Baby’s sleep zone

What your nurs­ery needs

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -


Close or far from your room? Some par­ents like to know the nurs­ery is near, while oth­ers pre­fer that it’s far enough not to have to hear ev­ery lit­tle noise baby makes. But the win­dows are more im­por­tant than the dis­tance from your room. In South Africa, a room with big win­dows on the south­ern side of your house can be­come too cold. The ideal is a room with north-fac­ing win­dows.

Don’t for­get about the neigh­bours’ braai pit or, even worse, their ken­nel. Your baby will be clock­ing many hours of sleep in those first few months, and an in­ces­sant bark­ing or sud­den loud mu­sic can keep him up.

Also be on the look­out for a pos­si­ble draught in the room.


Lined cur­tains that will keep the light out will make the room darker and re­mind your baby of the womb, which can ease his tran­si­tion into his new world a lit­tle. Block­out cur­tains that keep out the light will also make those all-im­por­tant day­time naps eas­ier.


What does the car­pet look like? Is it old, dirty or prone to gath­er­ing dust? Per­haps it should be re­placed? Car­pets gather dust, and dust is a com­mon al­ler­gen. If you want to put in a new kind of floor, con­sider wooden floors with loose car­pets. It’s eas­ier to keep this kind of floor­ing clean, and loose car­pets can be re­placed or ex­changed more of­ten.


The cot is per­haps the most im­por­tant piece of fur­ni­ture you’ll be buy­ing for your lit­tle bun­dle of joy. For­get about ap­pear­ance and func­tion for a mo­ment – safety is more im­por­tant. Here are a cou­ple of tips: ● Ask about or be on the look­out for safety codes (they are the num­bers that start with EN). Cots with a safety code should be deep enough to pre­vent your baby from climb­ing out at a later stage. The open­ings be­tween bars should be nar­row enough that your baby can­not fall through them. ● One of the sides of the cot should prefer­ably be able to open (it usu­ally slides up and down), so that you

can eas­ily lift baby out of the cot and place him back again. Make sure the mech­a­nism is of a kind that can­not eas­ily be opened by an older child. ● Make sure the bed has been painted with a lead-free prod­uct. Most of the new beds will con­form to this pre­req­ui­site, but an old or an­tique bed may not. ● If you want to buy a col­lapsi­ble or camp­ing cot, make sure it has a strong base, and only use a mat­tress that has been rec­om­mended spe­cially for the bed. Baby ham­mocks aren’t wrong, as long as you hang it ac­cord­ing to in­struc­tions and al­ways place baby on his back. Also don’t cover him with blan­kets when he’s in a ham­mock. As soon as your baby starts rolling over, he should no longer sleep in a ham­mock. ● Toys should re­main out­side of the cot, even soft toys, as baby can eas­ily suf­fo­cate. But if it has to, rather put teddy at the foot end of the bed and not close to his head. Keep the cot away from: ● cur­tains or blinds, be­cause your baby can later get hold ei­ther of these and might be­come en­tan­gled, ● wall-mounted heaters, ● win­dows that can open, and ● mir­rors or any­thing that’s heavy and hang­ing above the bed that could po­ten­tially fall onto your baby. LIGHT­ING How does the sun fall into the room dur­ing the day? Is it too bright? This will in­flu­ence the cur­tain or blind you choose, as well as the po­si­tion­ing of the cot. A night light or light with a dim­mer switch is also a good idea. These will al­low you to come in and feed your baby in the dark with­out trip­ping over any­thing while keep­ing the en­vi­ron­ment calm while he’s nurs­ing. Be care­ful of a lamp on his chang­ing station, be­cause de­pend­ing on how he lies while get­ting his nappy changed, the light might shine into his eyes. AGAINST THE WALLS The colour of a nurs­ery is very im­por­tant. Al­though ba­bies like bright colours, one should not go too wild when dec­o­rat­ing their rooms, es­pe­cially not at the very be­gin­ning.

A nurs­ery should have a calm­ing in­flu­ence on your baby. Rather opt for muted colours with lit­tle con­trast. BED LINEN The de­ci­sion about the cot is one thing. Then you have to buy the right linen. Be sure that… ● The mat­tress is new and fits snugly into the bed you bought (and re­mem­ber to re­move the plas­tic pack­ag­ing). There shouldn’t be a hole or slit any­where in which a baby’s arm, leg or head could get stuck. ● It’s a mat­tress with holes on the one side. A baby pil­low is un­nec­es­sary. ● The mat­tress is firm. ● The bed linen is thin and made of stretch­able cot­ton. Knit­ted or cro­cheted blan­kets like those your granny make are won­der­ful as they keep your baby warm with­out over­heat­ing. ● Cot bumpers help pro­tect your baby against hard bars. Choose one with pretty pic­tures, but keep in mind that a safe one has enough rib­bons to tie it se­curely to the bars and that it should fit the cot like a glove. If you have mos­qui­toes in sum­mer, a mos­quito net is a good idea. The kind that hangs from the ceil­ing works well but you also get a spe­cial one that’s mounted on baby beds. ● Spe­cial baby sleep­ing bags are a good plan, as ba­bies can­not worm them­selves in too deep and risk get­ting a piece of fab­ric over their heads. You also don’t have to take them out of the bag for win­ter night feeds or nappy changes. Choose a sleep­ing bag that’s suit­able for baby’s age, and make sure it doesn’t have a hood. Stay away from: ● Soft bed­ding such as du­vets, as it’s as­so­ci­ated with cot death. ● Waterbeds, sheep­skin cush­ions, bean bags and ring cush­ions. These aren’t suit­able places for baby to sleep. ● Elec­tric blan­kets. THE RIGHT TEM­PER­A­TURE Ba­bies that are un­set­tled all night long can be too hot or too cold. But how to know what the right tem­per­a­ture is? Fol­low these guide­lines: ● What’s right for you is gen­er­ally also right for baby. About 20 to 23°C is the ideal. Get a wall ther­mome­ter if you re­ally want to be sure. ● Don’t dress your baby too warmly for bed­time. Ba­bies eas­ily over­heat. ● Make sure the room is well ven­ti­lated, which means it should get enough fresh air day and night. ● How about a fan? A fan can cool down a hot room, but don’t have it blow­ing straight onto your baby. Re­cent re­search has shown that ba­bies that sleep in rooms with turn­ing fans have a slim­mer chance of suc­cumb­ing to cot death. It’s ap­par­ently be­cause fans cir­cu­late air and thus dras­ti­cally re­duce the risk of re-in­hala­tion. FOR THEIR EARS White noise and womb sounds calm very small ba­bies. It can help them sleep eas­ier be­cause the sounds are fa­mil­iar. Buy a small CD player and buy discs with womb sounds or Baroque mu­sic, which also ap­par­ently has a calm­ing in­flu­ence on ba­bies. Most mod­ern nurs­eries have a baby mon­i­tor. It makes par­ents’ life a lot eas­ier, as you know ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing in that cot. Sensor pads (placed be­tween the base of the bed and the mat­tress) trig­ger an alarm when your baby does not move for a set pe­riod of time, usu­ally about 20 sec­onds. YB


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