Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Organizing Your Nursery - The Sleeping Area

Photo by peasap

a continuation of my posts on Organizing Your Nursery...

Finally, we get around to the "traditional" purpose of a nursery -- sleeping. This has been a hot topic over the past 13 years since the quest to eradicate SIDS began. Since then, the rate of SIDS has decreased by 50%! So this is a very effective campaign.

There are 10 basic rules for reducing SIDS. The most important rule is to place babies to sleep on their backs. Also, cribs should have firm mattresses that fit snugly with no gaps on the sides. Blankets, crib bumpers, and other soft loose items should not be placed in cribs. Instead, wearable sleep sacks can be used to keep babies warm at night (but not too warm, because overheating is another SIDS risk factor). For babies younger than 4 months, I like to use the swaddling sleep sacks. Swaddling helps to soothe babies. However, you should only swaddle the arms. Swaddling the legs for significant amounts of time can cause the hip joints to grow improperly.

Recent studies shows that using a fan in your baby's room lowers SIDS risk. There are also additional reasons to use a fan, such as using the white noise to soothe babies.

I realize this is a pretty unconventional stance, but we chose not to use a formal crib for our babies. I dislike large special purpose items (like changing tables, and high chairs) that you only use for a short period of time. So, we use a Pack 'n Play. We use the bassinet attachment while baby is small and then we use the Pack 'n Play normally when baby is bigger. Most people's objection to the Pack 'n Play is that the mattress doesn't seem that comfortable. We purchased a firm 2" thick mattress at Babies R Us that lays on top of the included thinner mattress. Our babies seem to be perfectly comfortable on it. I've not found an "official Pack 'n Play" mattress specifically designed for this, so be sure that the one you select fits snugly. If you have a tiny nursery like ours, foregoing a formal crib for a Pack 'n Play can save you a lot of space!

Getting your baby used to sleeping in a Pack 'n Play also makes traveling easier. I don't have scientific proof, but I think they sleep much better on the road the closer you can replicate their normal sleeping environment.

Once they have outgrown the Pack 'n Play, we transition them to a mattress on the floor. This avoids the "falling out of bed" problems that a lot of kids go through when they transition to a big-kid bed.

Whether you choose a Pack 'n Play or a formal crib, make sure to adhere to the SIDS guidelines when creating your baby's sleeping environment.

This wraps up my series on Organizing Your Nursery. What are your tips and tricks for organizing your nursery?

Related Posts:
Baby Sleep Routines for 0-1yr
Newborn Gear List
Your Baby Does Not Have Colic!
What to Do When Your Baby Has a Cold

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