Ten years ago parents had very little choice when it came to furnishing the nursery; now there are so many attractive options that it can fluster a pregnant brain. Babyology comes to the rescue with our guide to choosing the best cot for you and your baby.
1. Start researching early
It always pays to start researching cots as early as possible and be prepared that you may change your mind a few times. Consider shop delivery times as the cot you want may not be available when you need it to be. Have a runner-up cot option just in case.
2. Consider sleeping baby in a bassinet at first
You can delay the purchase of a cot if you decide you’d prefer to sleep baby in a bassinet for the first four to six months. Many parents choose this option so that baby feels cocooned in a more womb-like environment than a cot can provide. This spreads out the cost of setting up for baby over a longer time span and the bassinet can be stored away for a sibling or two down the track.
Having a bassinet is handy as some have wheels so that baby can travel from room to room with you and while your second baby is little, it will give you time to transition the older child from cot to bed. A bassinet which sways and rocks will be soothing for a fussy baby.
Our top bassinet picks:
Bloom Alma Urban – very compact and folds up flat for storing. Has wheels
Stokke Bounce ‘n’ Sleep – brand new multifunctional product from Stokke.
Leander Cradle – ethereal looks, can be suspended from ceiling or tripod.
3. The size of the room
If the nursery is small, the cot needs to fit and still leave space for other furniture. Where space is limited, you may want to consider a change table like the wall-mounted byBo Design Nathi or one that sits on top of the cot like the Oeuf Change Station.
We suggest sketching a brief room plan and taking measurements with you to the baby shop so that you don’t waste time evaluating pieces which aren’t suitable. Make a shortlist at the store, then check Babyology’s Cot Chooser so you can compare features.
4. Fixed side or drop rail
Some people like drop rails, some people need them and others don’t; drop rails are an individual consideration. Investigate whether the drop rails on the cots have a one or two-handed operation and go for the one-handed option.
5. Converts to toddler bed
Would you like to transition your toddler to a smaller bed before continuing to a larger bed? Toddler beds are great because they’re lower to the ground than a conventional single bed and can provide a feeling of security to some children as they are still essentially sleeping in the bed they had as a baby. Many cots come with conversion kits and others have one that you can buy once you need it.
6. Co-ordinating furniture
If you would like a seamless look to the nursery, investigate brands which make co-ordinating change tables, dressers and bookcases.
7. Factor in the cost of a mattress
Mattresses are almost always an add-on. Factor this cost into your budget and expect to pay from $100 to $200.
8. Look for adjustable mattress height
The cot should have at least two mattress height settings. You don’t want to be fishing a delicate newborn from the depths of the cot!
9. Teething rails and castors
Babies turn into toddlers and many a designer crib has had its rails made into mincemeat by a teething kid. You can get transparent covers for this stage which will protect your investment.
Also consider whether you’d like a cot with wheels. Castors make it easier to clean underneath the cot and move it to another room. Many cots are easy to move a few metres even though they don’t have castors; it depends how heavy the cot is so also factor in weight if you’re willing to forgo wheels.
10. You’ve made your choice… what now? Safe sleeping education!
Congratulations; you’ve made your choice and set up the cot. All is in place! Now it’s time to read up on safe sleeping for your baby. Please see the Sids and Kids guidelines on how to dress both baby and the cot for optimum safe sleeping conditions.
This guide is for parents choosing a new cot. If you are choosing a second-hand cot, be sure that the cot meets Australian Standards and that is has not been subject to a product recall. Do your research about what this entails and be aware that cot hardware can wear out from age and being assembled and taken apart many times.
Also head on over to our Cot Chooser where we have cot selections for every budget for you to compare and contrast.