No Baby Nursery? No Problem. Not Having a Nursery Is Not the End of the World

Perfection is over-rated

What happens when you are living with space constraints? We are thinking of you city mamas out there or those living with families, or what happens when life has something bigger planned for you, and there was no time for a nursery?


What is ‘perfect’ or ‘normal’?

The questions that an expectant mother often hears include: “what color is the nursery?” “what is the theme?” “do you have the nursery ready?” “is the crib assembled?”

Following we share our two very different stories. One in LA. One in New York.

Welcoming a baby into a ‘perfect’ nursery is ‘normal’, but  we are here to tell you, that the pressure to have the perfect pale hue or the Pinterest worthy pacifier vase filled to the brim is a beautiful thing, but so is welcoming a baby without one.

Our Stories:

Knowing Your Truth

The first story is from Sarah. If you were to bullet point my experiences, they look like this.

  • 1st Child: preparation was my work; by that, I mean:
    • I was working full time for a baby product company
    • Which led to me being totally over-informed and over indexed on ‘stuff’ for her arrival
    • At home I was painting the nursery pink and the ceiling with big fluffy clouds
    • The well-informed baby registry was on point
  • 2nd child: unexpected, kind of…
    • Our second child came along unexpectedly
    • Not, as in an unexpected pregnancy. Rather in a, “would you like to take home your son right now,” adoption kind of way
    • No nursery, no problem

When asked if we could take him home immediately, I remember saying, “sure, I just need to go buy a car seat.” And hearing, “we can lend you one.” I talked through the rationality. When said aloud, "I guess all I need to do is get food and diapers". It was a vivid point of clarity. You are enough.

It turns out my husband was traveling. So, we went back the next morning so we could all greet our son as a family.

But at that moment, when I knew I could be taking our son home that night, my lack of preparation with respect to product was not an issue. I had the heart. All I needed was a car seat, a friend with a crib, and basic feeding and diapering supplies. No nursery. No problem.

Story TWO: Three bros and an expectant lady 

The second story is from Mary in the space constraints of a city, combined with a non-traditional roommate situation

My husband and I moved into a large 3-bedroom apartment thinking we would have plenty of space for our family to grow, and that it did, says Mary.

We welcomed our two friends to live with us while they moved nomadically through life, becoming three bros and an expectant lady. One now lives the life of a traveler, but the other is still living with us and our two girls.

Taking Life as it Comes

When our first baby came along, she was welcomed to the world into 4 loving sets of arms at home. “But where will she sleep?” was the question that weighed heavily on other’s minds. We just continued to say that we would figure it out and make a change as we go.

For us, normal meant moving a dresser and a crib into our room and cohabitating with our baby, who turned infant, who grew to a toddler, and, as a preschooler, now shares her room with her infant sister.

It was not perfect in the eyes of many, but for us it worked. We watched TV, carried on conversations, put laundry away, and occasionally did pushups all while she happily snoozed in her crib. We still had a baby monitor for when we were out of the room, but there was something cozy about having her settled in her crib a few feet away.

Two babies, two parents, two friends and a small space

Our second was welcomed into 5 sets of loving arms, and our shared bedroom. Two babies, two parents, a small space, and a lot of love.

When one roommate moved out, we expanded to two rooms where big and little sister now share and mom and dad are just down the hall. Just like all transitions and milestones, we took them in stride. For example, when it came time for her to sleep in her own room, we assembled the toddler bed and made the rule, “you sleep in your room with your sister now”. Of course, it was not as easy as that but we did what all parents do, we caved at times when there was a hint of a sniffle and stood our ground at other times when we thought we should stand up to our toddler.

What did we learn? Like many parents struggling with toddler sleep, we learned that snuggling with our baby to help her fall asleep was cozy and comforting to everyone.  Yet, it wasn’t sustainable for us. Now we read, listen to music, and sit next to her bed till she falls asleep, sometimes up to an hour. We learned to put our second baby down awake and let her play, coo, chat, and sometime cry herself to sleep.

Both ways (and both babies) are ok.

What is Your Truth?

Just know, as long as your baby is loved, held, fed, communicated and played with; your other choices are not the end of the world.

In considering your parenting and situational truth, are you more akin to a beautiful nursery for your baby? A tribe life? An organized and planned life? Making up the sleep as you go along? We all have our own parenting realities. It is important to understand your truth, what works in your house, and be flexible when it doesn't work at all.

- Sarah and Mary

Both Mary and Sarah had to uproot the idea of a perfect nursery for different reasons. And, both are a-ok with it. Sometimes your parenting truth gets in the way of your idealized perspective. It happens. Often. Sign up for our free confidence-boosting weekly Baby Buzz email for insights to help you in your parenting journey.