10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Baby

My husband owns both a construction company and a real estate firm here in Portland, Maine. He’s asked all the time what improvements to do or what do look for in a new home when a baby is on the way. Here is a list I wrote with his insight for him with his clients.

  1. Reliable and consistent temperature – Babies don’t like to be cold or hot. They just left the most temperature controlled environment they’ll ever encounter, the womb. Whether you are installing a new heating/cooling system, or simply buying a space heater and AC unit, make sure there is at least one room that can be reasonably temperature controlled.
  2. Soft lighting – Install dimmers on overhead lights and/or buy dimming lamps for the room(s) baby will be hanging out most often. The womb is dark, which means bright lights can be down right terrifying. Put the dimmer near the door, so you’ll be able to put them to sleep without tripping over the diaper pail on the way out of the room.
  3. Install safe, blackout window covers – Do you sleep well with sunlight on your face? Install blackout blinds or shades where your baby is going to be sleeping and make sure they don’t have cords within reach of your small explorer. Parent Hack: Black construction paper or trash bags taped to the window!
  4. Area rugs – Hardwood floors are in, but head bonks and boo boos are out. Find a non toxic area rug for the play room and bedroom. You’ll appreciate it too as you’ll be spending a lot more time on the floor.
  5. Baby gates – You’ll need them around stairs and wood/gas stoves, so you might as well install them before the babe goes mobile. Better yet, do it before they are born. Sleeping babies don’t respond well to power tools.
  6. Outlet covers, doorknob covers and safety hinges – Install all the typical safety items or at least have them on hand before baby is crawling. See item four, you’ll want to get this out of the way too.
  7. Hardwired, battery back up combination detectors – It may not be required by municipal codes or your home insurer, but these combination (fire, smoke and carbon monoxide) detectors are much safer for your family. Also hire a licensed electrician to install all detectors to ensure proper placement and wiring.
  8. Additional outlets in baby’s room – You’ll have nightlights, air purifiers, fans, humidifiers, monitors, white noise machines, and more to plug into your nursery walls. You don’t want extension cords and power strips for them to pull and trip on. So while the electrician is there installing the detectors, you might have them install a few more outlets too.
  9. Reduce toxins – Choose non/low toxic materials for your home improvements and decorating. NoVOC paint for the walls, wooden furniture with non-toxic varnish, organic bedding, non toxic rugs etc… This goes for cleaning, bathing and clothing too of course.
  10. Do it all now! Get all the improvements done BEFORE baby arrives. Take it from all the parents before you, you’ll be too tired and distracted to bath let alone install baby gates.

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