Preparing the Nursery
When your baby arrives, you will be the center of her universe. And that universe will be largely centered around the nursery.
You and your baby are both going to spend a lot of time in the nursery, especially when you first bring your baby home, so it's important to make it a calm, comfortable place for both of you.
The Right Environment
Your baby's nursery — whether it's in your bedroom or in a separate room — should be a quiet area where there is subdued lighting and little traffic. Remember, your baby will spend most of the time here looking up, so make sure there are no bright overhead lights.
Her nursery should be a peaceful place, designed for ease of use and comfort for you and for your baby. Arrange the furniture and items in a way you think makes the most sense logically, but realize that you may need to rearrange things a little once you figure out what works best for both of you.
Benefits of a Bassinet
In the first months of infancy, you may prefer a bassinet. These portable baby beds can be carried from room to room so you can keep a close watch on your sleeping baby.
A bassinet is not a necessity. And because most bassinets will not support the weight of an older baby, they're useful only for the first four or five months, which makes them a bit of a luxury item.
Choosing a Crib
Your newborn's needs are simple: a firm, flat mattress and a safe enclosure where she will feel protected and secure.
New cribs purchased in Canada must meet safety regulations If you borrow an older crib, make sure that:
- The crib slats are no more than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) apart to prevent your baby's body from slipping through. Ensure there are no missing or cracked slats
- The mattress fits snugly. There should not be a gap of more than 3 cm between the mattress and the side of the crib. Remove any plastic coverings. If a sheet is used, make sure it is a tight, fitted sheet.
- Crib corner posts should be no more than 3 mm (1/8 inch) high to avoid snagging your baby's clothes or causing injury
- There are no decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard — they could catch your baby's head or limbs
- To prevent entanglement, be sure to remove all mobile or hanging items by the time your baby is 4 months old or begins to pull herself up. And when your baby is less than four months, make sure the mobile is out of reach and securely fastened so it can't fall into the crib
- The crib is never near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords; babies can strangle themselves on cords. Never place a crib near windows where the window is accessible from the crib
- All crib parts are secure using original hardware. Makeshift repairs can be unsafe
- You check recall lists for older cribs. You can access these from Health Canada
- To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), your baby should be placed on her back when it's time to sleep. Remember the phrase "Back to Sleep," and be sure that everyone who cares for your child follows this rule, even at naptime
- The sleeping surface must be firm and flat
- Fluffy pillows, crib bumpers, blankets and toys should never be placed in the crib with a sleeping baby
- Do not use sleep-positioning devices. These may look like a good idea, but your baby can become trapped and suffocate
- Your baby can be kept warm by using a sleeper, such as a zipper sleeper. Do not use sleepers that can ride up and potentially cover your baby’s face
To change your baby’s diaper, you can use a changing table specifically designed for baby diaper changing. You can also use a flat, secure surface (like the floor or bed), covered with a changing pad or towel. Whatever you choose, be sure the surface is sturdy.
If you buy a changing table specifically designed for baby diaper changing, make sure that:
- The changing table is sturdy and stable, with a guardrail around all four sides. The top of the changing table should be concave, so that the middle is slightly lower than the sides
- You secure the changing table to the wall (to the studs), if possible, to prevent tip-overs. If the table has wheels, be sure they are locked
- Have all your supplies ready before you change your baby. Make sure they are within your reach, but out of your baby’s reach. Do not give your baby product containers to hold while you are changing her; give her a toy to hold instead
Never leave your baby alone on a changing table, not even for a minute. ALWAYS keep one hand on your baby when using a changing table, even when you are using the provided safety strap. Ignore the phone during this time — your baby’s safety comes first!