Choosing Baby’s Mattress & Bedding

We know that, as a new parent, keeping your little one safe is sure to be at the forefront of your mind. It can be daunting to leave your baby alone, even when you’re putting them down to sleep.
Choosing the right bedding, as well as the right bed, to keep your baby safe can give you some extra peace of mind, and make sure that both you and your little one get a restful night’s sleep.

Choosing a mattress

Whether you go for a Moses basket, crib or cot, it’s important to invest in a high-quality mattress for your little one to sleep on. New babies can’t have big bulky duvets or pillows, so the mattress is what will make their cot feel snuggly and inviting.

You’ll want to choose a mattress that’s compatible with your baby’s bed. Make sure that the mattress is firm and flat, and it’s protected by a waterproof cover – you’ll be thankful for that when there’s inevitable little accidents! You’ll be able to wipe the mattress down, keeping it effortlessly clean and dry.

How should the mattress fit?

It’s essential to get a mattress that’s the correct shape and size so your little one can’t get their limbs stuck down the side. There should be no more than a 3cm gap around the edges, meaning they can’t get stuck but you can easily tuck your little one in.

The mattress should be at least 8-10cm deep, offering plenty of support to your baby as they sleep. Check that the mattress conforms to both BS 7177 1996 for flammability and Part 10 1997 for safety and performance.

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Mattress Illustration

What type of baby mattress should you get?

Whichever type of mattress you go for, make sure that it’s firm and flat. It should have no signs of any wear and tear, and it shouldn’t sag. Some of the mattresses you can choose from include:


Lightweight yet supportive, foam mattresses are a good short-term mattress for uses in a Moses basket or crib, but they tend to lose their shape over time so might not be the best choice for a cot. They usually have a PVC wipe-clean material on one side, so they’re easy to keep clean.

Coil Sprung

These mattresses are supportive and keep their shape well over time, with a coil sprung interior and layers of foam or felt padding that allow for increased airflow to keep your little one safe and comfortable.

Pocket Sprung

In this type of mattress, each spring has a pocket around it to provide more support and ensure it keeps its shape for longer.

Double Sided

This style of mattress has one side that’s firm and flat, suitable for use from when your little one is a newborn until they’re preschool age. The other side is softer, perfect for using when your child is older.


If allergies are common in your family, an organic choice could be a good choice. This type is made from chemical and allergen-free natural materials like bamboo.

What to look for when buying a cot mattress for a newborn?

There are a few things to look out for when choosing a mattress for your little one. Think about the following features:

• Waterproof: the mattress cover should be wipeable, making it easy to keep clean.

• Breathable cover: it should come with a cover that promotes air circulation, helping your little one to have a safe night’s sleep.

• Heat regulation: it’s important that your little one doesn’t overheat during the night, so look out for a mattress that keeps baby at the right temperature and channels moisture away to keep them fresh and dry.

• Hypo-allergenic cover: if allergies are an issue, look for a mattress that comes with a hypo-allergenic cover to reduce the risk of allergies and asthma.

Choosing baby bedding

Choosing the right bedding for your little one is just as important as getting the right mattress and bed. The most important thing when it comes to bedding is that baby is tucked in nice and tight, and their sheet or blanket doesn’t come above their shoulders. Don’t use any bulky bedding, like quilts or duvets, and babies also don’t need pillows in their bed. This point is really important, as pillow use alone has been shown to increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 2.5 times.

You should put your little one to sleep in the ‘feet to foot’ position, that is, with their feet against the end of the bed.

Essential baby bedding items

So, what baby bedding items do you need, and what should you look for when choosing them?


One top tip for any first time parent is to stock up on bed sheets! Leaky nappies do happen, and you’ll be relieved if you always have a fresh, clean bed sheet to hand.

Fitted bed sheets are the best option for a newborn because they won’t detach themselves from the mattress if your little one wriggles around during the night.

You’ll also need a light sheet to put over your little one whilst they sleep. Flat sheets are a good option for this. They can be used on their own if it’s warm, or with a blanket if it’s a little cooler.

Cot Flannelette Sheets


We all know how nice it is to get all cosy in bed. But it’s important to remember to ensure your baby doesn’t overheat, especially when they’re a newborn. Keep an eye on the temperature in the room, and aim for a temperature of between 16-20°C.

A blanket can be a nice addition to keep your little one cosy when they’re sleeping. Cellular blankets are a good choice as they can be layered, so you can add or remove covers to get your little one to the right temperature. If you’d prefer to go for woolen blankets, make sure that they’re machine washable – trust us, it’ll make your life much easier!

Mamas & Papas Knitted Blanket

Baby sleeping bags

If you have a wriggly baby, you might prefer to go for a baby sleeping bag rather than blankets and sheets. Sleeping bags can be used from birth, and you don’t need to use a blanket along with a sleeping bag, as it should already be the right temperature.

Like adult sleeping bags, baby sleeping bags come in different togs, so you can choose the most appropriate one for the season. Depending on what tog you go for, you’ll want to dress your baby in a different outfit so that they stay at the right temperature. Check out what to dress baby based on the tog and room temperature in the table below:

My Little World Time to Sleep Grey Polka Sleeping Bag
Room Temperature 0.5 tog bag 1 tog bag 2.5 tog bag 3.5 tog bag
12-15°C Too cold for baby Too cold for baby Long-sleeved bodysuit or pyjamas Long-sleeved bodysuit
15-19°C Too cold for baby Too cold for baby Long-sleeved bodysuit or pyjamas Short-sleeved bodysuit
19-21°C Too cold for baby Long-sleeved bodysuit Long-sleeved bodysuit or light pyjamas Too warm for baby
21-23°C Short-sleeved bodysuit Short-sleeved bodysuit Short-sleeved bodysuit Too warm for baby


About the author: Frances Bishop

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