Preparing for Baby: Create a Healthy Baby Nursery

Create a healthy, nontoxic nursery that promotes well-being and lets you cherish the everyday moments that make parenting special.

| November/December 2006

  • A hardwood floor finished with nontoxic sealant is safer than conventional carpet, which outgases harmful chemicals. Cover the wood with natural fiber area rugs for a warm, soft play space.
    Photography by Tamara Muth-King
  • A wicker bassinet is a healthy way to welcome your baby home.
    Photography by Tamara Muth-King
  • Removing packaging from diapers makes storage more organized and attractive.
    Photography by Tamara Muth-King

There’s no better time to create a home that supports and nurtures you and your family than when preparing for the birth of a baby. A peaceful, beautiful, comfortable nursery will support you as you care for your newborn and give your baby the foundation to thrive.

For many people, creating a nursery begins with planning how it will look. Considering how the nursery will function and how it will affect your physical well-being is equally, if not more, important. A nursery that captures the magic of childhood can be inspirational, but what good is a beautiful room if it’s not practical and healthy? When decorating, function and health are two essential, yet frequently overlooked, considerations.

Create an efficient nursery design

Caring for an infant involves many repetitive tasks; the grace and ease with which you perform these tasks is largely dependent on your environment. Changing a diaper eight times a day is less stressful if you have a changing table that’s a good height for you and has drawers where diapers, wipes and clothes are easily accessible and organized.

If your beliefs allow, set up your nursery a month in advance of your due date. If your baby comes early, you’ll be prepared; if not, you have the last month of pregnancy to rest and relax before the arrival. It may take longer than you imagine to set up the nursery; even when you have everything purchased and in the room, you still need to unpack, clean, organize and learn how to use it all. Consider breaking the room into sections for play, sleep, changing, bathing and nursing, then deal with one area at a time.

When choosing furniture, think comfort. If possible, test-drive furniture by visiting the store, sitting in chairs, feeling the texture of area rugs and pretending to use the changing table. Pay attention to places where you and your baby will spend a good deal of time, such as in the chair you plan to use for nursing.

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