How to Create the Best Sleep Environment for Baby

Having a new baby means that you very likely aren’t only sleep deprived – you are also sleep obsessed. And that combination, my friend, is not a good one. You probably know by now that there are many factors that can both help and hurt your baby’s quality of sleep. Things like creating a sleep routine that includes doing the same things, at the same time, in the same order, every night certainly help tell your baby’s brain that it’s time for sleep.
And before you start yelling, “I KNOW THIS MONICA, BUT LITTLE LUCY IS STILL WAKING UP BECAUSE THE NEIGHBOR’S DOG HEARD A DOORBELL RING ON TV!” give me a chance to share my tips on creating the best sleep environment for baby. Luckily, it’s easier than you might think!
White Noise Machine or a Fan
The verdict is out as to whether or not white noise from a white noise machine or a fan is a good addition to your baby’s room. Some studies have shown the sound to have a negative impact on your child’s hearing, but other experts recommend white noise as a way to drown out those noises that drive us all nuts. Beyond that, some studies even show that putting a fan in your baby’s room may also reduce the risk of SIDS.
So what is the deal?
Well, it’s always best to check with your pediatrician to see what they recommend, but if you are given the greenlight, white noise can certainly help keep your baby’s room free of disturbances – even if the environment outside is full of them.
Area Rug
If you have those highly sought after hardwood floors, nothing helps you notice the creaks and squeaks like finally getting your baby to sleep and slowly, carefully, tiptoeing out of their room only to hear that godforsaken “squeeeeaaaaaaakkkk”, often followed by a “waaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
Do not panic.
I mean it, take a deep breath…and go buy an area rug. Yes. I said, an area rug.
Seriously, you can decrease, or entirely eliminate, those unwanted and silence slaying sounds with a simple area rug. It can also help prevent noise from entering the room through the floor.
Need even more noise hampering help? A thick rubber rug pad can help further dampen sounds. (Secret pro-tip: Since having kids I get all of my rugs at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Because kids make messes. The rugs are reasonably priced and durable, and they come in a wide range of styles and colors. Sounds wacky, but I’m always getting complimented on them. I swear!)
Room Darkening Shades or Blackout Blinds
Rooms with a lot of light may have been a great feature when you were looking for a place to live, but that light can wreak havoc on your baby’s naps and make sleeping past dawn a distant (but highly sought after) memory. Enter room darkening shades and blackout blinds. They don’t need to break the bank and they come in a range of styles and prices.
Room Temperature
Despite what grandma might say, babies do not need to be toasty warm. The ideal room temperature to help baby sleep is between 68 degrees and 72 degrees, which is what you and I are usually most comfortable in. And there’s another reason not to take granny’s advice and crank the heat – the temperature of your baby’s room not only has an impact on their sleep, anything warmer than 72 degrees has been shown to increase the risk of SIDS.
Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient art of placement and it’s about 6,000 years old. Using the principles of Feng Shui in your nursery can create the a great foundation for good sleep. It might sound crazy, but trust me – choosing things like a soothing color palette (link to previous blog post) and making sure that your baby’s crib is not in line with the doorway can help them fall and stay asleep.
And, if you live in a city apartment…
Ah, the joys of city living. Everything at your disposal, the ability to walk anywhere, an energy like nowhere else, and the feeling like anything is possible.
Well, anything except creating a quiet sleep environment for your baby.
The reality is, city living can present its own special challenges when it comes to creating the best sleep environment for baby.
Here are some tips for shhhh-ing the city while your baby sleeps:

  • Heavy curtains or even soundproof shades to muffle noise
    Chances are your baby doesn’t find sirens and shouting soothing and, unfortunately, white noise and area rugs may not be enough to drown all of that out. Adding heavy curtains or even investing in some soundproofing shades (I know! An AMAZING invention) can help cut out the audio clutter.
  • Weather stripping around main doors and a draft blocker for the bedroom
    This one may surprise you – the small areas underneath your doors can let in a good amount of sound. And adding weather stripping to your main doors or a draft blocker to the baby’s bedroom door can easily remedy this. Who knew, right?

Creating the right sleep environment will set you and your baby up for sleep success, so that everyone gets the rest they need. And you can go back to doing things like showering and remembering the small yet important details of your day – like whether or not you brushed your teeth.