How to Set Up Your Baby Nursery for Better Baby SleepAug 17, 2021
Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned mom, you’ve most likely experienced the joy that comes from setting up your baby’s nursery. But as exciting as it is to pick out new furniture and decor, did you know that there is so much more to your little one’s room than just the Pinterest-worthy look?
Here are some things you should be considering when setting up your baby’s nursery.
Creating an Ideal Sleep Environment for Babies
Have you ever tried to fall asleep in a hot room that was flooded with sunlight while your neighbor's dog was barking? Imagine trying to get your little one to go to sleep here too; it’s most likely not going to happen.
Studies have shown that creating a good sleep environment for your baby is a vital part of helping them develop good sleeping habits, which in turn aids in their physical and emotional well-being .
Here is what I recommend to create an ideal sleep environment to promote sleep for your little one:
Keep It Cool
Dropping the temperature by a couple of degrees at night helps to promote good sleep for everyone in your home. Aim to keep the thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees at night time (and nap time too!) to help your little one reach a deeper and more restorative sleep. You’ll also want to keep in mind what they’re wearing for sleep, as well as avoid having any blankets in the crib (for safety reasons - more on this below). A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in layers according to the season and weather that you are currently living in and add or take away layers as needed. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) website is a great place to help additional help on how to layer baby for bedtime.
Keep It Dark
Did you know that babies are not developmentally able to be afraid of the dark? If you’ve been using a night light because you’re worried your little one will be afraid, turn off the light and instead opt for blackout curtains. The darker, the better! Any light that is peaking in could stimulate awake time, causing your baby to fully wake during sleep cycles rather than falling back asleep. The same goes for morning light! Exposure to light shifts our circadian rhythms and suppresses our natural melatonin . If your little one is exposed to light too early in the morning, their circadian rhythm can actually be reset to begin naturally waking at that earlier time.
Keep It Quiet
It can sometimes be tempting to play sounds in the nursery that promote relaxation such as beach sounds or classical music and lullabies. Unfortunately, though, these sounds can become sleep associations and also cause your baby to wake when turned off. Instead, use a white noise sound machine. However, I think it’s important to note that white noise is not meant to put your baby to sleep. Rather, think of it as a way to mask disruptive noises  that could cause your baby to wake earlier than intended. I recommend keeping the sound machine as far from your baby's crib as possible, while also being as close to the bedroom door as possible. This will help cover more surface area of potential noise while also ensuring that the white noise itself won’t be too loud for your little one. If you’re worried that one sound machine won’t be enough to keep the noises of your home from waking your baby, try placing a second sound machine right outside their bedroom door to layer the white noise effect.
Keep It Boring
When I say boring, I simply mean to keep the room calm, relaxing, and avoid anything that could be over-stimulating for your baby. Remember, the sleep space (meaning the crib or bassinet) is meant for sleep and we want to be intentional with how we set up this space to encourage sleep. For example, do you have a mobile hanging over the crib? If so, try hanging it over the changing table instead. When it’s over the crib, it can become distracting and stimulating. If it’s over the changing table though, now that is somewhere that we want our little one to be distracted!
Keep It Safe
I’m sure it goes without saying, but as parents, our main concern is our little ones’ safety. And just like you want to keep your baby safe in the car, or around the house, you also want to make sure that you are providing the same amount of safety in your baby’s nursery, as creating a safe sleep environment reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) . Remember: firm mattress and empty crib (or bassinet if you are room-sharing with your little one!). This means no blankets, pillows, bumpers, or stuffed animals until at least 12 months, and for pillows, at least 24 months. If not providing a blanket for your little one has you worried about them becoming cold, a sleep sack is a great alternative! I also recommend using a baby camera to keep a close eye on your little one. The wall-mounted overhead cameras are great for getting the best view of baby all night long, they are able to connect straight to your phone for notifications all night, and they have night vision so you can see everything you need to!
The truth is, many factors affect your baby’s sleep, but creating a good sleep environment can be an easy one to troubleshoot in your home! Ensuring that their room is an ideal environment for sleep is an essential part of your baby’s sleep hygiene.
The most beneficial thing you can do for your little one when it comes to sleep is to set a healthy foundation. If you find yourself still struggling with your little one’s sleep, please know that you are not alone and that I am here to help. Download one of my comprehensive sleep guides or schedule a call with me for some personalized support.
Need help transforming your child's sleep? Check out my sleep offerings for children 0-3 years old!
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