Reduce stimulation

Up until your baby is one year old their room should have as little stimulation as possible. An over stimulated environment will cause them to stay awake for longer periods of time when you are trying to get them back to sleep/resettle them during the night. Avoid hanging too many things on the wall or over their crib. Ie: a mobile as this will merely keep them awake as you are giving them something to look at it and get distracted by.

Don’t overcrowd the room

Your baby’s sleep space should be as relaxing as possible. An over crowded room does not create a quiet, calm space that is ideal for sleep. If you have the option to store excess furniture in a basement or garage you are better off unless these items are essential and age appropriate. Basic items such a crib, change table, feeding chair and a few toys here and there are usually suffice until your baby is older (over 1).

Use bland colours, not a lot of colour

Primary colours are very stimulating for your baby so try your best to avoid these. Bland colors such as white and pastels are best. In the first few months of your baby’s life they cannot recognise colour anyway, so it is best to keep things calm and simple.

Make sure the cot is set up correctly and not too close to the window

Your baby’s cot should have as little as possible inside it other than: plain cot sheets, a baby blanket (according to the health ministry guidelines) and either their swaddle or sleeping bag if this is what you are dressing them in. Avoid putting any toys in your baby’s cot until they are at least 4 months old and at this point one special comforter is enough. Too many toys can be unsafe and also distracting for your baby when they are trying to go to sleep.

It is best that their cot is not placed next to their window as it may be too cold and drafty or too light with the sun coming through. Both of these things can prevent your baby from sleeping well.

Ensure the room is as dark as possible

This is perhaps the most important element in creating an optimal sleeping environment for your baby. Even minimal sunlight can cause your baby to stay awake for longer periods of time and also have difficulty falling back to sleep. Ensure you have some curtains, block-out blinds, plantation shutters or darkened blinds. Your baby can be placed in a dark room both during the day for all naps and at night. Having a dark room will also avoid any daylight savings issues.

Try and avoid having monitors or white noise machines shining in your baby’s eyes

White noise machines and monitors are great and extremely useful just ensure they are not placed directly in your baby’s line of vision. Even a small light from these machines can cause your baby to stay awake as they are very interesting to look at.