You’ve spent a great deal of time preparing the nursery. You’ve painted. You’ve found the most adorable coordinated nursery decorations. You’ve organized all the clothes and diapers and wipes and sundries. But here’s the truth: it’s easier if your baby sleeps in your room. From your baby’s perspective, the world is a loud, scary place. Being close to you will be reassuring. Many parents set up a bassinet or a co-sleeper in their room and skip introducing their baby to his or her nursery until much later. If you’re planning on having your baby sleep in your room, here are four tips that will make your nursery checklist and nights more enjoyable.
1. Set Up the Co-Sleeper Beside You
Most co-sleepers come with a little attachment so you can place them right beside the bed. A mother must have thought of this idea; it allows you to simply scoop your little up, transfer him or her to your bed and feed or soothe him or her. If you’re breastfeeding you won’t even need to sit up! Sleeping this close to you also provides your newborn with the comfort of familiarity; he or she will be able to sense your presence.
2. Set Up a Small Cooler
If you’re bottle feeding, set up a cooler in your bedroom so you don’t have to go up and down the stairs to the kitchen whenever you need a bottle. When your baby wakes at 2 a.m. hungry as an entire army you’ll have what you need right at your fingertips. The small cooler can hold snacks and water for you as well. Breastfeeding mothers especially often wake thirsty, and what you want will be within your reach.
3. Set Up a Small Changing Station
Who wants to travel down the hall and stub their toe, all to change a diaper? As part of your nursery checklist, keep a few diapers, and a pack of wipes in your bedroom for that 1 a.m. diaper change. As blowouts are bound to happen, it may be a good idea to keep an extra set of PJs in there too.
4. Set Up a Sound Machine
Although you may be acquainted to all the noises in and outside of your home, remember that everything is new to your baby. The heating system turning on, your neighbor’s alarm clock, a dog barking, a thunder storm: all these things can startle and wake your baby. Consider setting up a sound machine. Cloud B makes a few great ones; simple sounds of a heartbeat or the ocean may be all your baby needs to sleep soundly during nap or nighttime.
Although you’ll be getting less sleep as a new parent you can help yourself get more quality sleep by preparing the nursery checklist to convert your bedroom for your little one’s arrival. It’s important to work within the space that you have; if you have a ceiling vent on your side of the bed, it’s probably a better idea to set up the co-sleeper elsewhere. The important thing is to create a sleep environment that’s reassuring to you baby. Reduce any distractions you can and respond to his or her needs, be it a diaper or feeding, as quickly as possible. The sooner your little one is reassured that you’re there and their needs are met, the more likely they are to go back to sleep—and you can too.