As a first-time parent there are SO many things to concern yourself with…below are some tips and pointers to ensuring that your bundle of joy gets the best night’s rest possible.
To “sleep like a baby” sounds like a very positive thing. But as most parents will tell you, this expression couldn’t be more misleading!
Interrupted sleep, irregular sleep patterns, midnight changing and feedings are not conducive to seeming like a fully functioning adult.
Of course there are “the lucky ones” who’s babies sleep through from the day they leave the womb, but for the majority of parents, your nights are never the same again.
Naturally though, we do what we can to make sure that everybody gets as much sleep as possible…and a good cot mattress is paramount to achieving this.
Let’s look at some at some Do’s and Don’ts:
- DON’T buy your baby a soft mattress – as much as you enjoy the thought of your baby lying on a soft, fluffy, cloud-like mattress, this is very bad for their growth and development. A Soft mattress could conform to the baby’s head, increasing the risk of suffocation. Buying a firm mattress also significantly reduces the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The cause of SIDS is unknown. It is the diagnosis given when a baby dies inexplicably (more often than not, in their sleep)
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends the following: “Most important is HOW you put your baby to sleep. Not only should babies be put to sleep on their back, but they should be placed in a crib without pillows, toys, blankets, or bumpers. Also, never lay a baby down on any soft surface.”
- DO make sure that the mattress fits the cot snuggly and that there are no gaps between the edge of the mattress and the cot. If you can squeeze more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib, the mattress is too small.
- Do buy a NEW mattress! By giving your baby a hand-me-down mattress, you could inadvertently be exposing them to mould, bacteria, bed bugs and all types of other harmful things.
Here are 6 main options when choosing a cot mattress…let’s look at the good & the bad of each of them:
Foam mattresses are usually the more affordable option. They provide the excellent support and maintain your baby’s natural posture. They often come standard with an easy to clean cover or removable, breathable covers on one or both sides. They also have ventilation holes to keep your baby from getting too warm.
- Great value for money
- Very lightweight
- They provide good support
- A breeze to clean
- The cover could leave your baby feeling a clammy during warmer seasons
- They do tend to sag and lose their shape relatively quickly, so they will need to be replaced most often out of all the mattress options.
- Hard to clean. The dirt tends to build up inside ventilation holes.
Coil Spring Mattress
These mattresses have a coiled spring interior and layers of foam padding. They often have a cotton cover on one side and PVC on the other.
A spring inner core will support your baby. These mattresses also tend to hold their shape well. If you choose a cot bed, you may prefer a coil spring mattress as they tend to last longer than foam.
The space within the spring lattice allows for increased airflow through the mattress to help regulate your baby’s body temperature and to keep the mattress fresh.
- They are a traditional, popular choice with many parents.
- In warmer months, you can lay your baby on the cotton cover side to prevent them from becoming clammy.
- Pricier than foam mattresses
- Unless your mattress has removable panels, the cotton side may prove difficult to keep clean.
Pocketed Spring Mattress
These mattresses are similar to coil spring mattresses, but each spring is set within its own pocket to provide improved support for a longer time period.
- Excellent support
- Extremely hard-wearing
- Not cost effective
Dual Core™ Mattress
The Dual Core™ cot mattresses have a patented design that incorporate two cores in one. It strives to see your child from infancy through to pre-school years.
To meet the needs of your newborn, it has a coir and orthopedic foam interior, providing a flat and firm sleeping surface. As your baby grows into a toddler, the 2nd core incorporates micro-pocketed springs that conform to your child’s changing weight and shape.
- Superior back support
• Excellent longevity
• Retains its shape
Natural Fibre Mattress
Natural fibre 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 soft cotton or wipe-clean covering.
- Good choice if you are concerned about your baby sleeping on synthetic material, or you are concerned about introducing unnecessary chemicals or synthetics into your home.
- One of the firmest types, so the mattress is long-lasting, and holds its shape well. This could be a sensible choice if you want a mattress that will last for more than one child.
- More expensive than foam or spring mattresses.
- Hard to find
If your baby suffers from asthma or allergies, you may want to consider a hypoallergenic mattress. They come with a quilted top layer that can be easily removed and washed at 60 degrees C to kill dust mites that may cause allergies.
- Fantastic choice if your baby has asthma or allergies.
- Easy to keep clean.
- More expensive than other types of mattress.
- For most parents, this may be a luxury buy.
Believe it or not, your baby spends up to an average of 18 hours per day in its crib, so choosing a good mattress may seem like a menial thing, but is of the utmost importance, and requires careful consideration.
So even if you forget the finer details, remember this…
“All your baby really needs is a bare crib with a firm mattress.”