Planning your baby’s nursery is exciting. You’ve got the crib, the rocker, and the diaper changing table all in place. And, now you’re wondering if you should put a TV in your nursery for those long nights when feeding or dealing with a fussy baby? As much as a TV helps to pass the time, is it a good idea to have one in your baby’s room?
Keeping a TV in the nursery isn’t a good idea. It distracts you from having quality time with your baby. And, it disturbs your baby’s sleeping rhythm with flashing lights and sounds. You’re better off reading or listening to soft music while feeding or putting your baby to sleep.
- Why You Might Want to Put a TV in the Nursery
- Why You Might NOT Want to Put a TV in the Nursery
- Alternatives to Putting a TV in the Nursery
Why You Might Want to Put a TV in the Nursery
Anyone who owns a TV knows it’s a great way to help you wind down at the end of the day. For many TV users, it’s also great for listening to music, watching real-time sports events, keeping up to date with the latest news, and watching documentaries. Being a parent to a baby takes up a lot of your time with many hours, day and night, being spent in the nursery.
Here are some reasons why you might want to put a TV in the nursery.
To Keep You or the Baby Entertained
In the first year of your baby’s life, you’re going to be using the nursery to breastfeed or bottle-feed your little one. It’s also the place where you’ll be putting your baby down to sleep or soothing them when they’re unhappy. During these times, you may be looking for some entertainment while feeding or soothing your baby. And, the TV could be the perfect solution for this!
Your baby could also be kept entertained by the babies’ or kiddies’ channel. He or she may even enjoy listening to music while you’re feeding him. Turning on the TV during diaper changes could be another way to keep your little one distracted while you get on with the dirty deed!
A TV Can Prevent You From Falling Asleep
Parenting is tiring work especially when you’re up in the middle of the night with a fussy baby who won’t settle easily. You know you need a nursing chair and that’s why you probably have one. But it’s hard not to fall asleep in it before your baby does! To prevent this from happening, you could switch on the TV and watch your favorite series while soothing your baby at the same time.
Feeding your baby late at night or in the early hours of the morning can also make you fall asleep if you’re tired. Breastfeeding also releases a hormone called oxytocin in moms. Oxytocin serves a number of purposes including creating an emotional bond between the mother and her baby. But, it also has a calming effect which could make mom sleepy while feeding.
Turning on the TV and listening to music or watching a program is another way of keeping you awake while tending to your little one’s hunger pangs.
Play Soothing Music to Help Baby Sleep
Playing soothing music is a wonderful way to help your baby sleep or to soothe them when they’re not well or happy. You can select music from YouTube channels (think meditation music here for creating a gentle atmosphere in your baby’s room). Or, even find natural sounds such as the wind blowing through the leaves of trees, the flow of water from a river or waterfall, or even a crackling campfire.
Playing white noise, which can be any sound from the natural environment, helps to soothe babies to sleep. It drowns out sounds such as traffic, noisy neighbors, and barking dogs. If you’re living in a noisy environment, having a TV in the baby’s nursery to play white noise could be useful.
Here is a YouTube video with a white noise sound.
Why You Might NOT Want to Put a TV in the Nursery
While there are some advantages to putting a TV in the nursery, there are also disadvantages. Child-rearing experts recommend not keeping a TV in the baby’s room for a number of reasons and I’ve listed them in detail for you below.
TVs Are Big
TVs are also bulky and take up a lot of space. Since nurseries can be small, putting a TV in the room isn’t always the best idea because it can get in the way. The bright lights from the big TV can also disturb the baby’s sleep.
Babies Shouldn’t Be Exposed to TV
Parents of toddlers find some reprieve when letting their two or three-year-olds watch childrens’ TV programs. And, while there are some educational benefits to letting little children watch TV, child experts argue that smaller babies under eighteen months old shouldn’t be exposed to TV. Why? Because it interferes with their natural brain development.
Babies up to eighteen months old get most learning out of physical interaction with people. They need to touch and feel, see faces, and hear voices. Screen watching not only robs your baby of these vital physical interactions but also hampers their language development. Too much TV will also delay your infant’s reading skill development and short-term memory.
Babies Must Learn the Difference Between Day and Night
Another disadvantage of keeping a TV in the nursery is that light exposure from the screen will interfere with your baby’s ability to tell the difference between day and night. Light from the TV screen also interferes with newborn babies who have no circadian rhythm developed in their first two to three months. By not being able to tell the difference between day and night, your baby will struggle to settle down to sleep at nighttime.
A TV playing all day and night in the baby’s room will also create irregular sleeping patterns that will result in many sleepless nights. Letting your little one watch TV when they should be getting ready for sleep time, leads to a disruption in their nighttime sleeping.
By keeping the TV out of the nursery, you can create healthy sleep schedules that include helping your baby know when it’s nighttime.
Quick tip! Consider installing blackout curtains for your nursery to help your baby sleep better at night time.
Distractions From TV Can Affect Bonding Time
Bonding with your newborn and older babies is crucial for their healthy development and wellbeing. Acts of bonding include interacting with your baby through cuddles, playing, making eye contact, cooing, and smiling at them. Some of the best times to bond with your baby is during feeding, diaper changes, and while soothing them to sleep.
Keeping a TV in the nursery can end up distracting you from bonding with your baby. When this happens, your baby will feel less safe about the world around them. They’ll be less inclined to play and explore if they don’t get quality bonding time with their parents or caregiver. To avoid any distractions while nurturing your baby, keep the TV out of the baby’s room.
Watch this video which shares the findings of a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics which reveals why babies under two years should NOT be watching TV.
Alternatives to Putting a TV in the Nursery
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of putting a TV in the nursery, you may want to find an alternative that’s less detrimental to your baby’s wellbeing.
My list of alternatives will help you focus on something else while feeding or soothing your baby, especially in the middle of the night. Here are some suggestions to help you get through those late nights when your baby needs quiet time and you need a distraction to keep you awake!
Using a Tablet Instead
Long nights in the nursery can be handled when you’ve got a tablet to turn to! These devices allow you to read a book, browse the Internet, listen to music or podcasts, and even keep up with your studies or work tasks.
The tablet screen is smaller than a TV so there’ll be less light exposure for your baby. What’s more, you can use a pair of headphones to keep the sounds muted from your baby. Tablets are portable so you can use them anywhere and they take up very little space. They’re light enough to hold while feeding your baby or rocking them to sleep in one of the best rocking bassinets you got for the baby’s room.
Reading Books or Magazines
Keeping a collection of books or magazines in the nursery is a good idea for those late-night events! Make sure you have a reading lamp close by so you can read when sitting in the nursery in the middle of the night. A Kindle is also a good idea if you’re an avid book reader. They make no sounds nor create too much light to disturb your baby.
You could also read out loud to your baby in a soothing voice which could help lull them to sleep. Small babies don’t understand words yet so it doesn’t matter what you’re reading them. They’ll delight in hearing your voice and feel soothed at the same time.
Cellphones have come a long way from just being devices to make and receive calls. You can now use them to read books, surf the Internet, listen to music or to a podcast, and do your banking. You can keep up with the news, check out Instagram for the latest gossip on your favorite celebrity, or catch up with a friend over Whatsapp.
When looking for a nighttime distraction in the nursery while feeding or rocking your fussy baby to sleep, your cellphone is an option. It’s small, light to hold, gives very little light exposure, and can be used with earphones. It’s also portable and something everyone owns nowadays.
Scientific studies do point out that exposing babies to TV in their first two years isn’t good for their healthy development and general wellbeing. Putting a TV in the baby’s nursery isn’t recommended and using my list of alternatives will help you keep you entertained without interfering with your baby’s natural development.
Plus, as your baby gets older, you’ll be spending less time in the nursery so it would seem like a waste to have a TV in their room. My suggestion? Keep the TV out of the baby’s room and use books, a tablet or a cellphone for those middle of the night forays in the nursery!
However, you could benefit from another product: a mini-fridge in your nursery!