One of the loveliest times we all remember when we are having our first baby is getting his or her room ready. It keeps us from exploding with impatient excitement as the months of pregnancy drag on. We spend hours flicking through baby magazines and looking at colour charts; it’s one of those things we have to get right. Babycentre has a brilliant section on preparing your baby’s room, with lots of inspirational ideas and safety tips.
Decorating is only a tiny piece of the picture – after all, your baby doesn't mind what colour the walls are or how exclusive the chest of drawers is – what they want is to be warm, safe and comfortable. So what do our babies really need?
A safe place to sleep
When your baby comes home he or she will probably sleep in a crib or cradle – this is smaller than a cot and is usually mobile. It is believed babies feel safer in cribs as they are snug and can touch the sides (having been in a very tight environment during pregnancy, laying flat on their back on a big mattress is going to feel very strange). As a cot death prevention measure, it is recommended that your baby sleeps in your bedroom for the first six months, therefore a crib is perfect for this.
A new mattress for every baby is also recommended. Make sure it fits snugly and use fitted sheets to cover it. If you cannot fit your baby in your room or you want them to sleep in their cot during the day this is of course fine – but have a good think about where to place the cot. Place it away from any hazards and don’t put it under a window or next to a radiator. Make sure you have lots of spare sheets and blankets as you will need to regulate their temperature by adding or removing blankets. Duvets and pillows are dangerous for young babies, so specially designed ‘growbags’ are a good option – just check you are using the correct tog for the time of year.
Creating a room that will help them to sleep
Resist the urge to over-decorate the room with bright mobiles and toys – this will over-stimulate your baby. Invest in some blackout blinds or curtains, or better still, both! These can be very expensive if you buy from the high street; however, ebay has a great selection covering all budgets and you get to read the reviews to see how effective they are – a luxury you don’t get in a shop. If you choose blinds, make sure you purchase ones with safety cords and make sure they are not hanging loose – check out the ROSPA safety campaign for more information. Make sure the lighting is soft and relaxing as you don’t want to be switching on bright lights for night feeds.
The other things
Have a comfy chair for you to use while you feed or just chill out with your baby. Changing stations are not really necessary and it is safer to change your baby on the floor, but if you really want one make sure it has the protective sides so your baby doesn’t roll off. Above all, keep the room a calm and relaxing place for both you and your baby.