The Ultimate Guide to Cot Beds

Deciding on the right bed for your baby is probably one of the most important purchasing decisions you’ll make as a newbie parent (many more decisions will follow as you race along the rip-roaring road of parenting… I’m dreading the “what car is best for a first time driver” decision – can’t they just stick to pedal power?!).

Providing a safe, secure and comfortable bed not only benefits your baby, it will hopefully give you the opportunity to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation too!

With many options available to choose between, it can be baffling to know which is the best bed for your baby. For the first few months, you may decide to opt for a Moses basket or baby crib, particularly if your baby is sleeping in your bedroom. However, when it comes to moving your baby into their own bedroom, what cot bed design is best?

In this step by step cot bed guide I will answer some of the most common cot bed questions and highlight a few of my top picks of baby beds available at Cuckooland.

Cot Bed vs Cot

While they share similarities there are a couple of distinct differences between a cot bed and a baby cot.

A cot measures up slightly smaller, requiring a mattress size of 60cm x 120cm, while a cot bed has a larger foot print, requiring a mattress size of 70cm x 140cm.

A cot bed can eventually convert into a junior bed, also referred to as a toddler bed, whereas a cot does not convert.

A cot will see your baby through to approximately 2 years old, however a cot bed (once converted into a toddler bed) will be suitable until your child reaches around 6 years old.

If you are limited on space a cot may be more suitable, check out my ultimate guide to cots for more information or dive straight in and explore these adorable baby cots for newborns.

Cam Cam Copenhagen Harlequin Cot Bed in Grey

What age is a Cot Bed suitable for?

Cot beds are suitable from birth until approximately 6 years, when you may want to move your child into a kid’s single bed.

The guidelines offered by health experts is that a baby is best sleeping in your bedroom for the first 6 months. If you have space in your bedroom for a cot bed then you can put your baby to sleep in there from birth, or you may wish to wait until baby moves into their own room.

Oeuf Elephant Cot Bed in White

Features of a Cot Bed

Cot beds have many features, these will vary depending on the design so it’s a good idea to identify which elements are particularly important to you as this will help with your final selection process.

Here are the main features of a cot bed;

  1. Cot converts into a junior bed

A cot bed’s most useful feature is that it has the ability to convert from a baby bed into a toddler bed – meaning you don’t have think about buying another new bed when your little tinker is old enough to make the transition into their first big bed.

  1. Adjustable base position

Most cot beds have an adjustable base position that can be changed to suit your baby’s growth stages. The number of settings will vary between designs, commonly there are at least three. The highest setting is designed for the first few months, so you can easily lift your baby in and out, the middle position is used once your baby can roll and the lowest base position is to be used as soon as your baby is able to sit up unaided and provides the safest setting for them at this stage.

Some designs offer more than three settings, offering a little more flexibility, this information is provided under the features and benefits section of our product detail pages.

  1. Teething rail

Your teething tot may discover they have a healthy appetite for their cot as it provides some much needed pain relief! Teething rails are plastic rail coverings that protect both your babe’s teeth and their cot.

  1. Cot beds with storage

Ample storage is essential for a nursery, providing a home for all those nursery essentials like bedding, nappies and an enviable array of cute baby outfits. Cot beds with storage make use of the space under the cot bed by providing a storage drawer, ideal for spare baby blankets and sheets.

  1. Removable side bars

Some cot beds have the feature of being able to remove a section of the side bars. This is particularly useful if you wish to let your tot be a little more independent getting in and out of their bed and is a great step before you finally convert the cot into a junior bed.

  1. Multi functional

Is it a cot? Is it a bed… no it’s a desk! Rather than packing their cot bed off for retirement once your toddler has moved into a larger single bed, some clever cot bed designs can be further adapted to provide yet another piece of kids furniture such as a desk or a sofa.

  1. Co-ordinating furniture

If you have an entire nursery to kit out, you may want co-ordinating nursery furniture that matches the cot bed. Many cot beds form part of a range, where you will also find wardrobes, drawers and baby changing units that are all designed to match.

Now that you’re clued up about the main features of a cot bed, let’s take a look at my top 5 cot bed picks from Cuckooland. Whether you’re on the hunt for a cot bed for a small room, a budget cot bed or cot bed with baby changer, I’ll help you decide which cot bed is best to buy.

SnuzKot Mode Cot Bed in Grey

1. Best Cot Bed for Small Nurseries

Cot beds are often ruled out as an option for a small rooms, however the clever designers at Tutti Bambini have catered for more compact nurseries with their Katie Space Saver Cot Bed. Its modest footprint is ideal when a little space saving is required and it boasts other features such as an under bed drawer and it can be converted into a sofa bed once the junior bed has been outgrown. This space saving cot bed gets a big thumbs up!

Tutti Bambini Katie Space Saver Cot Bed

2. Best Value Cot Bed

At Cuckooland we ensure that value never compromises quality and style. Having kids is expensive business, so we strive to offer a range of cot beds that appeal to all budgets.

Award winning nursery furniture brand Obaby have been in the baby business for over 20 years, their best selling Stamford range offers incredible value, as seen here their Stamford Sleigh Cot Bed in White comes in under £300. A sleigh style cot bed, it has an under bed drawer and converts into a sturdy toddler bed when the time comes. With matching items available in the Stamford collection you’ll be able to kit out the nursery even on a tight budget.

Obaby Stamford Sleigh Cot Bed in White

3. Most Adaptable Cot Bed

Extending the life of furniture is a growing trend, with customers choosing to move more towards slow-furniture that incorporates a more sustainable design. Vox are a forward thinking brand who embrace creating pieces that are multi-functional and adaptable. The Vox 4 You 3 in 1 Baby & Toddler Cot Bed in White & Oak is a shining example of an adaptable cot bed. Starting out life as a bed for your baby, it can then be converted into a toddler bed, once your child has outgrown their bed, the ingenious design transforms this bed into a desk, seeing your baby right through their childhood years.

Vox 4 You 3 in 1 Baby & Toddler Cot Bed in White & Oak

4. Cot Bed with Changing Top

Babies revolve around a cycle of eating, sleeping and needing a nappy change! Moveable changing tops are a fabulous idea, as seen here, the Tutti Bambini Malmo Cot Bed, Cot Top Changer and Mattress Bundle comes complete with cot top changer and a mattress, and is available in a choice of 3 colours. The cot top changer offers up a comfortable place for you to change endless nappies and will save your knees from resembling a baboon’s bottom!

Tutti Bambini Malmo Cot Bed

5. Best Cot Bed Bundle

Often there is a financial saving when you buy a nursery furniture set, rather than individual pieces, so if you are looking for more than just a cot bed it’s definitely worth considering a cot bed bundle. Nursery sets usually consist of a cot bed, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers, some are just 2 piece sets and others include extras such as changing tables and nursing chairs.

I’m a particular fan of the Vox Maxim Cot Bed 3 Piece Nursery Set in White as at under £500 offers amazing value. The minimalist white furniture will suit many nursery styles and once your little one has outgrown the toddler bed, will blend well a variety of kid’s beds.

Vox Maxim Cot Bed 3 Piece Nursery Set in White

Choosing a Mattress for a Cot Bed

The Lullaby Trust recommends that you should buy a suitable new cot bed mattress for your cot bed.

The mattress size required for a cot bed is 70cm x 140cm, it should fit the cot bed snugly, with no gaps. It should be firm rather than soft, providing good support while your baby is sleeping and should be no thinner than 8cm.

The three main types of cot bed mattresses are; foam cot bed mattresses, spring-interior cot bed mattresses and coir cot bed mattresses. Each have their own pros and cons and ultimately which one you choose will come down to personal preference. Just ensure that it conforms to safety standards – all mattresses should carry a number BS, follow this link for more information about cot mattress safety.

Natural Twist Baby Cot Bed Mattress 70 x 140 cm

With an extensive catalogue of cot beds available at Cuckooland, you are sure to find one that suits your budget and style and I’m confident that once your little one is ready to take a step into the world of beds for big kids… we can also “WOW” you with our amazing selection of cool kids beds.

If you need a little more advice before you settle on the best cot bed for your baby, our Customer Service ‘Dream-team’ are cooey for all things baby and would be delighted to help. Give us a call +44 (0) 1305 231231 or ping us an email.


With more than 8 years’ experience in providing advice and support to parents looking for their perfect kids bed, mother of 2, Nathalie Davis is passionate about helping children develop. In her role as Director of Product Procurement at Cuckooland, Nathalie has helped thousands of parents improve their children’s sleep and sleeping habits through the beds and mattresses she sources and the articles she writes. In her spare time she teaches her Golden Retriever to be a responsible vegetarian and is often spotted sifting through clothes at her local Charity Shops.

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