I must admit I was naïve to the fact that parents are faced with constant micro-decisions. When should I give Calpol? Is a biscuit a nutritious breakfast? How many episodes of Peppa Pig is it acceptable to watch in a row?
Buying a mattress for yourself is complicated enough but when you’re a parent you live in fear that you’ll be poisoning your darlings with chemicals or giving them an odd shaped head.
Broadly speaking there are three types of cotbed mattresses to choose from.
Firstly, there are basic foam mattresses which cost from about £20 upwards. Manufacturers will attempt to impress you with detailed descriptions but they are – SPOILER ALERT – little more than a rectangle of foam covered in a piece of fabric.
Secondly, there are mattresses which combine a bit of foam with springs. These are similar to the kind of mattress you’ve probably got on your own bed. The springs provide a bit of extra support, and you’ll pay somewhere around £50 or upwards for those.
Thirdly, there are ‘natural’ mattresses which avoid foam and springs altogether. Instead, they’ll use an alternative such as coir which is part of a coconut or natural latex. These start at around £100 but you can easily pay as much as you’d pay for a pocket sprung adult mattress.
Before you leap to a decision, there are another couple of things to consider. Firstly, there isn’t just one size of cot mattress. 140cm x 70cm is probably the most common, but there are others so get the tape measure out before your order.
Finally, most experts recommend that babies need a firm mattress whilst older children can have a softer and more comfortable mattress.
So, your choice is either to replace the mattress after a fairly short time or go for one of the ‘double-sided’ mattresses which have a firm and a soft side. They usually cost more than a basic mattress but it should – in theory – stop you from having to buy another one.
Right, that’s one parenting decision made…now onto the next one.
This blog originally appeared on the Best Mattresses Guide