Pokémon Sword and Shield: How to use the Pokémon Nursery to breed Pokémon

Pokemon Sword and Shield Wooloo hatching
Pokemon Sword and Shield Wooloo hatching (Image credit: iMore/ Casian Holly)

Since Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced Pokémon Eggs and babies, the Day Care Center and Nursery have been the ideal way for Pokémon Trainers to get the absolute best Pokémon possible. By breeding the same Pokémon over and over again, you get chance after chance at perfect IVs, the Nature you most want, the best Move Set, and even a possible Shiny Pokémon! Fortunately, Pokémon Sword and Shield have made the process of breeding Eggs and hatching them even easier than before, and I'm here to walk you through the process!

What do I need to start?

Before you can begin breeding Pokémon, you will have had to reach the Nursery on Route Five. You will also need to fight Team Yell on the bridge just past the Nursery to receive your Bike. Beyond that, it also helps to have a Ditto, but that's not entirely necessary. As long as you have a male and female pair of Pokémon to breed, you can usually get by without the Ditto. You will also need 1,000 PokéDollars to leave a pair or 500 Pokédollars to swap one of an existing pair.

Keep in mind that while you can breed different species of Pokémon together, they have to be in the same Egg Group to produce an Egg. In addition to this, if your pair off different species, the female will determine the species of the Egg. This is why the ratios for Starter Pokémon are skewed so heavily towards males because it makes it more difficult to breed more of them.

How to do the thing

  1. Pick out a pair of Pokémon to breed. This should include a male and a female Pokémon or a Ditto in either place. Not every pair can produce Eggs, so you need to make sure they are in the same Egg Group.
  2. Take your Pokémon to the Nursery Worker standing outside. If you're not already at the Nursery, the Corviknight Taxi will take you directly to the Nursery on Route Five.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Nursery

Pokemon Sword and Shield Nursery (Image credit: iMore/ Casian Holly)
  1. Leaving your Pokémon at the Nursery, press + to get on your bike.
  2. Ride your bike down the entire length of the Bridge to the right of the Nursery and back. Keep in mind that different Pokémon take longer to make Eggs than others, and different Eggs take longer to hatch than others. You may not need to ride the full length of the bridge for a good match with boosting items and the Flame Body ability.
  3. By now, the Nursery Worker should have her arms crossed, indicating she wants to talk to you. If she does not, you will need to ride more. If she does, press X to talk to her.
  4. She will tell you that your Pokémon was holding an Egg and ask if you would like it. Select Yes.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Nursery Lady Egg (Image credit: iMore)
  1. With the Egg now in your party, ride the length of the Bridge again.
  2. When you've ridden enough, a message will pop up saying simply, "Oh?"

Pokemon Sword and Shield Egg Hatching Oh? (Image credit: iMore/ Casian Holly)
  1. Watch the miracle of life! Er- I mean, watch as your Egg hatches!
  2. Return to the Nursery Worker at the end of each trip for another Egg.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Nursery Worker Take Care (Image credit: iMore/ Casian Holly)
  1. Repeat the process until you've hatched the Pokémon you're looking for. Each trip down the bridge and back was enough to get me another Egg, and they hatched nearly as quickly.

Egg Groups

Egg Groups are sort of like a Pokémon's Type. Every Pokémon falls into at least one Egg Group, though some have two. If Pokémon share an Egg Group, they can breed. The only exceptions to this are Ditto, which can breed with almost anything, and the Undiscovered Group, which is for unbreedable Pokémon, namely Legendary and Mythical Pokémon.

  • Monster Group: Examples include Snorlax and Larvitar
  • Water 1 Group: Examples include Mantine and Tympole
  • Water 2 Group: Examples include Goldeen and Barboach
  • Water 3 Group: Examples include Shellder and Binacle
  • Bug Group: Examples include Caterpie and Nincada
  • Flying Group: Examples include Hoothoot and Rufflet
  • Field Group: Examples include Vulpix and Eevee
  • Fairy Group: Examples include Spritzee and Swirlix
  • Grass Group: Examples include Oddish and Bounsweet
  • Human-Like Group: Examples include Machop and Tyrogue
  • Mineral Group: Examples include Onix and Vanillite
  • Amorphous Group: Examples include Gastly and Ralts
  • Dragon Group: Examples include Deino and Jangmo-o
  • Ditto Group: This group is just Ditto. This special little guy gets a group all to itself because it can breed with any Pokémon save for the Undiscovered Group Pokémon.
  • Undiscovered Group: This group encompasses most Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, as well as baby Pokémon and a few other special cases.

Special Cases

There are six Pokémon that must hold an item to produce an Egg.

  • Wobbuffet can only make a Wynaut Egg when holding a Lax Incense
  • Roselia or Roserade can only make a Budew Egg when holding a Rose Incense
  • Sudowoodo can only make a Bonsly Egg when holding a Rock Incense
  • Mr. Mime or Mr. Rime can only make a Mime Jr. Egg when holding an Odd Incense
  • Mantine can only make a Mantyke Egg when holding a Wave Incense
  • Snorlax can only make a Munchlax Egg when holding a Full Incense

Boosting your Breeding even further

There are other things you can do to make this already streamlined process go even quicker.

  • Compatibility: After you leave your Pokémon at the Nursery, speak with the Nursery Worker, and ask her how your Pokémon are doing. She will tell you how well they are getting along. The better they get along, the faster they will make Eggs.
  • Everstone: If a Pokémon is holding this item, their offspring will have the same Nature.
  • Flame Body: This ability allows Eggs to hatch faster when the Pokémon with it is in your party. Pokémon that can have Flame Body include: Sizzlipede, Centiskorch, Carkol, Coalossal, Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure.
  • Oval Charm: A reward for beating Leon, this item increases the amount of Eggs a Pokémon will lay.
  • Destiny Knot: This held item guarantees that five of a Pokémon's IVs will be passed on to their offspring instead of the usual three
  • IV Checker: Another reward for beating Leon, the IV Checker is an upgrade to your Rotom Dex that allows you to check any Pokémon's IVs.
  • Shiny Charm: If you're breeding for Shiny Variants, this item will make you three times as likely to get one. You get a Shiny Charm for completing your Pokédex.

And there you have it. Now you can breed and hatch all the Pokémon Eggs you've ever wanted! The real question is, what are you going to do with all these babies once they hatch? I'm sending most of mine off is Surprise Trades, but that's a subject for another guide altogether! Do you have any tips of your own for breeding and hatching? Just want to show off your latest hatch? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our many other Pokémon Sword and Shield Guides!

Casian Holly

Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.