Creating a wonderful place for your baby...
Planning and preparing baby’s nursery is one of the most exciting things during your nine month adventure – it won’t be long before you’re welcoming a new little person home to the perfect sanctuary you have created for them!
See below for some great tips and ideas…
Remember we have wonderful experts that can help you (click here), even for the small stuff.
Preparing the room
If you’re planning to paint the nursery make sure you do it well in advance of your baby arriving home. Many parents opt to wait until their baby is born before they find out the sex and whilst this is exciting, it’s tricky when it comes to decorating the nursery. One option is to paint the nursery white, or an off-white colour like white/grey or white/blue. Then when your baby arrives and all is revealed you can accessorize the nursery with decorations such as Decor Room Mates Peel & Stick Appliques, Borders and Murals which are instantly removable, repositionable and re-useable with no damage to the surface.
Whenever possible try and assemble your nursery furniture in the room it will be used in. This way, you’ll avoid any potential access problems once the furniture is built. If you’re heavily pregnant, it’s a good idea someone else to assemble the furniture for you – so you can put your feet up and relax.
Babies don’t need especially warm rooms. All-night heating is rarely necessary. We advise only using a heater to take the chill off your baby’s room, as babies should not sleep in hot rooms or sleep next to a heater or in direct sunlight. To keep an eye on the temperature, either buy a simple room thermometer, keep it next to where your baby sleeps. The safest room temperature for your baby to sleep in is somewhere between 16-20ºC. If you do need to check baby is a comfortable temperature, check the neck or body rather than hands or feet.
Light makes a room look airy and inviting, but it can also make your baby feel restless and uncomfortable. Avoid placing the cot in direct sunlight, and consider blackout blinds so your baby can rest without distraction.
Sleeping bags are brilliant – no more kicking off blankets in the night and waking because baby’s chilly. Plus domes and zips mean minimal disturbance with those night time changes. A baby monitor is a worthwhile investment – plug the base unit in your baby’s room, then keep the parent unit with you so you can hear when nap times are over. Some monitors will also record your baby’s room temperature and alert the parent unit of any significant change.
Experts recommend that baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months. A Moses basket or Bassinet is ideal for this. They are small and compact so can usually fit next to your bed, making those night time feeds a little easier and keeping you within reach for a cuddle or a reassuring lullaby.
Choosing nursery furniture
If you have a compact nursery, a cot will fit your space better than a cot bed. However cot beds do make the most financial sense as they’ll last little one from birth through to age four or five.
A great tip is to draw the room to scale on squared paper and then use cut outs of the furniture to try different layouts. You could also map out the space in the room using newspaper or mark out the floor with masking tape. And don’t forget to make sure there’s enough space to walk around the furniture, or open doors and drawers.
Many parents choose to have their baby sleep in a bassinet for the first few months of life. Bassinets are smaller than a cot, and allow parents to keep their baby in the bedroom with them while they sleep. This is especially helpful for night time feeding as parents are closer and can easily hear baby.
While some parents prefer to keep the bassinet stationary in their bedroom or baby nursery, many parents prefer being able to move the bassinet around the house so they can keep their sleeping baby close by, no matter where in the house they are. A rolling bassinet with locking wheels or a folding bassinet can easily be moved from one room to another.
Make sure the bassinet you purchase is safe for your baby. A sturdy base will help prevent the bassinet from tipping over. Furthermore, make sure there is no padding inside the bassinet other than the bassinet mattress, which should be firm. Any decorative bows, sashes and skirts should be well out of your baby’s reach.
Once your baby starts kicking and wiggling, you’ll want to move them to a cot to keep them from tipping the bassinet over.
Baby hammocks provide your child with a cradled environment which feels similar to being in the womb. The familiar feeling provides a sense of security for your baby and promotes a settled sleep.
A baby hammock helps to evenly distribute your baby’s weight, causing less stress on muscles and joints, minimizing the risk of ‘flat head’. It naturally causes baby to sleep with their head slightly elevated. This is particularly helpful for babies with chronic reflux.
Properly designed hammocks keep babies sleeping on their back – the safest sleeping position for babies.
Baby can be easily settled back to sleep by a gentle swinging of the hammock. As baby grows and begins to wiggle on their own, the movement of the hammock means baby will often settle themselves back to sleep.
Baby hammocks are completely portable. No matter where you are staying, baby gets to sleep in their own familiar bed. They are lightweight and take up less space than a traditional portacot.
Your baby’s cot will be the one piece of furniture that they will use every night (and with luck at least a couple of times during the day) so it’s important that the cot you choose suits both you and your baby.
There are a number of different styles & sizes available;
NZ Standard Size: This is the old standard size cot which is very uncommon in New Zealand, unless it’s an older hand me down cot or purchased second hand through auction sites. The NZ standard cot inner-sprung mattress measures 1200 x 600 x 120mm.
American Cot Size: This is currently the most common size cot in New Zealand and most can quickly convert from cot to cot bed for longer period of use. The American inner-sprung mattress measures 690 x 1300 x 130mm. There are mattresses available with minor size variation.
Large Cot Size: This large cot size is becoming more common in New Zealand. This is ideal if you have the room in your nursery as it provides an affordable long term solution for your life time investment, enabling you to turn your cot to full size single bed. We recommend too check measurements on linen as not all our linen will fit this size. The inner-sprung mattress measures 760 x 1300 x 130mm. There are mattresses available with minor size variation. The advantage of a larger cot is that your baby will have more room – and it may work out a more practical option if you and your baby are happy to continue using a cot well into toddling years. However, a smaller cot will be perfectly adequate for a growing baby too.
Height-adjustable base? The base height of most cots can be adjusted as your baby grows. You can choose the highest level for the first few months, so you can lift your baby in and out easily, then reposition at a lower level when your baby starts to pull him or herself up, so he or she stays secure in the cot. Cots tend to have a two or three position base, although a few have more. Two positions are fine for most people’s needs.
Fixed or drop sides? Most cots available have drop sides. One side of the cot will have a mechanism designed to let you lower the side so you can lift your baby in and out with ease. One handed lift and knee action, when you push the side of the cot into a position where it can be lowered, can be useful because you can operate them with one hand. Other cots have a couple of catches to release at the same time, so it’s a good idea when you pick baby up to leave the drop side down. Non-drop sides are designed and sit lower to the floor, therefore the sides aren’t as high and you can lift baby out quite comfortably without having to use a mechanism to drop the side down.
Portable cots are not as sturdy as standard cots. They are designed for short-term convenient use; ie. travelling or overnight stays, but not for constant use!
Use the mattress supplied by the manufacturer; using a substitute can create a safety hazard and it’s not recommended. Make sure the mattress fits snugly; there must be no more than 25mm gap between the mattress and the side of the portacot.
All new and second-hand cots must meet these safety requirements:
• The cot must be more than 500mm deep. Measure from the top of the mattress to the top of the cot side.
• The mattress must fit the cot firmly. Any gaps at the ends and sides should be less than 20mm.
• Spaces between the bars of the cot must be between 50mm and 85mm.
• The four corner posts must not stick up more than 5mm.
• The drop side catches must lock securely.
• Screws and nails must not stick out.
• It is mandatory under the Product Safety Standards (Household Cots) Regulations for all new and second-hand cots supplied in New Zealand to comply with specific sections of the Standard AS/NZS 2172:2003