Besides decorating your nursery in the cute theme of your choice, one major factor to consider before bringing home your baby is how sleep ready the space is. Although a newborn rarely sleeps through the night, having a comfortable and safe environment from the beginning will help her develop good sleep habits.
Your baby's crib should adhere to all federal safety standards. Drop-side cribs are now prohibited and deemed unsafe. Do not include bulky items such as quilts, bumpers, or stuffed animals which are all safety hazards. Your crib should have a firm mattress with strong slats and mattress supports.
Often we think that a baby's temperature needs are similar to ours. However, keeping your baby's room too warm can cause breathing problems and has even been associated with SIDS. It is recommended that your baby's room stay between 62 and 68 degrees. Dressing your baby in a one-piece sleeper or sleep sack will keep her body the right temperature, without the danger of suffocation.
Teach your baby to associate darkness with sleep. Even if you have to get up in the middle of the night to feed her, turn on only a dim light and keep your interaction to a minimum. By keeping the room dark, your baby will learn that it is still time to sleep and will be more likely to settle down quickly.
Many parents swear their babies sleep better with a little white noise in the background. Sounds from light rain to waves crashing are repetitious and can be soothing. Find a sound machine that will mimic a variety of desired noises that can continuously play or be set on a timer. Conversely, try to keep sudden, jarring noises to a minimum. A loud telephone ringer or doorbell has caused more than one baby to wake up crying.