Before you buy a cot, visit the ACCC or SIDS guidelines for sleeping children. There are several considerations when making this purchase, but a reputable retailer can certainly help you refine all the information and options, and steer you in the right direction.
If you have your eye on a pre-loved cot, again just make sure it complies with the various standards, that no parts are missing, and everything’s sturdy and in-place. Also keep a look-out for ‘add-ons,’ such as hand-painted designs that might look good, but could be toxic. Especially important is safety bars – the spacing of these needs to be within guidelines so that your baby doesn’t get stuck or even fall through gaps.
Not all of us can be forward-planners in life, but if there is one area that is worth organising before your baby arrives, it is assembling the cot. Most stores should step you through the how-to process, but some also offer actual assembling services (a good idea if you’ve been taken by surprise and need to set it up in record time!).
Decorations – styling your baby’s room can be terrific fun, but the cot is out-of-bounds. Keep it simple – no over-head or attached decorations, no toys in bed, no pillows or bumpers. It might not sound like fun but less is best when it comes to sleep safety. All your newborn needs is to be snugly wrapped in a muslin or similar cloth, and placed at the very bottom of the bed. Early on twins can sleep together in the same cot but once they start to wriggle and roll, it’s best to give them their own separate space.
Bassinette – only really appropriate for a few months, but certainly a good option if you need your baby’s sleeping arrangements to be fairly flexible (for example, if you plan to have them sleep in your room for the first few weeks, and then move them into their own room).
Cot – some cots can turn into a toddler bed or even a couch, which offers plenty of longevity. If you plan to buy a cot that doesn’t have this second-life, then keep in mind the baby’s size. Obviously they start out small enough but it doesn’t take long at all before they begin to take up a lot of the mattress!
Mattress – these are usually purchased separately, but need to comply with the cot purchased. Mattresses should be firm and fit perfectly into the cot so there is no chance of the baby falling in-between the mattress edge and the cot wall. If you’re purchasing a cot second-hand you may want to buy a brand new mattress.
Manchester – multiple sets of cotton linen fitted sheets is pretty much all you need in the very early stages. Several waterproof mattress protectors will also be put to good use!