Baby nursery planning
If you want your baby to sleep through the night from an early age, spending some time planning the baby nursery to get your baby sleeping well is worthwhile.
Before your first baby arrives, you will, no doubt, want to buy all the fluffy, adorable bedding, cot bumpers, and cute baby stuff available.
Planning for a good night’s sleep now will make all the difference in those sleep deprived weeks yet to come.
If you already have a baby and sleep is an issue for you, the tips and suggestions here will be just as useful. Some small adjustments in your baby’s nursery could make a big difference to any sleeping issues you may have.
Baby cots, cribs and cot beds
Your newborn needs a safe place to sleep. Somewhere she feels comfortable and secure when you need to put her down. Although she will grow out of a crib or Moses basket very quickly, you will still find it’s a worthwhile buy. A newborn baby looks lost in a cot, and no doubt feels that way too. The security of the Moses basket will help her begin the journey towards learning to feel safe when it is time to sleep. It also helps with the transition into the cot. When you’re first ready to do this, put the Moses basket into the cot and put your baby to bed inside the basket. Once she becomes used to this, you can transfer her from basket to cot and her surroundings will be familiar for her.
Your baby’s cot or cot bed just needs to be safe. It doesn’t need to be expensive. Some cots have solid boards at the top and bottom which are not recommended. Choose a cot with bars that go all the way around so that air can circulate freely while your baby sleeps. Also, make sure there is a good distance between the base of the cot and the top of the rail. Remember you still have to put the mattress in there as well!
Your baby’s mattress should be new, clean and firm. When pressed tightly against the side of the cot a mattress should not leave a gap of more than a 2.5cm between itself and the cot sides.
Some babies will sleep anywhere, in any amount of light. Others won’t. Most babies sleep better in the dark simply because their bodies start to produce the sleep hormone that is stimulated by darkness. Your baby will sleep better at night if she gets good quality naps in the day. She is also less likely to wake early in the summer months if the sun isn’t streaming into her bedroom at 5am. So blackout blinds are highly recommended.
Investing in these items for your baby’s nursery will be a great starting point for you to begin to establish healthy sleeping habits for your baby.
Babies love mobiles because they spend their early months on their back staring up at the ceiling and having a mobile to look at will keep them amused. Newborn babies love black and white pictures or images with high contrasting colours because their eyesight is still developing. Some mobiles rotate and some play lullabies which can help to make your baby feel sleepy. Remove the mobile when your baby is old enough to pull himself up.
Although not essential, a change table will probably save you from backache! Lots of change tables come with storage underneath so you can use the unit as somewhere to put your baby’s clothes, especially those you use all the time and need to reach!
It is worth remembering never to leave your baby unattended on the change table, even if he is very young. Babies learn to roll over sometimes as early as two to three months and they can wriggle a lot too, so always keep a hand on your baby even if you are reaching for some wipes.
Wardrobe / Clothes storage
Most change tables come with storage underneath and this might be all you need, but depending on the size of your child’s bedroom, you may need more clothes space. Babies grow out of their clothes very quickly in the first year and you’ll find yourself with bags and bags of hardly worn clothes.
Your baby’s mattress should be firm. When pressed tightly against the side of the cot a mattress should not leave a gap of more than a 2.5cm between itself and the cot sides.
No nursery would be complete without a music player. You might use this to play fun music in the day while putting away baby clothes, or when changing your baby. But it will most likely be used at naptimes and at night as part of pre-sleep routine. Gentle lullabies, white noise, or rhythmical sounds such as heartbeats or waves, will help your baby wind down before sleep and transition from wide awake to feeling sleepy. This will become an important sleep cue for you both.
Rhythmical sounds will also help your new baby transition between sleep cycles. When your baby was in the womb, she was surrounded by the sound of blood being pumped around her mother’s body. Absolute silence is very disconcerting for babies and background noise helps to relax them. It will also help to drown out sharp background noises that might disturb your sleeping baby.
It is important to consult a baby clothes size chart (below) and consider your baby's weight when trying to figure out the right baby clothing size to purchase. If you don't you run the risk of your baby wearing clothing that is too tight and uncomfortable for him or her.
Caring for Baby Clothing
It’s a good idea to wash baby new clothes before putting them on your baby for the first time. This will remove any treatments that give new garments their characteristic ‘new’ feel, which can cause skin irritation
Unless your baby has very sensitive skin or eczema, there’s no need to treat her clothes any differently from your own. Most are machine washable at 40ºC, and it helps if they can also be tumble dried (check the care label for full instructions).
Do take care with drying, though, as some fabrics will shrink a little despite instructions that say tumble drying is recommended – and a little shrinkage in baby wear can mean the difference between the clothes fitting or not afterwards.
If your tumble dryer or washer-dryer has a ‘gentle heat’ option, it’s best to use this for a longer cycle than using the higher heat for shorter bursts.
If your baby does have sensitive skin or eczema, it’s best to choose a non-biological washing powder or liquid, as it’s the ‘biological’ stain-treating element that can exacerbate irritation.
Fabric conditioners are a matter of personal choice. Some washing detergents include them; other products claim to make ironing easier; most will make clothes smell nicer. The main point to look out for is that if your baby has sensitive skin, it’s best either to choose a specially marketed ‘sensitive’ product or avoid fabric conditioners altogether.
If you need further information, our helpful staff will be always happy to assist you at any of our boutiques.