The expert guide to buying a mattress
Take the time to find out what different sorts of mattresses are available and discuss this with the shop owner at the time when you buy your baby’s first bed, or buy the mattress separately.
What to look for
Every new baby must have a new mattress. Even if you are offered a second-hand cot or cot bed, buy a new mattress for it.
Does the cover come off and is it machine washable at 60°C? This makes it easier to keep it clean, free from bacteria and allergens caused by dust mites. If it is PEVA or PVC covered, there should be no rips or cracks.
This kind of waterproof layer is good when potty training and some mattresses have a wipe-clean layer.
The mattress must fit the bed well with no more than 3 cm between mattress and cot. If there is too big a gap, baby may get her arm or leg trapped. To get the best fit, measure the inside of the cot and your retailer who can work out the best size for you. Some unusual size cots may need a specially made mattress to fit.
If you choose a foam mattress, look for one which is orthopaedic (that helps support the bones) and is dent resistant.
Does the material the mattress is made from help to prevent overheating? Look for a mattress with good breathability or other heat regulating properties to help create a good sleeping environment and prevent overheating, which can be dangerous.
Is it made from hypo-allergenic materials or have an anti-allergen cover? These can keep dust mites at bay which some people have an allergy to. If not, you can buy anti-allergenic cover sheets.
How to be an expert
Your baby is born with poor muscle control and her spine and bones are growing at an amazing rate, so a mattress needs to be soft enough for comfort yet supportive enough to allow her to rest and grow.
The different kinds of mattresses are:
Lightweight and cheap, a foam mattress can be a good budget buy. However, it compresses over time so use this type for fairly short term use such as in a Moses basket, crib or cradle or for occasional use such as in a cot at Grandma’s house or for a travel cot. They are nice and light so it’s easy to change sheets, as you can take the whole thing out.
Sprung or pocket-sprung
With coils of metal inside, covered with foam or latex, this type of mattress will keep its supportive nature over a much longer period of time and is good for beds a child will use for a longer time such as a cot or cot bed. Generally, the more you spend, the better the mattress and the springs support your baby as he gets bigger. They are heavier and it may be harder to change the sheets but it is well worth the extra money.
Some companies make mattresses from completely natural, organic substances such as cotton, wool, coir and natural latex.
The Majestic Change and Go Mattress by The Cot Mattress Company
The perfect mattress for little accidents, this has a cover or topper that zips on and off, so if it gets wet or dirty you can simply unzip it and wash it at temperatures of up to 60°c which is the temperature needed to kill dust mites. The mattress beneath the topper is waterproof and yet breathable and it can also be unzipped for washing. You are encouraged to turn the mattress and put the topper on the other side every few week, as this will extend the mattress' life.
The Majestic Change and Go Mattress costs from £49.99 and is available at www.http://cotmattress.com/