Buying guides

Nursery essentials


Our range of essential nursery furniture and bedding meets the highest standards of safety and comfort, so you’ll have peace of mind while your baby enjoys a good night's sleep. Here's some advice on what to buy, and take a look at our range of nursery essentials.

In many of our shops, you'll find a Nursery Advice Service, where Partners can help you choose what's right for you during pregnancy and beyond - find out more.


Moses baskets

  • Suitable for babies up to 3-4 months (6kg/13lbs)

  • Strong handles make it easy to move the basket, so you can keep your baby near you, wherever you are

  • Choose wicker or palm with washable trimmings in plain fabrics


When you carry a Moses basket with your baby inside it, the handles must be sturdy and meet in the middle


  • Suitable for babies up to 5-6 months (9kg/20lbs)

  • A traditional swinging crib can help soothe your baby to sleep

  • Bedside cribs from brands including Snuzpod and Chicco Next2Me are a popular option

  • Choose from natural or painted wood


Sleep experts and healthcare professionals recommend that baby sleeps in the same room as their parents for the first 6 months. As cribs are suitable for slightly longer, they offer great value


Cots are suitable for babies from birth. They tend to have mutliple base positions - a bassinet height from birth until your child can sit up unaided and a lower position for when they become more mobile.

Cot beds


Cot beds are larger, with removable sides, so they can be converted into beds with a longer lifespan.




Travel cots

Folding cots are perfect for holidays – some also double as a playpen. Many styles have removable, washable covers and fold away into a travel bag.




It's a good idea to get your baby used to sleeping in the cot for a few nights at home before you travel


Adjustable-height mattress base

Cots come with either a fixed side or a drop side mechanism. Most cots come with 2-3 base positions.


2-4 castors make it easier to move your cot around. 2 must be lockable and should always be locked when not in use.

Teething rails

Clear non-toxic plastic protects your baby's gums once they’re teething and have started to chew.


Sheets, blankets and baby sleeping bags

  • Our 100% cotton sheets and blankets are non-allergenic and machine washable

  • Sheets, flat or fitted, come in a range of colours to coordinate with your favourite designs

  • Use layers of sheets and blankets for a pram, carry cot, cot or bed

  • Baby sleeping bags are swaddling, cosy and incredibly safe

Duvets, quilts and coverlets

  • Use quilts and coverlets with sheets and blankets to create layers in cooler weather

  • Duvets are only suitable for babies over 12 months

  • You should opt for a maximum 4 tog if the sides are still on the cot, or up to 7-9 tog for a single child’s bed


The more comfortable you are, the better you sleep. This is just as true for babies as it is for grown ups. Choosing a mattress for your new arrival is an important decision.

  • All our mattresses meet the highest possible standards of safety

  • None of our mattresses contain antimony, phosphorus or arsenic

  • All foam is non-allergenic and fire resistant

  • Choose a firm mattress and make sure it's always clean and dry


Foam beds


This is a good value mattress. It comes in a wide range of sizes, including Moses, crib and pram. Cot mattresses have an adjustable waterproof membrane.

Note that foam mattresses tend to need replacing every 2 years or so, due to breakdown and dipping.

Spring mattress

A spring core offers excellent support and durability within a cot mattress. Springs are often the preferred choice as they last longer than foam alone and provide better postural support through the different stages of a child’s development.

The John Lewis & Partners spring mattress uses a thick felt barrier layer, adding further comfort and longevity. The outer Breathex Plus layer is comprised of a three-dimensional fabric that aids breathing and air circulation. The other side is Permex – a waterproof yet vapour permeable fabric that’s ideal for children at toilet training age. This mattress comes with an Inner Care cover.

A spring mattress is more economical than foam when used with a cotbed, which is slept in for for 4-5 years.


Pocket spring mattress

Pocket springs are considered to be a superior choice to the mini bonnel springs found in the spring mattress.

Each spring within this mattress type is sealed in its own self-contained pocket. The springs move independently of one another, giving the mattress a greater ability to contour to baby’s body shape.

Over the lifespan of a pocket spring mattress, the postural support provided constantly changes and adapts to a child’s new shape and weight distribution. This mattress comes with an Inner Care cover.

The Baby & Child Dual Purpose pocket spring mattress

The Baby & Child dual purpose cot mattress is a truly innovative design and addresses the issues of postural support over the extended life of a cot bed mattress. It combines the benefits of pocket springs but with a soft and gentle side for an infant and firmer springs on the other side for a growing child.

Two spring cores are held in place by a high-density natural coir substrate, which adds strength and durability to the mattress and additional comfort for the child.

On average, a baby’s weight will triple within the first year. Ideally, firmer springs are required to give better support. We recommend that the mattress should be turned over at the one year point. This mattress comes with an Inner Care cover.



Adjustable waterproof membrane

Foam mattresses have an adjustable waterproof membrane, which can be placed to prevent fluids soiling the foam core.

Cool and dry

The fabrics in our Spring mattresses are vapour-permeable, which reduces the buildup of sweat. This keeps baby cool and dry, making for a better night’s sleep.


The advanced materials used in the Spring mattresses pass the stringent requirements of Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1. In addition, the design and construction of Spring mattresses limit the growth of fungi and dust mites, which are the main producers of allergens in a cot.

Inner Care

The Inner Care cover is a secondary non-removable cover. While the outer cover is in the wash, the Inner Care cover allows you to continue to use the mattress, protecting against little accidents.

Pocketed spring

Pocket Spring and Dual Purpose mattresses both use pocket springs. These springs move independently of each other and are considered more comfortable and more adaptable to a child’s body shape.

Removable cover

All our cot mattresses have removable washable covers, which can be washed at 60°C – the temperature at which dust mites are killed. It also reduces the prevalence of fungi and other potentially harmful pathogens.


All our cot mattresses can be used either side up, which helps to extend its life. Spring, Pocket Spring and Dual Purpose models have two types of sleeping surface. On one side there’s a lofted fabric that allows air to flow and is ideal for a baby. The other side has a water repellent yet vapour permeable advanced fabric for a growing child.

Water repellent

It’s always important to keep the core of the mattress free from bodily fluids as this can encourage harmful organisms to grow. All our cot mattresses have water-repellent covers or a waterproof membrane.

Wipe clean

Spring mattresses have a wipe-clean side, allowing for fluids to be cleaned quickly without having to wash the entire cover.



How to measure for a mattress

  • Measure the internal dimensions of the cot from end to end
  • Be sure to measure the base of the cot along the middle
  • Now measure the width from longest side to longest side, again along the middle of the base where the mattress will sit

Choose a mattress size that will leave a gap of less than 3cm between the edge and the sides of the cot, either on the width or the length. For example, if the inside measurements of your cot are 122cm x 61cm, then the smallest mattress you can safely have is 119cm x 58cm.


For a cot measuring 122cm x 61cm, we recommend a standard continental cot mattress size of 120cm x 60cm.

Room temperature guide at a glance








TOO HOT – Use a sheet only






JUST RIGHT – Use a sheet and two layers of blankets






TOO COLD – Use a sheet and four layers of blankets





Moses baskets and cribs


  • Check the basket regularly, particularly the handles for signs of wear and tear
  • Make sure that swinging cribs are locked when not in use or when your baby is left unattended
  • Always ensure all users follow safety information provided on individual products and in instructions when assembling nursery furniture


  • Use Moses baskets or cribs for babies old enough to pull themselves up

Cots and mattresses


  • Buy a cot that conforms to British or European safety standards
  • Check that the drop side is secure and can't be lowered by a child
  • Choose a durable, non-toxic finish
  • Choose a firm mattress and make sure it stays clean and dry
  • Make sure the mattress is the right size – there should not, at any point, be a gap of more than 3cm between the mattress edge and the cot
  • Always ensure all users follow safety information provided on individual products and in instructions when assembling nursery furniture


  • Use a worn, dirty or damp mattress
  • Stick decorative transfers and labels on the inside of the cot or anywhere else your baby can reach
  • Choose a mattress with handles, as they can trap your baby's hands or feet
  • Buy a second-hand mattress, as they can contain harmful pathogens. We recommend a new mattress for a second child.



  • Check the room temperature regularly – your baby should not be too hot or too cold
  • Use lightweight bedding in layers


  • Use a duvet if your baby is under 12 months, as they may overheat
  • Use a pillow if your baby is under 12 months


Storage is vital when you have a baby, as it’s surprising how many bits and pieces you’ll accumulate.

Which furniture pieces you choose will depend on the size of your nursery. You might like the idea of coordinating all your furniture, or choosing two or three key pieces such as drawers, a wardrobe and a changing unit.

A couple of things to note:

  • Do measure up before you order as you'll want your new piece of furniture to fit neatly into the room. A great way to check is to map out the space using newspaper, or mark out your floor with masking tape

  • Make sure you have enough space to walk around your furniture, open doors and drawers. Don't forget to allow space to open the drawers underneath a cot or junior bed