Creating an appropriate space for an infant requires a lot more that painting the walls blue or pink and erecting a crib and changing table. These days parents are urged to design a space that is attuned to not only the physical needs of a newborn, but also their particular developmental needs. And there are all kinds of resources to help the head-scratching parent figure this out. Of course, this creative pursuit can also be fun for the nesting mom-to-be that wants to make her baby’s nursery beautiful and serene for herself, as well. After all, parents will spend enough time rocking, reading, and feeding in this room that they may as well make sure it suits their tastes. But the main idea is to design a room that will make your baby feel safe, comfortable, and mentally stimulated so that he grows up healthy and happy.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
For one thing, you need to consider the paint. Pink and blue are standard, while yellows and greens tend to denote a couple that is waiting until birth to learn the gender of their newborn. But a lot of fuss has been made in recent years about how the paint color you pick can affect growing children. Do you really want to submit them to forced gender stereotypes from infancy? Well, maybe that’s just a lot of hoopla. In truth, though, studies have shown that babies do tend to be more attracted to bright, primary colors and contrast (like black and white designs).
This isn’t to say that you should transform your nursery into a giant Kandinsky, but you may want to consider whether the color on the walls is for you or for your child. In all honesty, he won’t be able to see it until his eyes fully develop anyway, so you might as well choose a soothing color that you prefer and simply give your baby toys in bright colors. One last note on the paint: look for non-VOC (volatile organic compound) options. They are made without the harmful (and smelly) toxins that can linger in your child’s nursery for years (yes, years), causing untold damage.
As for the actual design of the room, there’s a lot you can do to make it the best space it can be for you and your baby. On the one hand, you want to ensure that the room is pleasant and relaxing since this is where your infant will sleep. So a few things you’ll want to include are a sturdy and safe crib outfitted with proper padding and bumpers, but not too many cushy items that could pose a hazard of suffocation. A comfortable rocker is also a good idea for nursing and soothing your child, and a nightlight or a lamp with a dim bulb will add a gentle glow for nighttime feedings. As for décor, colorful and contrasting images on the wall will eventually come into focus as your infant’s eyesight develops, and until then you can stimulate his mind with a matching mobile.
Of course, it couldn’t hurt to plan for the future by including a bookshelf filled with offerings for various age groups, a toy bin for playthings, and even a low table and chairs for crafts. And you should also consider installing hypoallergenic carpeting (synthetic fibers can trap and hold allergens) or even interlocking rubber tiles (softer than hardwoods, but easier to clean than carpets). Save the tigerwood decking for your outdoor projects and stick to something soft for the nursery flooring. This way you’ll be prepared when your tiny tot starts to crawl, walk, and tumble.