Relishing those long summer evenings, but an early sunrise means baby is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed long before you want to be? You need to find the best blackout shades for nursery.
Don’t you just love this time of year, when the evenings are long and full of light and you can sip your favorite beverage in peace and quiet outside, because the littlies are tucked up in bed?
Then in the morning, you can enjoy the sound of birdsong and the gentle sunrise creeping in through the curtains, knowing you don’t have to get up yet.
That is unless your baby wakes up.
An early sunrise often means an early morning waking from your little one. Waking at 5 am or even earlier, is not uncommon for newborns. If the sun has come out to play, why shouldn’t they?! While light might not be the only issue in your newborn waking too early, it’s almost for certain part of it. So preventing the sunshine from streaming into baby’s nursery or sleep space long before you want to get up is essential. And altogether not that difficult.
You need to find the best blackout shades for baby’s nursery.
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What Are Baby Blackout Curtains?
Blackout curtains might look the same as a regular pair of curtains, but they are made differently. In fact, there are three ways blackout lining is made:
#1 A two-pass blackout lining
This is made by spraying a base fabric with a black opaque membrane and then spraying it again with white acrylic foam.
Fabric tends to be lightweight but might not offer 100% blackout, depending on the color of the curtain or shade – 95-100% blackout is the norm for a two-pass black outlining.
#2 A three-pass blackout lining
Made first by spraying the base fabric with a white acrylic foam, then spraying with the black opaque membrane and finally spraying it with another layer of white acrylic foam on the outside.
Thicker, heavier material that blocks out 100% of light.
#3 A triple weave blackout fabric
Has three interwoven layers; one of these layers is a black thread that is woven into the centre which helps keep out the light.
Triple weave blackout fabric is the newest way of producing blackout fabrics and are normally more environmentally friendly way. They also don’t degrade over time like the white acrylic foam can.
Triple weave blackout curtains block out 100% of light.
Baby blackout curtains do more than block out light
They can also provide extra insulation and can dampen noise – perfect if you have noisy neighbors or live on a busy street. Certainly worth a try – even more reasons to find the best blackout shades for your nursery.
What Is The Difference Between Black Out And Room Darkening Curtains?
The difference is in the amount of light blocked out.
Blackout curtains should block out light completely. The exception being light-colored curtains with a two-pass blackout lining.
With these up, the only way light gets into the room is if you have gaps around the window or cracks under the door.
If you took a torch and shone it behind a blackout curtain, you shouldn’t see any light shining through the fabric. 100% of light is blacked out.
Room darkening curtains have a fabric liner which thickens the curtain and prevents as much light passing through. But it doesn’t have the total light blocking out effect that blackout curtains or shades do.
If you shine a torch through room darkening curtains approximately 5% of the light would seep through.
How Blackout Curtains Can Improve Your Baby’s Sleep
If you’re wondering do blackout blinds help baby sleep longer and do babies sleep better in dark rooms, the answer is a big fat double yessss.
By longer, we’re talking longer naps in the day and a later wake-up time in the morning (as in more like 6.30 am/7 am rather than 5 am). By better, we’re talking fewer wake-ups, as well as longer sleeps…
There are four main factors why baby’s sleep longer and better in dark rooms:
#1 Newborns spend most of their time asleep in very light, easily disturbed sleep stages
70-80% of the time newborns are asleep they’re in the light sleep stages of “active” and “transitional” sleep. This is a protective mechanism that allows baby’s brain to check in that everything is ok. As adults we do the same, coming into light sleep several times in the night to allow our brain to check in – do we need to take a pee or have a drink.
Babies and particularly newborns do this even more so, since their needs are greater, particularly their need to eat regularly when teeny tiny.
At around 3-4 months, when their sleep cycles mature (the dreaded 3-4 month sleep regression) babies also become much more alert and into semi-consciousness between sleep cycles.
#2 Light suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin
Melatonin is released by the pineal gland in our brains and helps regulate sleep patterns. As darkness falls, levels of melatonin rise helping our bodies and brains get into sleep mode.
#3 Light in the early morning stimulates the production of cortisol
Early in the morning, high light levels stimulate the release of cortisol, helping the body wake-up and get into gear for the day. (Source).
Interestingly, this trend has only been found in the early morning, not at other times of the day (for example, increasing light intensity in the afternoon doesn’t have any effect on cortisol levels.
#4 Newborns are soothed and comforted by darkness
A newborn has just spent 9 months in total darkness while in utero. Being in darkness is familiar and comforting to a baby and taking baby out of bright lights is one of the many things you can do when baby is fussy to help calm and soothe. Ensuring your newborn’s sleep space is pitch back is a must.
So baby blackout curtains will help induce asleep and delay waking up
By taking your baby somewhere dark at bedtime, you’re helping their bodies produce melatonin, you’re eliminating light as a potential disturbance in the early morning or for naps in the day when in those light sleep stages and you’re not allowing cortisol to get a look in.
Should I Get Blackout Curtains For My Baby’s Nursery?
Hopefully, you now need no convincing that finding the best blackout shades for nursery is an absolute must. With swaddling and white noise, baby blackout curtains help to make the best sleep environment possible for a newborn.
How Dark Should Blackout Curtains Make The Room?
Pitch black. Baby blackout curtains should not let any light through when you shine a torch behind them.
This is the single more important factor in choosing baby blackout curtains.
Also, assess the room as whole. The room needs to be so dark you shouldn’t even be able to see your hand in front of you. Checking like this will allow you to see if there’s anywhere else in the room that let’s in light, such as under or around the door.
Lining windows with portable blinds or blackout lining and leaving curtains as is
While you absolutely need to make that room pitch black, you don’t necessarily need to change the curtains. You can line the windows with blackout material instead.
Suggestions on how to do this when we get to the section on recommended best blackout shades for nursery.
What To Look For In Blackout Curtains
So, we’ve covered the why you need to blackout baby’s room. Next question on your lips is probably: how do I blackout my baby’s room?
If you’re already googled best blackout curtains for your baby’s nursery, you’ll probably have discovered that there’s a lot of choice. Firstly, here’s what you need to look for:
#1 Ability to block out 100% of light
If you’re going to invest in baby blackout curtains, then they need to blackout 100% of light.
Check to see whether the curtains have a two-pass or three-pass blackout lining or are a triple weave blackout curtain. To be safe, steer clear from the blackout shades with a two-pass lining as these may not be 100% blackout.
#2 Your existing window set up
Before purchasing your blackout curtains, take a look at the window they will cover and what sort of hanging style you’ll have.
If you have a curtain rod, it’s almost impossible for even the best blackout shade to block out all light as the curtain cannot sit flush with the window. You’re probably going to need something else on the inside of the window as well.
If you do want to stick with a curtain rod, you can install one with wrap-around ends so that the curtains wrap around the window opening from end-to-end.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen these up and while these will block light either side of the window but I’m wondering how much light they’ll allow in top and bottom. You still may need to line the window with some form of blackout blind or film.
Tracks are less common these days but are definitely the best option for blackout shades for baby’s nursery, since they hold the curtain flush to the wall. I’ve just replaced curtain rods with curtain tracks in my 4 and 5 year olds room and in the process of doing so for the twins room.
These are possibly the worst when if you want to make baby’s nursery room pitch black. It’s simply not possible to get the blind flush with either the window or the wall. You’ll have to line the window too for a total blackout effect.
If you prefer blinds to curtains, roman blinds can provide total blackout, so these are the ones to go for.
#3 Future-proofing styles and colors
You may want your baby blackout curtains to match the nursery decor. But what about in the future? Will your baby quickly outgrow the pattern or style you choose? What about if you choose a “boy” pattern and then you want to use it for a baby girl down the line?
Will the nursery ever be changed into a guest room?
#4 Length of time room will be used for baby
If the room is only going to be used for your baby temporarily, you can use something more temporary to make the room pitch black.
For example, we have twins on the way. The recommendation is for babies to stay in the room with mom and/or dad for the first 6 months, but there’s no way we’re going to all fit into the nursery. So they’ll come into the room with us in the meantime. For these first 6 months the windows will be lined with blackout lining under existing normal curtains.
Another option is to line the existing curtains with blackout lining – but that depends on how flush your curtains hang to the wall/window.
#5 Safety and practicality
If you go for blinds, consider the safety aspect. You don’t want any long cords that could pose a safety risk to your baby as they grow and start to explore their room.
Last but not least, you’ll also want to check to make sure your blackout curtains can be washed – we are after all, talking about a baby’s room and we all know how far poo-namis and sick-explosions can travel! Some of the thicker fabrics may state that they should only be dry cleaned, so just be aware if this isn’t something you want the hassle of.
Best Blackout Shades/Curtains For Your Baby’s Nursery
Best permanent blackout shades/curtains for baby’s room
When it comes to blackout curtains for baby room, there’s an overwhelm of choice. Considering all the different types of blackout curtains and what’s important when it comes to choosing blackout shades for the nursery, here are 6 that fit the bill, and the best options for each category.
1. Best blackout shades for nursery to fit with rod (plain colors)
These blackout curtains from Nicetown receive rave reviews about their light-blocking ability as well as their insulation and soundproofing effects. Just note that they are very heavy, so make sure your curtain rod is up to the job.
There are lots of color options so you should be able to find some that fit your color scheme.
Alternatively, for some lovely neutral colors (beiges, creams and grays), try these blackout curtains from H.VERSAILTEX .
2. Best blackout shades for nursery to fit with rod (cute baby design)
These baby blackout curtains with elephant design from Nuomanan are made using triple weave technology, so effectively block out 100% of light. They’re also machine washable and come in a few different designs; the elephant ones above are perfect for baby’s nursery.
3. Best blackout shades for nursery, pinch pleat for curtain track
These pinch pleat blackout curtains from Magic Drapes look simply stunning – the white will certainly work in any room and, using triple weave technology, they block out 100% of light.
PLEASE BEWARE THAT THESE COME IN LOTS OF DIFFERENT COLORS BUT MOST ONLY BLOCK 70-80% OF LIGHT. ONLY THE BLACK AND WHITE CURTAINS BLOCK 100% LIGHT.
For a more natural look and feel try these linen look blackout pinchpleat 100% blackout curtains from Napearl.
If you want to go with blinds…
As mentioned earlier, blinds are not the most effective at blocking out light. You can buy 100% blackout roller blinds but it’s almost impossible to stop light creeping in around the sides.
Roman blinds are a better option, but rarely come in 100% blockout material. The best you’ll find only blocks 70-80% of light.
So if you want to go with blinds, use existing ones or buy the ones you want and then line the windows – see next section.
Best Options For Blacking Out Baby’s Room Without Blackout Curtains
If you don’t want to buy new curtains or have your heart set on some pretty nursery curtains that won’t block enough light out, you may be asking what can I use instead of blackout curtains?
Well, you can simply line the windows with blackout material.
None of these are as aesthetically pleasing as dedicated blackout curtains, but remember the goal – to get your newborn sleeping longer in the morning and taking nice long naps in the day. If you’re sleep-deprived then I’m sure that’s going to be your top priority.
As long as you get a good fit, lining the windows themselves will actually be the most effective way to make baby’s room pitch black since there’s absolutely no chance of any light creeping in around the sides.
Plus, once you draw your existing curtains or some really cute nursery curtains over the top, you won’t see whatever you’ve chosen to line the window with.
A final option is to line existing curtains with blackout material but remember: the light-blocking ability will only be as good as the fit of those curtains.
Non-blackout curtains for baby’s room
To reiterate, these aren’t baby blackout curtains, they need to be used in conjunction with one of the blackout lining options coming up:
- pink nursery curtains with sheer drapes over the top from the Pony Dance store
- dinosaur nursery curtains from Sweet Jojo Designs
4. Adhesive blackout window film
These static films adhere to your window and stay in place for as long as you need them to. They don’t leave a residue so you can remove them and put them back up again. However, they’d be a bit of a fiddle to remove daily so are more of a long-term option.
These ones from Velimax come in black or white:
5. Velcroed blackout window liner/cover
This blackout window cover from the Blackout EZ store is better if you do want to remove the liner on a regular basis. You fit a strip of velco around the inside of the window frame and velcro the liner onto it. The video below gives a brief demonstration.
6. Blackout curtain liners for existing curtains
These 100% blackout curtain liners from Driftaway can be used with your existing curtain pole and curtains with the included rings; just thread the liners onto the curtain pole with the curtains.
Or these 100% blackout curtain liners from Central Park can be paired with any curtain; simply attach the liners to the curtain using the hooks that come with them.
7. DIY velcroed blackout window liner/cover
This is a DIY option for the ones you can purchase above. It works extremely well for blocking out 100% of the light and living in rural Africa for our first two babies, was our best option.
All you’re doing is velcroing a large piece of blackout material over the entire window and frame (so it’s actually attached to the wall). With your existing curtains drawn over the top, you won’t see the material.
What I love about this option for blacking out the nursery is that you can remove the shades daily easily and if you do a good job of installing them you’d never know they were there.
However, be warned! If you come to move house or want to remove the lining permanently, if the room no longer needs to be blacked out 100%, removing the velcro will take the paint off!
Instructions for making your own blackout window liners
You need blackout material, velcro, contact adhesive, as well as a few skilled helpers for sewing (velcro to blackout material) and DIY (measuring and gluing).
Then you need to:
- Measure the window you want to blackout out and add a few inches either side. You want the velcro to lie under your existing curtains when drawn and top line of velcro to lie under the curtain pole or immediately under the curtain track. This means when the blackout shade is removed in the day, you’ll barely notice the velcro.
- Cut blackout material to size according to above dimensions
- Cut velcro to size. You can do all 4 sides of the window or you can try with just the top and the two verticals, leaving the bottom loose. Because it’s such a close fit, you’ll probably find the material hangs flush to the wall without letting any light in. That worked for us.
- Glue either the hook or loop side of the velcro to the wall.
- Sew the other side to the edge of the blackout material
- Attach blackout material to wall and enjoy a 100% blacked out room!
Best Blackout Curtain/Blind Options When Staying Away From Home
So, we’ve talked a lot about blackout curtains at home, but what about when you start traveling with your baby? Enter the portable blackout blind.
8. Portable & adjustable baby blackout blinds with suction cups
There are lots of different brands on the market, but they’re all very similar and extremely effective. The material is 100% blackout and you can get such a good seal around the window. They work fantastically on their own or as an additional layer of blackout behind existing curtains.
Portable baby blackout blinds work perfectly for traveling, folding up small, and, with velcro in between the suction cups, you can easily make them smaller and tailor them to any window.
These blackout blinds from Aozita come in a 2 pack offering great value for money and since there may be two windows in the room when you stay away I’d definitely go all out and buy these. (However, you can buy a single one if you’re on a budget.)
9. Portable baby blackout tent
Instead of blackout the whole room, why not put up a blackout tent?! This portable blackout tent from Slumberpod, made from fabric that is breathable and light-blocking, is a great solution if the whole family are sharing a room, but your baby is struggling to sleep because of the distractions. It’s big enough to put baby’s cot inside, completely enclosing it.
Please note, it’s not suitable for teeny tiny babies that need to sleep close to you still, but from 6 months up you’re good to go.
Blackout Curtain/Blind Options For Baby On The Move
There are also ways to keep baby’s sleep space pitch black when on the move in the car or stroller (Snoozeshade have cornered the market here). These are great for keeping your baby’s naps on track if you’re following a newborn sleep schedule.
10. Car seat blackout shade
This Universal Air-Permeable Baby Car Seat Blackout Shade from Snoozeshade is made from a mesh blackout fabric allowing airflow while blocking out 94% of the light. (Due to the mesh design necessary to allow air to move, 100% blackout is not possible). Of course, this also means it protect baby’s delicate skin with a UPF rating of 50+.
11. Stroller blackout shade
As above, this universal stroller and jogger baby blackout shade from Sboozeshade is made from breathable mesh fabric that lets air flow freely while providing protection from UVA and UVB, blocking out 94% of light.
When not asleep, you can open the front window so baby can see out, while still safely protected from the sun’s rays.
Conclusion: baby blackout curtains are essential for better sleep for everyone
As us parents all know, sleep is sooo important – both for your baby and you. A well rested parent is likely to be happier and feel more able to tackle the day to day challenges of raising children. And a well-rested baby will be a happier one too.
Starting your baby out in the right sleeping environment will help to establish good sleep habits for decades to come. This means making it pitch black with some effective blackout curtains for baby’s room, lining the windows with blackout material and making that sleep space dark when away from home.
Hopefully, this list of baby blackout curtains and other blackout options have narrowed down the immense choice. Just remember what’s number one – blocking out 100% of light – always check the description of any blackout fabric or curtain you buy.
Good luck and let me know how you get on!