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Your "Preparing Home for Baby" Questions Answered!

Posted by on Sep. 22, 2015 at 1:44 PM
  • 27 Replies

We asked you to share your best questions for prepping your home for baby's arrival withour expert, Ashley Phipps.  Ashley's answers are below!

Ashley Phipps of Simply Designing is an interior designer by trade and a creator by nature!  She loves to figure out how to make her environment suit her needs and often, that doesn't come from a store.  She loves to dream, build and create for the world and space around her.


Which paint is the safest to use in the nursery?

Paint has made so many improvements over the last 10 years and there are so many options!  This can be wonderful and overwhelming.  Keep in mind that it is not recommended for pregnant women to paint in an enclosed area (i.e. a bedroom), so enlist the help of your partner, friend or a professional.  Avoid oil based paint and use a latex paint instead.  Look a brand / line that has low VOC's.  Be sure that the room is painted with the windows open and allow the room to air out as long as possible afterwards.  Also, I recommend that you paint well before baby arrives so that the room as plenty of time to lose that "new paint" smell.  (That "new paint" smell by the way, is called off-gassing and it is literally gases being released from the paint which is why they don't recommend that you or baby be in the room during this process.)



When is the best age to start putting on locks on cabinets?

Many babies learn to scoot, army crawl or even crawl around 6 months, so I recommend having your baby proofing in place prior to that age. 



What items are safe or not safe for the crib?

The safest way for your baby to sleep in a crib is with nothing else in it.  No bumpers, no pillows, no stuffed animals, no thick blankets, no toys, no sleeping or carrying devices and all cords (like from a monitor) should be secured safely out of reach at least 3 feet away from the crib.  Bare cribs are best!



What's the best flooring for a nursery?

That is a great question and there is no right or wrong answer, it is a matter of preference really.  However I do think it is nice to provide a soft place for your child to play and for you to sit.  So whether you have a carpeted nursery or wood flooring with a soft rug on it, you can't go wrong.  I would not recommend tile or concrete flooring in a nursery though as those surfaces are very hard and cold. 



Any tips on when to set up baby items? Like the swing, etc?

There is no specific time when this should be done, however I will note that during the last month of your pregnancy, bending, reaching, standing up from seated positions, can get difficult as your little one grows.  But if you have a willing partner to help out, I would say that around 4 weeks before you are due is a great time to set things up just in case baby decides to make an early appearance.



What are the basic necessities for a nursery?

You probably don't need as many things as you think you do!  Be sure you have a safe place for the baby to sleep (crib, pack and play, bassinet etc.) and a place to change a diaper (the floor works).  You might want to add a bit of storage to keep things like clothing, blankets, diapers and toys, but a well organized closet will work too!  Many people like to have a changing table, a diaper pale, a dresser, a monitor, a rocker and many other items, but those things are not necessary.



What temp should a baby's room be at?

It is important that your baby does not overheat in the night but remains comfortable.  Remember that most babies won't keep a blanket on them until they are toddlers and you should never put any thick blankets into the crib with them anyway.  Be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the season (i.e. warmer clothing in the winter) and then keep the temperature at normal room temperature for your family.  There is no official recommendation on this from the government, so I just suggest keeping it at a normal temperature that you keep your home at.  For our home that would be between 67 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, but that might be different for your home.



Where is the best place to store your baby items such as diapers, washcloths etc?

Everywhere!  But seriously, it is a great idea to keep a few diapers and a pack of wipes on hand in any part of your home where you are likely to change a diaper at.  If you have a two story home, be sure to keep a stash upstairs and downstairs.  I also recommend keeping an extra diaper or two and a pack of wipes in your car just in case you run out when you are away from home.



What should your main focus be in the safety department for newborns? They are not crawling, so I know that plugging the outlets wouldn't be the first thing to go for.

The top priority for newborn safety is to ensure that where they sleep is safe.  That means to use a newer crib (safety standards have changed over the last few years so a hand-me-down crib might not be the safest option) and put nothing in the crib except an approved, well fitting mattress, a fitted sheet, and your baby.  Also ensure that they have an approved car seat that has never been in an accident for traveling.  And ensure that all furniture is bolted to the walls so that nothing can come toppling over when they do decide to move around.



What can you do for a drafty house?

Drafty homes are not only cold, but will make your heating bill skyrocket in the winter time!  It is important to do to all you can to fix this.  First you need to identify where the draft is coming from so that you can fix the right problem.  Ensure things like window seals are in good condition and re-caulk them if you need to.  Also check door seals as well.  Most doors have a little rubber flap on the bottom of the door to help prevent drafts, this can get worn out and might need to be replaced.  In addition, depending on the age of your home, your home might be drafty because of too little insulation, particularly in the attic.  Additional insulation can be added to help with this.  Finally, ensure that all penetrations (ceiling lights, attic openings, fans, air ducts etc.) are properly sealed.



Is it best to start with a smaller bassinet before getting a larger baby bed?

Not necessarily, it is personal preference.  A baby can sleep well and safely in a smaller bassinet (until they outgrow it) or a large crib. 



Any ideas for a safe area for baby and toddler to share?

If a baby and a toddler are sharing the same space, baby proof with the youngest in mind.  That means to remember to bolt all furniture to the walls, remove all small toys and keep the area free of any items that could be harmful to your baby.  A shared bedroom, playroom or corner of your family room can make a great spot for both children to play together.



What is the best way to baby proof blinds?

Remember that nothing is ever completely baby proofed, but there are a couple of things you can do to keep blinds as safe as possible for little ones.  First of all, raise your blinds up out of arms reach.  This prevents the child from playing with the blinds,  getting caught, tangled or injured in them.  Second, secure the blind cord well out of reach.  You can buy devices specifically to help roll the blind cord out of arms reach, or you can also get creative and come up with a DIY way to secure these out of arms reach (like winding them around a high placed nail, knob or 3M hook for example.)



What is the best ways to shop for and prepare dressers and bookshelves so they don't fall on kids.

The most important thing you can do with any heavy furniture is to attach it properly to the wall.  Many furniture items now come with kits to secure it to the wall, but if they don't head to your local hardware store and pick up a kit asap.  The furniture will screw into the wall either directly into a stud or using an appropriate wall anchor for the safest solution.



How do I stop my baby from climbing everything?! Lol

Unfortunately, you can't stop most babies from exploring their world.  So focus on creating the safest environment possible for your child to play in.  Be sure that all furniture (like dressers, bookshelves, tv's etc.) are securely attached to the walls.  When your child is exploring your environment be close by to watch so that they can't get hurt and if you see a hazard, remove it immediately.  Also, if you have a climber (and I think we all have at least one of those) when you do need to step away to take a shower, use the potty or make dinner, place your baby in a secure location like a pack-n-play so that they can't get hurt.  In addition to those precautionary measures, I would work to teach your child to not climb on things by gently removing them every time they try to climb and telling them no.  Then help them engage in a more safe activity.   Eventually most children will learn what not to climb, but until then, make your environment as safe as possible, keep a careful eye on them, and engage them in a different activity when they do try to climb something.  It takes a lot of patience and persistence, but child safety is very important so just keep at it and you'll do great!



How often should baby's toys be cleaned, once they are in the toy bin?

Most likely you don't need to clean them as often as you think you do.  I offer the following tips: clean the toys when they are visibly dirty, clean the toys after a play date (especially if they have been put in the mouth) and clean toys after sickness.  Plastic toys that do not have batteries can be put into the dishwasher to clean, most soft toys without batteries or electronics can go into the washing machine (check the label first) and most wood, metal or large toys need to be cleaned by hand. 



Ideas to avoid a stinky garbage?

Oh stinky garbage is the worst!  If you have a baby, I recommend getting a diaper pail and using it often!  That will truly help to contain the smell.  Use a trash can with a lid and always put a trash bag into your trash can prior to use.  You can also add a bit of baking soda to the bottom of a new trash bag to help eliminate odors and twice a year (or more if needed) wash your trash can thoroughly.



Ideas for displaying books?

I love having books in my home!  I suggest using books as decorations!  So for example, instead of placing all of the child's books on a book shelf or hidden in a closet, place a few in a basket near their bed for convenience or stack a few on their dresser as a cute way to decorate with their favorite books!



Ideas for keeping matching socks together?

Searching for matching socks can be frustrating.  I have two ideas for you.  One, buy all matching socks so you never have to search for the exact match again.  But if you already have the socks, I suggest, as soon as they come off your little one's feet, secure them together with a safety pin.  That way they will stay together through washing and drying and you will never have to search for the match again!


Thank you all for your wonderful questions!  And special thanks to Ashley for her awesome answers!

by on Sep. 22, 2015 at 1:44 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Gold Member on Sep. 23, 2015 at 9:26 AM

Thank you for answering so many questions. Very helpful advice!

by on Sep. 23, 2015 at 2:27 PM

Great advice! Thank you!!!

by Gold Member on Sep. 23, 2015 at 3:34 PM

Thanks for sharing your great advice

by on Sep. 25, 2015 at 2:40 PM

Lots of good info!  Thanks!

by on Sep. 26, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Those are great answers!

by Bronze Member on Sep. 26, 2015 at 5:31 PM

Thanks for all the info! Very helpful!!

by Silver Member on Sep. 29, 2015 at 1:23 PM

Thank you for your great tips!

by on Oct. 1, 2015 at 1:24 PM

and very helpful on the other questions too!

by Bronze Member on Oct. 1, 2015 at 1:29 PM
Thank you for answering.
by Bronze Member on Oct. 1, 2015 at 1:42 PM

 Great info!

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