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A cot is an absolutely necessary piece of kit for your nursery and will be an important part of your baby’s first two or three years. Adults spend a third of their lives in bed and babies spend much more time than that sleeping so you want your cot to be as safe, durable and comfortable as possible. Our guide will help you and your baby get a good night’s sleep.
Cots can be used from birth but many parents like to use a Moses basket for the first few months if only because a newborn can look lost in a cot.
Moses baskets are perfectly portable and, once baby is beginning to roll over and pull themselves upright, you can put the basket inside the cot to get them used to their new bed. Rockers for Moses baskets are available too, which some parents swear by for an even better night’s sleep.
Toddlers are fine in cots and, as long as they aren’t early climbers, can sleep safely in one until around two or three years of age. You could always buy a cot bed, which converts into a junior bed for continued use as your toddler graduates to a bed without sides. Cot beds tend to be more expensive, which could prove false economy in the long run if you think you’ll have another baby – at which point you’d need to buy another cot.
Most cots have three base levels so you can set the mattress at the highest point at the start, so you don’t hurt your back lowering or picking up baby. As kids grow and get more agile, the mattress can be lowered so your little one stays safely inside the cot until you’re ready to get them out. Another important and relatively standard feature nowadays is the drop side for easy access without having to bend over. The bonus feature you might want to search for is a drop side that can be operated with just one hand.
Some cots come with teething rails, a chewable covering on the top bar of the sides for when they start gnawing on anything when teething starts. One other consideration is that mattresses often come separately, so ensure your cot and mattress size match when you buy. And some cots have wheels if you do use a cot from birth and need to move it to the nursery later.
There is a long debate on what’s best for baby when sleeping, and actually the answer seems not to be one or the other. Parents tend to prefer a sleeping bag for daytime naps, and bedding and blankets at night so layers can be added or removed as required. Baby bedding is often sold in a bundle with bumper, sheets and blankets in a cute theme. Depending on how warm your nursery is, you might want to invest in a space heater for the room to keep temperatures regulated.
So that’s your cot sorted but you might also need a travel cot, not just for your when you go on holiday, but for when friends and neighbours may babysit at their house.
British Safety Standard BS EN 716-2:2008 which ensures the cot is deep enough and the bars are the correct distance apart (no less than 2.5cm and no more than 6.5cm).