What Cot Bedding Do You Need for Your Baby’s Cot?

What bedding should I put in a cot?

What is Proper Bedding for a Baby?

If you are having a baby you may be wondering what bedding you need for your baby’s cot. You can buy cot bedding in all sizes to fit cots, cot beds, cribs, Moses baskets and travel cots.

So before you start shopping, make sure you know what size you need for your cot.

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You will need a mattress protector, cot sheets and blankets, and possibly a baby sleeping bag.

Here is a guide to the different types of baby cot bedding you need to buy.

What cot bedding to put in your baby's cot

Waterproof mattress protector

It is ideal if your baby’s cot or cot bed mattress comes with its own water-resistant, removable, machine washable cover. This helps protect the mattress from leaking nappies, dribbles and baby sick.

A waterproof mattress protector can be used instead if you don’t have this type of mattress. This is a sheet with a waterproof layer that fits over the mattress to protect it.

When you remove the sheet to wash it, the mattress remains clean and dry.

Look for a mattress protector made from fairly thick, quilted material for your baby’s comfort, such as the Silentnight Safe Nights Quilted Cot Bed Waterproof Mattress Protector.

A mattress protector is not essential, but you will save yourself a clean up job if the mattress gets soiled.

Considering you will have your cot or cot bed mattress for a long time, a waterproof mattress protector is a good investment to help prolong the life of the mattress.

Flat or fitted cot sheets

You need a bottom sheet to fit over the mattress; this can be flat or fitted.

Do you need fitted sheets for the cot? Fitted sheets are generally easier to put on and stay on the mattress better, and are easier to smooth out.

How many fitted sheets do you need for the cot? You can get a pack of two fitted sheets for around £10, so maybe consider getting a couple of packs.

You also need a flat sheet to go on top of your baby. This is tucked securely under your baby’s arms, and down the sides of the mattress.

Cotton is a popular choice of fabric for cot sheets, as it is durable and withstands lots of washing. It is also breathable and soft against your baby’s skin.

Brushed cotton flannelette sheets have a very soft feel and are warm to the touch, so may be nicer for colder temperatures.

Cot sheets come in a variety of sizes for cot beds, cots and Moses baskets. Check the sheet dimensions before you buy.

Cellular cotton blankets

In colder temperatures, you may wish to use an additional lightweight blanket on top of your baby’s top sheet. You tuck the blanket securely over the sheet, under your baby’s arms.

Soft cellular cotton blankets are an ideal choice for keeping your baby warm as they trap heat while still being breathable. Depending on room temperature and time of year, you may need more than one blanket.

Fleece blankets are an alternative to cellular cotton, but are not as breathable and may make your baby too warm.

Blankets are useful both in and out of the cot. Use them for keeping your baby warm in the pram when you are out and about in chilly weather.

Baby sleeping bags

Baby sleeping bags (also known as Grobags) are an alternative to top sheets and blankets. You simply zip the bag up around your baby (or do it up with poppers depending on the design) and there is no need for an extra sheet to go on top.

Like duvets, sleeping bags come with different Tog ratings, which you choose according to the time of year and temperature of the room. 

A low 0.5-1.0 Tog sleeping bag is suitable for summer, while a higher 2.5 Tog bag is more appropriate for winter.

You will need to buy a sleeping bag suitable for your baby’s age. They range from newborn size to 12-18 months plus. 

Sleeping bags are very roomy and give your baby plenty of room inside, and are a good option for babies that keep coming out of their covers. However, older babies may not like them because it makes it hard for them to manoeuvre about in their cot.

Baby sleeping bags are a popular, convenient cot bedding option, and they take the guesswork out of how many sheets and blankets you need to layer on your baby.

However, they are expensive compared to sheets and blankets. You need to buy bigger sized bags every few months that are suitable for your baby’s age and weight. You also need different Tog ratings depending on the time of year.

Ranging in price from around £15 to £35, you could find yourself spending £150 on sleeping bags in 18 months. This compares to around £40 for top sheets and blankets, which will last a lot longer.

Cot bedding safety

There are some important cot bedding safety measures to consider when settling your baby to sleep. They prevent overheating, suffocating and may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Keep in mind the following cot safety bedding measures:

  • Along with tucking in the top sheet or blanket properly, it is important your baby sleeps ‘feet to foot’, with feet at the end of the cot. This stops the baby sliding down under the covers.
  • Pull the top sheet and blanket up to your baby’s chest, but not higher than shoulders.
  • Add extra light blankets, sheets, or layers of clothing if it’s cold, rather than one thick blanket. If your baby feels hot, take layers away, and if you fold a blanket or sheet in half, it counts as a double layer.
  • If you use a baby sleeping bag, make sure it is not too loose at the neck, and that it fits securely at the shoulders so there’s no chance of it slipping up over your baby’s head.
A list of baby cot bedding to buy for a  cot or cot bed

What NOT to put in your baby’s cot

Also you need to consider what NOT to put in your baby’s cot, including:

In warm weather your baby may not need a blanket or even a cotton sheet as a cover, they will be fine in just a vest or sleep suit. Also don’t use a sleeping bag with a higher Tog rating than necessary. 

Babies do not need duvets in their cots as they present a suffocation hazard. At what age can you put a duvet in a cot? According to the NHS, duvets and pillows should not be used before babies are 12 months old.

Similarly cot bumpers, sleep positioners and baby pods or nests are not recommended by the Lullaby Trust.

Your baby needs to lay on a flat, clear surface with no potential hazards around them, including soft toys.

What cot bedding do you need?

To summarise, you need to stock up on the following items for your baby’s cot (numbers are a rough guide):

  1. Waterproof mattress protectors x 2
  2. Bottom sheets x 3
  3. Top sheets x 3
  4. Cellular blankets x 2
  5. Baby sleeping bags – these need to be replaced regularly as your baby grows

How many of each of the above you decide to buy is a personal choice, but you definitely need more than one of each. You never know when you’ll have to do an emergency bedding change in the middle of the night.

You’ll probably accumulate quite a stash of cot bedding, but always try to allow for at least one in use, one in the wash and a spare in the cupboard.

Something else to keep in mind is to make sure everything you buy is machine washable (and tumble dryer safe if necessary).

It will help if all the cot bedding you buy is similarly coloured so it can go in the same wash. You will spend less time separating washing loads.

The only cot bedding you need for your baby's cot