I saw a post online a few days ago with a picture of a baby’s room – the only thing in it was a crib, and the caption read something like, “All you need in a baby’s room.” And it’s so true! There are certainly “must haves” when it comes to a sleep environment, but babies really don’t need as much as we think. Sure, a rocker would be nice. And there are some beautiful changing table and dresser sets that match the picture-perfect crib. Not to mention all of the fun pillows and bean bags, unique wall art, plush rugs, floating book shelves, etc.
But babies don’t NEED all of those things. However, there are a few things that I highly suggest parents prioritize for their child’s sleep environment starting day one in order to establish the best sleep habits.
Your child’s sleeping surface is critical, not only to help develop good sleep habits, but also for safety! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests babies sleep on a firm, flat surface, like a crib or a bassinet. Until children are 12 months old, there should not be any type of pillow, blanket, crib bumper, stuffed animal, etc., in the crib – it should be totally bare.
Bassinets are great for newborns, as most parents prefer having their infant in the same room with them. Cribs are great for when baby is ready for his or her own room, and pack ‘n plays are another great option if space is an issue, or for travel, of course. As for toddler beds, I suggest parents wait to make the switch until about three years old, as it’s very important that the child clearly understands the expectations around this new bed and staying in bed all night.
One question I ask the families I work with is, “On a scale from 1-10, 10 being I can’t see my hand in front of my face, how dark is your child’s room?” It sounds crazy, but a 10 is what we’re going for, both for naps and night.
The problem is, many curtains sell as “blackout curtains,” but there is still plenty of light streaming through, which is not helpful. So make sure your curtains/blinds actually do their job! In the meantime, foil and painter’s tape are a great solution to making sure the environment is DARK.
For newborns, white noise is extremely comforting, as that’s what the world outside of mama’s belly sounded like to them while in the womb. As baby gets older, white noise is more important to help drown out any noise happening in the home around baby, because laundry and dishes and older kiddos still need to be tended to!
And let’s be real…because we’ve always lived in a small space and room-shared with our girls, I am now so accustomed to the dark and sound machine, anything else just feels wrong!
So there you have it! Feel free to go to town decorating your child’s room with all things Pinterest and Pottery Barn, but don’t forget that this is the room where your child will SLEEP! Sleep being the priority. If you have no idea where to start, check out some of my favorite products.