A cot is essentially a place for your baby to sleep, nothing more and yet they are so much more than that. It’s the place your baby will rest, dream, play and learn. Not to mention often the central focus of which an entire nursery is built around.
Choosing a cot for us was one of the hardest decisions when planning our nursery so I’ve put together this little guide of a few that we considered and the one we ultimately chose, I’ll explain why we chose it over the others and hopefully it might help you with your decisions.
Birth to 4-6 months
It is recommended that newborns sleep in the room with the parents until they are approx 4-6 months. How long exactly you will judge for yourself, some babies will adjust to a sleep pattern really easily and not need to be with you for so long, others will struggle and you might keep them closer for longer. Just do what ever is best and works for you.
There isn’t enough space in our bedroom for a full-sized cot so we investigated a few other options:
A Crib – traditionally much smaller than a cot, think the baby Jesus in a manger and you’re close to the right sort of size. They come in either static or rocking and are suitable from birth until your baby starts to sit up and roll over. This is roughly at about the 4-5 month mark but every baby is different. The length of time in a crib will also depend on how big your baby is, you don’t want them touching the sides or top or bottom when they sleep.
Bedside Crib – these are specially designed cribs where one side opens up and is level with your bed. Essentially putting baby as close to you without being in the bed with you. Probably the most well-known brand is the Chicco Next2Me the side has a mesh panel so you can see in when it is up and simply rolls down to open into the crib for easy access to baby.
Part of me likes this idea, not having to get out of bed every 2 hours to reach her or check on her but on the other hand they retail for around £165 and can still only be used til baby reaches approx 4 months. I just found this a bit too steep so we ruled it out
Moses Basket – from the seemingly endless research I did it seemed to be that moses baskets were the most common choice for the first few months. Traditionally made of a wicker material they are, as the name suggests, baskets. To be placed on a stationary or rocking stand to bring them up to bed height. Similar in size to a crib and with the same estimated life spam the advantage to me was that they can be portable. Simply lift the basket off the stand and carry it to a new spot. Do not do this with baby inside though, god forbid the handle should break whilst you’re carrying it.
There is a real price divide when it comes to baskets, the stands are often sold separately and this can cause the price to jump up a lot. Here are a few we looked at from John Lewis, BabiesRUs and Mothercare.
What we chose – In the end we opted for a moses basket from John Lewis and bought a stand separately from Aldi in their baby event. I chose the basket we have based on the mattress that came with it, some you have to buy this separately and often those that are included are not good enough (in my opinion) so you would end up buying another anyway. Also, this one came with a fitted sheet and light weight blanket – plus a tiny adorable teddy in the pocket of the blanket. This might have been the deal maker for me…
6 Months On-wards
Once your baby can start to sit up and roll over by themselves it’s time to move them to a larger bed. There are two main contenders in this arena – cots and cotbeds.
Cots – The typical lifespan for a cot is from birth (if it will fit in your bedroom) to approx 2 years, again this will depend on how big your baby is and when they reach their milestones. The sides of a cot are fixed in place although you can often lower the height of the mattress so that as your baby starts to stand up they will still have the protection of the side rails. Here are a few typical styles available on the high street at Mothercare, Ikea and Tesco
Once your baby reached approx 2 years old, you would need to start thinking about a toddler bed or single bed for them, Ikea do great toddler beds than can be extended as your child grows with only the need to buy a new mattress rather than a whole bed.
Cot Beds – These are around about 20cm bigger than a cot, as a result everything is slightly bigger and therefore they last longer. As the name suggests they are both a cot and a bed, with at least one of the side panels being removable to turn it into a toddler bed.
It’s advised that you keep the sides on until your baby reaches approx 2 years and then you can start to think about converting it. Depending on how tall your child is, you should be able to use a cot-bed in its bed format until around the age of 5. After this, you are probably ready for a regular single bed.
One of my favourite cot beds is known as the Sleigh bed, it has a curved back and only one side comes off. Essentially turning it into a day-bed – most baby outlets stock it but we saw it first in John Lewis. For obvious reasons – mostly the price – but also the restriction on having to line one side along the wall we didn’t opt for this one. There are plenty others out there though like; Kiddiecare, Mamas&Papas and BabiesRUs
What we chose – After much deliberation and even after purchasing a cot from Ikea which we subsequently returned we decided to go with a Cot Bed. We wanted something that would last for as long as possible without the need to have to buy again in 2 years time.
We also found that by comparing the prices, there wasn’t a huge cost increase in going from a cot to a cot bed but you could get so much more use from it. Another deciding factor was that we didn’t want the nursery to look sparse with a small cot and lots of empty space.
We were actually very lucky and found our cot on Gumtree, being sold by a Grandma who had bought it for her grandchildren but never even built it. It was still in pieces in the box and she just didn’t want it in the house any more. The one we have is available to buy at Argos and is by BabyStart.
Final thought – A mattress. No matter what you choose to sleep your baby in you are going to need to buy a mattress. Some stores offer packages that include a mattress and as long as you are happy with the quality then this is often the best way to save a few pennies.
One thing I would recommend is never ever buying a used mattress. Would you sleep on someone else’s old mattress? Even though we bought our cot bed frame from Gumtree the mattress you see inside is brand new (wrapper still on to keep it clean until we need it).
We got this one from BabiesRUs, it has air holes in one side to keep it breathable and when baby is potty training the other side of the mattress has a water proof covering. Simply flip it over and it becomes wipe clean for those accidents that are bound to happen.
I hope you have found this helpful, leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences in choosing a bed, or ask a question and we’ll see if we can help you out.