Whether it’s your first or your third, there is a universal truth about babies: they come with a lot of ‘stuff’. Cribs, bassinets, blankets, diapers, wipes… the list seems endless when you’re getting ready to welcome a new baby, so adding the consideration of being environmentally friendly in your room design may seem like a step too far. But think about how much time you’re going to spend with your baby in that space! For at least the first year, the nursery needs to be an oasis for you and for baby: a clean, safe space for baby to do their most important growing in.>
These tips will help you create the perfect nursery and do it in an environmentally friendly way!
Step 1—Keep in mind the importance of lighting
When you select which room will become the nursery, give some thought right away as to lighting and airiness. It’s important for baby to have a dark room at night—light blocking curtains are ideal for that reason—and a lot of natural light during the day. That said, position the crib away from windows for safety reasons—as baby gets older, you don’t want them reaching for blind cords or open windows—and also to ensure that they don’t get overheated / cold because of proximity to it.
Ideally, you’ll have several alternatives to natural lighting as well, as midnight diaper changes are easier if you can see what you’re doing! Some recessed lighting for general light is fine but lamps give off a warmer glow that makes the space cozy and perfect for play.
If you’re painting the room in preparation, make sure it gets a good airing before baby is going to use it and ideally, wait at least a week after painting before moving baby in.
Step 2—Choosing your decor colors
Speaking of paint, try and select brands that are VOC free (Volatile Organic Compounds / carbon chemicals). These are overall better for baby’s long term health and wellbeing.
In terms of colors, the sky’s the limit, but remember that as their senses develop, babies respond to colors in much the same way as we all do: bright, vibrant colors and patterns are fun for the eye but also stimulating, which may inhibit sleep. On the other hand, quiet, soothing colors like pale pastels, in natural shades, including greens and blues, can be comforting. Remember that whatever else baby gets up to in the space, the bulk of their time there will be spent sleeping.
Step 3—Choose your bedding and flooring
Where baby sleeps and plays are two areas where it is vitally important to stick to natural, organic and eco-friendly materials. If it’s an easy-to-clean product, even better. Mattresses made without chemical compounds, organic cotton bedding and blankets, without chemical dyes and colors, are ideal for the crib. A lot of hours are spent in that space so it needs to be as safe as possible.
Things like flooring are big ticket items that you will most likely only invest in once for the nursery, so choose wisely. Natural flooring, like hardwood or bamboo, is easy to maintain. Broadloom carpeting can be much more difficult to keep clean and, very often, contains toxic chemical compounds. Play mats and area rugs are a great way to keep the space warm and play friendly without compromising on safety.
Step 4—Create a good play area
Within the nursery, keep one corner as the designated play area and make it safe and comfortable for both of you. Board books, soft toys, and a play mat for tummy time and floor play are essential. Even with the aforementioned hardwood floors, you can opt for an easy to wash eco-friendly, hypoallergenic rug like those created by Lorena Canals.
Don’t forget to look at all the furniture from baby’s point of view: cover plugs, anchor bookshelves, make sure that toy chest lids can’t be lifted and slammed down on tiny fingers.
The goal is to create a quiet, comfortable space that you can both enjoy.
Step 5—Lunch time in the nursery
Whether by breast or bottle, you will be in the nursery setting up for a feeding many times before baby is ready to transition to sitting in a high chair, so in the spirit of both of you being comfortable, don’t forget a comfortable chair for feeding times. Ideally, it would be positioned within easy reach of anything you might need, including burp cloths or wipes.
Cover the chair with a washable blanket, for accidental spit ups and you’ve got a comfy, easy to maintain place to really enjoy those quiet moments of feeding. Nighttime feedings, in particular, can make you weary, so keep a book on hand for you and extra pacifiers for baby. The key is for both of you to be relaxed: If you are, baby will be too.
Step 6—What goes in must come out
The bold reality of parenting is that feeding baby well means the ongoing parade of diapers. It doesn’t take long to become a diapering master, even in the dead of night, but it does require some planning. Whether you opt for a change table or a dresser with a change pillow on top, you need to make sure that all the necessary tools for this task are at hand. Diapers, diaper cream, and wipes need to be within arm’s reach, and make sure you can drop the soiled diaper in a pail without letting go of baby. Safety first!
With these tips in mind, you can create a wonderful nursery that will easily convert into a big kid room, a few years down the road.
Lorena Canals is the founder of the Spanish lifestyle brand by the same name and is making her eco-mark in the North America with gorgeously designed, eco-friendly and exceptionally-made, washable rugs and cushions in adorable shapes, designs and colors. They are also all natural, hypo-allergenic and functional. Lorena is a mom of two and has been designing and creating products for children’s rooms for 25 years. Visit the website at LorenaCanals.us.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.