One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting families in their home and seeing their little one’s personality, the family dynamic, parenting style and the baby’s room – and wow, have I seen some straight-out-of-a-magazine SPECTACULAR nurseries!!
In many cases, these pretty rooms are functional as well and we don’t need to change much when I do the room assessment. But in some cases, there are some tweaks that just help to optimize the sleeping environment.
When I go into a room, I look at these areas:
- amount of light when the shades are closed
- temperature in the room
- sounds you can hear in the hallway and outside the windows
- crib and bedding
- what the child wears to sleep (pajamas, sleep sack, swaddle…)
- room set up
If I see one of these five things in a room, it’s definitely something we change immediately:
- Crib bumper and quilt
I know the baby stores have beautiful coordinated bedding sets for cribs with fluffy bumpers and quilts, but those are not things that belong in the crib – they can increase the risk for suffocation and SIDS. The only thing that should be in the crib is a tight fitting sheet over the crib mattress.
- Distracting crib toys
9 times out of 10, I see a mobile with music or lights or a toy that baby can push and makes noise attached to the side of the crib. You want the crib to be for sleep, not playing, so when you put your baby down, he isn’t confused whether this is naptime or he has 10 minutes to play while you take a shower! If you have a paper mobile hanging from the ceiling for decoration, that’s fine because you’re not using it to entertain your baby.
When I meet with families, they’ve made the decision to teach their baby how to fall asleep independently without sleep props in the crib. I always encourage that they disassemble the swing so they aren’t tempted to use it at 2am the first night – once you decide to remove sleep props, you don’t want to cave and give in at a weak moment!
If playing a lullaby during the bedtime routine is something you feel your child needs to start winding down and getting drowsy, it’s a sleep prop and it’s gotta go! I’m all for playing soft music, but you don’t want your child to depend on it to be able to get to sleep. I would much rather see you sing a song to your child during the bedtime routine – but without the intention of making her drowsy!
- Things that prevent your baby from rolling or moving
There are so many products on the market that claim to solve your child’s sleep problems by immobilizing them – either with a thick suit so they can’t roll over or with positioners that keep your baby in place. I’m not a fan of either. I think they can be dangerous if your child wriggles down and get her head against the wedge – and then can’t breathe. And the suits that make it hard to roll can make baby overheat – I’ve seen families use them in the summer months when it’s a pleasant temp in the room and the baby gets really sweaty. I can understand wanting to prop up the mattress if your baby has reflux or a cold – rolling up a towel and placing it under the mattress works well.
Was this post helpful? Please SHARE!
Other posts you may be interested in:
Photo credit: Deposit Photos | khamidulin