The baby will probably be in the same bedroom as his parents for a short time, or he may have to share a room with another child. If it is possible to convert a small room for his use as athis is ideal.
These points should be considered before starting:
- Attractiveness and suitability
- Good planning and design.
If the room has been used as a storage room it must be thoroughly cleaned out, floor scrubbed and walls redecorated. All decorations and equipment bought should be cleanable, with no areas where bacteria can form.
This is the room where the child will sleep, play and be fed. Surfaces and equipment as far as possible should be non-toxic, non-slip, and non-flammable. Heating, lighting and electric points should be safe.
The baby will not be a baby for long, so his room should be planned with the possibility of adapting it for a toddler and later for the needs of a schoolchild.
It is expensive to equip a room for a baby. Money can be saved if the parents are do-it-yourself enthusiasts, but specialised jobs such as electrical work must be left to experts. Savings can also be made by buying from jumble sales, markets or shop sales, or by borrowing or buying from friends.
Attractiveness and suitability
Remember – a child will learn from and react to his surroundings. Bright primary colours are exciting and stimulating, soft pastels are more restful and relaxing. Decide what the main function of theis to be.
Good planning and design
Positioning of furniture and equipment is important, especially if the room is small, to give maximum free floor space and ease of use. Equipment and furnishing should be simple, functional and well designed.
Use washable wallpaper or emulsion, and check that all paint is lead-freepaint. Windows should have safety catches, with a small top window for ventilation. Lined or thick curtains will help to keep out draughts and darken the room. Floors should not be slippy, hard or cold. Haircord carpeting or carpet tiles or cork tiling are ideal as they are warm, hard-wearing and easily cleaned.
The best type of heating is central heating that will give a constant temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Otherwise use a radiant wall-heater fitted high up or a convector heater with a guard, fixed to the wall. Lighting is best controlled with a dimmer switch. Attractive wall lights, night-lights and central lampshades can be bought or made. It is important that parents can hear the child when he is put to bed. If the nursery is some way from the other rooms a baby alarm intercom system should be used.
Once these points have been taken care of, the baby’s nursery will need to be equipped and furnished. Plenty of storage space is essential. This can be provided by having cupboards with hanging space and shelves, a chest of drawers, built-in shelves, or a specially designed changing fitment with storage compartments. These will also provide a flat working surface for changing and dressing the baby.
A thick towel or foam changing-mat on top of the chest of drawers is useful.
A tiny baby needs to feel warm, comfortable and secure in bed, and therefore a largeis not really suitable until he is about six months old. Until then he should sleep in a , Moses basket, pram or carrycot. The high sides will protect him from draughts and make him feel secure.
A carrycot with transporter wheels is useful as it doubles as a pram, and a small pram with detachable wheels serves the same purpose. All of these should be lined with a blanket for warmth and safety. The baby will need a thin mattress, waterproof sheet, sheets and blankets – but no pillow. When the baby is able to sit up and is moving about energetically, he will need a full-size cot. There are lots of different designs and special features, making the choice of cot difficult.
Essential features include:
- lead-free paint;
- a mattress that fits the size of the base;
- bars correctly spaced (75-100 mm or 3-4 in. apart);
- childproof catches;
- and smooth surfaces.
Other useful features include:
- a cot drawer to fit underneath;
- a moveable mattress base to adjust to lower positions as the baby becomes active;
- a foam-padded cot bumper to protect the baby from draughts and banging his head;
- a padded, removable end panel;
- and the ability to convert to a divan bed as the child gets older.
All these special features add to the basic cost of the cot.
The following items of bedding will be required:
waterproof sheets that cover the mattress and can be boiled.
- sheets that are comfortable, soft, easy to wash and need minimum ironing. Cotton is cool for summer, and flannelette warm for winter. Fitted sheets make bed making easier. For economy the best parts of old normal size sheets can be made into cot sheets.
- blankets that are light and warm and machine washable. Cellular blankets made from wool, cotton or mixed fibres are ideal. The blankets should not have fringes and should have satin-bound edges to protect the child’s face. Plastic thread should not be used to bind the edges because it is thick and resilient and can choke a tiny baby. Blankets should be large enough to tuck in securely.
- pillows. (They are not used for the first twelve months.) They should be the correct size for the cot, and are best filled with synthetic filling which is soft, washable and non-allergic. with a soft cotton cover.
- Duvets or continental quilts make bed making easier, and are light, warm and cosy, but should only be used for the older child as there may be a danger of suffocation for a young baby. They should be made from washable terylene to British Standards specification, be the correct size, non-toxic and flame-resistant.
It may be possible tothe baby in his own nursery, at least for the first few months until he is big enough to go into the proper bath. There are several designs to choose from including plastic baths (oval or with a moulded back) that may be purchased with a special adjustable stand. There are baby baths which fit across the normal bath, made from rigid plastic or plastic sheeting. Some baths adapt to a changing unit and others are collapsible for travelling. Metal baths should not be used as they may overheat and burn the baby. As a temporary measure the baby can be bathed in a large bowl or in the sink. if the taps are covered over.
A comfortable, low chair without arms is useful for when the baby’s parents are feeding him or sitting with him when he sleeps or plays.
There are lots of things that can be bought or made to brighten up the nursery and make it more attractive. They will also help to stimulate and educate the child. A baby is influenced by his surroundings from a very early age and his physical and intellectual progress will be developed by the things around.
These could include mobiles above the cot; cut-out pictures on the windows; wall friezes and collages of numbers, letters, or animals; a growth chart; fluorescent shapes on the ceiling; and pictures of nursery rhyme and TV characters.