Preparing the Nursery
You and your baby are both going to spend a lot of time in the nursery, especially when you first bring her home, so it's important to make it a calm, comfortable and safe place for both of you.
The Right Environment
Your baby's nursery —whether it's in your bedroom or in a separate room—should be a quiet area where there is soft lighting and little traffic. Remember, your baby will spend most of the time here looking up, so make sure there are no bright overhead lights.
Her nursery should be a peaceful place, designed for ease of use and comfort for you and for your baby. Arrange the furniture and items in a way you think makes the most sense logically, but realize that you may need to rearrange things a little once you figure out what works best for both of you.
Choosing a Cot
Your newborn's needs are simple: a firm, flat mattress and a safe enclosure where she will feel protected and secure. If you plan to have a cot, make sure that:
If your baby sleeps in a cot or a wooden palna, choose one that is deep enough to be safe for your baby. Ensure that cot bars are less than 45-65mm (a can of soft drink cannot fit between the slats) to prevent your baby's head from slipping between the bars.
- If your cot is second-hand and painted, strip all paint and re-paint it with eco-friendly lead-free paint. If your child breathes lead dust or fumes, or swallows anything with lead in it, he may get lead poisoning, which could cause learning disabilities and other neurological problems.
- Make sure that the mattress is firm. Your baby can overheat or suffocate if he sleeps on a soft mattress.
- Also check that the mattress fits snugly in the cot. There should be no corner-post extensions and no decorative cut outs in the headboard or foot board which could trap your baby's limbs.
- Don't use a pillow in the cot. For safe sleeping, your baby needs a surface that is firm and flat.
- Keep soft toys and stuffed animals away from your baby's cot as he may get accidentally smothered if he rolls onto a toy in his sleep. Make sure cot toys don't have strings longer than 30cm as they can get tangled round a baby's neck.
- When you're not in the room with your baby, keep the drop side of his cot up and locked.
- When the cot mattress is at its lowest height and the top rail is below your child's chest, it's time to move him to a bed.
The cot is just one part of your baby’s environment. Everything around her should be made safe and secure, as much as possible, to minimise chances of injury and accidents. Some precautions you can take are as follows:
- Attach corner and edge guards.
- Secure furniture that can topple (bookcases, chests of drawers) to the walls.
- Keep televisions on low furniture, pushed back as far as possible.
- Secure tall, unstable lamps behind furniture and make sure the electrical cords to table lamps are out of reach.
Irrespective of the baby sleeping with you or in a separate cot, her safety is of utmost importance.
- To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), your baby should be placed on her back when it's time to sleep. Remember the phrase "Back to Sleep," and be sure that everyone who cares for your child follows this rule, even at naptime
- The sleeping surface must be firm and flat
- Fluffy pillows, crib bumpers, blankets and toys should never be placed in the crib with a sleeping baby
- Do not use sleep-positioning devices. These may look like a good idea, but your baby can become trapped and suffocate
- Your baby can be kept warm by using a sleeper, such as a zipper sleeper. Do not use sleepers that can ride up and potentially cover your baby’s face
To change your baby’s diaper, you can use a changing table specifically designed for baby diaper changing. You can also use a flat, secure surface (like the floor or bed), covered with a changing pad or towel. Whatever you choose, be sure the surface is sturdy.
If you buy a changing table, make sure that:
- The changing table is sturdy and stable, with a 2-inch guardrail around all four sides. The top of the changing table should be concave, so that the middle is slightly lower than the sides
- You secure the changing table to the wall (to the studs), if possible, to prevent tip-overs. If the table has wheels, be sure they are locked
- Have all your supplies ready before you change your baby. Make sure they are within your reach, but out of your baby’s reach. Do not give your baby product containers to hold while you are changing her; give her a toy to hold instead
Never leave your baby alone on a changing table, not even for a minute. ALWAYS keep one hand on your baby when using a changing table, even when you are using the provided safety strap. Ignore the phone during this time — your baby’s safety comes first!