How to Create a Sleep Sanctuary for Your Baby
With all of the excitement having a new little one brings, decorating a nursery can be a joyous occasion that has you creating Pinterest boards of the latest trends and ordering all of the stuffed animals and baby giraffe photos. As adorable as all of these options are, remembering to prioritize this room as the space where your baby will sleep is key.
Natural light is important for all of us, but getting your baby in tune with the natural order of a day can be facilitated by allowing the sun’s rays in during waking hours. The early morning sunlight is red tinted which helps us to wake up, and blue tinted light is present in the afternoon, signaling our bodies to calm down for the evening. Welcome the light into the room when your baby wakes for the day and outside of nap time so that your baby’s body can start taking cues from the natural world.
Now, when nap time rolls around, it’s a different story. Black out curtains become your best friend. Any parent knows how important those daytime sleep sessions are and creating a dark environment is key to let your baby know it is safe to rest. I love a blind and drape combo so that you can change the placement and amount of light that touches the room based on your current goal. If you are waking and playing, let that glorious light in! But, if you are reading and winding down for the evening, you may want to alter the lighting with a combination approach.
Now, when we consider interior lighting, try to avoid fluorescent bulbs and install a dimmer if you can. This will come in handy for those late night check-ins. If you would rather use a lamp in the evening, you can try a low blue-light bedtime bulb, which is available in 25 or 40 watts.
According to feng shui principles, placing your baby’s crib perpendicular to the wall is actually more beneficial than the parallel placement that is so common. Creating a t-shape against the wall apparently creates a solid support for the head. Ancient wisdom says this can reduce anxiety.
If you are questioning this principle, know that I did as well, at first. But, after considering how my adult bed has always been placed, I couldn’t imagine sleeping with the entire side of my body towards the center of the room. I think it would make me feel more vulnerable and therefore, induce a bit of bedtime anxiety. However slight this feeling might be, it might be worth considering if you are trying to set your newborn up for sleep success!
Now, this may seem obvious to you, but we often use pastel colors in the nursery because of their calming effect. Using bright or harsh tones can actually make one feel more energetic and impede one’s ability to rest peacefully. Using soft tones that blend harmoniously reduces distractions and allows the mind to relax.
For example, did you know the color red can make you feel hungry? Or that orange can create feelings of excitement? If you would like your baby’s nursery to have a more calming effect, stick with a base color of white with hints of creme, soft blue, blush pink, buttery yellow, or lavender. If you’d like to imagine what the difference is for your baby, think about whether you would rather sleep in a spa or fast food joint (and not because of the burger-induced coma!)
Keep accessories to a minimum in a nursery to create a more peaceful aesthetic surrounding for your baby. Remember, a newborn’s sense of sight is not fully developed and if there are less harsh lines or dark features for them to focus on, the more they can enjoy being in their serene baby bubble with you.
Disruptive sounds can come from many different sources within a home. So, when creating a nursery for your little one, first consider the room placement within your home’s layout. Is the room near a communal gathering space like the living room, or does the space outside the door get a lot of foot traffic from siblings? Try to place the baby’s nursery in a location that will receive low amounts of external noise.
Secondly, you can consider the sounds that will create a restful experience within the nursery. Many parents find a white noise machine to be a useful tool while lulling their babes to sleep (and keeping them that way!) Babies are generally unbothered by background noises or the hum of a household appliance like an air purifier. Just try to pinpoint any harsh or sharp tones that could be disruptive to your baby’s sleep and remove them from the sleep space.