Since the first day when I found out, we are expecting. I consciously started to prepare for this magical moment and began my research on how to provide the best of the best for our little angel.
Pretty soon I came to realize, my first official act as a parent (besides having a baby) - is getting/ purchasing baby furniture. Moreover, those who know me would confirm that I do not like to leave it for the last moment, and always plan ahead. So, here I am, one step ahead.
The same emotions applied to both: excited at first and a little nervous, too. Then, came the questions and plans. While living in Norway has many benefits, I soon found out how limited are my choices when shopping for the baby. While for many of your out their online stores and express shipping bring the world of baby gear to your doorstep, ordering more significant goods abroad seems to be out of the question for us in Norway. If the value of the taxable items including freight and insurance costs is NOK 350 (approx. 35 EUR/ 40 USD) or more, you have to pay taxes for those items (source: Toll Customs). Moreover, just like that, I felt utterly overwhelmed and a bit discouraged.
Everyone encouraged me to relax and trust myself because baby furniture is not that complicated. Well, that's what I did - I had to make some decisions. However, more time I spent researching, more often I started to think I am running out of time to get everything settled in fast. It seems the time was flying and I am not moving ahead even a bit.
Eventually, I convinced myself that the best nurseries start with honest answers about available space and budget rather than my favorite styles. Also, my husband doubted that the baby would care that much; instead it is about making our lives and the changes in it relatively comfortably. So, once I figured out what would work for us, I moved forward with a bit more confidence and gave myself a word to keep the balance between sticking with baby basics and going over the top. Please share with me what you think how I did by commenting below.
In weeks 14 – 16, my hubby and I started scouting the local Oslo shops before deciding on what to buy. As relatively new immigrants in Norway, we had no idea of what to expect and what was available out there. So, I thought it is not a bad idea to start looking around relatively early. We knew for sure that comfort is a priority. An in-person look gave us a better idea of the quality, too.
Then I moved my research to online stores. However, for the same reason mentioned above, I had to limit myself with Norwegian online shops. Maybe just two days in and I was overwhelmed again and wondered where I should actually begin.
Starting with Sleep
On one of the mommies blogs out there, I found a brilliant recommendation to begin from finding a suitable crib for our baby girl and build our nursery around it. Everyone has different opinions about sleeping arrangements, but no one can argue this: you need sleep, and so does your baby. It is probably an essential piece of furniture, and it’s highly regulated.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) study, to avoid ‘Sudden infant death syndrome’ (SIDS) or ‘Crib/Cot death’ among infants, it is recommended that children sleep in the same room as their parents until they are six months to a year old, though not in the same bed.
We rent a lovely one bedroom apartment, twenty minutes away by bus from the city center. Since we just recently moved in, breaking a lease was out of the question. While everyone recommended placing a stationary crib from a get-go, unfortunately, it was out of the question since space is in the bedroom is very limited. So, we decided to get a bassinet for the first months, and a stationary crib for later on.
I decided to start with finding the stationary crib, diaper table, etc. first and knowing myself, dedicating my energy and time for that close to the due date, and even more, when the baby girl is born, would be out of the question.
All in all, I wish-listed my favorite crib - Stokke Sleepi, from Stokke AS, Norway. The idea that it can be used with the baby from zero to about three years, or up to ten years with the optional Junior Expansion Kit, was really attractive. However, the price was indeed a concern, so as the days passed, I felt genuinely uncomfortable spending all this money for a crib, even though it grows with the baby. Therefore, I looked in for available cheaper options.
While it felt exciting to score a cheap second-hand crib on Finn.no, but I came soon to realize that buying new is best. After a while, I focused on Swedish shop - Ikea and their options. Maybe the design of the cribs was not what I wished at the moment, but the fact that they were affordable to us, made me and most importantly my husband happy.
So, my final choice was Stuva / Följa cot with two drawers under for extra storage.
The design is pretty classic; I love the colorful handle stickers on the drawers that you can write on with chalk. I like the idea of getting the most from our money, so the fact that the cot can be transformed for an older child when she is large enough to climb in/out of her bed was also attractive. Most importantly, it meats European standard EN 716-1, specifying "safety requirements and test methods for children’s cots for domestic use with an internal length greater than 900 mm but not more than 1 400 mm." (Source: UL)
I also purchased the mattress Jättetrött to fit in the chosen crib. The mattress complies with EN 16890, a requirement specified by the Common European Standardization Organization CEN (Comité Européen de Normalization). Unlike the dreamy clouds of comfort you might create in your own bedroom, crib mattresses recommended to be firm, like a brick. In addition to this, I ordered two pieces of waterproof Len mattress protection (59 NOK each) and an adorable multi-colored bed set
Drömland for 129 NOK (approx. 12 EUR or 14 USD), though I haven't purchased the bedding just yet.
All in all, I saved more than half of the price when comparing with the cradle, I wished at first.
The Changing Table and Dressers
The other bigger item of the must-have in the nursery list is the changing table. We have a relatively small apartment, so I truly wondered if we need to purchase it. If not, then how do people who do not have a changing table do it? We’re trying to save money when possible, so I looked for recommendations on how to replace it. The idea of changing my angel on the floor was out of the question since Blaze is always wondering around, so it might not be as clean as it should; changing on the bed, on the couch, in my lap, in a stroller...anywhere that I could lay my daughter down long enough to change her – it’s a definite maybe. However, when I saw there was quite a lot options, ranging from 300 – 3600 NOK (from approx. 28 EUR or 32 USD to 340 EUR or 385 USD), I did some more digging, and then I came across Stuva collection on Ikea.no.
I instantly fell in love with crib matching changing table with convenient space for storage within reach. This changing table follows the child's development and can easily be converted into a play table or desk as she grows. And, again, the idea of getting more for the money sold it to me. Even it is not that short on space, this one will allow us to remove the changing portion as the baby grows, so we can use the same piece of furniture for years to come.
Let me know what you think about this choice below. Do you think it is a good one to purchase? Would you buy it for your nursery?
While others convinced me that a dresser might not be necessary, well, not at first at least, I soon came to realize that it doesn't apply to us. In a relatively small apartment, we only have the basics to meet our needs. This is also true when it comes to storage space. So, a new member of the family needs her own space too, so I moved ahead and chose two more, matching the crib and the changing table, items, as a great home base for her clothes, blankets, and all those tiny toys. I thought the possibility to write on those colorful handles would be a great help to keep everything organized. Therefore, I also purchased the commode with a cabinet and two deep drawers for 1030 NOK (approx. 97 EUR or 110 USD). I considered it being of a child-friendly piece height, which will make it easier for our daughter to reach and keep track of her things, as she grows older. Also, I added a smaller four drawers commode for 840 NOK. Again, it will be a perfect height for our little angel when the time comes. She will easily pick up and find things herself.
So, all in all, we spent 6 463 NOK (approx. 612 EUR or 694 USD) for all of the items. My husband was happy to know that all this cost for the approximately the same money I was thinking of spending for the crib I wished at first. Everything was delivered within a week and a half straight to us. It took us only one day to assemble everything. All we need right now is just rearrange everything in the apartment, so we make some spaces for new cheerful furniture.
For now, every piece of newly purchased furniture looks pretty sad and empty. So, it is quite difficult to control myself and not let me loose on a shopping spree for decorative pieces. However, I came across quite a few blogs and moms out there that do not recommend on decking out the crib. While a crib skirt is a fine and lovely piece, but they suggest on skipping the bumpers, sleep positioners, and monogrammed pillows for the safety of the baby.
TIP: If you consider yourself a lucky one, I suggest following your local baby shops and suppliers on your favorite social media channels. There are quite a few opportunities to participate in the arranged giveaways. If you live in Norway, I suggest on following Babybanden AS, Babycare AS, Babyshop AS, and others. There is always one or two giveaway of the item you might in need at the moment.