineyards, but you could spend much less hiring out a large bach with beach-access for your summer wedding, for instance, or opt for an off-season date, which is usually much cheaper.

Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget

Don’t be alarmed, I’m not about to suggest your guest BYO or that you serve boxed wine (unless you want to!). Naturally, the easiest way to save on drinks is just to choose a cheaper drop, but there are other ways to save without compromising on flavour. For wine and beer, the supermarket is often cheapest and they usually accept returns, whereas liquor stores tend to charge a restocking fee. Champagne or bubbles will probably be your biggest splurge, but you can save money by having other options available at the same time Champagne is served. At your post-ceremony bar for instance, as well as having bubbles, offer guests a choice of beer or ready-to-drink cocktails. For our wedding, we made large dispensers of fruity punch and Pimms, as well as having RTD bottles available. This cut down on the amount of Champagne our guests drank in those hours and we were able to return 20 bottles of bubbles to the supermarket.

Can Wedding Dress and Budget ever coexist?

There’s probably no other time in your life that you would consider spending $5-10,000 on an outfit, let alone a single garment. Unless you’re actually Beyonce, that’s just out of the question, right? It’s not just a dress, though, right? It’s your wedding dress, and we all know that once you prefix a word with ‘wedding the price is no longer eye-wateringly expensive, but actually sounds like a reasonable investment. I completely overspent on my wedding dress, but that doesn’t mean I recommend doing so. Given my chance again, I’d almost certainly save 80% on the cost of my attire, and have a longer honeymoon!

If you don’t want to spend 4 months’ rent on your wedding dress, you have options – and some of them are seriously worthwhile. While some of the best wedding dress bargains are available on sites like ASOS, you can support local Kiwi designers by buying off the rack dresses, whether you go for an off the rack “wedding dress”, a white or ivory “bridesmaids’ dress”, or for something that’s not “bridal” at all. If you want a more traditional looking ‘wedding dress’, personally I’d go for one on ASOS, – the sequin kimono style is my current fave, and still totally luxe, on a budget.

Kardashian Level Florals that Don’t Cost the Earth?

In a word… no. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West spent US$2.8 million on their wedding, and estimated upward of $100,000 on the flowers alone – and it shows…

Flowers are one element of a wedding which can really blow the budget. Like a wedding cake, the expense is twofold – the raw materials (flowers themselves) and the labour for an extensive amount of time, thought and care on the part of your florist. There’s also the cost of transportation and storage, all of which are included (don’t underestimate the importance of storing flowers at the right temperature).

If you’re trying to save money on flowers but still want to achieve a luxe, professional look, I’d suggest scaling back on volume, rather than trying to DIY. Think of flowers and decor as accessories, not the main feature of your decor. Of course, you could take your bridal party along to a flower workshop and learn how to tie a bouquet, but you may already have a busy few days leading up to the wedding, before you think about going to flower markets and then undertaking the work yourself.

If you’re planning your wedding, I’d love to know how else you’ve trimmed a few costs, or how you’re planning to do so. Leave a comment with your planning wisdom below!

Wedding Dress of the Week – Counting Stars (NZ Made)

When I discovered this gorgeous unique star inspired wedding dress my mind was blown. White stars, silver sequins, european fabrics and wait for it…. the COUNTING STARS DRESS is MADE IN NEW ZEALAND by designers Bloom Blush! Whaaaaaat!?

“The dress is unique and airy, and it is a perfect choice for a boho or a traditional romantic wedding on the beach. Each dress is designed in New Zealand, inspired by the endless beauty of Nature and handmade by highly professional tailors, using materials that are carefully chosen from all over the world.” – Bloom Blush

See more of their gorgeous gowns HERE.


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