“Are you expecting a new baby and wondering how to decorate the nursery. Michelle Shaw gives us some great practical sensory tips on what you can do to ensure a comforting nursery.” Creating a breathtaking nursery is something most moms-to-be dream of. And it’s often the cause of much stress as eager and exhausted parents frantically rush to finish everything before their baby is born. Which is rather ironic considering that a baby’s needs in the first few weeks of life are very simple – and from a sensory perspective, glitz, glamour and the very latest nursery trends are the last thing a newborn needs. Your aim in the first few weeks is to create a calming sensory environment. Think of the womb. It’s the environment your baby knows best and your goal is to try and create a similar environment in terms of what your baby sees, feels, hears, tastes and smells. Colour: In the first few weeks think muted. You may have fallen in love with a bright primary colour scheme – but put it on hold for now. There’s a good reason why soft pinks, blues, greens and yellows are such traditional baby favourites -- they’re very calming to a baby. In terms of patterns, steer clear of colourful gingham and other brightly patterned fabrics – at least initially. There’ll be plenty of time later to indulge your creativity. Sleeping arrangements: Most babies start off in a crib or a cot. This is a place that your baby must learn to associate with sleep so don’t put a mobile over the cot and/or fill the cot with loads of toys (from a safety and a sensory perspective). You want your baby to sleep, not slip into play mode! Rather place the mobile over the changing table when your baby will be awake and ready to be entertained. Opt for linen that is above all soft. Remove scratchy tags and avoid blankets and pillowslips with rough appliquéd pictures – even if they are family heirlooms. Your baby’s comfort is more important. Other good ideas:
- Invest in a light with a dimmer switch. You’ll thank yourself when you’re trying to feed your baby at night. The last thing you want is to have your little one raring to go in the wee hours of the morning because you’ve switched on a bright light. And trying to fumble your way through the feed with the help of the nearby passage or bathroom light can be extremely exasperating.
- Curtains with block out lining are wonderful. They darken the room for daytime naps (think womb-like) and may even help to persuade your baby to sleep longer in the morning or persuade him to go to sleep at night if it’s not yet dark.
- If you’re using a heater, air conditioner or fan, don’t go overboard. The ideal temperature is about 20° C.