I have seen hundreds a baby’s rooms over the last decade of working with children. If there is one piece of advice you ever take from me, consider this:
Your baby is a little person, but a person nonetheless. Everything that affects your sleep affects your baby’s sleep too.
I recently visited a lovely couple and they had their newborn baby’s moses basket in the lounge, not only was it right next to the T.V, which was quietly on at the time, but they also had a skylight in the ceiling and big glass doors which opened onto their beautiful garden. It was a lovely space however it was very bright, especially for a baby of only a week old, facing upwards directly into the bright light. The parents said he wouldn’t nap in his moses basket for naps and I couldn’t blame the little one. I wouldn’t have been able to nap there either.
I helped another family with a little nine-month-old girl, and all of her smaller size clothes and toys she no longer used were piled right up to the ceiling in bags and boxes, her cot was squashed in somewhere amongst it all.
Every room and space has an energy to it, could we sleep peacefully and enjoy our room if it was piled high with bags and boxes, leaving little to no room for anything else?
I’m not judging, mum life it busy, most of us can hardly take a loo break without being interrupted or drink a cup of tea while it’s still hot, never mind spend the time it takes to get our little one’s room organised, I understand! However, it’s also my job to point out everything that can be done to get a baby sleeping well or as best as they age developmentally can.
I urge you to call in the grandparents, summons dad and beg friends and family to entertain your little one so that you can get to work in his/ her room. I promise you; your sleep depends on it. Once the big job of decluttering, organising and tidying is done, the rest is upkeep, and that can be done easily and quickly while your baby plays around your feet or in her cot for.
Here are ten tips on how to create your baby’s perfect sleep sanctuary.
1. Keep your baby’s room cool
No one like sleeping in a hot, stuffy room. A cool room will help your baby produce Melatonin (the sleepy hormone). A room which is too warm will inhibit sleep. It’s better to keep your little one’s room cooler and dress your baby warmer than keep your baby’s room warm and dress him lighter.
2. Keep your baby’s room very dark for sleep times (including naps).
Light stimulates our eyes to tell us it’s time to wake up. Keeping your baby’s room dark will help them stay asleep for longer. A baby’s sleep cycle is about 45 mins long. It is at that point in which babies tend to wake from their naps and seem not to be able to sleep for any longer.
Once a baby gets to the lightest part of their sleep cycle (the end of the sleep cycle), and her room is not pitch dark, baby gently prepares to wake by opening her eyes, light hits the back of her eyes and gives her the signal that it’s time to wake up. You have a better chance of your baby connecting her sleep cycles and falling back asleep if the room is very dark and if no external cues are saying ‘it’s time to wake up!’.
After sleep times open the binds and curtains allowing natural light to saturate the room. Allow fresh air to circulate through your baby’s room by opening a window even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
3. Be aware of the noise your baby can hear while in his room
Just like us, noise affects babies’ sleep. If you were trying to take a nap and you heard doors banging, dogs barking, sirens blaring and children riding their bicycles on the street below, how likely is it that you would stay peacefully asleep? Probably highly unlikely.
I highly recommend using White Noise for your little one’s room to help keep them asleep for longer. White Noise replicates the sound of the womb, which helps not only to calm and soothe babies but also to mask sounds by blocking out inside, everyday household noise, which is enough to wake a baby, as well as uncontrollable outside noise such as cars, aeroplanes, sirens, children, dogs, etc.
Feng Shui Specialist Denise O’ Dwyer says: The very best Feng Shui place to put your baby’s bed for good, sound and restorative sleep is in the ‘Command Position’ in the room. This is the location that is furthest from the door, but not in line with the door, with a solid wall behind and space either side of the bed.
So often we put the cot in the corner of the room. While this is great in that it gives support at the head of the bed, being pushed up against a wall limits the amount of Qi she receives. Ideally, her bed should have space either side for the Qi to settle equally on both sides, with a bedside cabinet either side to provide energetic support.
After placing the head of the bed against a solid wall, the second most significant feature to consider is the door. It is imperative that the cot is not in line with the door to the room. The Qi is too active and too fast around the door. Sleeping in line with the door means that your baby is in the flow of constant and fast-moving Qi. It is impossible to settle and relax and have good quality sleep when the Qi is too active”.
5. Keep your baby’s room clean and tidy and uncluttered
This one is huge and will play a big part of your baby’s sleep. Have you ever entered a place and thought, ‘Wow this room feels wonderful?’ or have you ever walked into a room or space and thought, ‘This place could use a serious clean or decluttering session?’ The way a space makes us feel is not imagined; it’s talking to us internally and on an energy level. Peaceful, calm, tidy, organised, fresh room = peaceful, refreshing sleep.
A cluttered, unorganised, cramped room = an uneasy/ anxious feeling and fitful sleep. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
When you walk into your baby’s room, (or your room if baby is still sharing with you) you want the space to feel calm, relaxing, peaceful, tidy and organised. Treat your baby’s room as a sanctuary, because it is. If baby doesn’t sleep, you don’t sleep, so take the time and get your baby’s room organised, tidy and feeling wonderful.
6. Use 100% cotton for bedding and sleepwear
We all like to sleep in a comfortable bed on soft bedding. Make sure your baby’s sheet is pulled tightly over the mattress and that it’s not crumpled up or bunched anywhere. No one likes to sleep on worn out, rough, knobby sheets. Use 100% organic cotton for your cot sheets and baby’s pyjamas. (cut off all the labels so that they don’t itch/aggravate your baby and rouse him from sleep prematurely)
7. Invest in a good mattress
Often we think of our sleep differently to that of our babies, where in reality, what affects a baby’s sleep and what affects an adult’s sleep is very much the same.
As adults, we usually invest a lot of money in a good quality mattress and indeed we should. Having a good quality bed is vital for proper sleep. It is as essential for babies to have a good mattress too.
Invest in a high-quality mattress. Jerry Cheshire, the Bed Specialist, recommends using a good quality foam mattress. (Don’t forget to cover with a waterproof mattress protector to protect the mattress.)
Your baby’s cot should be sturdy and stable. Do not place your baby to sleep in a travel cot unless you are travelling.
8. Use positive sleep associations
Establishing positive sleep associations are fantastic and make yours and baby’s life easier. For example, setting the ambience throughout your whole house before bath time, a warm bath, books (when age appropriate) using a lullaby before sleep, a comforter, sleeping bags and White Noise to name a few.
A lovely/ comforter is a positive sleep association and a familiar object that can help soothe and comfort your baby and help them to relax and fall asleep. They are invaluable when you’re out and about, travelling or going through significant changes such as a house move, start of nursery/childcare or the birth of a new sibling; they provide little ones with a physical object that they can use to comfort themselves. I can’t recommend introducing one enough.
Not only does bathing your little one act as a fantastic sleep association but it also increases his core body temperature, which releases Melatonin, (the sleepy hormone), helping babies sleep better.
Incorporate a naptime and bedtime routine
Having a bedtime routine is vital in setting up a good nights sleep ahead. A bedtime routine helps to set the scene and show your baby what’s coming next (sleep) as well as round up and end off the day beautifully.
Establishing a little nap time routine can significantly help your little one settle to sleep easier, sleep better and for longer. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to do, but the rewards are enormous.
Without a nap routine, your baby may find it difficult to go down for naps; naps might seem like a battle and stressful for both you and baby. All the small steps you take during your nap routine, such as closing the blinds, playing the same lullaby, changing your baby’s nappy, putting your little one into her sleeping bag etc. all act as sleep associations. (An object or process which baby associates sleep times to which act then act as a positive sleep cue).
9. Make your baby’s room a phone free zone
A ‘sleep bubble’ cannot stay a sacred sleep bubble if a parent is texting or playing on their phone while putting their baby down to sleep, either at naptime or bedtime.
Denise O’Dwyer, Feng Shui Specialist, says:
“Remove any electronic devices from the room which are not in constant use.
Sleep is a Yin, or soft and quiet, activity which means that anything in the room that is overtly Yang, or active, doesn’t support good sleep.
Yang items are TV’s or computer screens, exercise equipment, and large electrical items. Anything that plugs in creates EMFs and disturb sleep, as well as undermining health in some individuals.
The Yang nature of computers, iPads and phones activate and disturb the Qi which makes it very hard for a Baby to rest”.
The conclusion? Give your baby the attention they need, tune in, be present, enjoy the soft cuddles and during sleep times, make your baby’s room a phone free zone.
10. Protect your baby’s room from WI-FI radiation
Make sure WI-FI and other invisible electromagnetic fields (EMF)s are not interfering with your child’s sleep.
The WHO says that radio-frequency EMFs, such as from cellphones, are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Many countries in the EU have issued warnings about the effects of EMFs on children, newborn babies, and pregnant women and a number of EU countries have called for or instituted bans to protect children from WIFI and cellphone exposure.
All electrical appliances that plug-in emits this radiation, such as mobile and cordless phones, WiFi, microwaves, televisions, computers, and even baby monitors.
Davis Sosa, an EMF specialist, offers these valuable tips for keeping your little ones safe from WIFI radiation and EMF(s)
-Place the baby monitor as far away as possible from your baby.
-Switch your WI-FI off at night.
-Make sure there are no WI-FI routers kept in the bedroom, above, below or in the next adjacent rooms. This also applies to boosters.
-Switch iPads (or any other devices) playing White Noise etc. in your baby’s room to flight mode. Limit children to maximum 1 hour per day screen time and keep the tablet minimum 20mm away from their bodies.
If you’ve read this far, I know you are serious about creating the perfect ‘sleep bubble’ for your baby, and I applaud you. Now call in some family and friends to help entertain your little one and enjoy creating your baby’s perfect sleep sanctuary!
For more on how I can help you, get in touch with me here.