Cot Mattress Guide

A mum holds her baby, while stood next to a cot bed.

Sleep is a big thing for babies. They do it so much, we’re a little jealous, frankly. But they amount they sleep – and the positive impact that has on their development – means it’s important to find the right mattress. We’ve complied everything we have on our range of cot and cot bed mattresses to help you make the right choice.

Cot mattresses | Understanding the basics

This section covers all those important questions you might have before you even start to figure out what type of mattress you need.

What cot mattress should I buy?

This is down to personal choice, but it’s useful to know what types of mattresses exist. There are a range of types available, and each provide different levels of support and protection for baby.

What are the different types of cot mattress?

The most common types of cot mattress are:

  • Fibre cot mattress
  • Foam cot mattress
  • Sprung cot mattress
  • Pocket sprung cot mattress

What is a fibre mattress?

A fibre mattress is made from natural materials - often recyclable for a more sustainable choice. They are often breathable and can absorb moisture to keep baby cool, dry and comfortable on warm nights, and have hypoallergenic properties which prevent baby from developing allergic reactions to the materials. Fibre is usually very firm and long-lasting and circulates air round the mattress.

What is a foam mattress?

If you don’t have a big budget for your nursery, then a foam mattress might be the best choice. It is usually the cheapest but still provide good support for baby while they sleep. They’re lightweight and easy to look after.

What is a sprung mattress?

A sprung mattress is a standard type of mattress that features lots of coiled springs which sit underneath layers of comfortable fabrics. These springs provide support and give the mattress some flexibility.

What is a pocket sprung mattress?

A pocket sprung mattress works in a similar way to a sprung mattress, the main difference is that each spring is contained within its own separate pocket. This means that the springs operate independently from each other to provide more support as you move in your sleep.

What is the safest type of cot mattress?

When looking for a safe cot mattress, it’s important to look at which products include these safety standards on their labels:

  • BS 1877-10:2011 + A1:2012 for cot and crib mattresses
  • BS EN 16890:2017 which is the most recent standard for children’s furniture, cots & cribs
  • BS 7177:1996 which relates to fire safety

For more information on safety standards, you can visit the British Standards Institution website.

Are cot mattresses breathable?

Most cot and cot bed mattresses are breathable or at least allow air to circulate around the mattress to keep baby cool. It’s important to look at the mattress features as they can provide varying levels of breathable comfort.

Is it safe to use a mattress protector in a cot?

It is safe to use a mattress protector with a cot – and waterproof protectors can be incredibly useful to fend off those nighttime wees. However, when shopping for a mattress, check the specifications as many come with an additional protective layer or removable and washable cover.

Can you reuse a cot mattress?

It is up to you if you choose to reuse a cot mattress, however it is strongly recommended that you invest in a new mattress for a baby. Old mattresses can often be well-worn, which means they might not provide the right support or comfort for baby. In some instances, old cot mattresses may not pass the required safety standards needed, so they could cause harm to your child.

Do you need to replace a cot mattress?

You only need to replace a mattress if it starts to look worn and doesn’t seem like it is providing a good level of support. Some come with dual cores, so you can use one side for baby, then flip the mattress and use the other with your toddler. Most cot mattress should last four-five years, by which point you’ll probably be upgrading to a full-size bed mattress anyway.

Do cots come with mattresses?

Most baby brands sell cots and mattresses separately. At Ickle Bubba, we give you the choice between buying the items individually, or together as part of a two-piece bundle.

Baby sound asleep

Cots, cot beds and sizes | What’s the difference?

So, now we’ve got to grips with the basics, let’s look at your cot and which mattresses are compatible.

What mattress do I need for my cot?

When it comes to picking your mattress, it depends on the type of cot you have. At Ickle Bubba, we have three cot types:

  • Cot bed
  • Mini cot bed
  • Space saver cot

What is a cot bed?

A cot bed has high ends and sides, to prevent baby from falling out. The base can also be lowered as baby learns to sit and stand, to prevent them from climbing out. Once baby reaches the ages of needing a toddler bed (between 18 months and 3 years) the cot bed sides can be removed and the ends lowered to create a toddler bed.

What is a mini cot bed?

A mini cot bed, functions in the same was as a standard cot bed, only it is smaller in size to suit smaller nurseries.

What is a space saver cot?

As the name suggests, a Space Saver Cot features a much smaller footprint than a cot bed and is ideal for tiny nurseries. It can be lowered as baby grows, but once they’re ready for a toddler bed, it will need to be replaced. Space Saver Cots are ideal for the first six months, when baby is sharing a bedroom with you.

What is a standard mattress size?

Mattress sizes can vary between products and manufacturers, but generally they are all a similar size so can be used across a range of cots and cot beds.

Ickle Bubba mattress sizes are:

  • Cot bed mattress size is 140cm x 70cm
  • Mini cot bed mattress size is 120cm x 60cm
  • Space saver cot mattress size is 100cm x 50cm


Hopefully now, you feel ready to find the perfect cot bed mattress for your little one. It’s best to think about the size of your nursery and the space it offers, so you can narrow down whether you need a cot or cot bed. Then it’s a case of looking at your budget and finding the best features to suit your price range.

Take a look at our range of award-winning cot and cot bed mattresses.

It might also be worth speaking to friends and family that have recently purchases mattresses, as they might be able to offer you some insights you haven’t considered. That said, we’re sure you’ll make the right choice and don’t forget to contact our Customer Service team if you need any more help. Happy shopping!