Following on from last week’s blog post about creating a smooth transition from basket to cot, this week we’re looking at how to create the perfect bedroom environment for your little one.
If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, or you follow me on social media, you’ll already know that official guidelines recommend a baby sleeps in a separate Moses basket or bassinet in the same room as its parents for the first six months at least to reduce the risk of SIDs.
So, in this blog I’m going to share with you the 4 things you can do to create the most sleep-inducing bedroom environment for your baby once they’ve left your bedroom.
to create the most sleep-inducing bedroom environment for your baby
Number 1 | A place of calm and relaxation
The first thing we need to do is to encourage positive associations with bedtime, bedroom and sleep.
How can we do this?
By carrying out quiet, calming and relaxing activities in your little one’s bedroom as part of their bedtime routine.
- A cuddly feed.
- Reading a book in a quiet voice to your baby. If you have a rocking chair or a cosy space this is a great place to do your reading.
- A gentle baby massage. This can produce the hormone melatonin, which encourages sleep.
- Singing a song or lullaby.
These activities will not only relax your little one, but they’ll also start to form associations with these activities and bedtime, making them more likely to drop off to sleep more quickly.
Number 2 | Setting the right temperature
When we fall asleep, our bodies’ temperature naturally decreases so, the sooner you can get your little one’s body to cool down, the faster they are likely to fall asleep.
If they’re uncomfortable, they will have to spend time and energy regulating their temperature which makes it difficult to both fall asleep, and stay asleep!
Overheating also increases the risk of SIDS and this tends to happen more during the colder, winter months as parents use extra clothing to keep their baby warm which causes them to overheat.
Ideally, you want to aim for a room temperature of 68-72°/19-21°.
How can we keep babies cool?
- In warmer months, close the bedroom curtains earlier to reduce the heat from the sun;
- Use organic cotton fitted cot bed sheets which are more breathable, and;
- Instead of clothes and blankets, use a sleep bag. Sleep bags are great for regulating temperature so your little one doesn’t get too hot.
Number 3 | Light (or lack of it!)
Creating the ideal bedroom environment isn’t just about getting your little one off to sleep quicker, it is about creating the best possible sleep quality. And starting healthy sleep habits early will lead to much better sleep later on in life.
The quality of sleep you can get in a dark room is much higher than the quality of sleep you’ll get in a room that is light.
When it is dark, the sleep hormone melatonin is produced, sending a signal to your baby telling them that it is time to sleep. This reinforces their natural circadian rhythms which helps them to understand the transition from daytime to nighttime.
Both at bedtime and naptime during the day, you should make your little one’s bedroom as dark as possible. The best way to do this is to use blackout blinds. These also come in very handy when the clocks change and it can become confusing for your baby to understand that it is bedtime.
Number 4 | Noise
As with light, babies can be easily overstimulated by sound, whether it be sounds coming from the home or even from the street outside, making it difficult for them to get to sleep, and to stay asleep.
Now obviously, we can’t control noises outside but what you can do is use a white noise machine to help block out unwanted noises, reduce stress and avoid overstimulation, therefore creating the opportunity for healthy sleep.
How do you use a white noise machine and is it safe?
Some parents worry that using a white noise machine at such a young age could create dependencies when their little one gets older but let me assure you that using a white noise machine isn’t something you can become addicted to or dependent on.
One way of using a white noise machine is to gradually, over time, reduce the sound day by day until it is no longer needed.
And again, when using a white noise machine consistently, your baby will start to associate it with bedtime, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
So, there you have it. Four simple ways to create the perfect bedroom environment for your baby.
For more tips and advice, follow me on Facebook and Instagram. And, if you need some extra support you can join my private Facebook group where you can tag me and I will answer your baby sleep questions directly!