Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursery | Tips from the Baby Experts
As you begin setting up your baby’s nursery these tips from a seasoned mom, experienced infant care specialist, and infant sleep coach should be a big help. Babies have pretty basic needs, I believe in safety first, and I am a minimalist. So naturally, my recommendations will follow the K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Simple Silly!
Sleep is the magic word when we’re talking about the first year after welcoming a baby into the family-everyone wants it, but not many get it! The Jax Baby Company helps parents get the sleep they need, and we can help you too!
“…A newborn has only three demands; warmth in the arms of its parent(s), nourishment with love, and security in the knowledge of their parent’s presence.” Quote adapted by Elizabeth Luke, from the original words of Pamela K. Wiggins to be more inclusive to all families!
Original quote, “… A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence.”
What to Consider When Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursery
First, consider how your nursery will function and flow. Newborns sleep between 16 to 18 hours a day. That’s a whole LOT of sleep and that’s a good thing because parents, especially the birthing parent will need this extra sleep to heal, recover, and make milk (if lactating). However, majority of newborns don’t start off as great sleepers. In fact, they’re notorious for being noisy and unpredictable buggers.
Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursery
An Adult Bed
Safe sleep for everyone comes first! Newborns begin life sleeping near their parents, a caregiver like an infant care specialist, or both alternately. It is recommended by the AAP that infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parent’s bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants (flat, no incline), for at least for the first six months of life to help reduce the risk of SIDS. With that in mind, the nursery should be conducive to sleep, not just for the baby, but also for the parents and caregiver.
Sleep for everyone! Doesn’t that sound lovely?
If it doesn’t yet, it sure will when you’re about 3 weeks in! First, I highly recommend putting an adult (twin, full, etc.) bed in the nursery for the parents/caregiver for at least the first 3 to 6 months of your baby’s life. Not an option? Then a bed in a room as close as possible is the next best thing. Still not an option? Then a comfortable raised cot or air mattress is another option that can work. This helps maximize sleep for all adults caring for your infant which is of more importance than most parents realize until they’re in the thick of it. Well rested parents and babies are our specialty!
Somewhere Safe for Baby to Sleep
Many products labelled for sleep are NOT safe for your baby to sleep in! You read that right! In the first few months your newborn can sleep in a bassinet, after that they’ll need to move to a crib or pack-n-play as it is no longer safe as they begin to roll onto the sides and their tummy. Remember nothing in the sleep space, no bumper, blankets, or toys, only your baby in a sleep sack or swaddle and a pacifier, that’s all.
Sound Conducive to Sleep
Most parents fall into two categories of belief; being quiet not wake their newborns or not adjusting sound for their newborns so they get use to normal sounds of their home. It’s true babies can learn to adapt to the sounds of a normal functioning home, but you’re going to get your best sleep when recreating sounds from the womb because when baby sleeps better you sleep better. Womb sounds = home for the last 40ish weeks for your newborn. For this reason, a white noise machine is amazing!
Place the sound machine nearest your baby’s sleeping space, either just below the crib on the floor or on a table nearby. I recommend if you have a sound machine with a red-light function to place it on the changing table so you can use that light at diaper changes. Crank up the white noise too, don’t be stingy with the volume. With the nursery door closed you don’t want to hear anything that is going on elsewhere in the home. Not only will this help your baby it will help you get more restful sleep while in there, even if you are getting brief periods of sleep.
Lighting is a Concern When Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursey
You need blackout curtains, trust me! Your newborn’s circadian rhythm is controlled by an area of his brain that is affected by daylight and darkness. Distinguishing between the two is essential in creating healthy sleep habits. From day one, dark for sleep and lots of natural light and outdoor time for awake time is essential. A tabletop nightlight with adjustable brightness to minimize light in the room is the way to go. Dimmest safe light possible for diapering and feeding and complete darkness for sleep. Big bonus if the night light has a red light setting. Again, this helps you and your baby get more restful sleep. Make sure you can’t see anything in the room, no light!
A Video Baby Monitor
A video baby monitor is great for so many reasons, but my number one reason I like a video monitor is that it allows a parent or caregiver to check in on the baby without interrupting their sleep! It’s a great way for us as postpartum and infant care specialists to help parents and other caregivers identify what their babies are doing throughout their sleep cycles so that they can support their little one as they learn how to sleep longer stretches of time.
Diaper changes and the inevitable clothing changes you’ll do through the night with a newborn require you have the essentials easily at hand. When setting up your baby’s nursery make changing diapers and clothing easy peasy, especially for nighttime. I recommend a dresser that doubles as a changing table with a changing pad and diapering essentials such as a diaper pail, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, a burp cloth, swaddle, and one or two easy on onesis/sleepers, kept all right there within an arm’s reach.
High Contrast Mobile & Artwork
Newborns don’t have the best eyesight. They rely mostly on smell in the beginning. You can help them develop their eyesight using high contrast artwork or mobiles hung in the nursery. Most newborns love to look at the ceiling fan because they’re usually high contrast against a light-colored ceiling. Hanging a mobile above the changing table or above a comfy chair (not above the crib or bassinet) and artwork within eyesight of the crib or bassinet will be well-loved and enjoyed over time. You can even switch out art easily if you use these or these, easy open frames!
A comfy chair is nice relaxing place to feed, snuggle, and interact with your newborn. You could include a light throw blanket for you and a wall rack for reading materials for both you and your baby. This cozy space can be a nice part of your baby’s bedtime routine! Setting good sleep habits from day one is important for better sleep.
The Final Touches as You’re Setting Up Your Baby’s Nursery
A few final touches and your nursery will be complete. A side table to hold little things like a breast pads, pump parts, bottle, and a pacifier during feeds. In addition, it’s nice to have a charging station, a bottle making-breast pumping station, somewhere like a mini fridge or small cooler bag with ice packs to store your milk and bottles. I also always love it when there’s a live plant in the nursery. It just brings a little bit of the outside in, and some plants help create healthier air quality in homes. Just be sure it’s safe for kids and animals if you have any pets in your home.
Good Sleep Hygiene
As you get ready to welcome a little one, be it the first or third I know sleep and healing after birth is on your mind! I can’t stress enough how important a strong foundation is for good sleep hygiene, for you and your baby! Time and time again clients who have us with them from the start experience better sleep overall. Their babies get off to an excellent start because we are there to assist them with safe sleep, good habits, and allow parents to get the rest they so greatly need to function during the days and eventually overnight when we are not there.
Want Your Baby to Be a Good Sleeper?
Duh! Who doesn’t?! All babies and children hit big waves at some point when it comes to sleep. A solid foundation is the key to a faster, more confident passage through those big waves and back to smooth sailing! Being the parent of a newborn is amazing, but those first few months can often also be described as traumatizing, defeating, and lonely! The Jacksonville Baby Company will get you and your family off to the best start! Consider how much sleep means to you when setting up your baby’s nursery. Check out our reviews on Google and Facebook and contact us today!
Happy Birth & Parenting.