Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And take it from me, newborn nap times can be quite unpredictable, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
Now that Avery is 4 months old, we’ve been working hard at transitioning him from that Rock And Play we loved so much to the crib. Getting him to nap more than 40 minutes at a time in his crib is a work in progress, but overall he has taken to his peaceful nursery space pretty well, falling asleep within minutes.
Creating a soft, soothing nursery for our kids is something that I always had fun with when I was expecting. This time around, we spent a lot of time picking out a tranquil gender-neutral color scheme to help us create a perfect nursery where the baby could play, rest, and sleep comfortably.
And since we are now settled(-ish) in our new home, it seems like the perfect time to begin sharing some of the fruit of our labor, starting with the details of our nursery.
Even though there are still a handful of things we need to add, the baby’s room is one of my favorite rooms in the house because it is bright and happy while still peaceful and soothing.
Window Treatments And Lighting
One of the things I love about this house are the big windows, that let in a lot of natural light in the day time. However, window treatments are an important essential for nurseries, because lighting must be controlled to allow the baby to sleep better, no matter the time of day.
I chose a white layered tulling valance to keep it bright and airy during the day.
To achieve a darkened room for nap time, we installed easy lift cellular blackout shades. These shades have been amazing. The room seems to go from night to day when we pull them down.
For bedtime, it was important for us to have soft illumination that would be functional for both awake periods and late-night feedings.
We considered a ceiling fan/light combo, as they are inexpensive, versatile, and have worked wonderfully in our previous nurseries. However, this time we chose ambient lighting that is overhead, flush with the ceiling and on a dimmer.
The dimmer is perfect for nighttime feedings and diaper changes, because it allows us to see without fully waking the baby. Frosted lamps, night lights, sconces with dimmers and small table lamps can also provide the perfect amount of illumination when checking in on the baby at night time.
Color Scheme And Décor
Surprising to most, there are quite a lot of different color schemes you can go with when decorating a gender neutral nursery. Greens, yellows, oranges, peaches and beige/tan colors are all gender neutral. You can even make a little blue or pink work as accents in these rooms, and still have a gender neutral look.
We had fallen in love with a tan and cream bedding set from Mamas and Papas, called Once Upon A Time and considered using that as our color scheme but decided we wanted to really make the most of that natural lighting with something a little more colorful.
Baby Jives created the most gorgeous bunting and baby mobile for us, and that set the tone for the nursery.
If the baby was a girl I planned on playing up the pink color in the bunting, but since he was a boy we played off the blues and greens.
We went with a handmade mobile, however a neutral colored musical or light-up mobile is another option that can be great to entertain your little one as he or she plays and rests.
The color of the wall is Sherwin-Williams Top Sail. I mention (and bold) this because we had such a hard time picking out a light, peaceful, soothing blue for the walls.
In our nursery we always like to hang photographs of the family and display inspirational quotes or poems. So for display purposes, we added shelving for a few frames, baby keepsakes and occasional fresh flower arrangements.
We used The Very Hungry Caterpillar book as a prop in my maternity photos and then continued that theme into Avery’s announcement photos. The book has taken on a special meaning to us, so we displayed it in the nursery along with the pictures.
Avery’s nursery started out as a “Globe/Travel” theme, hence the wooden airplane and “Oh The Places You’ll Go” wall art…
But when I saw this quote from “You Are My Sunshine”, I just had to include it. So now our theme is kind of a mishmash of things that are sentimental to us. The most important part for us was just keeping it all close to the color scheme.
A benefit of keeping the the theme of the room neutral, is that it allows the space to grow with your child. When Avery is a toddler or preschooler, I will be able to easily change out the bedding, curtains and pictures in the frames with whatever he is “in to” and give it a brand new look.
Many parents find that soft, repetitive music helps babies relax and prepare for sleep. According to renowned pediatrician Dr. Sears, music can help children stay asleep longer, and sounds of oceans, waterfalls or medleys of lullabies remind babies of the comforting sounds heard in the womb.
My friend Nina swears by the Fisher-price waterfall soother, which we plan on adding to Avery’s crib soon.
Nursery furniture should be soft and cozy for the comfort of both parent and baby. The crib is where your baby will spend a majority of the time sleeping.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, cribs should be free of pillows and thick quilts, and the gaps between the sides of the crib and mattress should not be larger than two fingers. Many states have even banned crib bumpers.
Admittedly, I’ve used crib bumpers in the past. My daughter still carries around hers (we cut them down into small pillows), as her creature comfort. But right now we are sans bumpers, awaiting the arrival of our light blue cozy wedge bumpers, that meet all of today’s recommended safety tips.
Another thing we are waiting on? Rail covers. For the love of all things baby, if there is one take away from this post let it be that you NEED rail covers. I didn’t have them with my daughter because the rails were extra wide and she gnawed away on it like a baby termite. These are the rail covers we just ordered this weekend, they will fit just about any size railing.
If you’re like me and worried about your baby being chilly at night, in lieu of traditional blankets, you can purchase some wearable blankets sleepers or sleep sacks. All of my kids loved these.
Every nursery needs a changing table. We went with a very basic one that can also transition into an every day dresser, so that we can continue to use it for years. My daughter is 5 and she still has her changing table/dresser in her room.
And last but certainly not least, a comfortable rocking chair or glider is a must for a soothing nursery. I had one with my first two and do not have one at the moment right now. It’s the one piece of this nursery puzzle that is missing most and we hope to fix that real soon. Gliders are an absolute blessing during midnight feedings and help rock the baby back to sleep. You will never regret investing in one you love, trust me.
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