The room you create for your baby will serve many purposes and both of you will spend a lot of time in there. Plan ahead and arrange it in a way that suits your needs as well as your baby’s. The baby’s room will be a room where your baby sleeps, is dressed and changed, where you give night feeds and anytime cuddles, where you keep your baby’s mountains of possessions and essentials, and where they will play and enjoy themself. Think about how you will meet each of these needs when preparing your baby’s room.
Get a cot big enough for your baby to stay in until they move into a bed, with a firm mattress and enough sets of linen to see you through at least 3 changes, should a messy situation occur. Do not place any toys, pillows or cot bumpers in the cot as they increase the risk of SIDS. Position your cot away from the window and any cords or strings on window coverings. I believe babies sleep much better in a very dark room. Get blackout blinds and curtains, making sure that all cords can be wrapped up and out of reach of a toddler. Try to choose a position for your cot that is visible if you open the door and peek through a crack, but that won’t be bathed in light if you do so. Consider using a monitor to avoid entering the room unnecessarily and a thermometer to ensure your baby’s room stays at a safe temperature between 16-20°C.
Dressing and Changing
I like to use a change mat on top of a chest of drawers. I think the change table is an unnecessary piece of furniture, but if you use one position it close to a chest of drawers. Fill the drawers with your baby’s clothes, changing items, medicines, and linens. Start off as you mean to begin and keep all your baby’s potions and lotions in the highest drawers; alternatively, put them on shelves over the change area. Keep in mind your baby will begin reaching for everything to hand within a few months. Within arm’s reach of the changing area keep a laundry basket, waste basket, and nappy bin (if you chose to use one).
If you have the room invest in a comfy arm chair. I don’t recommend a rocking chair as the temptation to rock your baby to sleep will be too great, and this is a habit you’ll wish you’d never formed when your baby cannot fall asleep without it. But a comfy chair in which you can feed and comfort your baby, and snuggle with while reading together as she grows older, will be a nursery addition you won’t regret. If you can, put your chair near to the crib and add a small table and dim lamp. At your feet keep a basket with all you’ll need for feeds and settling (cloths, pumps, dummies etc) and put a clock where you can see it from the chair.
A tall bookshelf is more useful than a short one. You’d be surprised how many lovely baby things you’ll collect which are not suitable for them until they’re much older. Designate an area a toddler couldn’t reach to keep these items (books with rippable pages, ceramic statues, toys with beaded eyes or other choking hazards etc). On the lower shelves keep only toys and books you’d be happy for your baby to play with and touch any time.
A rug on the floor will be a nice space for tummy time. Get down there and see what your baby might see. To decorate your walls you can get removable wall stickers in many beautiful patterns and pictures. A cheaper option is to frame greeting cards, pieces of wrapping paper, or inexpensive prints. Keep an open toy basket that you’d be happy for your baby to pull over and sort through; something lightweight and reasonably soft without sharp edges. This style is easier and safer than a box with a lid that can frustrate your baby, as well as harm fingers and heads.
Brigid is a career nanny with over 15 years experience working with children and babies. She is dedicated to the care of infants and the very young, and the support and guidance of their parents and families. After having been integral in the care and raising of hundreds of children she has seen plenty, learnt a lot, and shares as much as she can.