Mattress for Babies: Tips for Choosing a Mattress for Your Nursery
Getting ready for your little bundle of joy? Shopping for a cot mattress is so important to keep your baby safe, comfortable, and supported as he or she sleeps. With so many brands selling cots and mattresses, it can be a daunting task for any new parent. That’s why, before going to the store or shopping online, you want to make sure you’re armed with the information you need to make the right choice for your new baby.
How to Choose a Baby Cot Mattress
Tip #1: Look for a firm mattress
Mattresses or bedding that is too soft may have a breathability risk for your baby. Studies have shown that using firm mattresses can decrease the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and/or Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI).
You must pick a mattress that is compliant with AS/NZS Voluntary Standard (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013 Methods of testing infant products – Sleep Surfaces - Test for firmness). If you want to do a firmness test at home, here’s a helpful video to guide you.
Tip #2: Find the right size
It’s a good rule of thumb to buy a cot first before buying your mattress so you can make sure it’s the right size. If your cot already comes with a mattress, it’s no guarantee that it’s the appropriate measurement.
Either way, be sure to check if there is 4 cm gap between the edge of the mattress and the adjacent cot side when the mattress is pushed to the opposite side, or 2 cm on each side when the mattress is centred.
Gaps that are too wide may pose a suffocation risk to your baby, especially if they roll over and get stuck between them or if their face gets trapped and covered.
Tip #3: Make sure the mattress is new
While it may be tempting to get a used mattress because they are cheaper, play it safe by buying a brand new one. According to Scottish researchers, infants are three times more likely to die from SIDS when using second-hand mattresses.
If you are nevertheless using an old mattress, carefully examine its firmness and condition. Aside from passing the firmness test, there should be no bulges, tears, or exposed springs.
Above all, you need to make sure there are no sanitary issues. A baby’s mattress can get especially dirty, what with diaper accidents, spilt milk, and etc. A used mattress that has bed bugs, dust mites or smells of mildew can mean there’s bacteria or fungi growth - which means it’s not safe for your little one.
Tip #4: Choose a high-quality mattress
You’ll probably see two common mattress types on the market: innerspring and foam. While there’s no evidence that one is better than the other, you should choose the mattress type that works best for you.
Foam mattresses are generally less expensive and they weigh about 7-8 pounds, far less than the typical innerspring that’s 15-23 pounds. When you’re changing the sheets all the time, the weight can become a huge deal in terms of ease of use. In any case, the important factor to consider is the foam density. The denser the material of the memory foam, the better support it can give to your baby.
As for spring mattresses, be particular about coil count. Look for mattresses with 135-150 coils with a gauge of 15.5 or lower. It’s best to also have broader rods that rim the top and bottom perimeter. This gives more stability, especially when the baby eventually walks or jumps on the bed.
Baby Safety Sleeping Tips
A cot mattress is just one part of safety. Researchers from Australia and internationally developed the SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping campaign which outlines ways to keep your baby safe while sleeping. You can read more on their website, but the main things to remember are:
Sleep baby on the back from birth (not on the tummy or side), with feet at the base of the cot.
Sleep baby with head and face uncovered, and away from blankets, which should be tucked in tightly. Alternatively, use a safe sleeping bag.
Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day. Never wrap your mattress in plastic or any other unbreathable material. Do not use doonas/quilts, lambswool, thick blankets or pillows in the cot. Soft toys and bumpers could pose a suffocation risk and should never be placed in the cot either.
Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to twelve months.
Breastfeed baby if you can.
Make sure the cot and mattress are compliant with safety standards.
Getting Peaceful Zzz’s for you and your baby
We know it can take a while for new parents to get enough sleep, especially for mothers who have spent 9 months prior to sleeping through the pains of pregnancy. But at least knowing your baby is safe in his/her cot, having that peace of mind, can go a long way in getting a restful sleep yourself. You may even want to consider getting your own comfy mattress!
In any case, babies spend a lot of time sleeping, as much as 18 hours a day in fact. So, it’s vital to their well-being to purchase the best cot mattress, one that is safe and comfortable for your child.