Designing the nursery has to be one of the most exciting parts of planning for your special arrival. Leading paediatric sleep practitioner, Jo Tantum, has kindly shared her top tips for ensuring baby's bedroom is optimised for a good night's sleep.
Once you’ve made the decision for your little one to move into their own room you will want them to have the best night’s sleep possible. You need to be assured that it is as safe and comfortable as it can be, here are my top 10 tips to give your baby a good night’s sleep in their new nursery.
Try and have some naps in the daytime in their Nursery before you permanently move them into their own room. This is so they start to recognise it is as a place to sleep. It will help them feel more secure and will allow them to get to know the sounds and smells of the room before the transition.
Choosing your Baby's Bed
You will need to choose a cot or cot bed for your baby. The difference being that a cot bed will generally be bigger and last longer as it will also become a toddler bed. I know your baby looks extremely small now but as they will be in their cot bed for a matter of years, it’s best to opt for a cot bed. My advice is to keep your little one in their cot bed for as long as possible to keep them as safe as possible. That’s unless they start climbing out of course, then you will need to transition into a toddler bed.
Cot Bed Position
Often the positioning of the cot bed is over-looked, it will look beautiful in the middle of the room but sometimes there are other options that offer more comfort and might be a little cosier. It’s also important to think about lighting, for example when opening the door is the light going to shine across your baby’s cot or in their face? A corner or against a wall is generally best, well away from any radiators.
Choosing a Cot Bed Mattress
The next thing you need to think about is the mattress, it needs to be firm, fit the cot bed properly and be waterproof - using a waterproof sheet underneath. The gap around the mattress should be no more than 3cm and you should always purchase a new mattress for each baby.
Choosing Baby Bedding
Having soft fitted sheets on the bed will mean that your baby is nice and cosy. Make sure they are the correct size for the Cot Bed so that they’re not loose. They won’t have a pillow or duvet until they’re over a year old and often later, so it’s best to opt for a light blanket that's tucked in firmly or a sleeping bag. Make sure you use the right tog for the weather or choose one that is made of merino wool so there’s no need to worry about togs. Use this for the daytime and night time as it will then become a trigger for your baby to sleep.
Blocking out any light is really important to make sure your baby sleeps better for naps and help prevent them waking up early in the morning. Even things like plug-in lights and the light from the monitor can disturb them.
Having a comfortable chair for bedtime stories and night feeds is important. If there isn’t room for a comfy chair then a beanbag is ideal and will be great for your little one as they get older.
Opt for a soft light for bed time stories and getting ready for bed. Ensure it’s not too bright as a bright light will mean your baby will struggle to settle and sleep. If choosing colour, an orange, red or low blue light is best.
Optimum Temperature for Baby
Having a thermometer in your baby’s room will help reassure you that their environment is the correct temperature, a lot of baby monitors have a thermometer included. The ideal temperature for your baby’s room is between 16-20 celsius. If their room is too cold you could get a thermostatically controlled radiator and if it’s too hot then a quiet fan or air conditioning will help. If it’s cool outside, you can open the windows to allow the cool air to come into the room before bedtime.
Having soothing sounds like waves or rain in your baby’s room will really help them to sleep better and for longer. There are several sleep aids on the market, some replicate the sounds your baby is used to such as a heartbeat or womb sounds, some play quiet soothing lullabies and there are even options that sense and activate when your baby stirs.
Make sure you follow safe sleep guidelines. For more information please look at www.lullabytrust.org.uk
Written by Jo Tantum - Leading Paediatric Sleep Practitioner - www.jotantum.com