The Naturalmat Coco Mat crib mattress has received a tonne of accolades and recognition over the years. Parents (or, at least, parenting media) seem to love it. Just a few of the awards its received:
- Best Natural Product (Silver), 2017 Mother & Baby Awards
- Best Cot Mattress (Silver), 2016 Best Baby & Toddler Gear Awards
In an industry that’s becoming increasingly competitive (the organic crib mattress industry, that is), we were excited to find out what all the buzz is about.
So we rolled up our sleeves to learn more about this organic crib mattress.
What’s Inside the Naturalmat Coco Mat Crib Mattress?
If you dug inside the Naturalmat Coco Mat, you’d find a pretty simple “ingredients” list: organic coconut coir, organic lambswool, and cotton.
Organic Coconut Coir For the Win
Coconut coir (pronounced like core) is a natural fibre made from coconut husks. The husks are processed into a durable and surprisingly versatile fibre that is used in gardening, rope, door mats, and more.
Natural crib mattress manufacturers are increasingly looking to coir, because it has so many pros, without many cons.
A Coconut Crib Mattress? Why Coconut Coir is A Popular Choice for Natural Crib Mattresses
The nature of coconut coir makes it an excellent choice for mattress filling. Some of its benefits are listed below:
- Coir is relatively water resistant, which is especially important in a baby mattress. Moist mattresses are a magnet for bacterial and mold growth, so getting a crib mattress that’s naturally moisture resistant is a good choice. It’s also moth-proof and anti-fungal.
- Coconut mattresses are breathable, allowing great airflow. This is great for preventing bacteria, but it’s also good for temperature regulation (which is important in preventing SIDS). Coir is generally good at keep your baby cool, unlike more commonly used mattress materials, like polyurethane foam / memory foam.
- Coir is relatively flame retardant; it isn’t easily combustible. While the Naturalmat Coco Mat doesn’t rely on coir for fire proofing (the wool batting serves that purpose), it doesn’t hurt. The flame retardant chemicals used in mattresses are increasingly under the consumer and scientific microscope for being dangerous to human health. The Naturalmat Coco Mat doesn’t use any of these!
- Coir is durable, and will retain its shape for a long time. It’s also quite resilient, and will spring back after compressing it. For a full-size crib mattress, that means you’ll probably be able to use the mattress for the first 5 years of your baby’s life, until they no longer fit in a toddler bed.
- Coir is relatively sustainable. When coir is harvested, 100% of the coconut is used. Additionally, Naturalmat sources organic coconuts only: important for protecting biodiversity in the growing area.
Because it’s such a great material for making crib mattresses, you’ll find a lot of companies starting to incorporate coconut coir into their designs. The Brentwood Home Wildfern, the Emily Natural Crib Mattress, and the Nook Pebble Pure are some others that use coconut!
How is Coconut Husk Made into a Mattress?
If you’re wondering how Naturalmat takes a coconut and makes it into a mattress…
“The husk is strilled, soaked, dried, and twisted to create a miniature coil and then pressed into sheets of springy fibre that are simply perfect for mattresses.”Naturalmat
If you cut open your Naturalmat Coco Mat crib mattress (definitely don’t do this), it would look like this:
You can see how the coconut coir forms a mat.
Interestingly, mattresses tend to use the brown husks of mature coconuts. As part of the husk-to-coir processing, the finished “coils” are typically sprayed with either natural or synthetic latex.
Naturalmat uses natural latex in this step – another way they avoid pumping chemicals into your baby’s mattress.
Lamb’s Wool Offers A Range of Benefits
The Coco Mat’s coconut coir filling is wrapped in organic lambs’ wool batting.
As with the coconut coir (which is sourced from an organic farm in Sri Lanka), Naturalmat is transparent about where they source their wool. It all comes from within 50 miles of the Naturalmat HQ, from organic farms around Devon, Dorset, and Somerset, England. In addition to “sourcing local” to cut down on fossil fuels related to materials transportation, Naturalmat sources from Soil Association Certified farms (a UK certification related to organic farming).
With its use of organic lambswool, the Coco Mat definitely isn’t vegan. If you want a vegan crib mattress for your baby that also uses coconut fibre, check out the Brentwood Home Wildfern.
However, the use of lambs’ wool does come with benefits.
Benefits of a Lambs’ Wool Crib Mattress for Your Baby
The most obvious benefit of wrapping the coconut inner core in wool batting is comfort. The wool adds a bit of plushness to the mattress, without sacrificing the firm mattress a baby needs to sleep safely.
Add to that, wool is a great temperature regulator. In summer, it keeps you cool. In winter, it keeps you warm. This is one of the reasons merino wool clothing is so popular: it breathes, it insulates, and it’s soft – pretty much everything you might want for a baby (or yourself).
Wool is also a great textile from a health and safety perspective. It’s a natural fire retardant, eliminating the need for the chemical fire retardants you probably want to avoid.
Add to that, wool is anti-dust mite. This is helpful if you have a family history of dust allergies or asthma, and want to keep mites out of your baby’s bedding.
Organic Unbleached Cotton for the Top
Cotton can be fairly problematic from an environmental perspective. It’s water intensive, and the pesticides used can be dangerous for the environment and for people.
Naturalmat has done a good job at mitigating these issues by using unbleached, un-dyed cotton. This is yet another way this mattress keeps hidden chemicals away from your baby (and lessens the mattresses’ impact on the environment).
Interestingly, Naturalmat doesn’t specify if the cotton is organically or conventionally grown. They also don’t share where the cotton is sourced from. For a company that is so transparent about other things, we have to ask: why not?
The cover also has an “OEKO-TEX® certified hypoallergenic treatment” to prevent pests. Unfortunately, Naturalmat doesn’t specify which OEKO-TEX® certification the cover has, so it’s hard to draw useful information from this as a consumer.
Back to some good news – the cotton cover is removable and washable. Naturalmat recommends washing it at 140°F / 60°C to kill dust mites, as mites die at 135°F / 57°C.
Is the Coco Mat Crib Mattress Waterproof?
This mattress isn’t waterproof. While that’s going to be a huge con in many parents’ minds, it’s worth a bit of explanation.
Although the mattress isn’t waterproof, it’s also 100% plastic free. No polyethylene terephthalate or other types of plastic.
Thing is, you can’t have it both ways in the plastic-free vs. waterproof department. So far as we’ve found, you have to choose one or the other.
Naturalmat’s solution to this is offering a removable waterproof crib mattress protector. We think this is a great solution, because parents are able to choose, based on their own values and preferences for their babies.
What About the Crib Mattress Protector?
Naturalmat sells their crib mattress protector separate from the mattress. That way you can decide if you want to include polyurethane in your baby’s crib, or if you’d prefer to stick to the all-natural (but not waterproof) route.
If you’re considering buying it, here’s what you need to know.
The Naturalmat mattress protector has three layers: an outer layer of organic brushed cotton on each side (making up 85% of the product), sandwiching a thin polyurethane (PU) layer on the inside (making up 15% of the product).
You might know polyurethane as pleather (or vegan leather). PU has a few pros and cons worth considering as a parent. The biggest concern about PU is it isn’t flame resistant, and flame retardants may be added during manufacturing. Naturalmat doesn’t say either way whether they PU they use is free-from flame retardant chemicals.
On the plus side, PU is a bit greener than PVC (vinyl), both in terms of production and after-care. This is because it doesn’t need plasticizers during manufacturing, and it does degrade over time.
Beyond the PU layer, the mattress protector uses GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified and Soil Association Certified Organic cotton.
Naturalmat Coco Mat Crib Mattress Summary
What’s to Love
- The Coco Mat is firm and intended for newborns and up. It provides the firmness very young babies need to sleep safely.
- Naturalmat uses high quality materials with a view on breathability, heat regulation, mold-prevention, and pest-prevention.
- This is one of the rare organic crib mattresses that doesn’t have some sort of plastic in it. While competitors often use “food grade” plastic of some sort, the Coco Mat doesn’t use any!
- Naturalmat uses natural latex to bond the coconut coir. Some manufacturers use synthetic latex, so if they don’t specify it’s worth asking.
- There aren’t any glues used in this mattress – glues are another source of potentially-harmful chemicals.
- Naturalmat makes all their mattresses in England, and has great sourcing practices. They source their coir from an organic coconut farm in Sri Lanka, and their wool batting from a 50-mile radius around Naturalmat’s offices!
- Yes, this mattress is expensive. If you’re on the fence, consider looking at is an amortized course over the 5 years your baby will sleep on it. $424 over 5 years equals $84.80 per year. If you have the money, this seems well worth it to keep your kid off the chemicals of a conventional mattress.
What We’d Change
- We’d like more information and transparency from Naturalmat about the “OEKO-TEX® certified hypoallergenic treatment” on the mattresses’ cotton cover. Without knowing which OEKO-TEX® the cover received, it’s hard to make useful conclusions.
- Naturalmat is happily transparent about where they source their coir and wool, and the fact that it is all organic. We love that, but wish their was more info about their cotton sourcing. Worth mentioning here: the optional waterproof mattress protector uses organic cotton. It makes sense the mattress itself would as well, but the company hasn’t explicitly said so (as far as we can see).
- Before purchasing the waterproof mattress cover, we think it’s fair that parents should know whether the PU used is treated with chemical flame retardants.