Apr 16, 2017
While fully immersed in the excitement of pregnancy (first sonogram, feeling the first kick, etc.)…there’s an ever-present knowing: the baby is coming, and life will change forever…and overnight you’ll experience less sleep, immense love (combined with a bunch of other emotions), logistics you hadn’t even dreamed of, and much, much more…
It’s only natural to be excited and motivated to prepare, but HOW do you prepare?
The researching and list-making ensues
….will I need this? …and that?
…she said this is a MUST
…they said this was a life-saver
…which version is best?
…what do the reviews say?
…am I going for looks or practicality…or economical?
…can you relate to any of these?
Very quickly, overwhelm sets in…options lead to overwhelm…and clarity flies out the window.
…so we’re here to walk through what you are really going to need for the first 5 months.
While the baby is in the womb, Mother Nature takes care of creating the perfect environment. After birth, it’s up to us – Dr. Maria Montessori reminds us of the importance of creating a special set-up tailored to the baby’s needs.
Birds make nests, humans prepare rooms…what does the baby’s space need?
It comes down to 4 basic elements:
- A Place to Sleep
- A Place to Eat
- A Place for Dressing and Care
- A Place to Move
These 4 elements can happen wherever they best fit in your home and your routine – i.e. the Place the Move might end up in your living room.
You’ll notice that we’re not including a laundry list of what to acquire – that’s intentional. The 4 basic elements stay the same, and exactly how you make it happen in your home will vary (second-hand vs. new, shared room vs. baby’s dedicated room, budget, etc.).
The most important things the baby needs are simple: your baby needs YOU – your voice, your love, and your tenderness.
A Place to Sleep
We could write a bunch about the Montessori floor bed concept and the “why” behind it – the short version is: it’s simple and enables independence. It is safe because everything in the room of the floor bed is safe for the baby to explore when they are mobile. For the first 8-10 weeks, a bassinet is optional
Think appealing: is there beautiful art that can be hung low on the wall? The Black and White Art Cards can be a great option! Natural light and a window are nice as well.
A Place to Eat
Feeding time is connecting time – regardless of bottle or breast-feeding. A comfortable space to sit or rock while nursing and supplies within reach on a shelf nearby. To promote connection and quality time, aim for a space that has no screens (TV’s, phones, etc.) or loud noises.
A Place For Physical Care
This area includes dressing and undressing, changing diapers, and skin-care needs. Arrange this space away from drafts or air vents. Lots of options here – a dedicated changing table, or just a dresser with a waterproof changing pad. Arrange easily accessible storage for clean clothes, clean diapers, and diaper-changing essentials.
A Place to Move
Movement is so important as the baby is getting to know the world they live in! At the age of 3 weeks, the baby is ready for the Movement Area. Freedom of movement is key – think flat space…carriers and car seats are essential at times, but providing space for free movement is very important for development of body and mind. The Montessori-recommended set up is a floor mat against the wall with a mirror mounted on that wall. A small low shelf can be placed nearby for activities. Include an option for hanging a mobile-details of why hanging mobile here.
As we mentioned, there’s no formula – each home set-up is unique. Maybe you’ve seen pictures of our home on my website – Emily and Chelyn share a room, so that impacted where things were set up. Our “Place for Dressing and Care” was in the bathroom adjoining the bedroom.
It’s best to keep the future in mind when setting up the newborn’s room. Ideally, as the child grows, the room adjust, but doesn’t need total rearrangement (as that is confusing to the little one!).
Stay tuned for our upcoming article about the set-up for months 6-12.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re a parent, please leave a comment mentioning something that you found SUPER valuable in your home set-up – let’s all help each other prepare for this biggest life change…ever!
* Many thanks to Michelle from The Montessori Company for their permission to use these great illustrations in this article.