If you haven’t started getting your baby’s nursery ready yet, then this is great article for you to read for some foundational thoughts as you prepare for baby’s arrival. If you already have your baby’s nursery organised and ready, there are a few nuggets of wisdom for you too. No judgement – just some friendly advice, based on my knowledge as a baby sleep expert. And, if I had a ‘do-over’ I would do things a quite differently…
So much thought and time is spent on planning for your baby’s birth, that it is easy to forget to think a little further down the track to what you’re actually going to do when baby gets here. The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting your nursery ready is to “Begin with the end in mind”. One of my favourite quotes from Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. The ‘end-in-mind’ I am referring to here, is SLEEP. We want baby to have good quality, restful sleep, so how do we go about creating an environment that is conducive to sleep?
It is easy to get carried away with elaborate themes, colour palettes and creative ideas, not to mention the teddy bears and stuffed animals, mobiles, wall murals and cute curtains. There is an abundance of ‘must-have’ products, fads and decorations that can overtake the most important elements of a nursery, so before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s focus on the “less is more principle.
Keep it as simple as: A – B – C – D
- Our aim is to create a sleep sanctuary for your baby. A place that is an oasis of calm, peace and tranquility. We want to encourage positive experiences in their bedroom – from getting their nappy changed or getting dressed into pyjamas after a nice bath. We want baby to associate their bedroom with sleep, and, that sleep is something that they love.
- Since baby will spend so many hours sleeping, it is worth researching and investing in the best quality crib and mattress you can afford to ensure baby’s maximum comfort.
- Try to create a brightly coloured and exciting play area in another part of your house where baby will enjoy his tummy time and gentle stimulation before it is time for his next nap. Your play area will continue to evolve as your child grows up. (The pile of toys that you seem to accumulate in no time at all can live in their special corner there and be replaced when baby has grown out of them).
- I would suggest embracing a minimalist style, focusing on functionality as babies are so easily overstimulated and that is one of the key contributors to getting overtired quickly, which makes sleeping so much harder.
- Remember we’re aiming to make it easy for baby to transition from awake to sleep time.
- I’m not saying don’t have any colour at all, maybe opt for a muted colour rather than an extremely bright one.
- In order to prevent baby from waking suddenly from random household noises or environmental noises which are entirely out of your control – a white noise machine would be a great investment to muffle those sounds and allow baby to continue sleeping soundly. (An old cell phone – on airplane mode – with a white noise app works perfectly well too.)
- Just like adults, babies get their best sleep when they are warm, snug and cosy in a cool room.
- The ideal temperature for you baby’s room is between 18* – 21* Celsius.
- Another great investment is a good quality sleeping bag which will eliminate the need for blankets and the risks and hassle that come along with them. You can rest assured that baby is warm and comfortable enough if you follow their dressing guide that is appropriate for the tog (thickness) and room temperature.
- Good quality sleeping bags usually come with a simple room thermometer which serves as a useful guide for choosing a bag and clothes to wear underneath. There is no need to spend a fortune on a room thermometer or device to do this (especially if it emits light).
- My favourite brand is ErgoPouch – see their website: https://www.ergopouch.com.au
- When we say that babies are sensitive to light – we mean SUPER sensitive. Whether natural or artificial, the slightest change in light will send a message to baby’s brain that it is time to wake up. For this reason I suggest all sleep to take place in a dark room. By dark, I mean pitch black.
- Do whatever it takes to make the room so dark that you can’t see your own hand in front of your face. Blockout curtains that don’t allow any light in are readily available and not too expensive to have made if you have an odd shaped window.
- Melatonin is a hormone, triggered by darkness, so as bedtime approaches you can help encourage sleep by dimming the lights to kick the brain into producing the sleep inducing chemical to get baby ready for sleep.
I hope I haven’t totally spoiled all your decorating fun, but just bear in mind, your nursery serves a critically important function in your baby’s day-to-day life, and it needs to be a relaxing environment for them to get the extensive amounts of sleep that their growing bodies and brains need. There will be plenty of opportunity for you to decorate their rooms with extensive amounts of knick-knacks when they’re older.