Upon hearing that they're expecting, one of the first things many parents do is start designing a nursery. When doing so, the majority of moms and dads start placing more emphasis on the decor than they do functionality. While a frilly nursery is lovely, it does you little good if your baby can't get to sleep in it. Let's face it—a lot of sleepless nights are coming, so you should plan your nursery in a way that minimizes those evenings as much as possible. Here are some tips that will help you do just that.
Start with the Right Color Combination
Pastels pair well with nurseries and all things baby. There may be a good reason for this, as studies show that specific colors help people relax more. Some colors that are known to promote relaxation and healthy sleep include:
- Pale blue (like the sky)
- Light or mint green
- Silver or light gray
- Pastel yellow
While these shades can help your baby relax, others might have an opposite effect. As such, you should avoid using bright purple or red. These two colors make people feel energetic, in which case your child might want to play rather than go to sleep.
Choose the Right Window Treatment
Our bodies follow a natural circadian rhythm. Our circadian clocks tell us that when it's dark outside, we should sleep, and when it is light out, we need to wake up. Babies are no different, even though their sleep schedules are not yet fully set.
Accordingly, you may need to "trick" your little one into taking naps during the day. That's a little hard to do if your windows let in lots of light. On the other hand, you don't want your room to be too dark; otherwise, your baby might be too scared to sleep alone.
The answer is to have layered window treatments that you can open or close as needed to provide just the right amount of light. Think of them as similar to what hotels and motels provide their guests. Except your draperies will have a less formal look to them-they may be long and flowing, of lighter weight material, or have tie-backs that hold only one panel in place.
Consider your Lighting
While the right window treatments will block light, you'll need certain lighting features to add it. Ideally, you will want to control the amount of sun your room has, which is why you should consider dimmers on your overhead switches as well as your "station" lighting.
Place station lighting near your rocking chair, changing table or any other area where you might need extra illumination. Station lighting will come in especially handy if you have twins. Rather than turning on the room light, you can use a station light to change one baby and let the other one continue sleeping.
Pick Quiet Floor Coverings
When it comes to flooring, nothing suppresses sound like carpeting. With carpet, your feet are virtually silent even when wearing shoes. A carpeted room is also a better place for children to learn to walk. Not only does carpeting allow sound footing, but it also provides a little bit of cushioning for those inevitable falls.
If your family has a history of allergies or asthma, you may be concerned about using carpet in your nursery. Keep in mind that if you use vinyl, laminate wood, or any other type of "hard" flooring, every step you take will echo. That means that after laying baby down, you'll have to be extra cautious when tiptoeing out. And if you want to pop in and check on your little one, you'll run the risk of waking them.
Cork flooring is a better option for those who insist on a hard floor. It contains soundproofing properties that will muffle footsteps (but not eliminate their noise). If you do choose another flooring option, add a carpet runner or spread out a few carpet tiles in a stepping-stone pattern. That way, you'll at least be able to go in and out without creating too much of a disturbance.
Add a Rocking Chair
A rocking chair for your nursery is a must for those nights when the baby wakes up and does not want to go back to sleep. Choose a chair that is comfortable for you, and makes smooth rocking, sliding or bouncing movements. Avoid any chair that creates unusual creaking or grinding noises, since these might easily disturb your infant.
Then Prepare the Crib
The baby crib is usually the focal point of any nursery. However, what matters more than looks is safety. Make sure yours meets all the guidelines specified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The newest guidelines were implemented in 2011, and allow for:
- Greater slat strength
- Better mattress support
- Stronger hardware
Also, drop rail sides are now prohibited. If you have an older crib, you can purchase a drop-side immobilizer, which will permanently disable the railing and make it impossible for it to separate from the cradle.
Mattress and Bedding
When it comes to bedding, many parents believe that any old crib mattress will suffice. While it's true that babies will sleep anywhere, a bed with just the right amount of padding and support will help them feel comfortable. Good sleep is essential to healthy development, so you do not want to skimp in this department. Fortunately, we have several high-quality mattresses that will not break your budget in the process.
Along with the right mattress, you'll want some soft, comfortable sheets to go with it. Sheets made from natural bamboo or organic cotton are just right for your little one to feel relaxed and comfortable.Planning for a new baby is exciting. You'll no doubt put a lot of thought into designing a nursery, and Nest Bedding would love to help you. Please contact us to see an available selection of children's mattresses and bedding products perfect for your little one.