Bringing home your brand-new bundle is one of the most joyful things you’ll ever do in your home. To prepare, you’ve got to make sure your space is ready for this all-consuming new addition, now and when she grows into an energetic toddler and beyond. Your space should be safe, comfortable and hospitable to sleep from the minute new baby comes home.
The first thing you need to do when planning your pre-baby strategy is to get familiar with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for parents. The AAP issues guidelines on safe childhood sleep, childproofing, traveling, health and medicine and more to help ensure that parents know how to keep their bundles safe and healthy. The next thing to do is consider some of the following home upgrades to make your space even more baby-ready.
- Switch to Cordless Blinds or Shades—The AAP reports that more than 175 infants and children have died from accidental strangulation with window cords since 1991. Thankfully, there’s a super simple way to ensure that this never happens in your home: install cordless window blinds. Available in a wide range of stylish options, these window treatments give baby’s nursery and any other room in your home an extra-safe, extra-functional feel while also adding a bit of coziness and style. They also help you achieve the next tip on our list.
- Make Baby’s Room Totally Sleep-Ready—You already know that for you to get quality sleep, baby must also rack up the zzzs. One of the simplest ways you can help your little one enjoy sweet dreams any time of day is by making the nursery a sleep-friendly haven. Choose cordless blackout shades that help filter out any and all daylight and keep the nursery at the ideal temperature for sleep (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation). Nursery window treatments are a great way to control the lighting and prevent heat from the sun coming into the room and making it too hot. Note that overheating—whether by putting the baby in a hot bedroom or over-bundling—can increase a baby’s risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), so proper temperature control is key. From Wi-Fi enabled devices that let you adjust the temperature (The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best smart heating systems on the market – check how much it costs here)
- Upgrade Every Single Detector—Many of us don’t even think about the detectors and monitors in our homes until we start to plan for the arrival of a new bundle. Now’s the perfect time to give your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors a good onceover and be sure they’re properly installed and working as they should. Note that your local fire department may offer free or reduced-price smoke alarms and that a representative from the department may be willing to come and install yours for free.
- Consider Adding a Few Smart Gadgets—No one benefits from a smart home quite like parents. There are all sorts of Internet-enabled gadgets out there that can help you create the most ideal space for a baby. From Wi-Fi enabled devices that let you adjust the temperature, lighting or noise in the baby’s room without disturbing her sleep to wireless cameras that let you monitor her in high definition, there’s no parent who won’t benefit from the latest smart home tech.
- Finally Tackle that Lead Paint Problem—According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an estimated 64 million homes contain lead-based paint. As you probably already know, lead poses some threat to our health and can cause serious side effects and poisoning. If you’ve been looking for a good time to finally eliminate the lead paint in your home, there’s no better time than before the baby arrives. The best thing you can do is to hire a paint pro to do the job for you or do the work yourself following the appropriate safety guidelines. Note that children and pregnant women should never do any lead paint removal work.
- Address Any Mold-Friendly Areas—Similar to lead paint, mold can cause adverse side effects and negatively impact baby’s health. Thus, it’s important that you perform some mold remediation before the arrival of your new family member if this is an issue within your home. Again, it’s a good idea to hire a professional for this job or to follow the appropriate safety practices if you choose to do the work yourself.
- Move Your Laundry Room Upstairs—We have some bad news for laundry-hating parents-to-be. Your life is about to become all-consumed with spin cycles and gentle detergents. To make the literal laundry overload easier than ever, consider moving your washer and dryer to the same level where you and baby sleep. One of the main reasons why laundry is often relegated to the basement is because of the risk of flooding, but if you focus on creating a flood-free laundry room, there’s much less risk involved. And the extra cost and effort is well worth it when you don’t have to lug laundry up and down the stairs several times a week.
- Switch to Stain-Proof Furniture and Carpet—We don’t recommend running out and getting brand-new furniture the minute you find out you’re pregnant. But if you happen to live in a home filled with antiques, heirlooms and any furniture or flooring that’s a pain to clean, it’s a good time to reconsider. Investing in furniture and carpeting with stain-guarding treatments (or anything that you can easily wipe clean when faced with spit-up, juice spills and accidents) will help ensure that your pieces stay in great shape as the baby grows so you’re not constantly replacing.
Making Life Easier When Baby Comes Home
When you’re preparing for parenthood, it’s important that you prepare both your home and your mind. But the two are surprisingly intertwined. Bringing the baby to a home that’s safe, comfortable and functional enough for the modern parent will help provide peace of mind and provide you with the tools you need to transition into parenthood. It’s all about choosing the upgrades that help you focus on the baby and worry less about everything else.