4 Tips for Preparing a Practical Nursery

10 months ago
Photo by Kate Krivanec on Unsplash
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Beautiful nursery décor and inspiring Pinterest boards are exciting and fun, but when you’re in the thick of it during those early baby months, all you really want is a nursery that’s designed to make sure both you and baby get as much sleep as you possibly can.

With the imminent arrival of my second child, I’ve been busy getting the nursery ready once again for a new baby. That means delving back into hazy memories of sleep-deprived newborn muddle, trying to remember the practical things that really helped make life easier first time around.

Here are a few practical considerations for nurseries that I remember making life with a newborn much easier:

1. Safety first

The first practical consideration for planning a nursery should be safety. Check out the lullaby trust’s guidelines for setting-up the babies cot for safe sleeping.

As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, consider other potential hazards. Curtain or blind cords can be a strangulation hazard for small children, so consider installing cordless window coverings, or ensure that pull cords are kept short and well out of reach.

Other precautions to consider include covering plug sockets, finger pinch guards on doors, storing any baby changing products out of reach and anchoring heavy furniture to the wall to prevent it toppling on top of adventurous toddlers.

2. Make it comfy for YOU as well as baby

In those early months and years you’re likely to spend a lot of time in your child’s nursery. Whether for night feeds, soothing baby back to sleep or playing together in the day, it’s worth thinking about how the nursery design will be comfortable for you as well as your baby.

If the nursery has hard flooring, choose a nursery area rug that will be comfy and safe for you and your baby to spend time on. It’s surprising how much time you spend sitting on the floor when you have small children!

Consider some comfy seating, like a nursing chair or armchair where you can sit and feed the baby. Or, if you have space, an extra bed in the nursery can be an absolute godsend. If your child’s ill, or needs some help getting to sleep, or if you like to lie down to feed your baby, an extra bed can be the difference between a decent(ish) night’s sleep and a long night of waking torture.

3. Preparing for night feeds

The simplest of tasks can become overwhelming in a sleep-deprived state at 3am. So whether you’re bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, getting your nursery organised for night feeds is really useful.

Set out everything you need before you go to bed to save scrambling around in the middle of the night, and have a dedicated feeding station to keep everything. A sideboard or shelf with baskets for organisation is helpful.

Things you may want to include in your feeding station are:

- a bottle of water (particularly if you’re breastfeeding, as it can make you thirsty) and healthy snacks to stave off night time hunger pangs

- a cushion or pillow for additional back support

- if bottle feeding, pre-sterilize the bottles, measure out the formula in advance and keep some pre-boiled water handy in a thermos flask.

- muslin cloths for mopping-up any spills or baby sick – there’s nothing worse than scrabbling around for a muslin in the middle of the night when half asleep and covered in sick!

- nappies and a spare change of baby clothes to hand in case of emergencies. It’ll save rummaging through drawers or cupboards in the middle of the night.

4. Lighting

Newborn babies have no idea about the difference between daytime and night time. The best way to start teaching them the difference between day and night is with lighting. In the day-time keep lights bright. At night time keep activity to a minimum and lights low.

Invest in a night light or lamp that is bright enough to allows you to carry-out night time feeds, but dim enough to prevent stimulating your baby. Perhaps consider installing a dimmer switch for your overhead lighting.

And finally, make sure you can control the natural light in your nursery. If you don’t have blackout blinds or curtains on the nursery windows, get some! I have memories of trying to get a 4 month old to sleep at 7pm with sunlight streaming through the windows. This time around we’re not making the same mistake!

What are your tips?

What practical design tips do you have for preparing a nursery for a new baby? I’m still very much in the process of getting everything ready for the new baby, so if you’ve got any nursery ideas or tips that might make life a little bit easier for parents of new babies I’d love to hear them and I’m sure others would too!

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