A Special Space
Setting up your baby’s nursery
When you finally bring your baby home, how wonderful to have a place especially for her. Here are tips for creating your child’s nursery.
First and foremost, you baby needs a safe place to sleep. You can start with a bassinet or put your baby in the crib from day one. All cribs sold in the U.S. are subject to rigorous safety standards. To further decrease any risk to your child:
• Make sure the mattress is firm and fits tightly against the sides of the crib.
• Crib slats should be no more than 2’ 3/8” inches apart.
• Keep soft objects (loose bedding, bumper pads, stuffed animals) out of the crib. Wedges and positioners can also be dangerous.
• Put your baby flat on her back to sleep.
• Sleep in the same room with your baby for the first few months,
but do not let her sleep in bed with you.
• Don’t let your baby get too hot. In general, dress her in one more
layer than you are wearing — fitted pajamas or sleep sacks are fine.
• Do not expose your baby or her sleep area to smoke.
Now that your baby has a safe place to sleep, what’s next?
• Comfortable chair or rocker for feedings. Keep some items for yourself — such as a water bottle and magazines — nearby.
• Changing table/station. If space is tight, a changing pad on top of a dresser works well. A small supply of diapers, wipes, diaper cream and clothes should be within arm’s reach. Make sure any shelves above the changing station are secure and hold lightweight objects.
• Diaper pail and hamper.
• Baby monitor, if you cannot hear your baby from distant parts of your home.
• Bins and baskets for storage of clothes, toys and books.
• Night light or dimmer for late-night feedings and diaper changes.
You and your baby will be spending a lot of time in the nursery, so why not make it fabulous? Start with a color scheme and choose wallpaper or paint to match — your local paint store can give you information about baby-safe options. A soft rug is great for playtime. Hang pictures, family photos and mementos on the wall. (Keep a camera/phone handy for capturing spontaneous shots of your baby’s adorable expressions!)
Don’t forget about the ceiling — decals, murals and mobiles will entertain your baby when she is lying on her back. Anything hanging down should be secure and out of her reach. While you’re planning the décor, make sure to keep babyproofing in mind — your infant will be crawling before you know it. Voilà! Your baby’s nursery is now a space to make memories for years to come.
Pediatrician Elizabeth Shashaty, MD, is on staff at Children’s National Medical Center and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, both in Washington, DC. She is also the mother of three young children. Any ideas/photos of your baby’s nursery to share on our website? Submit them on our Contact page.