Just like we did with Bean, we are keeping Gracie in our room at night in a bassinet until she’s a little bigger. I’m sure she’d be fine, really, to sleep in her crib. In fact, I put her in there for naps during the day already. But at night, I have two main reasons for keeping her so close. First, she’s sleeping in three to four hour stretches and I am not just comfortable yet leaving her by herself for that long. Maybe I’m just a weenie. Secondly and selfishly, I don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night and go very far for feedings and diaper changes.
Like with Bean, we have solved this little problem with the Mini-Nursery. I say that like it’s something we invented. It’s really just common sense and I’m sure tons of people use this same concept already. We basically set up a mini-version of a full nursery in our bedroom.
(Excuse our bedroom. It’s always the last room to be decorated, straightened, and cleaned…)
What’s in your mini-nursery will vary by preference, but let me show you what we’ve stocked in ours.
First, we have the bassinet right next to my side of the bed. Like, RIGHT next to it. That way, I can just lean over and peer in at night when she’s making weird noises and I don’t have to get up to check on her.
The next critical thing is the rocking chair. With Bean, we put our actual rocking chair in my bedroom because we didn’t have room in his nursery and it ended up being really nice to have it right there in the middle of the night. With Gracie, we have our real rocking chair (the one that matches our nursery furniture set) in our living room right now because it’s easier to use it during the day out in the common area where I can keep an eye on Bean while I’m rocking Gracie. But I still wanted one in our bedroom for the mini-nursery because that worked so well with Bean. So, I stole a comfy rocking chair from my parent’s house. Now when I get up for feedings in the middle of the night, I just pick up Gracie and go about 2 feet from my bed to the rocking chair.
We also have a diaper changing station in our mini-nursery. We cleaned off the top of our dresser and laid down a few beach towels. Then, I brought in one of Bean’s old diaper caddies with the necessary supplies. It’s not attractive, but it does the job at 3:00am.
The best thing that I’d recommend for anyone with a baby sleeping in their room is a little lamp. We tried a nightlight, but it didn’t give off enough light. So instead, we use this little lamp. It uses one of those small little light bulbs instead of a big one, so it doesn’t give off very much light at all. It is very dim, but just a hair brighter than a nightlight. We actually sleep with this lamp on all night long. It’s dim enough that we can all sleep because it keeps the room pretty dark, but it gives off enough light that I can see in the middle of the night when I get up without turning on a light. This is important with a newborn because you’re supposed to try and keep nighttime feedings dark and quiet so they learn the difference between night and day. With this lamp on all the time, there’s no difference when she wakes up. It’s not like we have to turn on a bright light when we get up.
The last thing that our mini-nursery has that isn’t pictured is a bottle station. If you’re nursing, then, obviously, you don’t need this part. But if you’re bottle feeding, it is super helpful. We keep as many bottles as we’ll need during the night beside my bed already pre-filled with formula powder. Then I fill them through the night as we use them with bottles of water. With Bean, we didn’t do this part. We warmed his bottles, which meant he woke up and screamed for 15 minutes while we heated his bottle. With Gracie we are using room temperature water and it is really so much faster. Gracie wakes up and within a minute or two, I’m rocking her with a bottle.
With our mini-nursery, nighttime feedings take, all total, about 15 or 20 minutes. That includes waking up, making the bottle, feeding and burping Gracie, then rocking her back to sleep. It is incredibly fast, which helps Gracie learn the difference between night and day and it helps Chris and I get more sleep – which is important because Bean Man wakes up at 7:00am on the dot, whether we’ve been up all night or not.
If you have a newborn or are expecting one, try using a mini-nursery at night to help make things a little easier for you. They aren’t cute and they aren’t exactly what you want to show off to your friends, but they are really practical and helpful.