Choosing nursery furniture for your little one is an exciting and fun experience – and picking the right cot is probably the most important decision of all. At the start, your baby will likely spend their time sleeping in a Moses basket and at around 6 months old or when you feel comfortable, they can move to a cot or cot bed.
There are lots of different cots out there to choose from and we understand this can be overwhelming for mums and dads – so we’re here to help! In this blog, we will take you through everything you need to know before going on the hunt for the perfect cot. In no time – you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your babe is getting the best night’s sleep in the perfect cot.
What type of bed should my baby be in?
Newborn babes can often look and feel a little lost in a big cot, which is why most parents choose to use a Moses basket or a bedside crib. The NHS advises that whenever your baby is snoozing in their first 6 months – they should be in the same room as you.
Some parents will use both so that they have one downstairs and one upstairs. However, our experts recommend avoiding multiple sleeping products. This could become extremely disruptive for your little one if they’re constantly being moved around into different sleeping positions. The less the better we say – minimal sleeping spots will also help when it comes to making the big move from crib to cot too.
Once they’re around 6 months old, you’ll notice that your little wriggler is outgrowing their snoozing space and this is when you’ll need to upgrade to a cot or cot bed which is much bigger. Most parents tend to move their baby into their own room when they have outgrown their Moses basket or bedside crib, but do what feels most comfortable for you.
You may be wondering why you can’t put your child into a cot straight away. You’ll want to keep your new bundle of joy as safe as possible, and not putting them in a cot for the first few months is the way to do this. Why? Well, a cot is a very big space for someone so little and dainty, so it’s best to avoid one to keep your bub away from any potential harm.
Once babies hit the 6-month mark, most of them will be strong enough to hold their own heads up. This is when you can start thinking about introducing a cot into their life. It’ll be your bub’s snoozing spot between approximately 18 months to 2 years old.
What to look out for when choosing a cot
Now let’s get down to business about what to look for when choosing a cot for your precious little one. In this section, we discuss the following:
- design and features
- choosing a mattress.
When you’re choosing a cot for your little one of course it should be strong and sturdy, and with no cracks, broken slats and jagged edges.
Don’t put too many products in your bub’s cot, keep blankets and toys to a minimum. All you need is a sheet on the cot’s mattress and one blanket (tucked in at 3 sides) that shouldn’t come above their chest. Once your little one reaches 12 months old, you can introduce a light duvet and a flat-ish pillow.
If you’re buying a new cot, make sure it conforms to BS EN 716-2:2008. All new cots in the UK must meet this standard. It ensures that they’re deep enough to be safe for your little one, the bars are the correct distance apart and that the cot doesn’t have cut-outs or steps.
Whilst we don’t advise buying a second-hand cot, if you’re considering this route, make sure the distance between each bar is no less than 2.5cm (1in) and no more than 6.5cm (2.6in). A good way to test this is by putting a soft drink between the slats – it should fit perfectly. These measurements mean your cherub’s head will be safe and sound from slipping between the bars of their cot. Always check the quality of the cot to make sure it is safe enough for your little one.
As with all things, the price range available on cot beds varies widely. You can spend anywhere from £50 to £1000 for a cot or cot bed. The decision really comes down to budget, and whether you are happy with a cheaper, more basic bed, or want a fancier version, with little extras like under-bed storage. Though cot beds don’t really vary that much, price is generally dependent on the quality of material and the craftsmanship used to create the piece.
There are a number of different styles of cots and cot beds you can choose from. To start with, the difference between a cot and a cot bed is that a cot will be a great place for your little one to sleep until they’re around 2 years old, whereas a cot bed transforms into a mini bed after 2 years and will last until your little one is around 4 years old.
Another additional option to choose from is a travel cot. These aren’t great as permanent places for your little one to sleep but they’re ideal for a pop up cot for the grandparent’s house or for when you go away. These cots are usually super easy to put up, lightweight and easy to move around.
Design and features
There’s more to a cot than just a place to sleep. Different cots have different features that can make your life easier for a little one. In this section, we will look at the different features to look out for when choosing a cot or cot bed.
Adjustable mattress heights
Most cots come with adjustable height positions, so when your cherub is young you can get to them easily. As your not-so-little one gets older and begins their snooping phase, you can drop the base down, so that your little adventurer can’t climb out of their cot. Typically – cots come in two to three different height positions.
Your little one is bound to have a lot of things and you’ll need somewhere to store the essentials. Some cots come with under-bed storage, for example, large pull-out drawers. This can be super handy for storing your baby’s things if space is limited. Plus, it’ll mean easy access, whether it’s to grab a nappy or towel for bath time fun.
If you don’t manage to bag a cot with storage, just buy some tubs to put under it – a space-saving solution that works just as well.
Need a changing unit and cot all in one? No problem! You can purchase a cot-top changer which slots on top of your cot, and then you’ve got yourself a space to change your little one’s nappy as well as snooze.
Many cots also have a teething rail. If not – make sure you purchase one with these in place, as it’ll protect your little nibbler’s teeth. The rail is a protective plastic coating around the edges of the cot because let’s be honest you don’t want your baby chewing on the wooden slats. No damage to your bub’s teeth nor their cot – happy days!
With a drop-side cot, where the sides slide or fold down, it’ll mean you can lift your little one out with ease. Mums and dads with a bad back – this one’s for you!
After the months of planning and hard work that went into your babe’s nursery, you’ll want a cot that matches with their nursery furniture. Alternatively, you may be just thinking about decorating their nursery and in that case, look out for nursery furniture sets so all pieces can match perfectly.
You may want to think about what colours are already in the nursery. Lighter colours, such as white and paler woods, go well with soft pastel colours like pink, yellow and blue. However, if you’ve gone for darker colours, earthy tones or dark blues are the way forward.
You might think that a cot is a cot and they all look the same but this is incorrect. Some cots have a beautiful and classic sleigh-like shape which looks sophisticated in any nursery. Other cots have a more minimalistic, Scandinavian cot or cot bed look for a nursery with a clean and modern look.
Choosing a mattress
When you choose your little one’s cot, you’ll also need to think about the cot mattress. The most important factor is that it fits your cot properly. After all – we don’t want your bub getting stuck in between the cot and mattress! Therefore, you need to make sure the gap is no bigger than 4cm.
Cot bed or cot mattresses should be firm to keep your baby safe. The mattress should be clean and dry and we don’t recommend buying second-hand because you don’t know how long the mattress has been used for or if it’s been cleaned. Mattresses don’t last forever so the best option is to buy new then you know it’s safe and comfortable.
We hope we’ve made your purchasing decision a little easier. Now that you have all the information on how to choose the best cot for your little one – you’ll be able to ensure they have a comfortable yet safe bed, for a great night’s sleep and lots of sweet dreams.