How you arrange your nursey furniture is important for creating a comfortable space for you and your baby.
Sometimes we get so preoccupied with buying all the exciting things we need for a baby's nursery that we give little thought as to which room it's going to go in or how best to arrange it.
An increasingly popular approach adopted by some people when trying to create a comfortable space for themselves and their child, is Feng Shui.
What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is the 3,000 year old Chinese practice of interior decorating which encourages the open flow of energy. The principal is that in order for a house to be happy and prosperous, energy or 'chi' should be allowed to move around freely.
Some people believe that choosing the right room for your nursery or arranging your baby's furniture in a certain way can help the energy flow and lead to a healthier and happier child.
Choosing the right room for your nursery
Most people think of their nursery as a special place for relaxation or bonding between parent and child. With that in mind, it makes sense to choose a room for your nursery that is not subject to excessive noise - such as those that look directly out onto the street or a busy road.
Because the noisier rooms tend to be towards the front of the house, people who practice Feng Shui tend to choose rooms in the middle or at the back of a house. They also try to avoid using rooms that are over a garage or above an empty garage for a nursery.
Before baby arrives
For obvious reasons, it is always best to decorate or carry out any repairs to the nursery before your baby arrives. Although most paints are now water-based the smell of fresh paint would not be pleasant for either mum or your new baby just back from the hospital!
Like many a TV interior designer, believers in Feng Shui are not fans of clutter as it could potentially interrupt the flow of energy. From a layman's (or laymum's) point of view, having less objects in your way will make it easier to you to negotiate your way going to your baby's cot for a feed in the middle of the night.
To help reduce clutter, it is a good idea to resist the temptation to overstock with baby products in the run up to your child's birth. Try to just buy the necessities like nappies and then gradually buy more exciting things over a period of time.
When it comes to cleaning your baby's room, the Feng Shui way is to use all-natural products and avoid cleaning materials that contain harsh chemicals. Again, this makes sense from a layman's point of view as your baby's skin tends to be sensitive.
Rather than simply basing your palette on the 'blue for a boy' or 'pink for a girl' principal, believers of Feng Shui tend to use colours that will soothe and comfort both parents and child. Typically, they tend to use colours that are close to each other - like blue and green - and avoid bright, clashing colours or garish designs.
Feng Shui believers also tend to avoid the use of motifs featuring symbolism or images - especially designs with points or sharp edges. For the baby's bed, they believe that plain sheets in soft yellows, green or salmon pink are the most soothing.
Designs featuring images of nature are also believed to have a positive effect. While the kind of designs that Feng Shui believers tend to avoid are those that feature moving objects like animals, trains or plains etc. as they don't represent a restful state for your child. They also avoid watery themes for bedrooms as they believe that they could encourage respiratory problems.
Atmosphere plays an important part in Feng Shui and it is believed that having different light sources for different times of day can help balance the flow of energy. Having your nursery either too dark or too light can also discourage your baby from sleeping.
Fresh air is also believed to be important to creating a positive atmosphere and, weather permitting, it is encouraged to give your nursery a daily airing by opening the windows.
Although your baby is likely to be sleeping in the same bedroom as you for their first six months, believers in Feng Shui give a lot of thought to the placement of a baby's cot in the nursery.
A popular way to position the cot is to place it with a solid wall behind the headboard, facing towards the centre of the room so that it doesn't sit lengthwise along a wall. Situating the cot in a place where your child can see you enter the nursery can also provide a sense of safety and protection. An ideal position to achieve this is to place your cot so that it faces the door.
Feng Shui believers tend to avoid placing their baby's cot too close to a door, in the middle of the room, under a window or against a wall that has plumbing on the other side (which makes sense as the sound of the loo being flushed could wake the little one up!).
Furniture & fittings
Feng Shui believers tend to favour natural materials for bedding, curtains, flooring and furniture over those that contain plastics and man-made fibres. When it comes to arranging the other items of furniture in the baby's room, fans of Feng Shui avoid having so-called 'hard-corners' pointed towards a child's head. From a safety point of view, this is something that should be avoided whether you a practitioner of Feng Shui or not!
A few useful non-Feng Shui tips which also deal with the placement of furniture in your nursery are:
If possible, try putting the changing table near the doorway for easy access when bringing your baby in for a change from another part of the house.
Place the chest of drawers near the plug socket as this tends to be where you would put a bedside lamp or baby monitor.
Place your nursing chair alongside the cot, leaving enough room for you to move easily between cot and chair.
Don't worry that your child is going to suffer from the effects of negative energy if you fail to follow the techniques discussed above when it comes to creating a nursery for your child - Feng Shui is simply a belief system that some people favour.
However, even if you decide it's not for you, there are still some solid principals behind the mysticism; like choosing a quiet room for your nursery or not placing your baby's cot against a wall that backs onto the bathroom!
And anything that can help make your child happier, healthier and sleep better is always worth considering.
Have you tried Feng Shui or do you have a different approach? Share your thoughts and experiences with us by visiting our AskBaby Forums.