When you’re getting a room or corner ready for your baby it’s hard to resist the temptation to run into Mamas & Papas and buy the entire shop. But when it comes to the best cot bed mattress, cot duvets and bedding sets for your baby there are lots of options to suit every kind of room, every kind of style and every kind of budget.
Before you shop, it’s important to think about what you need. Babies can’t control their body temperatures like us adults, so you need to ensure they aren’t too hot or too cold. Duvets and quilts aren’t recommended before baby is a year old, and baby’s feet should be at the bottom of the bed with covers no higher than their shoulders.
Whatever you buy, it’s a good idea to buy it twice - or if cash is tight, to have a cheaper set on stand-by. There are few things worse than having to deal with a late-night accident and not having a fresh set of bedding while the soiled set washes.
You might find you don’t want bedding at all: many parents like sleeping suits, which are zipped and clipped around the baby like a super-snug sleeping bag. They’re available in several tog ratings so they can be used all year round - but again, make sure you buy a spare!
1. Mamas & Papas Cotbed Starter Set
The best starter set for a baby who needs the best cot bedding
Mamas & Papas isn’t the cheapest place for bedding, but the quality of the bedding they sell is superb. This starter pack consists of a wonderfully soft fleece, two fitted sheets and a cellular blanket. Cellular blankets are soft blankets that are warm without the weight of traditional ones, which makes them particularly well suited for little ones. Fitted sheets are a smart move too, because they don’t get untucked if you have a particularly active baby. As you’d expect the set is machine washable and tumble dryer safe, with the fleece made of 100% polyester and sheets and blankets made from 100% cotton. Sizes are standard cotbed: 142 x 75 x 14cm for the fitted sheets and 120 x 160cm for blanket and fleece.
2. Baby Comfort 5 piece baby bedding set with bumper
A great bedding set that offers a lot of choice
This set is available in a huge range of different designs to suit any colour scheme or nursery theme, and it’s available to fit either standard 120 x 60cm cots or 140 x 70cm cotbeds. The set is 100% cotton and consists of a flat pillow, a pillowcase, a 7.5 tog duvet (not recommended for babies younger than one year) and cover and a cute cot bumper. It’s all machine washable bar the bumper, which is better off handwashed and reshaped while it’s still wet, but you can’t tumble dry the set. The same manufacturer also makes a ton of different baby products so you won’t have any problems finding matching bits and pieces.
3. Snuz Crib Bedding Set
A great baby bedding set for cribs
Snuz make some lovely products, and this crib bedding set is one of them. It’s designed to fit the company’s own SnuzPod as well as Chicco’s Next2Me and Lullago and other firms’ 40x90cm crib mattresses (not cots: they’re significantly bigger). Machine washable and tumble dryer safe, the set is 100% cotton and consists of two fitted sheets and a reversible baby blanket made of interlock jersey cotton, which delivers warmth without weight. We particularly like the unisex Cloud Nine design, which is super cute for boys and girls alike, and the packaging makes the Snuz set a good choice of gift if you’re buying for new parents - assuming of course they have the crib size it fits.
4. Mothercare Alphabet Brights Bed in a Bag
A great baby bedding set, particular when it's on sale
Mothercare’s bed-in-a-bag sets are usually £80, so the current £48 price (8th June 2017) of this specific set makes it a real bargain. Suitable from birth and designed for standard cots it’s a bright and fresh-looking set with a bumper, coverlet, fleece blanket, flat sheet and fitted sheet. The sheets are 120 x 170cm, the blanket 120 x 155cm and the coverlet 110 x 130cm; the latter item is a combination of a sheet and a blanket with a cotton front and a polyester back for keeping baby cosy. It’s machine washable, looks fantastic and is another excellent unisex option - although we suspect the deal won’t last long so if you want it, you should probably hurry.
5. Mothercare Essential Foam Waterproof Cot Bed Mattress
The best cot bed mattress for those on a budget
It’s possible to spend an enormous amount of money on a cot bed mattress, but you should seriously consider Mothercare’s Essential range before you do: the Essential Foam Waterproof Cot Bed Mattress is an excellent first mattress that costs considerably less than other similarly sized and similarly specified mattresses. This mattress combines a firm but comfortable foam core with a waterproof, easy-clean PVC layer for making light work of those inevitable accidents. It’s solidly made, safe and supportive, and it’s designed to fit standard cot beds of 140 x 70cm. We’d definitely go for this before considering spending more money on rival designs. Oh, and don’t worry about the PVC making baby sweaty: use a cotton fitted sheet and baby will be just fine.
6. Little Green Sheep Twist Cot Bed Mattress
The best cot bed mattress if you want to spend a little more
This is the mattress for the quinoa crowd: where other mattresses are crammed into battery cages for their short and uncomfortable lives, Little Green Sheep mattresses roam happily in the fields until it’s time to pack them for delivery. Or something like that. This award-winning and rather expensive mattress uses natural coconut fibre for its springs, has cotton that was grown without pesticides, is free from fireproofing chemicals, and has fleece wool to protect against dust mites. But the clever bit isn’t the right-on credentials: it’s the smart design that means one side is perfect for babies and the other side is perfect for older children, so you’re effectively getting two mattresses for the price of one.
7. Silentnight Anti-Allergy Cotbed Duvet
The best cotbed duvet - but not for newborns
We’re getting into controversial territory with this one because duvets shouldn’t be used for babies under the age of one year: there’s a danger of baby getting too warm. But for older babies they’re great, although you’ll probably find you need a lower tog rating than you’d need on a normal bed. That’s because cot beds’ smaller area means they retain more heat. As a rule of thumb, don’t go beyond 4.5 tog for cot beds - any more and it’s likely to be too hot. There are stacks of 4-tog cot duvets around, but you can’t really go wrong with dropping £10 on this anti-allergy Silentnight cot duvet. It’s light at just 700g, it’s 150 x 120cm with a 5cm depth and you can bang it into the washing machine and tumble dryer without turning it into a piece of abstract art.
8. Gro to Bed
The best bedding set for toddlers
The firm behind the innovative and popular Grobag - more about that in a moment - has created this unusual set for toddlers moving from cot to cot bed. It’s an all-in-one set that combines duvet cover, bottom sheet and pillow case in a way that your child can’t kick off the covers or roll out of bed. It’s machine washable, fits cotbeds of the usual 140 x 70cm size and has garnered stacks of warm reviews from happy parents - although as many of the reviews point out, the set won’t prevent a determined tot from escaping and clambering into bed with mum or dad. If you want to ease the transition from cot to toddler bed, the Gro To Bed is an excellent choice.
9. Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod
The best bedding-alternative for young babies
Madeformums.com rated this the very best baby pod, and while it’s on the pricey side it’s beautifully soft, has the essential high sides so baby can’t roll out and works well as security if you’re co-sleeping. It’s suitable from birth to around 8 months and it’s as useful for daytime as it is for night-time sleeping: a baby pod and a couple of baby toys means contented tummy time. It’s completely washable (the mattress bit is handwash but you can chuck the covers and bumpers in the washing machine) and hypoallergenic too. Just remember that baby pods aren’t designed for unsupervised sleeping: co-sleeping is fine but they’re not suitable if you want to leave baby in peace while you get some peace yourself.
The best set for parents who don't want bedding at all
Like many parents we’ve owned and loved multiple Grobags. The sleeping suits have been developed in conjunction with the Lullaby Trust, which works to promote safer sleep, and when used correctly they’re potentially one of the safest ways to wrap up your baby for sleep. They’re convenient, too: during the inevitable late-night crying jags you can lift up baby for a cuddle and put them back down again without having to deal with piles of bedding or having to get everything just-so again. Look for 2.5 tog Grobags for the colder months, 1.0 for summer and 0.5 for hot summer or holidays. And don’t tell anyone we told you this, but look in your favourite outlet store for these. They’re often massively discounted, especially in warmer months.