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As you set up baby's nursery, it's easy for your mind to wander to all the sweet moments to come as you read bedtime stories, giggle together at the changing table and study every detail of their sweet face while singing lullabies. But at the end of the day (the fun-but-exhausting day), the true purpose of a nursery is to help your baby—and you—get the best night of sleep possible. And the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor can help by giving you the information (and peace of mind) you need to rest easy.

"The place that we sleep has a huge impact on our sleep hygiene," says Motherly's Sleep Expert, Rachel Gorton, a certified infant and toddler sleep specialist. "Babies, just like any other child or adult, need a sleep promoting environment, free of distraction and stimulation to help them sleep well."

Here are eight expert-backed tips to keep in mind while setting up the sleep-inducing nursery of your dreams:

1. Limit light sources

Babies require a lot of sleep throughout the day, too. To create a snooze-able space, Gorton recommends investing in blackout shades, especially if the nursery receives a lot of direct sunlight.

At night, don't add unnecessarily bright sources of light, which Gorton says can accidentally distract or stimulate your baby when the real objective should be sleeping. With Nanit's soft-glow night light, the room will be illuminated just enough for you to navigate—without disturbing baby.

2. Set the thermostat for sweet dreams

The optimal sleeping temperature for babies and children is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. But if your thermostat isn't exactly reliable, Gorton says it's really helpful to be able to quickly determine the temperature in your child's nursery with help from the Nanit Plus Smart Monitor.

3. Get a dependable monitor to limit interruptions

One of the perks of being a parent today? You don't have to guess what's going on in baby's nursery. With the high-tech Nanit Plus Smart Monitor, you can keep an eye not only on your sleeping baby (aww!) with a bird's eye view, but you can also instantly get data to help you better understand (and address) your child's sleep patterns. That means no more not-so-quietly sneaking into the room in the middle of the night at the risk of disturbing them.

As Gorton explains, "With the Nanit software you get alerts directly to your phone and you can watch your baby's activity from anywhere, in or outside of the home, giving you piece of mind and helping to eliminate unnecessary interruptions by not having to enter the room for check-ins."

4. Make a comfortable space for yourself

Baby isn't the only one who will be spending a lot of time in the nursery. By getting a comfortable rocker or glider, you will be more at ease during bedtime—which put them more at ease. (Read: sleepier!)

5. Make organization a priority

During those inevitable midnight visits, you don't want to bump and fumble around just to find more diapers. Keep everything accessible so you can navigate with your eyes shut. (Which, let's face it, they very well may be.) That way you can be in and out with minimal wake-up time for you both.

6. Select calming colors

Set the mood for a restful night with neutral, cool colors. Although it may seem like a small design detail, Gorton says this can make a significant sleep difference. "Many nurseries are decorated extravagantly with bright colors and many objects or toys, which can be extremely overstimulating for sleep," she says. Good color palettes include earth tones and blushes.

7. Tune out background noise

The last thing you want is to accidentally wake your peacefully sleeping baby with noise from another room. With the Nanit Plus Smart Monitor, you can turn on nature sounds so your baby can tune out whatever else is going on in the house.

8. Keep toys to a minimum

Having toys in the room can send mixed signals to your child. As Gorton explains, having playthings within reach of the crib is "confusing for your child as she may wake up thinking it is playtime if her room is filled with toys." Store those away from baby during sleepy time to make the nursery a clear snoozing space.

This article was sponsored by Nanit. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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