Should You Put a TV in the Nursery?

As you plan for your baby’s arrival and begin checking items off your nursery To-Do list, there is one controversial item that may come up between you and your partner. You both may be wondering if you should put a TV in the nursery. 

Historically, television and children don’t mesh well. Studies show that screen time can be linked to speech delays in young children, depending on how much interaction they have with a smartphone, tablet, or TV. 

If you are debating putting a TV in the nursery, this post will provide you with all the facts. From breastfeeding support to the pros and cons of a TV in the nursery, and even some clever alternatives — we break down all the concerns you may have about putting a TV in the nursery. 

Is it OK to have a TV in the nursery?

Research shows that it is not healthy or beneficial for your baby to have a TV in the nursery. However, it is your right (and your duty) as a parent to research anything that could have an impact on your child’s health and development. You are reading this article for a reason, whether you are pro-TV or against it. 

We applaud you for researching something you are curious about! 

While there are benefits to having a TV in the nursery, the negative effects outweigh the pros. Television can help new parents fight sleep during the late nights and early mornings, distract them from how tired they are, and provide some entertainment. 

But on the other hand, the presence of a television in the nursery isn’t beneficial for your child. If anything, the lights and sounds can confuse their sleep schedule. 

Why does my baby like to look at the TV?

Lights and sounds of any kind will draw your baby’s attention and curiosity. Whether it’s your phone, a tablet, an e-reader, or the TV, you may notice that your baby stares at (or near) any screen that is close enough. 

The problem with screens, including television, is how they overstimulate an infant’s brain. Their eyesight doesn’t fully develop for months, so trying to track flashing lights, sounds, and sudden movements can easily overwhelm an infant. 

If your baby looks entranced while they stare at a screen, it’s because they are more likely overstimulated and confused than entertained. 

Will having a TV in the nursery help me with breastfeeding?

Having a TV in the nursery can help some mothers with breastfeeding by simply keeping them awake and entertained. However, many women report that they produce more milk while breastfeeding and pumping if they are looking at or thinking about their baby.

Serotonin is released as you nurse your baby and look at them, which helps quicken the letdown process to create more milk for your baby. If you are watching TV while breastfeeding or pumping, you could miss this opportunity to boost your production. 

But let’s be honest here. Some nights (or mornings) when you’re just trying to get through a feeding or pumping session, the TV may be a helpful tool to keep you awake. 

Let’s get into a few of the pros and cons of having a TV in the nursery so you can see the full picture. 

Pros of having a TV in the nursery 

You may be thinking, “What could possibly be a benefit of having a TV in my baby’s room?” Keep reading for a few ways you can enjoy the television that you wouldn’t expect. 

A TV will help you pass the time when you aren’t sleeping 

Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, you probably know by now that you’ll be spending the majority of your time rocking your baby, feeding them, and trying to get them to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. 

If it’s 11 PM or 4 AM and sleep is hard to come by, having a TV may offer some comfort. While there are so many beautiful moments that you will experience with a newborn, sleep deprivation is typically the hardest adjustment to make. 

If having the television on in the background brings you comfort as you care for your baby, do what you need to do! You’re the one in charge, after all.

A TV can bring you a sense of normalcy

It’s not an understatement to say that a baby changes everything, including your TV time. Whether you love to binge-watch Netflix shows or you tune in every week for your favorite prime-time drama, TV watching won’t be high on your priority list once you bring the baby home.

If you are missing your favorite shows, a TV in the nursery gives you the chance to catch up as you feed the baby or rock them to sleep.

A TV can provide more than just your entertainment 

You can turn on soft music, lullabies, or white noise from the TV in your nursery. Or search “nature sounds” on YouTube. Then you can rock your baby to sleep to the calming sounds of a river flowing and birds chirping.

Related post: Is it okay to put a mirror in the nursery?

Cons of putting a TV in the nursery

Unfortunately, the cons we mention in this list are hard to ignore. At the end of the day, it’s completely your choice what technology and devices you put in your child’s nursery, but it’s best to be informed first. 

The experts agree that no TV is the best choice for babies

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for babies until they reach 18 months of age.

While there is no doubt that children can learn a great deal from educational media, those any younger than two should be learning through experience, not by watching.

This means they should be playing, talking, touching, tasting, and smelling things… not looking at a screen.  

Eye contact is how you bond with your baby  

Whether you are Mom nursing your baby or Dad rocking your baby to sleep, you achieve so much bonding and closeness in these little moments.

Your baby’s eyesight is still developing, but they are starting to recognize your features, smell, and the sound of your voice. They are forming a very close bond with you, without even realizing it.

If the TV is on during these sweet moments, you’d miss a great chance to relax and bond with your new baby.

A bright TV can disrupt a baby’s sleeping patterns

In the beginning, babies sleep whenever they want; as your baby gets older, your pediatrician will encourage you to keep their room dark and quiet to promote sleepiness at night.

You have to teach your baby what nighttime looks like, and the appropriate behaviors at this time of night. Do you want them to associate sleep with a TV blaring in their room? I don’t think so!

Related post: Is it okay to use a ceiling fan in the nursery?

Alternatives to putting a TV in the nursery

There are some clever alternatives to putting a TV in the nursery. 

Use your phone to listen to podcasts or music 

If you’re worried about falling asleep, listen to a podcast or your favorite album with headphones in. This way, you won’t disrupt the quiet and you are still present and engaged with your baby.

Get back into reading 

Many parents miss their pre-baby reading time. This is the perfect time to finish that book that’s been on your nightstand for 6 months! Whether it’s a parenting book or the final Harry Potter novel, it’ll feel great to read again.

Related post: Should you put a floor lamp in the nursery?

Wrap up – should you put a TV in the nursery?

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That’s everything you need to know about putting a TV in the nursery. Now that you’re armed with all the information, which way are you leaning? Leave us a comment!

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