Skip to main content

Preparing the Nursery

When your baby arrives, you will be the center of their 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 noise. Remember, your baby will spend most of the time here looking up, so make sure there are no bright overhead lights.

Their nursery should be a peaceful place, designed for ease of use and comfort. Arrange the furniture and items in a way you think makes the most sense logically, but realise that you may need to rearrange things a little once you figure out what works best for both of you.

Choosing a Cot

Your newborn's needs are simple: a firm, flat mattress and a safe enclosure where they will feel protected and secure.
New cots purchased in the UK must meet the safety regulations and the experts advise not to use cots older that 10 years. But if you borrow an older cot, make sure that:

  • The cot slats are no more than 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. You should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the mattress and the side of the cot. Remove any plastic coverings. If a sheet is used, make sure it is a tight, fitted sheet.
  • The top section of the corner post is no higher than 1/16 of an inch, or no shorter than 16 inches if there's a canopy, 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.
  • The cot should not have drop sides.
  • Ensure all cot parts are secure using original hardware
  • Makeshift repairs can be unsafe.

General Considerations for a Cot:

  • 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 themselves 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 cot.)
  • The cot should not be positioned near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords; babies can strangle themselves on cords.
  • Never place a cot near windows where the window is accessible from the cot.

Sleep Safety

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), your baby should be placed on their 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, cot bumpers, blankets and toys should never be placed in the cot with a sleeping baby

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

For more on baby sleep safety, visit the NHS: reducing the risk of SIDS

Changing Table

To change your baby’s nappy, you can use a changing table specifically designed for nappy changing. You can also use a flat, secure surface (like the floor or bed), covered with a changing mat or towel. Whatever you choose, be sure the surface is sturdy.

If you buy a changing table specifically designed for nappy changing, make sure that:

  • The changing table is sturdy and stable, with a 2-inch 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 , 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 them; give them a toy to hold instead.

Never leave your baby alone on a changing table or raised surface, not even for a minute. ALWAYS keep one hand on your baby when using a changing table, even if using a safety strap. Ignore the phone during this time — your baby’s safety comes first!

Back to Top