When your baby is small, he cannot regulate his own body temperature, so it is important to make sure that he is warm enough while preventing overheating. The ideal temperature for a nursery is around 16-19 degrees centigrade, and it is recommended that you have a room thermometer available so that you can modify the heating in the nursery as necessary.
Current recommendations are that several light layers of bedding such as a sheet and two light blankets should be used in the cot. These should be tucked in well and should be at the bottom half of the cot so that baby cannot wriggle down below the covers. You will find that lightweight, 1 or 2 tog quilts are available for use in the cot but it is not recommended to use these for the first twelve months. If these are part of your co-ordinating bedding set you can use them as playmats or changing pads until your baby is older. You may prefer to use a baby sleeping bag, some ranges offer a suit to match the cot bumper and sheets. Sleeping bag type suits should be used over a light cotton sleepsuit or vest.
It is a good idea, although not essential, to have a comfortable armchair in the nursery so that you can sit and feed or cuddle your baby. You can purchase nursing chairs specifically for this, but an ordinary armchair will suffice. Later you may find this useful for reading bedtime stories to your little ones without giving yourself backache leaning over the bed.
Some ranges offer a whole selection of products so that you can co-ordinate your nursery. These can include curtains, Moses baskets, lampshades and wallpaper borders as well as bedding. If you have some sewing skills, you can buy lovely fabrics for the nursery and create your own individual soft furnishings. Blackout blinds or linings for your curtains will help to create the right environment for sleep even on lighter summer nights. Bright rugs and lamps will also help create a comfortable and attractive room for your new arrival.
You can also find organic product ranges such as Hug Me Bear and Sleepy Safari from Natures Purest. You can have great fun planning the decoration of your nursery and it is very satisfying to prepare the place where you will welcome your baby, especially in the weeks immediately before the birth when your nesting instinct kicks in. However, if your budget is tight the essentials are some fitted sheets for your crib, cot or cot-bed, several washable lightweight blankets, a couple of topsheets, and if your mattress is not waterproof a protective topper to prevent urine or vomit soiling the mattress and leading to bacterial build-up. You can even get organic waterproof mattress protectors now. Once you have the basics in place, you could get your friends and relatives to buy more decorative items as gifts for you and your baby. If baby is going to sleep in your room for the first weeks or months, you will have plenty of time to prepare the nursery once baby has arrived and you have a better idea of what you will actually need.
For more practical advice about dressing the cot, and for safe sleeping information, read our dressing the cot section, and be sure to visit the lullaby trust's web pages (formerly FSIDS charity)