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When it comes to baby essentials, any parent will tell you that sleep (for both you and your baby) is likely to be top of your wish list during the first few years of parenthood. As such, anything that can help support a healthy bedtime routine for your baby is more than worth the investment.
In addition to choosing the best baby monitor in your price range, an effective cot mattress is an absolute necessity, ensuring safe and comfortable sleep for your baby when they transition into their own room. As well as making their cot bed a firm and supportive place for your baby to snooze, the best cot mattresses will keep them cosy when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot, while ensuring snuffle-free sleep for children with allergies.
To help you find the best cot mattress for your family’s needs, we’ve tapped into the collective wisdom of Mumsnet parents - the biggest online network of parents in the UK, gathering tried and tested cot mattress recommendations that you can trust. We’ve researched the best cot mattresses on the market today (including mattresses suitable for travel cots) before seeking the latest advice from safe sleep experts and consulting feedback from customers by scrutinising online consumer reviews.
Looking for more authentic baby gear recommendations? We've got you covered - from the best changing bags to the best breast pumps, we've put together guides to the very best products Mumsnetters love.
Each of the mattresses in this guide has been vetted to ensure they comply with the latest safety standards, are firm and robust and will allow your baby to sleep both safely and comfortably all night long (however long their version of a ‘night’ may be.)
Here are the best cot mattresses for babies.
Ticks all the boxes you’d expect from a mattress twice the price
Comfy and breathable
Compliant with British Standards for allergy prevention
Larger cot bed mattress (70 x 140cm) available
It comes with a washable cover, but owners recommend buying an additional waterproof cover to extend the life of your mattress
Price on writing: £52 | Type: Coil sprung | Materials: Superior foam, 100% polyester filling (no PVC) and breathable Just Tec fabric cover (breathable and wipe-clean) | Size: 60cm x 120cm x 10cm
A Mumsnet trusted brand that offers excellent value for money, this Tutti Bambini mattress boasts the safety, comfort and performance of a product that is typically found in the £100+ bracket but with a far more affordable price tag. It’s available in two sizes, including a cot bed mattress and a smaller one ideal for travel cots.
The soft and quilted air-permeable fabric offers excellent breathability and ventilation to ensure your baby stays safe and comfortable while they sleep. It also has a removable, washable cover that makes any nighttime mishaps simple to sort out, although some Mumsnet users recommend buying an additional waterproof cover for an additional layer of protection.
With open coil springs and superior hypoallergenic foam for comfort, posture and allergy protection, this is a great all-rounder with a greatvalue price.
John Lewis ANYDAY Fibre Cot Mattress
Wipe down cover easy to care for
Thinner than most cot mattresses at just 8cm
No removable cover
Price on writing: £28 | Type: Fibre mattress | Materials: Polypropylene cover and recycled PET core | Size: 120cm x 60cm x 8cm
At just £28, this fibre cot mattress is ideal for those on a more limited budget, leaving plenty of change to put towards your other nursery essentials. More functional than fancy, it’s not as thick as some of the mattresses on our list, however, it’s easy to look after, with a machine-washable cover that makes clearing up any accidents quick and easy.
Made from breathable micro-pore material, this mattress can keep your baby cool and comfortable all night long, while keeping those pesky allergens at bay.
Multi-award-winning mattress backed by safe sleep experts
Naturally insulating but breathable
Built to last as your baby grows through the transition from baby to toddler
You’ll need to buy an additional mattress protector to guard against spills and accidents
Price on writing: £186 | Type: Fibre mattress | Materials: Made from 100% natural coir and cotton | Size: 140cm x 70cm x 10cm
The ingenious composition of The Little Green Sheep Natural Twist Cot Bed Mattress is its biggest selling point. With a core constructed from coconut fibres blended with natural latex, it creates the sensation of ‘thousands of tiny springs.' - conducive to providing a comfortable night’s sleep.
The firm side of the mattress provides ample support for your newborn while the ‘twist’ in the name comes around the 12-month mark. Simply flip the mattress and reveal a solution that’s designed specifically for toddler comfort.
We were slightly disappointed that the cover of the mattress isn’t waterproof or spill-proof, so you’ll need to buy a protective cover if you want the mattress to really go the distance. But in terms of comfort, durability, safety, breathability and eco-friendliness, this mattress has consistently performed according to Mumsnetters. It ticks all the major boxes and should put parents’ minds at ease.
Natural bamboo fabric
Antibacterial properties help babies with allergies
Removeable, washable cover
Waterrepellent side for potty training
Some reviewers noted that it feels incredibly firm - although this is recommended for babies.
Price on writing: £59 | Type: Cot bed mattress | Materials: Hypoallergenic bamboo and nursery grade foam | Size: 140 x 70cm and 120 x 60cm
If your baby suffers from allergies such as asthma or eczema, an anti-microbial mattress made from natural fabrics can make a real difference to your baby’s level of comfort. This double-sided Cuddle Co mattress is an excellent choice, made with naturally hypo-allergenic bamboo that can help keep your baby’s sleep environment free from fungus, bacteria and dust mites and their symptoms under control.
In the early days, the super soft bamboo side is moisture-wicking and breathable, providing excellent comfort and support for your newborn. When your baby becomes a toddler, the water-repellent side is a practical choice for those potty training days, with a removable and washable cover that makes cleaning up after accidents an absolute doddle.
IKEA Jättetrött Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress
Some reviewers clash on the issue of whether or not the Jättetrött mattress could be better ventilated, but this is a minor quibble
Price on writing: £99 | Type: Pocket sprung mattress | Materials: Pocket spring with polyurethane foam | Size: 70cm x 140cm x 11cm
IKEA’s Jättetrött Pocket Sprung Mattress is a bestseller, and it’s not hard to see why. The perfect balance of quality and price, it’s also received a top rating In a recent survey of cot mattresses by consumer champion Which? - great for peace of mind.
The foam filling and pocket springs are designed to let air circulate throughout the mattress, preventing your baby from getting hot and sweaty in their sleep.
Conveniently, the outer cover is also removable and machine-washable at 60°C – a major plus point among parents who’ve learned the hard way when cleaning up babies’ thrills and spills. The inner liner ensures that, when the external cover is washed, everything can be easily put back together again, with the cover simply zipping off to wash without any fuss.
The only criticism we’ve heard is that the mattress costs more than the IKEA cot itself, but if it helps you all achieve a good night’s sleep, we think that’s fair enough.
With 190 pocket springs encased in a layer of foam, it’s built for comfort and support
Easy to clean
You might want to add a mattress protector
Some reviewers say the mattress dents a little
Price on writing: £60 | Type: Pocket sprung mattress | Materials: Individual pocket springs and a fibre core lining | Size: 120cm x 60cm x 10cm
Flat and firm, with a machine-washable cover, this Mamas & Papas mattress offers very high levels of comfort and support for babies and toddlers. A bestseller in various versions, it comes from a brand that Mumsnetters rate highly for quality, looks and durability.
A design you can flip and rotate to increase its longevity, we love that the cover can be removed for washing, though you’d probably want to add a mattress protector too, just in case. This would also make it easier should you need to do a quick change during the night .
Some reviewers say that they found the mattress dented quite quickly, but it does have with crush-resistant walls to help it to retain its shape. Overall, this mattress is well-built, well-upholstered and, at 10cm tall, pleasingly thicker than most. It will see your baby through right until they move to their very first kids' bed.
Read next: The best Moses baskets for newborns
Has excellent anti-allergy credentials
Some evidence that this product could reduce the risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Expensive – four times the cost of our best budget mattress
Price on writing: £129 | Type: Foam mattress | Materials: Fire-retardant fabric, mesh padded coverings, moulded frames and mattress tube | Size: 140cm x 70cm x 10cm
It certainly doesn’t come cheap, but if your child has allergies, you certainly get what you pay for with Purflo. Endorsed by Allergy UK, the Purflo Cot Mattress has a hollow design that can be completely stripped down and cleaned, denying a home to mites and fungus and minimising babies’ exposure to airborne allergens that can trigger outbreaks of asthma and eczema.
Likened to a ‘soft, breathable, hammock-like surface’, a great deal of thought has gone into this mattress’s construction, design and materials. The downside? Whilst the removable cover is machine washable at 60 degrees, it can be a bit challenging to reassemble once dry.
Mother Nurture Premium Foam Folding Travel Cot Mattress
Added layer for additional comfort
Reviewers report that this mattress is best laid flat if stored in the car boot, which could be an issue depending on the size of your car
Some reviewers noted an initial smell when new, though it quickly dissipates
Price on writing: From £22.99 | Type: Foam travel cot mattress | Materials: Dent-resistant nursery foam (60% polypropylene, 40% polyester) and washable hypo-allergenic quilted cover | Size: 95cm x 65cm x 7.5cm
Mother Nurture prides itself on its commitment to use foam that's free from nasty chemicals – so-called organophosphate flame retardants. One of Amazon’s top choices for the best travel cot mattress, this Mother Nurture product has run the gamut of over 5,000 reviews and 64 buyers’ questions, and come out on top.
Suitable for 0 to 48 months and for cots and toddler beds of various sizes, the Mother Nurture Classic Travel Cot Mattress is UK-made by a manufacturer with a 20-year track record. A few reviewers have commented that their babies markedly prefer their Mother Nurture travel cot mattress to their other sleeping arrangements at home. The overall impression is of a well-made, sturdy mattress that's firmer than what you’d typically expect within a travel cot.
Dual sleeping surfaces designed for babies and then toddlers
Removable, washable cover
Has to ‘breathe’ for a week before use
Price on writing: £150 | Type: Pocket sprung and foam mattress | Materials: Polyester and polyurethane | Size: 70cm x 140cm x 11cm
Some premium cot mattresses feel like a significant outlay for a relatively short period of use, however the Snüz SnüzSurface Duo is an exception. Lasting from birth up to around four years of age, it offers excellent value for money, despite it’s initial investment.
A double-sided design, the SnuzSuface Duo has a removable, waterproof and washable cover that makes it easy to keep clean and fresh. The firmer side provides younger babies with the safe level of support they need, while the softer side provides a cosy and comfortable base for your toddler. To change between the two sides, you simply zip off the removable cover and turn the mattress around inside.
Boasting the sort of construction you’d expect to see in a high-end adult mattress, it’s worth noting that this mattress comes vacuum-packed and needs a week to settle and breathe before use. With a layer of supportive pocket springs cushioned between the firm and medium foam layers, customers rave about the level of comfort.
If we had one complaint it would be that this mattress is missing a spare cover, which would be handy in the event of a nighttime accident or spillage. However, you can buy a Snüz Cot Mattress Protector separately for £26.
Dual surface for both babies and toddlers
No spare cover available
Fairly expensive at usual price
Price on writing: £127 | Type: Hypoallergenic pocket sprung mattress | Materials: Polyester | Size: 70cm x 140cm x 10cm
While the much-loved Silver Cross brand is better known for its iconic prams, it’s now turning out equally iconic cot mattresses, made with 190 pocket springs cushioned between two foam surfaces.
Just like the Snüz Surface Duo Cot Mattress, above, this mattress has two surfaces: the firmer baby surface and, on the other side, a softer surface for when your baby grows into a toddler. It also has a waterproof cover that's removable and washable, like the Snüz - a very practical addition.
The main difference is that this mattress comes in cot bed size only, which we think is a more natural fit for this type of baby-to-toddler option. We also love the addition of True Fit corners, the only mattresses we've seen designed with that have perfectly square corners designed to fit neatly into the cot bed frame. Because of this however, there’s no room for manoeuvre - so do triple-check your measurements.
How we chose our recommendations
Recommendations from real parents
Before we recommend new products, we always ask our trusted Mumsnet users, of which there are more than 8 million each month. That’s a lot of honest, impartial advice.
We always ensure our information represents the latest recommendations from experts so you can rely on it, and we research each product thoroughly to ensure it follows the latest expert advice and stands up to scrutiny. Here we consulted reputable sources such as Which?, the National Childbirth Trust, The Lullaby Trust and The Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.
We also scour the internet, leaving no stone unturned to check out real reviews from customers who have bought the products themselves and given both positive and negative feedback.
Celebrated best products
Finally, we check to see which products have won industry awards and received recognition from trusted sources and feed this into our analysis too.
What’s the best type of cot mattress?
There are many types of cot and cot bed mattresses on the market, and they come with many different styles and features. Broadly speaking, here are the five main types of cot mattresses and cot bed mattresses:
Foam cot mattress – good value for money, and generally lightweight and easy to clean.
Coil spring cot mattress – open coil springs surrounded by foam and fillings. Tends to be sturdier than a typical foam mattress.
Pocket spring mattress – springs that are individually wrapped within a cloth sleeve/ Provides good support, but can be pricey.
Coir cot mattress – manufactured from coconut, latex and wool. Naturally firm and durable.
Hollow-frame (Purflo) cot mattress – advertised as fully breathable and fully washable. It’s basically a mesh cover stretched over an open frame. Expensive.
How do I choose a cot mattress?
There are many elements to consider when choosing the best cot mattress:
Safety – what’s the safest cot mattress?
The safest cot mattress is one that’s firm with no sagging and that follows the relevant safety laws. Your chosen mattress should fit the cot snugly with no gaps for stray fingers or tiny toes to get trapped.
Truthfully, the look of a baby cot mattress should always be secondary to safety. There’s no getting around it. You might like ribbons and frou frou around your four-poster bed, but where a child sleeps should be kept simple and unfussy.
According to the National Childbirth Trust, British Safety Standards are your friend and you should specifically look for products conforming to them. Horrible as it is to even think of such a thing, these protocols are in place to reduce the number of accidental infant deaths that occur each year due to strangulation or suffocation.
It’s non-negotiable – whatever you buy, look out for the British Standards’ number on swing tickets and product specifications. Which? recommendations on this state: “All mattresses should have the BS 1877-10:2011+A1:2012 number on the labelling or instructions. It's preferable if it also carries BS 7177:1996 and BS EN 16890:2017 + A1:2021.”
Comfort and safe sleeping
‘Firm and flat’ is your mantra when it comes to cot mattresses. Both the centre and the edges should yield slightly and then spring back into shape when you apply pressure to the surface and then release it.
The general rule of thumb for safe sleeping is to always place your baby to sleep on their back – even if you own a breathable crib mattress. Though mattress manufacturers try to consider babies who roll onto their tummies during sleep, virtually all health professionals advise that back sleeping is safest.
Besides suffocation risk, some studies claim that there's an additional danger from babies breathing in more carbon dioxide than oxygen when they are not sleeping on their backs.
The mattress should also fit the cot snugly, with no gaps that your baby’s limbs could get stuck in - any gaps should be no more than 3cm. In addition, the NCT recommends that, when the mattress is in position, there’s a minimum 50cm clearance to the height of the cot to prevent a mobile baby from climbing out.
Many mattresses have breathable covers, which helps to ensure air is flowing freely and that your baby won’t overheat. You can help keep your baby at the right temperature in the night by investing in good quality cotton bedding (baby sleeping bags are the easiest) and ensuring that they are always put on their back to sleep, with her arms free. The Lullaby Trust has good advice on safer sleep and reducing the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Durability and cleaning
Whether you’re buying a cot mattress, a travel cot mattress or a cot bed mattress, you must make sure that, as a minimum, it’s protected by a waterproof cover to help keep the mattress clean and dry.
The overwhelming testimony of Mumsnetters is that removable, washable zip-on covers are a must. Not only do they allow you to change bedding quickly when accidents occur, but they also prolong the life of your mattress.
This does make them more expensive, however, so if you’re going for a budget model and it doesn’t have a removable cover, it would be well worth buying a separate protective cover for it.
There’s no getting around it. Cot mattresses aren’t a buy for life, so lots will end up in landfill. But if you’re fully committed to a green-friendly solution, be careful to read the small print.
While producers such as The Little Green Sheep (see their Twist cot bed mattress above) are admirably transparent, the consumer organisation Which? believes that others play fast and loose with terminology. They say: "Manufacturers can use the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ on products without needing any sort of certification. There are legal requirements for the labelling of organic foods, but not these products.”
Their advice, and ours, is to scrutinise the small print of product specs to ensure that the materials used are truly what they purport to be.
In a sector where a mattress that broadly fulfils the same function can retail from £20 to over £250, getting what you pay for isn’t necessarily a given.
As a rough guide, foam mattresses are cheap and cheerful and not especially hardwearing, but that might be no bad thing if you’re planning to replace them when those little night accidents come to an end.
Spring-interior mattresses are mini versions of typical adult mattresses and coir and Purflo mattresses are part of a subset of innovative, premium-priced ‘green’ products.
If you’re going for a more premium brand, you might want to think about its longevity. Some mattresses will last a child up to four years of age, such as the Snüz Surface Duo Cot Mattress and the Silver Cross True Fit Superior Cot Bed Mattress that we’ve featured in our round-up, so suddenly a slightly hefty price tag doesn’t seem so bad.
Are secondhand cot mattresses safe?
Secondhand mattresses are best avoided – if only because the links between passed-on mattresses and cot death can neither be confirmed nor refuted. In 2002, a BBC story said that researchers at The Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow claimed to have found a "significant” link between having a secondhand mattress and a risk of cot death. No causation was established, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
The Lullaby Trust charity, set up to provide expert advice on safer baby sleep and to raise awareness of SIDs, also cautions risk. They say: “If you’re using a secondhand mattress, make sure the mattress you choose was previously completely protected by a waterproof cover, with no rips or tears and is in good condition. The mattress should also still be firm and flat to keep your baby sleeping safely.” For little brothers and sisters moving onto an elder sibling’s mattress, make sure that you also do these checks.
You should also ensure that the mattress fits well, with no gaps between the mattress and the cot, and that the mattress itself is both clean and dry.
What size should a cot mattress be?
What’s important is that your mattress fits your cot snugly, with no gaps anywhere, so measure twice before you order. The standard size for a cot is 120cm x 60cm and 140cm x 70cm for a cot bed. However, some cots are now oval or even round, so if yours isn’t standard you might need to buy the mattress that's designed to go with it or get one custom-made.
What is the best thickness for a cot mattress?
For support, your choice of cot mattress should be no thinner than 8cm. However, a minimum of 10cm is what most experts, including Which?, recommend.
Travel cot mattresses tend to be much thinner - sometimes only around 5cm - but they aren’t intended for regular use. You can replace your travel cot mattress with a thicker version but do check that it fits exactly or is designed specifically for your travel cot.
Never be tempted to add a pillow or blankets to make it feel softer or thicker as this is unsafe. And if you add a thicker mattress, do check that there is still 50cm from the top of the mattress to the top of the side of the cot.
How do I test that my cot mattress is firm enough?
It’s very important that a baby’s mattress is firm. It’s necessary for their skeletal development and also is vital in ensuring their safety while sleeping. Before you buy, search online to check the mattress hasn’t been recalled and that there are no other problems with it. When it arrives, check the following:
Run your hand across the top surface of the mattress. It should be completely flat, with no bumps, dips or bunched-up bits.
Press with both hands on various spots on the surface of the mattress. When you remove your hands, there should be no indentation remaining. The mattress should spring back immediately.
Again, using both hands, press all around the edges, checking that the edges are all strong and stable and that they don’t collapse and can’t be pushed in on themselves. Take special care to check this at the corners.
How long does a cot mattress last?
The average lifespan of a cot mattress is anything between 0 to 48 months. After that point, it's time to move into a big kid's bed. The best practice is to always buy a new cot mattress for each child.
How do I clean a cot mattress?
Your mattress should come with instructions on how to clean it, so read these carefully. Be especially careful not to shrink the cover, if it has one, as this may lead to it compressing the mattress, creating gaps around the outside.
But essentially, if you want to give the mattress a thorough clean, first remove the cover, wash it according to the instructions and ensure it is thoroughly dry. Some mattresses can be washed themselves, but most are wipe-clean at best.
Vacuum all surfaces of the mattress, paying particular attention to anywhere dust might gather. Then wipe it all over with a damp cloth. If you have a spill to deal with, check the label to see if you can use a little laundry detergent too, then leave the mattress standing on one side to dry thoroughly - outside if possible.
Do I need to flip my baby's cot mattress?
It’s a good idea to rotate your baby’s mattress 180 degrees every month or so, just so that it wears evenly. Most mattresses these days don’t flip.
Some have a special surface for sleeping on that might be water-repellent or hypoallergenic, for example, so that needs to stay on top. Others, such as the Snüz Surface Duo Cot Mattress and the Silver Cross True Fit Superior Cot Bed Mattress above, have a ‘baby’ side and a ‘toddler’ side with differing levels of firmness.
Either way, the care instructions that came with the mattress should tell you all you need to know.
Do I need a mattress protector for my cot mattress?
A cot mattress protector is a very good idea, yes. If a nappy overflows in the night and urine soaks into the mattress, this can cause bacteria to develop inside.
Some mattresses come with a removable, washable cover, which is great, but it’s still worth buying a protector to pop on as a spare, in case the cover has to be washed suddenly. A cover will also help to prevent dust mites and other allergens from building up.
What is the best cot mattress/ cot bed mattress in the UK?
From a very wide field, we picked the Tutti Bambini Sprung Cot Mattress as the best mattress for a baby's cot. Available in a larger cot bed size too, this mid-priced mattress has all the features you'd expect to find in a much more expensive mattress. it provides excellent ventillation, is allergy-safe and Mumsnetters love it for cots as well as travel cots.
About the author
Lucy Cotterill is a Mum and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help people make confident purchases.
Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard. When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.
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