When planning the layout of the nursery for your baby, it can be tricky to know what to put in the room.
Many parents wonder if putting a TV in the nursery might be a good idea.
You may feel that having a TV in the nursery will help you to get through the long hours spent feeding, rocking, and playing with your baby — especially in the middle of the night.
While some parents wouldn’t be without a television in the nursery, others balk at the idea.
So — should you put a TV in the nursery?
Overall, the drawbacks of having a TV in the nursery outweigh the benefits. A nursery television can keep you awake and entertained late at night when soothing or pumping, but the exposure to light and sound during sleeping hours isn’t great for the baby. You’re better off with a book or listening to a podcast on your phone.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of having a TV in the baby’s room.
Pros of a TV in the nursery
Here are some of the benefits that you might enjoy should you decide to go ahead and put a TV in the nursery…
1. A TV in the nursery can help you through some long nights
Rocking a baby to sleep can sometimes take hours.
And then when they do eventually fall asleep, if you attempt the transfer to the crib too soon, those little eyes will just ping open again!
If you’re pumping milk, you might then have another 20 or 30 minutes to sit, which can be incredibly boring.
A little entertainment can certainly help moms and dads through this long process.
Some parents like to turn off the sound, turn on the subtitles and dim the brightness of the TV.
This can give you something to occupy your mind while feeding or rocking your baby without disturbing them too much.
2. A TV in the nursery could prevent you from falling asleep
When a mother breastfeeds her baby, her body releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps her to connect emotionally with her little one.
However, this hormone has one potentially dangerous side effect – it can make moms extremely sleepy.
Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, falling asleep while feeding your baby is dangerous.
It’s possible that the baby could suffocate, choke or fall onto the floor.
If watching television can occupy your mind enough to prevent you from falling asleep, then you may decide that having a TV in the nursery is worth it just for that.
3. There are some excellent YouTube channels for babies
While the thought of letting your baby might watch YouTube might fill you with horror, hear me out.
There are some channels on YouTube that you might actually be good to play in the nursery.
How about a video of a crackling open fire?
You would never have a real open fire in the nursery, but a virtual fireplace on the TV can make the room feel wonderfully cozy.
What about the sounds of nature, classical music, or white noise?
These may be accompanied by soothing light shows, or you could just use the sounds to muffle any noise coming from your neighbors’ property.
Cons of a TV in the nursery
Next, we’ll explore some of the reasons why you might not want to put a TV in your baby’s nursery…
1. Experts recommend that babies should not be exposed to TV
The human brain develops most in the first two years of life, so it’s important that time is spent experiencing different sounds, sights, tastes, and textures rather than looking at a TV screen.
2. Babies need to learn the difference between day and night
Newborn babies have no circadian rhythm.
They know nothing about the difference between night and day and their sleep periods will be scattered throughout the day and night.
Over the first few months, babies must learn that nighttime is for sleeping.
If nighttime feeds are accompanied by the light and noise of a television, babies can find it harder to make this adjustment. This will result in more sleepless nights for parents.
3. Distractions can inhibit bonding
A lot of the bonding between parents and their babies happens at night.
Whether you’re feeding your little one or rocking them off to sleep, both parent and child can benefit from:
- eye contact
- singing lullabies
- and chatting.
Babies love human interaction!
If you’re watching TV, you’re not going to be looking into your baby’s eyes, telling them how much you love them, or singing songs that will help them to relax and drift off to sleep.
In ten years’ time, do you want to remember the times you spent admiring your newborn, or the time you watched Series Two of House of Cards on Netflix?
4. You might not be able to watch TV while pumping milk
Many mothers find that they produce more breast milk at night.
So, if you’re planning to express milk for your baby using a breast pump, nighttime could be the ideal time to do it.
However, some women also report that pumping only works well if they’re actually looking at their baby!
If you’re watching TV, you may find that your body doesn’t produce nearly as much milk as it does if you’re looking at your baby’s face.
5. You probably won’t spend as much time in the nursery as you think you will
The AAP recommends that babies sleep in their parents’ room for the first six to twelve months.
By the time they’re ready to move into the nursery, many babies are already sleeping through the night.
As for the daytime, you’ll likely find that you have jobs to do throughout the house to spend much time in the nursery.
Your baby may be strapped to you in a sling while you mop the floor or napping in a bouncy chair while you wash dishes.
Daytime feeds are likely to happen in the living room rather than the nursery.
Alternatives to nursery TVs
If sitting in the dark in silence doesn’t appeal to you, or you’re worried about falling asleep, these television alternatives could offer the ideal solution to keep you entertained on those long nights as a new parent…
Almost everyone has a cell phone already, and it could provide all the nighttime entertainment that you need in the nursery.
While you may find the screen to be a little small to watch movies, you can use your mobile device to:
- listen to music
- take in a podcast
- read parenting blogs (like Dad Fixes Everything!)
- or edit some of the hundreds of photos that you’ve taken of your little one.
A tablet such as an iPad or Amazon Fire could be a better option than a TV.
Firstly, it’s portable, so you can take it anywhere in the house with you.
Secondly, you can easily attach some headphones so that you don’t disturb your baby with the sound.
You could use the time to learn some valuable skills from YouTube videos.
Reading a book while nursing or holding a sleeping baby can be very enjoyable.
Whether you prefer an e-reader like a Kindle or traditional paperback books, reading can be the ideal way to keep yourself awake without disturbing your baby.
Talking to your baby is good for their development, so why not read aloud to them?
You could be reading the latest New York Times Best Seller, it doesn’t matter.
Your baby won’t care about the storyline, but they will enjoy listening to the sound of your voice.
Having a TV in the nursery or not is something that you’ll want to consider carefully.
As your baby will sleep in your bedroom at first, this isn’t something that you need to decide during your pregnancy.
It’s probably wise to wait until the baby arrives and see how you feel a few months down the track.
Most parents opt not to have a television in their baby’s room, as the drawbacks mostly outweigh the minor benefits.
As most people already own a device such as a cell phone, tablet, or laptop computer, you may find that this is all you need to keep your mind occupied while you care for your baby.
Going low-tech with a book or simple e-reader is even better!
Before you go, don’t miss:
- Everything you need to buy for a new baby
- Should you use a bottle warmer or hot water or the microwave?
- Should you use a bottle sterilizer or the dishwasher?
- Should you put a mirror in the nursery?
Hope this helps!