How a Dad Can Set Up the Nursery during Pregnancy

By Mathew Miller, Sharon Perkins

Fun should rule the day when it comes to setting up the nursery, but overanxious parents-to-be, including new dads, often try to tackle too much at once. Begin your nursery designing with a planning session. Draw a bird’s-eye floor plan of the room.

Then start filling in the space with all the things you need and decide on the placement of all the furniture. Before you run out and start buying, measure the allotted spaces to make sure you don’t end up with an overstuffed debacle à la the Griswold family Christmas tree.

How to clear and paint the baby’s room

Unless you’re starting with an empty space, the next step is to empty the room and find a home for all your displaced things. This chore is the least fun thing to do, but don’t put it off. Having an organized room just for your baby makes you feel less anxious about bringing her home.

When the room is empty, painting is a cinch. Because pregnant women shouldn’t paint, this is your job. If you don’t have the time or desire to paint, find a friend, family member, or local painter to do it for you. Opt for odorless, VOC-free paint; it’s more expensive but emits fewer harmful chemicals that you and your baby would otherwise breathe in.

After the room is painted, have the carpets and rugs deep cleaned or refinish the floors if they need it.

How to buy and assemble the baby furniture

When the paint’s dry and the floors are ready, it’s all about shopping and assembly.

Budget some alone time for assembly if possible. Cribs often come with instructions that seem to be written in Swahili, and they don’t just pop together. They’re solidly constructed, which is good for baby’s safety but bad for your frustration threshold. Take your time and plan on spending a few hours on assembly. Lay out all the parts and read through the instructions (yes, actually read through the instructions!).

Most of today’s instructions offer picture-only guidance, which can be quite vague and frustrating. If you can’t understand what you should do based on the company’s illustrations, don’t just do what you think should be done. Take the time to call. The safety of your child is at stake — and your warranty, too.

Assemble the crib in the nursery because many cribs are too wide to fit through doorways, and won’t you be frustrated if you have to take it apart and do it all over again!

Some parents opt to use co-sleepers, which are small, three-sided cribs that butt up to your bed, keeping the baby very close at hand. This arrangement is ideal for late-night feedings but less ideal when considering the amount of your personal space you have to sacrifice.

Putting an infant directly in bed with you isn’t safe because adult bedding is soft and presents a smothering risk. Adults or other children in the bed can also smother an infant.