When you first discovered you were pregnant, how long did it take before you started visualising what your baby’s nursery was going to look like?! I spent many a happy hour browsing the gorgeous ranges in my local Mamas and Papas!
If I had known then what I know now, I would have painted it a nice, neutral earth-tone and spent the rest of my time researching cot mattresses and sleep sacks.
Because when it comes to nurseries, I’ve got four words of advice for you.
Dark, cool, comfortable, and boring.
I know how tempting it is to cram baby’s sleeping space full of adorable mobiles, inspiring images, and fluffy toys. After all, wouldn’t baby want to be surrounded by a sea of cuteness while they drift off to sleep?
Well, probably not.
I mean, they may like it in theory, but it’s not conducive to a good night’s sleep, for the same reasons that you shouldn’t bring your iPad to bed, or watch TV while you’re drifting off. It’s stimulating, and stimulation and sleep are best kept at a distance from one another.
So what does the perfect nursery look like?
I’m talking pitch black. Blackout curtains or blinds are an amazing investment. I’m a huge advocate of baby sleeping in the same place all the time, which means naps should be in the cot as much as possible. Your little one is likely to go down for naps with a lot less fuss if there’s no light creeping into the room.
It is important to make sure that your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot, so try to keep the room temperature between 16 -20°C. It can be difficult to judge the temperature in the room, so use a room thermometer in the rooms where your baby sleeps.
Babies sleep for nearly half the day, so a good mattress is a sound investment. It’s well worth your time to do some research. The Lullaby Trust recommends a mattress that is firm and flat and is protected by a waterproof cover. Make sure you use a mattress that is in good condition and that fits the cot properly. A simple mattress in your cot with no loose bedding or bumpers is the safest sleeping place for a baby.
Music, mobiles and soft light all seem like they should have a calming effect on a baby, but it’s just the opposite. These standard nursery accompaniments are distracting and stimulating. Blank walls and an easily accessible changing station are your best decorating choices when it comes to baby’s bedroom.
I know it’s probably a little bit of a tough pill to swallow for new parents, because we really do look forward to putting together a little corner of baby-themed paradise for our little ones. But bear in mind, this room serves a crucial function in your baby’s day-to-day life, and that’s to be a quiet, relaxing environment for them to get the extensive amounts of sleep that their growing bodies need.
There will be plenty of opportunity for them to adorn their rooms with extensive amounts of knick-knacks when they’re teenagers!