If Your Cot Bed is Too Big for Your Baby, Here’s How To Make a Cot Bed Smaller
After hours of shopping and research, you’ve found the perfect cot bed for your little one. It’s sturdy, comfortable, and safe. Or maybe you dusted off the old cot that your older kids used and now it is ready for its next little tenant. There’s just one problem. It’s kinda big. And your baby doesn’t seem to like it and so...you want to make the cot bed smaller.
To make a cot bed smaller, follow these tips:
- Use do-it-yourself (DIY) cushions made from sheets/blankets
- Use pool noodles along the sides of the cot bed to make it smaller for your baby
- Use cylindrical cot cushions to form a nest-like cot bed for your baby
What is a Cot Bed?
A cot bed is designed for infants and very young children. It can be adjusted into a low bed for a toddler or an older child. Cot beds can be pricey, but many parents find the investment worth it. The beds last long because your baby can use them until they are about 3.5 years of age.
You should know that there’s a slight difference between a cot and a cot bed. Cots are smaller in size and cannot be adjusted to fit toddlers or older children. If space and finances aren’t an issue, we recommend a cot bed over a cot. Read our guide to transitioning a child from a cot bed to a toddler bed.
Still, the tips below will apply to whichever bed you choose. Either bed can be large for some babies, especially newborns.
Why Would You Need to Make a Cot Bed Smaller?
If your baby has been sleeping beside you or in a bassinet, they might find a cot bed too spacious. They may feel disoriented and less snuggled compared to the warm coziness they enjoyed before.
Even if they’re newborn, they’ll find the cot bed different from the comforting climate of the womb.
Your little one may also feel like they’re far away from you. And if they wriggle in their sleep, a spacious cot may make them restless.
You don’t have to wait for months before you can use that cot bed. With a few modifications, you can make it smaller and cozier for your little one. Then, they’ll feel all snuggled up and sleep peacefully.
The FDA has not approved any products for prevention of SIDS. A safe sleep environment, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services does not include any sheets, blankets, or bumpers so please be cautioned when reading the tips below.
Use Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Cushions Made from Sheets/Blankets
Step 1: Get Breathable Beddings
Rule one of any cot bed bedding for a newborn or young child is that they must be breathable. This applies to mattresses, cushions, sheets, and blankets. Your baby should breathe freely, no matter their sleeping position. Breathable bedding helps with temperature control and makes sure that your baby can breathe even with their face buried inside the bedding.
Step 2: Pick out At Least 3 Soft Sheets/Blankets
Fold each breathable sheet/blanket from corner to corner until you have a long cylindrical cushion. Ensure that the cushions are long enough to fit the sides of the crib.
Step 3: Create a Box-Like Nest in the Cot Bed
Insert the cushions along the sides of the cot bed and put a sheet over them. Tuck them in snugly. The point is to make a nest-like area in the spacious cot so that it feels smaller and comfier for your baby. The child will feel cozy in the nest and sleep for much longer.
Use Pool Noodles along the Sides of the Cot Bed to Make It Smaller for Your Baby
Step 1: Get Four Pool Noodles
Pool noodles aren’t just for the swimming pool. With some creativity, you can use them in your baby’s cot bed. Pool noodles are cheap and come in different sizes. Go for a size which you can cut in half.
Step 2: Cut the Pool Noodles in Half and Adjust Their Lengths to Fit the Inner Sides of the Cot Bed
Measure the cot bed’s length and width. Use these measurements to adjust the length of the pool noodles. We recommend cutting the noodles in half to give them a flat side so that they’ll be more stable when you lay them down in the bed. Pool noodles with flat sides are safer if your child wriggles a lot in their sleep.
Step 3: Tuck Them in Snugly to Form a Nest
Insert the noodles along the sides of the crib and on the cot mattress. Lay each noodle on its flat side. Put a fitted sheet over them and ensure they’re tucked in snuggly. You should create a nest-like space in the cot bed where your baby will sleep.
You might also enjoy this article on safe cot bed bumper alternatives
Use Cylindrical Cot Cushions to Form a Nest-Like Cot Bed for Your Baby
Step 1: Buy High-Quality Breathable Cot Cushions
Cot cushions come in many colors and designs. Choose cylindrical cushions that will fit the sides of your cot bed. And ensure that they are soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic.
Step 2: Tuck Them in Under a Sheet
Insert the cushions in your cot bed and tuck them in under a soft sheet. They should form a cozy little nest. Place your baby in the nest-like space to check if they are comfortable and snug. Adjust the nest so it’s not too wide or too tight for your infant.
Is There an Insert to Make a Cot Bed Smaller?
Instead of sheets and cushions, you can buy a cot bed insert. The best inserts to make a cot bed feel smaller are baby nests and sleepyheads
Use a Baby Nest to make a cot bed smaller
A baby nest is a breathable sleep pod designed for infants. Most baby nests fit babies ranging from zero to six months. They are designed to fit in large cot beds, and most of them are lightweight and portable. A good baby nest should have sturdy side supports and back support for your baby. You can also check for baby nests that mold around your baby. Such nests will add extra security and coziness.
You can keep the baby nest beside you if you are co-sleeping, and then move it to the cot bed when you are ready to transition your baby to their bed.
Lots of moms report that their babies sleep much longer when they use a baby nest. The nest also helps to reduce acid reflux and startle reflex.
A Sleepyhead snuggle pod insert can make a cot bed smaller
This is a snuggle pod designed by a Swedish mom. Made with comfort in mind, it will help your baby relax. The sleepyhead has a cocoon design that keeps your baby safe and cozy. It’s made with high-quality materials and is durable. You can easily insert it into your cot bed, and your baby will feel much calmer in the smaller environment of the sleepyhead.
Unfortunately, the sleepyhead pod is expensive. And many people may prefer not to spend so much on one item, but it is of excellent quality, safe, hypoallergenic, super cozy, luxurious, and stylish.
Tips to Make a Cot Bed More Cozy and Safe
Finally, let’s take a quick look at how you can make a cot bed more cozy and safe. If you haven't already assembled your cot bed, you might also enjoy our article. You might also want to read our list of cot bed accessories and why you need them.
Use Comfortable Beddings
Baby bedding should help your child sleep in a good position. It should also promote temperature regulation so that the baby isn’t too hot or too cold. Use a well-fitting crib mattress that is firm, and get sheets or blankets that are soft and cozy.
Put the Baby Down for Naps in the Cot Bed During the Day
Transitioning from a bassinet or co-sleeping to a spacious cot bed can be a little tough for many infants. You can try putting them in the cot during the day. Then, the cot bed will be a familiar environment when night time comes.
Warm the Cot Bed
Putting your infant into a cold bed will startle them. You can put a hot water bottle in the cot before the baby’s bedtime and remove it before you put them down. The baby will find the cot bed warm and toasty which will help them relax.
Baby’s Head Should Not Be Covered When They Are Sleeping
Lay your baby close to the bottom end of the cot bed. Many experts recommend laying your infant on their back when you put them down to sleep. Tuck in the sheets securely so that they won’t cover the baby’s head, or you can use an infant sleeping bag.
Add Your Scent to the Cot Bed
Your baby loves your scent. They find it reassuring. They know by your scent that you are close by and ready to snuggle and comfort them. Instead of a sheet, you can add a cotton t-shirt that has your scent to their crib.
Create a restful environment. Dim the lights in the room and remove anything that may stimulate the baby. You can play a white-noise sound to calm the baby. White noise can help drown out other sounds while soothing your baby.