NURSERY NICHE: Customising your baby’s sleep

NURSERY NICHE: Customising your baby’s sleep

First time parents generally spend so much time buying furniture and choosing which colour to paint the nursery that they forget to focus on the more important things. Rather than décor, which is mainly for you and not the baby, spend some time creating a space that suits both form and function and provides for a hygienic and healthy growing space for your baby.

The most important fact to consider is that babies need lots of sleep, and during the first two years of their life they will on average spend more of their time sleeping than not. If your baby sleeps in a cot, you should definitely take cot safety and hygiene into consideration. It’s worthwhile spending time choosing the right one for you and for them. When your baby comes home from the hospital, until their natural immunity has developed, it’s important that everything they come into contact with is hygienically clean. This means making sure surfaces especially the sleeping surface, are cleaned (with soap and water) and also disinfected (using a sanitising wipe or disinfectant spray) to properly kill germs.

As well as considering the design and look, the cot you choose must conform to safety standards. The reason for these safety standards is to reduce the number of accidental infant deaths each year due to strangulation or suffocation from bedding.

The following guidelines have been developed to help when looking for a cot:

Cot frame The distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides should be at least 50cm, to prevent your baby from climbing out when they become more mobile.

Cot bars should be vertical; if they are horizontal your baby could use them as a ladder to climb out. Also, the distance between the bars should be no more than 6.5cm apart so your baby can’t get stuck between the bars of the cot.

It is also recommended by some experts that a cot with bars on all four sides is better, as it allows air to circulate freely while your baby sleeps.If your cot has a solid head and footboard with shapes cut out, check that your baby’s limbs cannot become caught in any of the spaces.

Cot mattress It is recommended that you buy a new cot mattress, or – if using a second-hand mattress – carefully check that it’s clean, dry and free from cracks or tears. Your cot mattress should be firm, with no sagging and fit the cot snugly, with no gaps.

The mattress needs to be kept as clean and hygienic as possible. You can either use one with a wipe-clean covering or a removable top panel that you can wash at a high temperature. Alternatively, you could use a mattress protector, which covers the mattress to stop it getting wet if the baby dribbles or their nappy leaks.

If the mattress is the wrong size; your baby could be dangerously trapped in gaps between the cot and the mattress.  If you buy a cot that is smaller or larger than the norm, you can get mattresses specially made to fit your cot. Choose one which is at least 10cm thick with a PVC covering or a removable top panel that you can easily wash. Squeeze for firmness and measure for thickness. Squeeze a selection of mattresses in the shop and choose one that feels firm rather than soft.  To compare firmness, squeeze at the edges and at the centre. Thin foam, in particular, can lose its shape and dent easily. A travel cot mattress should be no more than 10cm thick and you should expect the mattress in a crib or Moses basket to be no more than 5cm thick.

There are three main types of mattresses you can choose from:


Foam cot mattresses

Foam mattresses tend to be the least expensive. The simplest versions are made from a single layer of supportive foam completely covered with a wipe-clean, waterproof PVC cover. Some foam mattresses have ventilation holes, but these aren’t necessary.

Pros Generally easy to keep clean. Good value for money.

Can provide good support and resistance to denting.

Cons Some parents may not like the idea of the basic PVC-covered mattress because of concerns about clamminess.


Spring-interior cot mattresses

Spring-interior cot mattresses are your traditional mattresses that have a coiled spring interior with layers of felt and foam padding. They often have a cotton cover on one side and PVC or other wipe-clean material on the other.

Pros Many parents like the familiarity of a traditional spring mattress. The wipe-clean side is the recommended surface for your baby to sleep on because of the practical advantages, but you can flip it over onto the cotton side if you prefer – eg, if it’s hot and your baby feels clammy.

Cons More expensive than a foam mattress


Coir cot mattresses

Coir or natural fibre cot mattresses have a core of coconut fibre with other layers of different materials. The fibres are coated in latex for strength and protection, and the natural fibre filling helps air to circulate through the mattress. These mattresses are available with a wipe-clean covering.

Pros One of the firmest types of mattress, tend to last longer because they hold their shape well, so could be a sensible purchase if you want to use it for more than one child.

Cons Less widely available than foam or spring interior mattresses.

Can be more expensive than the alternatives.


Order your customized cot mattress, washable mattress cover and/mattress protector today! Just visit any Celeste store and have our sales team sort it out for you. A made to size, washable and firm mattress will be delivered right to your doorstep! For queries and information visit our website

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