Ancient Chinese secrets help you create a safe and nurturing nursery. You’ve picked out a darling theme, complementary wallpaper and bedding, and all the latest furnishings for your nursery. As you stand there, rubbing your hand over your expanded belly, you imagine this to be the most perfect nursery ever. Here’s where the needle scratches across the record, stops the music and grabs your attention. Something’s not right. Is the baby’s head pointed toward a window? Is there too much red in the room?
Before you begin your nursery renovations, check out the Chinese art of placement known as Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway). If you follow its principles in the nursery, proponents say, your baby will experience his room as a safe haven that will nurture his development and growth.
Consider the room’s location and shape.
At its most elemental level, Feng Shui is about nurturing positive energy, or Chi (pronounced chee), by creating an environment that is conducive to the flow of Chi. This flow is achieved through proper placement of items and furnishings in a home or office. The resulting harmony, according to Feng Shui wisdom, can lead to greater happiness, better health and good fortune.
When creating a Chi-friendly nursery, the first thing you need is a bagua map — an octagonal grid of nine specific areas: wealth, fame/recognition, love/relationships, family, health, children/creativity, knowledge, career and helpful people. (Bagua maps are readily available online; a quick Google search yields dozens of images.) Sketch a diagram of the nursery or your whole house, then place the Bagua Map over the diagram. Align the bottom of the map (career area) with the main doorways.
You may not have an option as to where your baby’s room will be located in your home, but if you do, David Daniel Kennedy, author of Feng Shui for Dummies and Feng Shui Tips for a Better Life, advises placing the nursery in the children/creativity area. “This position is recommended for your nursery because it is traditionally the area representing offspring, making it a highly positive place for the growth of your new child,” says Kennedy.
If the nursery is in another area, Feng Shui “cures” may be necessary to create a healthy and secure environment. “If possible, avoid a room that faces the street, particularly if the house is located on a busy street,” says Feng Shui consultant Laura Forbes Carlin. “Streets have very active Chi and are not conducive to peaceful sleep. Also, avoid placing the baby’s room over the garage.”
The shape of the child’s room should also be considered. “You can create a feeling of stability and security for a baby by choosing a square or rectangular room that does not have sloping ceilings, beams or eaves. However, an irregularly shaped room may be squared off with the use of furniture or curtains,” says Carlin.
Choose colors and themes carefully.
Already have your paint chips picked out for the nursery? Better start over if you’re planning on hues of red. “You want to steer clear of the color red,” says Katherine Anne Lewis, a California-based Feng Shui master. “Red activates a room and can cause a child not to sleep through the night. The less red in a room, the better.”
Scott Munnecke, home furnishings buyer for Wal-Mart, agrees. “It is traditionally considered crucial to avoid colors associated with hazards. Avoid colors associated with fire and water, such as reds, burgundy or any of the strong colors in this spectrum.” By contrast, soft, warm pastels for the nursery get a thumbs-up from Feng
Along with color, the themes and designs in wallpaper and toys are important. “Be careful how many fire trucks, airplanes and race cars you put on the wall. This keeps the Chi constantly whirling through the room, which can cause the child to stay awake or have a hard time falling asleep,” warns Lewis.
“One thing to keep in mind when arranging a nursery is being able to easily ‘quiet’ the room down at night,” says Carlin. “In Feng Shui everything is seen as alive; even inanimate objects are always speaking to us. … At night, we want to be able to quiet down the voices. This means hiding televisions, not having too many photos staring at us while we lie in bed, putting away toys, keeping bright, loud colors away from the crib and not placing mirrors where a baby could see herself while in the crib.”
Clean the room — literally and spiritually.
After you select the nursery’s location, give it a good, thorough cleaning. Banish dust bunnies, cobwebs and extraneous items.
“Clearing the clutter is a key aspect to Feng Shui,” says Carlin. “Let go of the old to bring in the new. Also, parents have so much less time when they have a baby, and clutter zaps time and energy.
”If the baby’s room previously served another purpose, consider an energetic cleansing, too. A cleansing and room blessing may be done by filling a spray bottle with bottled water and adding a few drops of lemon essential oil,” says Carlin. Essential oils should be used carefully and sparingly to avoid allergic reactions. Allow a few weeks between the cleansing and the baby’s arrival. “Another option,” says Carlin, “is to use a bell and tone the room.”
“The most important aspect of a cleansing is intention. Bless the water or bell, and go around the room misting or ringing with the intention that you are clearing and refreshing the room,” explains Carlin.
Ancient Chinese wisdom just might hold something positive for you and your family. Try Feng Shui to create a nurturing environment for your happy, peaceful, growing baby.
What to Avoid in the Nursery
- Never position the crib so that the baby will have his back to the door.
- Never put the crib underneath a window.
- Never have the baby’s head pointed toward a window.
If you can’t avoid some of these things in your baby’s nursery, don’t despair. Feng Shui offers cures to correct problems such as these. Lewis points out one example: “If the crib has to be next to the window, put a wooden screen in between. This will help block the rush of Chi coming in from the window.”
By Marla Hardee Milling
Marla Hardee Milling is a freelance writer.