One of the key things on your to-do list if you are expecting a baby is to create a nursery. This can be exciting - but choosing colours, linens, accessories and furniture can be overwhelming.
When should your baby start sleeping alone?
Richard Makhomba, a private paediatrician in East London, says though some western cultures recommend that children should start sleeping alone from infancy, he recommends that parents sleep with their children until they are at least two years old.
" I recommend that one should not apply the sleep-alone principle in the early years because this affects the bonding between the child and the parents.
"The beauty of sleeping with your baby is that it is easy to notice when he or she becomes sick and you can also more easily study your baby's moods."
He adds that physical proximity initially also provides a secure and happy environment for children.
Makhomba advises parents to start the sleep-alone process gradually by telling the child, when old enough to clearly understand, that within a few days he or she will be allowed to sleep independently.
"Make it sound like an exciting event. And if possible, involve your child in the shopping so that he or she can choose some soft toys and wall hangings.
"Do up the room cheerfully and make it a space your child will love to be in."
Decorating the room
According to Ntombi Lokotwayo, a child expert, decorating your baby's room is personal and it's fun - but he warns that the heart of your child's room is not what is physically held within the four walls - rather it is "the relationship" of the parents and child.
"The nursery's décor makes a statement about the relationship the parent hopes to cultivate with the child - warm and loving, fun and stimulating, soothing and secure. When decorating your baby's room, remember your basic considerations should be safety, style, size, quality and price."
According to Kate Johannes, an interior decorator, research shows that until babies are a few months old, they are near-sighted, which makes their view of the outside world a blur.
"This means light and dark colours side by side are great for the early months. Think about the classic combination of black and white, which works great in a more contemporary home.
"You don't have to paint the room in black and white stripes unless that is the look you're after. You can find bedding, fun artwork, and other accessories to play up the contrast theme.
"Add some pieces in shades of red and finishes of stainless steel and you will have the perfect nursery.
"For less harsh contrasts, you can pair deep navy with pale blue - or chocolate brown with pink for sophisticated looks that incorporate classic baby colours."
Johannes adds that if the contrast of light and dark does not work for you, try hot pink, bright turquoise, lime green or neon yellow.
For flooring Johannes recommends a stain-resistant carpet or hardwood floors.
"If you've already got wall-to-wall carpet in the nursery and you're concerned that it might not weather well during your child's babyhood, an area rug might be a good investment.
"Similarly, when you're selecting window coverings for the nursery, aim for washable fabrics or blinds that can be wiped down easily with a damp cloth."
She advises parents to pay attention to the ceiling as well.
"When you are decorating, remember that as the months go on, your baby is going to spend a lot of time lying on his or her back.
"Stick with a neutral base colour and play around with removable wall decals and accessories in a vibrant colour of your choice."