One the biggest activities parents do when they find out a baby is coming is to set up and decorate the nursery. One spends hours on Pinterest pinning cute photos of what we would like the nursery to look like. Wall decals, picture frames, bright and happy colors. What if I told you that a lot of what we see in stores, catalogs or even Pinterest does not help create a sleep friendly environment? There is nothing wrong in buying cute toys, wall decals, but keep some of the following tips in mind (and even after the baby has arrived):
1. Colors: There is a lot behind colors and the messages it sends. For a child’s nursery walls we want to chose soft and neutral color scheme that help send the message that the nursery is a calm place and a place to sleep.
2. Keep it dark: One of the best purchases I made for my daughter’s nursery was room darkening shades. When nighttime comes around, it’s the darkness that helps signal our body that it needs to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in our brain, that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. This is true for people of all ages, especially sensitive sleepers like our babies. I also recommend looking out for video monitors or other electronic devices that have a very bright “on” light.
3. Noise: and I don’t mean banging pots or stomping around the house “noise”, I mean what we call “White Noise”. White Noise in the nursery is a great tool to shut out noise from around the house, especially if you have older children. White Noise helps reduce the difference between background noise (ex: dropping a toy on the floor) and the noise in the room, therefore it helps your baby sleep through any noise disruptions.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of white noise: natural and digital. Natural white noise is noise created by a device like a fan, where the sound isn’t created digitally. There are white noise devices like Marpac, that create natural white noise (https://www.marpac.com/ email me if you would like a Promocode). Then there is digital white noise. These are devices that play a digital sound created to replicate that of natural white noise. There are devices like Conair Sound Therapy Machine (https://www.amazon.com/Conair-Sound-Therapy-Machine/dp/B000F54AN8) or you can also buy apps for your smartphone or tablet. There are many free apps you can experiment with, but most of the time you need to pay if you would like unlimited white noise, I like to use Sound Sleeper (not to mention it’s portable for when you go on trips!).
4. Distractions: It’s important we try to keep our child’s nursery free from distractions during bedtime, as well as their crib. Any toy, mobile, or device with lights and sounds can be overstimulating for your baby and can create the opposite effect when one thinks it will help with sleep. Not to mention putting things in/around the crib can be a safety hazard.
5. The Right Temperature: Have you noticed that when it’s too hot or too cold you tend to wake up? The same thing happens to your baby. It’s important to find the right combination or layers and room temperature. Try to dress your baby with the same amount of layers you have or even add one (some parents put long sleeve onesies under the pajamas for cold nights or use an age appropriate sleep sack). It’s also important that the room temperature balance out with the amount of layers your child has on, too many layers in a warm room would be too hot. For ideal temperature for sleep, the nursery thermostat should be set between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to watch your child so you can adjust and find the temperature that suits them best and the right amount of layers according to the season.
While keeping these tips in mind it’s important to watch your child so you can adjust their sleep environment to their own needs. Every child is unique and may find different things overstimulating, so be sure you are observing your child and their environment.
Creating a healthy sleep environment is the first step you can take to set your child up for sleep success!
Is your child having sleep trouble? I offer FREE 15 minute consultations. If you are interested in learning more about my sleep coaching services and discussing your unique sleep situation, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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