Preparing Your Baby's Bedroom For Sleep
Your baby's sleep can be affected by their bedroom, but you can change this by making sure everything is prepared to help guide them to sleep. Nurse and mother, Harriet Gibbs, details some of the safest and best ways to prepare your baby's room for sleep.
Creating the right environment for your little one to sleep is vital. With just a few simple measures you can help create an environment conducive to sleep, ensuring to send your little one peacefully off to the land of nod.
The Lullaby Trust recommend for the first 6 months, your baby should sleep in the same room as you (for both daytime and night-time sleeps). During this time, and when sleeping in their own room, it’s important to create an environment encouraging of sleep.
It’s a good idea to invest in a wall thermometer to ensure the bedroom (or the room in which your baby sleeps) is just the right temperature. It is recommended a temperature of between 16-20 degrees Celsius is suitable (The Lullaby Trust, 2018). This may seem a little cooler than you would expect, however babies sleep better when they are a little cooler. It’s so important to not let your baby over heat as this is a risk factor for sudden infant death (SIDs). Always place your baby on their back to sleep and ensure to tuck blankets in or use a baby sleeping bag with an appropriate TOG in regards to the room temperature. To check your babies’ temperature to see if they are too hot or too cold, feel the back of the neck or their tummy. You should never check their hands or feet to check if they are too hot or cold as babies’ hands and foot are usually cooler which is completely normal. For more information on safer sleep, check out the Lullaby Trust’s website.
Now the clocks have sprung forward, the use of a blackout blind or curtains are a great way of dealing with the lighter evenings. Be sure to test them out first to make sure there are no unwanted gaps which may potentially disturb your little one’s sleep. Darkness helps stimulate the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, therefore it is vitally important on helping your little one feel sleepy and to get a good nights rest. Things such as cot mobiles or anything that emits light may actually impact negatively on your babies’ sleep; particularly if it produces a blue light, which research suggests suppresses melatonin. These could be contributing to your child becoming overstimulated at bedtime and harder to settle to sleep.
Creating positive connotations to your child’s bedroom is so important right from the very beginning. Remember, they will be spending many years in their bedroom therefore it’s imperative to get it right in creating a ‘sanctuary’ and safe place for them. It should be a calm place where your child feels safe and happy and should never be used as a form of punishment such as ‘if you don’t eat your dinner you will go to your room’. Maintain a calm, relaxing environment by keeping toys tidied away or downstairs with nothing too stimulating in sight. A child’s bedroom should be a tranquil place for them so be sure your behaviour reflects this when in their bedroom environment. By setting up these positive associations your little one is more likely to settle more easily in their room and stay happily asleep there.
These simple tips can be recreated wherever you are, for instance when on holiday or staying with friends/family and will help in creating positive sleep associations for your child which will last a lifetime.
The Lullaby Trust, The safest room temperature for babies, [accessed online], available from: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/baby-room-temperature/, date accessed: 26/03/2018
About Harriet Gibbs
Harriet is a Registered Nurse as well as achieving a Bachelor of Science in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing allowing her to work as a Health Visitor. Since becoming a mother Harriet has developed a passion surrounding sleep problems which lead her to furthering her knowledge in the subject and completing a sleep training course allowing her to take on her next venture as a Sleep Consultant for the under 5s.
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