Setting up your nursery for your soon-to-be newborn is one of the most exciting things to do whilst prepping for your new arrival.
Paint colours, baby furniture, mobiles and ‘themes’ are all big considerations. But whilst there’s lots of fun to be had creating the ‘dream’ nursery, from the perspective of how to encourage the best sleep for your newborn there’s some more essentials to think of.
Setting up the ideal sleep environment from the very beginning is the foundation that great sleep habits are built on. Babies ideally need certain factors available to them in their sleep environment to help them achieve restorative sleep. So, let me talk you through the top things I am looking for and encourage every parent to consider when setting up the perfect room for their new little one…
Keep it Clean and De-Clutter
A nice calm and serene space is a lot more conducive to sleep than having the nursery overrun with toys, mobiles and accessories that clutter the environment. Most importantly, it is imperative that safe sleep guidelines are followed. Becoming very familiar with safe sleep guidelines is a real must to help create the safest possible sleeping space for your newborn, free from toys – keep it simple.
Make it Dark
This is probably my favourite tip of all. Make the room dark. SO dark that you would struggle to read a book in there…. yes, super dark! A really important biological process happens when we nap our babies in the dark.
When our babies are up and awake time, natural light going into their eyes produces the hormone Serotonin in the brain. Now, here is the interesting part. When we then take our babies into a dark space for their naps and night-time sleep, that serotonin hormone is converted into the sleepy hormone melatonin. So, the darker the space the higher the levels of melatonin in our babies’ brains. This melatonin makes them feel physiologically tired and supports their sleep.
It’s also an important factor in helping newborns link their sleep cycles. When they rouse following one sleep cycle in their dark room and there is nothing to grab their attention, they remain much calmer and can easily drift off into the next sleep cycle.
Think about how you could make your baby’s room as dark as possible. Get a black out blind and maybe you may also need a curtain over the top of it to stop any light coming through the sides and the top. GroBlinds create a dark sleep environment at home or on-the-go. Ideal to take on holidays and create that dark ‘sleepy’ environment wherever you go, it’s well worth the effort.
Set up White Noise
White noise is a wonderful ‘tool’ to use in the sleep environment. Babies literally grew in white noise! White noise mimics the sound that babies experienced inside the womb, and the womb was really noisy… as noisy as a vacuum cleaner!
Setting up some good white noise in the nursery to play all through their naps and overnight sleep is so beneficial. It creates a cocoon of sound that can really help babies calm faster, cry less and settle. Using white noise has the added benefit of shutting out all the stimulation that stresses babies out and is excellent at blocking out general household noise. Our Grofriends feature white noise to help your little ones settle - plus it’s nice to have a normal conversation without whispering right?
Create the Perfect Room Temperature
The ideal temperature for a baby’s sleep environment is between 18 to 21 degrees. You’re aiming for a constant, even temperature. It’s the drop in temperature during the night that can really wake babies up. They just don’t have the body mass to generate heat like adults do. So, ensuring that the nursery is a nice constant temp will stop those 4.00 am wake up calls. Using a Groegg is an easy way of quickly showing the temperature of your baby’s nursery. Once you know the temperature, appropriate sleepwear such as swaddles or snuggles can be chosen, ensuring your baby is snug and at the perfect temperature all night.
With some simple planning these foundations can be set up in your baby’s nursery easily. Have fun incorporating these sleep factors in! So not only is the nursery looking fantastic, but also has all the tools and best advice in place to encourage wonderful restorative sleep for your baby. Remember, it’s all for the love of sleep!
Emma O’Callaghan is a qualified midwife, nurse and infant and child sleep consultant. With over 20 years’ experience in both hospital and community settings, Emma knows about sleep. She has helped thousands of families reclaim sleep and is particularly passionate about supporting new and first-time parents. She is the Founder of Baby Sleep Expert, and with a common sense, compassionate approach is often referred to as the ultimate “baby whisperer”. Emma lives in Melbourne with her three daughters and fur baby.