Guide to the best bedding for your baby
If you're a first time parent making sure you have the right bedding for your baby is important. To help you choose, we've put together a baby bedding guide to ensure that their crib or cot is a safe place for a sound night's sleep. From blanket and sheet types to bumpers and spring foam mattresses, read more about the different products available, and learn how to successfully look after them. You can also get some tips for keeping a bedroom at the right temperature, whether they are still sleeping in your room or they have moved through to a nursery.
It's always advised that your little one stays in your room until they are six months old. This means they should have their own cot, crib or Moses basket. Sharing your bed can be harmful for your baby since adult duvets can quickly become too hot for them, and they can easily become caught up in the covers.
It is recommended that you buy a new crib or cotbed for your child, but if you are considering a lightly-used second hand one, be sure to thoroughly check it for wear and tear, as well as any other signs of damage.
Try to use cotton sheets and cellular blankets (ones with holes in them) until your baby is a year old. This is because your baby can't regulate their temperature yet, so duvet covers are an inappropriate bedding type for their needs. They should not be given pillows in their first year, as these can pose a suffocation risk.
It is always preferable to use natural fabrics for your child's sheets. These offer greater comfort, as well as the advantage of being machine washable.
Bumpers prevent your baby from hurting themselves against the hard bars of their crib. They are not a necessity and if you opt to use them ensure that they are securely fastened and have no ties loose that the baby could become trapped in.
Baby sleeping bags
Using a sleeping bag for your baby encourages them to sleep in the feet to foot position, which means that their feet stay at the bottom of the cot. Sleeping bags can generally be used until your infant is two years old.
Once baby sleeping bags are zipped up your baby can stay warm and sleep safely for longer. Your child is less likely to get tangled up, or to try and stand up in bed. These products are available in a range of sizes and thicknesses for different seasons. Always check that your baby's head can't slip down through the neck hole.
Right room temperature for your baby
As your infant can't regulate their own temperature like you can, setting the right temperature for your room is crucial. It should ideally be between 16°C and 20°C (60° and 68°F).
Don't worry if that seems on the cool side, your baby doesn't need to be in a hot room to be comfortable, and keeping the room temperature at this level prevents them from overheating. Make sure you have a thermometer in the room so you can keep tabs on the room temperature.
There will be times during the summer months when the temperature may be higher than the recommended average. Here's a guide to help you decide how many blankets you should put on your baby at night:
- Between 13° and 16°C (55° and 60°F) use 1 light sheet and 3 blanket layers.
- Between 16° and 18°C (60° and 65°F) use 1 light sheet and 2 blanket layers.
- Between 18° and 21°C (65° and 70°F) use 1 light sheet and 1 blanket.
- Between 21° and 24°C (70° and 75°F) use 1 light sheet and no blankets.
Whether you choose a crib, cotbed, or Moses basket, one thing to ensure is that the mattress fits snugly inside it. There should be no spaces between the mattress and the edge of the crib; this is in case your infant becomes trapped - even a gap of only 4cm can prove hazardous.
Looking after a cot mattress
Regularly cleaning your baby's mattress is vital to ensure that they enjoy a clean and hygienic sleep - it also means that the mattress will last longer. Keeping your cot's mattress clean is easy, if it has a fabric cover simply wash it with a non-biological mild detergent.
If the mattress has a PVC cover, clean it regularly with a mild solution of warm water and disinfectant or sterilising solution, or use an antibacterial spray.
Remember that you should never put your baby on a mattress that hasn't fully dried, and don't dry-clean the mattress as this can leave chemicals that could be harmful to your infant.
Primary foam mattress
Choosing the right mattress for your baby is as important as choosing the right bed, and this is true for both infants and adults. A safe, comfortable mattress will let you rest easy in the knowledge that your baby can sleep properly.
A primary foam mattress offers a wise choice for those on a budget, and it is easily wiped clean, meaning it is well suited to babies - it's also machine washable so should last a long time if well looked after. The foam core is air permeable, which means that there is a constant air-flow throughout the mattress that helps regulate the temperature.
Spring foam mattress
Spring foam mattresses have an anti-allergenic and moisture-resistant surface, which lets air pass through them. This helps your little one stay cool throughout the night. The mattresses can also be easily wiped clean or machine washed. These features reduce perspiration and give your baby a more comfortable night's sleep.
Spring interior mattress
These are at the higher end of the scale when it comes to cost. Spring interior mattresses are quilted and breathable and made from a hypo-allergenic and moisture resistant material that makes them perfect for a baby's crib. The compressed polyester fibre pads help to regulate your baby's body temperature, and they are also easily machine washable.