We love our babies. And as you're about to find out, we love to buy them things too (or if you're anything like me, you already have quite a collection!). But did you know that there are certain things that you don't need in your baby's nursery? You'd be surprised just how much stuff you can do without when it comes to taking care of your little bundle of joy, as well as helping them sleep better. Here are some examples:
A Mobile Over the Crib
You may think of your baby's mobile as an adorable decoration, but it's actually a distraction that can cause them to become overstimulated when it's time to sleep. And that's the point of going in the crib, right?? To sleep.
A mobile over the crib can also become a safety hazard as your little one grows and becomes more mobile. If they're trying to reach for it they could topple over the side of the crib.
If you must have one, why not put the mobile over the changing table instead? You'll love having something to distract them while you change them. It's especially helpful when their little hands would otherwise be reaching for things down there.
Eyelet Curtains Over the Windows
When you're decorating your nursery, it's easy to get caught up in the idea of creating something that looks beautiful and feels cozy. But there are some things that might not be worth the trouble. Eyelet curtains are one such item - they can look lovely, but they won't keep out light very well (or at all). If there's one thing you do want your child's nursery to be when it's time for a nap, it's dark.
They also aren't a good choice if you have an infant who likes to test things out and pulls things down on top of themselves these curtains will be one of the first to do so. In my opinion, it's just not worth it, especially as your little one gets into the toddler years.
If you still want to use eyelet curtains, make sure you babyproof when the time comes, and use a solid blackout solution over the windows under the curtains.
Bumper Pads in the Crib - Or at All
Bumper pads are a no-go. They can cause suffocation and strangulation, as well as head injuries if your baby falls off the bed and becomes trapped between the mattress and bumper pad. All you need in your baby's crib is a tightly fitted sheet: it's safer, cheaper, and more stylish!
Toys in the Crib
Toys and stuffed animals are not a necessity, especially for babies younger than 12 months
Toys in the crib with a baby younger than 12 months are safety hazards
Toys can be a source of distraction for your child, who might become more interested in playing with them than sleeping. This can be especially true if there's more than one toy in the crib at once. If your baby is older than 12 months, it's fine to put a stuffed animal in the crib with your child for comfort, but add much more than that and it'll be a party instead of naptime!
Stuffed animals should be age appropriate and do not put them in the crib with your child until they're at least 12 months old - and even then only if they're soft and squishy enough that they don't pose any sort of choking hazard. If you have any worries about whether an item could pose a risk when placed next to an infant, err on the side of caution: remove it from their sleeping space altogether!
Pillows or Blankets in the Crib
Pillows and blankets are not safe for babies to sleep with. They can smother the baby, cause them to suffocate or overheat, and increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). If you want to keep your little one cozy at night, consider using a sleep sack instead of putting blankets in the crib--or just let them sleep on their own!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be placed to sleep on their backs, alone, until they're 1 year old. This means no stuffed animals or lovies are allowed quite yet either!
Anything with Lights within Eyesight of the Crib
As mentioned earlier, your baby needs it to be dark in their nursery. Investing in a solid blackout solution is key in helping them take good naps and prevent them from waking too early in the morning. No parent likes to start their day at 5:00 a.m. if they don't have to.
But what about lights from monitors, clocks, or humidifiers? Great question!
If they're red lights, no need to worry.
If they're green, blue, or white lights, however, you'll want to make sure they're covered with a small piece of black electrical tape, as these types of lights with actually disrupt your child's sleep and circadian rhythm.
Light works against our biological sleep-wake cycle by suppressing melatonin production (which helps us fall asleep) and increasing cortisol levels (which keeps us awake). Exposure to too much light during the evening hours can have serious consequences on both adults' health as well as children's development - and it may even be linked with obesity!
Long story short: If you must use any kind of light at night in order to feed or comfort your child without disrupting their sleep pattern further than necessary, make sure it's dimmable red or amber lighting instead!
Planning a nursery is fun and exciting, but make sure you're setting your baby up for sleep success!
When you're planning your baby's nursery, don't forget to include the following:
A white noise machine. White noise is a great way to mask other noises that could disturb your little one's sleep, like street traffic or a barking dog next door. It will also help your baby settle if fussy and help them get into a deeper, more quality sleep.
A baby monitor. You'll want this so you can check on them when they're sleeping and make sure they're safe, especially if they're not sleeping in the same room as you.
Childproofing products such as outlet covers, cabinet anchors, and cabinet locks so no one gets hurt during those first few years before they learn how not to touch everything in sight!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the many things you think your baby needs, take a deep breath and remember that it's okay if they don't have all of these things right now. As long as they are safe and comfortable in their room, there's no reason why they shouldn't wait until later on before getting anything else added to their space.
And, one more tip: Don't rush too quickly to add a toddler bed and toys. This is a surefire way to have short naps, late bedtimes, and early mornings. Ask me how I know! Just kidding. My boys keep their toys OUT of their bedrooms because the only thing I want them to associate their bedroom with is sleep. It works great for us.
Not sure how to set up your little one's nursery so it's conducive to quality sleep? Read more here.