How to set up the ideal sleep environment for your baby
One of the most exciting parts of being pregnant is setting up the baby’s nursery. It’s such a wonderful time and you’re filled with excited anticipation. And while we are spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping, it can be overwhelming to know what you really need. Before spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary baby products, let me explain how to set up baby’s ideal sleeping environment. I can give you a clear understanding of what babies really need their environment to be like based on research and evidence. Once you have a good understanding of what babies need, it makes the decision about what you want to buy a whole lot easier.
A nice calm and serene environment is much more conducive to sleep than a cot filled with toys and mobiles hanging overhead. Become very familiar with the SIDS guidelines to help create the safest possible sleeping space. The cot is for sleeping in, not playing in.
Newborns love anything that reminds them of being inside the womb. After all, it was their home for 9 months. A nice firm arms down swaddle has great benefits. It stops the startle reflex in newborns which can disturb their ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. The snug tight feeling of a swaddle mimics the feeling they had in the womb which is extremely comforting for babies. It is worth investing in a great ‘Houdini’ proof swaddle.
The noise inside the womb was really loud. As noisy as a vacuum cleaner. Once again using white noise is very comforting to babies as it reminds them of being in the womb. It needs to be used continuously during naps and night time sleep. It’s fantastic for shutting out all the stimulation that stresses babies out and blocks out household noise. Babies very quickly recognise the sound as a cue for sleep and it becomes a fantastic positive sleep association. Outsource your white noise to a white noise machine or app on your iPad.
Babies need their sleep environments to be super dark. So dark you would struggle to read a book in the room. Yes, really dark! An important biological process happens when babies nap in dark rooms. It allows the hormone serotonin that is produced in light when they are awake to be converted into melatonin, the sleepy hormone, to support their sleep. Put simply, light blocks melatonin production which we don’t want. Think about how you can make your baby’s room as dark as possible. Maybe get a block out blind, or curtains to cover the sides of a blind where light is coming in. It’s well worth the effort.
The ideal temperature for a baby’s sleep environment is between 18 to 21 degrees. You’re aiming for a constant, even temperature. A season appropriate swaddle or sleeping bag for your baby is important. A safe oil heater in the room can work really well during winter. It stops those 4.00 am wake ups because of a freezing room and keeps the room at a constant even temperature. Follow these five pointers and I can assure you, you’ll have the perfect sleep environment for your gorgeous new addition.