If you are reading this blog, it is recommended that you have already read Understanding the Newborn’s needs.
The physical space must allow for her to sleep safely and by herself. It must allow a space for her to be fed or nursed. It must allow her to be changed – diapers and such. And importantly, it must allow her a space for her activity. Let’s discuss these areas one by one.
Area that serves for sleeping:
- A king size futon on the floor is a single solution to many of the newborn’s and the new parents’ needs. A futon on the harder side, covered in well-fitted futon-protector sheet and a bedspread.
Bed is stressful for the caregiver for there’s a possibility of a fall and does not allow for independence of the child. After a few months, the child can decide that she is sleepy and go on to her futon on her own and fall asleep! We can’t take that opportunity away from the child. (Children as young as 6 months old have the ability to do that, if the caregivers allow for it!)
Area that serves for her to be fed or nursed:
- A chair that’s firm and steady (or better an armchair for extra comfort of the new mother) works just well enough.
Area that serves for the newborn’s changing area:
For smooth diaper changing routines to establish, a designated area is essential. This area could simply be a sturdy table of your choice in a corner.
- A sturdy armoire that is about 3 feet in height that could hold all the care-related material with a flat top could also serve as a changing table. In fact, the latter is better, because then less space is needed.
Area that serves for play or activity:
A newborn does some really intense work on her physical and psychological organs. As she is building her back, neck, hands and feet muscles at a rapid pace, she is also building her ability to concentrate and that’s really precious to protect.
For this, the space must allow her to be the master of her time. The space facilitate her being left alone in her own activity safely. It must be a simply designed space with ample natural light. The walls must be absolutely uncluttered and simply painted in a faint neutral colour.
- The space must allow for her to be on the edge of her skills of movement. The child needs space to move unrestrictedly and safely – therefore cribs are an absolute no. The floor mattress that we spoke about earlier is perfect to allow freedom of movement. The mattress/futon can be lined with soft woolen/rubber mats that can soften the blow when the child is ready to descend on her own from the mattress.
- The futon can also have a mirror on one side. This mirror allows immense play and provides ample opportunities for concentration. She can see herself and she is motivated from within to lift her neck up to see herself better. The mirror allows her to form concepts of her own self, others and furniture and helps her related to everything that’s around in her environment.
- A hook to hang mobiles so that the child can work with her vision. Mobiles hold a lot of attraction and work for the child. Not because they are flashy or they make noise. Quite the opposite. There are 4 recommended mobiles. They can be found here. In our case, I had made these at home. Just making them we had a great time!
It’s not easy to change everything in an already existing house. So some things may still have edges which can either be harmful to the baby or stressful to the caregiver. Baby proofing these edges is a simple yet an important point.
A low armoire or a low shelf that can house some minimal amount material that the newborn can engage with. A simple, non-flashy rattle. A teether made of some natural safe material. And some objects of appropriate non-swallowable size with different textures.
And most importantly, empty space. The room must be minimalistic and not at all overwhelming.
A Chartered Accountant by chance and a school teacher by choice, Aditya is an AMI Montessori trained guide. He owes his parenting philosophy and values to Dr Maria Montessori, Magda Gerber & Janet Lansbury and tenets of Buddhist philosophy; though he believes that his most insightful parenting moments have come with his kindest teacher – his two year old son.
Helping parents and being a school-teacher are his ways of bringing more respect, choice and freedom to children.