By Aubrey Everett
When we made the decision to move our baby from our room into his nursery, it took some experimentation to create the right environment for sleep. Up until that point his room had been used mainly for diaper changes and nursing. All the essentials were in place -- crib, video monitor, changing station -- but there were a few smaller details that turned a functional nursery into a hushed cocoon perfect for a nap or long night of sleep.
The right sleep environment revolved around keeping in the good sounds (hushed white noise) and keeping out the wrong ones (our voices, neighborhood activity, TV). Any items that could contribute to the cacophony of gentle, swishing white noise was a win. If it had a secondary function, even better. Some of these items we already owned and simply moved into the nursery to help with the transition. Others came to us through recommendations.
Any items that could contribute to the cacophony of gentle, swishing white noise was a win.
Before our son came along, this room served as a yoga and meditation space. It is located in the southwest corner of our house and gets the best and softest light throughout the day. The walls are a soft blue and the room glows in the late afternoon. We had a good start to creating our cozy cocoon, and it only took a few tweaks to make this space a sleep-inducing haven.
Hatch Sound Machine & Nightlight ($59.99)
This was one of the first items purchased off my registry. A mom friend sent it to me and with two small kids of her own, I figured she knew her stuff. The Hatch sits on a shelf in our nursery within arms reach of the glider. Tap the top rim to turn it on or off, or control the settings from your phone (anyone in the house can download the app and connect to the device using Wifi). We quickly found that while raindrops and lullabies sounded pleasing to our ears, what put our baby into a deep sleep was the washing machine setting. The rhythmic tumbling sound shrouds the room in white noise and blocks out nearly all others.
The adults in our house are not too sensitive to dry winter air, but our baby and his developing respiratory system needed a bit more moisture through the cooler months. Initially I was daunted by the large size of most humidifiers, but the device has proven to be worth its large footprint. Emitting a soft humming sound and gentle cool mist, the humidifier has become a mainstay.
Kyte Baby Sleep Sack ($45-56)
After transitioning out of swaddles I was on the hunt for something that would bundle my sleeping baby with that same feeling of security, without adding additional layers to the crib. This bamboo sleep bag is the soft, cozy layer of comfort I was looking for. Nearly twice the length of my baby, it gives his lower body plenty of room to cuddle and kick. His arms are free, allowing him to move around, but his body is shrouded in a breathable sack that mimics the coziest sleeping bag.
As New Englanders, air conditioning is not part of our year-round lives. Sure, we have some hot days in July and August, but many summer nights we are just fine without it. That is, until our baby came along. While I am content opening a bedroom window on a warm summer night, I was hesitant to do that in the nursery, where neighborhood sounds (car horns! fireworks!) could interrupt precious restful sleep. We installed a window air conditioning unit for the hottest nights, and also invested in a box fan, which we place around the room to keep the air circulating. Both devices give off a nice hum, contributing to the white noise bubble we had been cultivating.
Salt Lamp ($19.99)
This craggy orange orb had been in our house for a few years before it found its permanent home in the nursery. With recessed lighting and a floor lamp, I wasn’t sure if the room needed another light source. But as we got the hang of middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes, this lamp became a crucial part of the equation. With an attached dimmer, it emits a gentle orange glow, lighting up the room just enough to see what you are doing, but not enough to signal awake or play time.