Why is the mattress important?
Let’s be real. You’re pregnant, you’re embarking on this new journey into parenthood and you’ve been doing your research online, asking friends, colleagues, your mom, etc. You’ve learned so much scouring the web late at night, but now have a list as long as an ancient scroll with “recommendations” and”must-haves” – IT’S OVERWHELMING! How do you decide where to put your budget, where you can save, what matters most and what do you “absolutely-can’t-live-without-it” actually need.
We’ve discovered, after chatting with many families in our retail store, that crib mattresses are often one of those items that fall into the grey area of needs vs wants. Is it really worth it to get the organic mattress with all the bells and whistles or can you get by with an inexpensive one? Keep in mind that your baby will spend upwards of 18 hours/day in their crib at times….
We’ll, we’ve done our research too, and have compiled a list of our favorite crib mattresses based on our customers’ feedback and online sources.
What’s in a mattress?
You’re diving into the world of crib mattresses – but what should you look for? What’s important to you? Many factors go into crib mattress selection and we based our recommendations on these factors:
- Firmness: To put it simply, mattresses all vary with how they are constructed on the inside, and that will greatly affect how firm (or soft) they are. They can be made of many layers, or one solid slab. You’ll want to get one on the firmer side, with minimizes the chances of the mattress molding to your baby’s head and body, and causing a suffocation hazard while sleeping. A firmer mattress will help reduce your risk of SIDS.
- Waterproof: Not all mattresses are waterproof but it’s something that comes in very handy. Your baby will spit up or have “blow outs” while in their bed and you don’t want bacteria or germs to soak into the fabric. If the mattress itself is not waterproof, you can often get a cover separately to protect it. Keep an eye on the labels though – because often times, waterproof materials can contain PVC/vinyl, phthalates, lead or antimicrobial biocides.
- Fit/Size: This is important as you need your mattress to fit snugly in your crib. By law, all crib mattresses must measure 27 1/4″ x 51 5/8″ and be no more than 6′ thick. Many mattresses will have rounded corners and that might create a gap in your crib. It’s highly recommended that you go visit a local store (if you can) that carries crib mattresses in stock and see how they fit in a crib. You should not be able to fit more than 2 fingers between the mattress and the crib.
- Materials/Quality: What your mattress is made of is incredibly important. These can vary from the highest quality organic materials/fabrics to very inexpensive products. Make sure you always check the label and know what’s in your mattress. Keep in mind that lower quality mattresses with vinyl coverings can often dry out, leading to cracks and tears in your mattress. If you plan on using it for either future babies, or to transition to a toddler bed, you’ll want it to last and keep it’s shape.
- Cost: This is a factor that is very important to many families. Budget can often help determine or guide your decision. Generally, a less expensive mattress, made with lower quality materials, will be flimsier and softer, creating a hazard for your child. For many, finding a balance between cost and quality is key. [According to Consumer Reports, a mattress that costs between $90 and $200 would be a good choice for your baby and your family.]
- Convertability: If you’re anything like me, you want your mattress to not only last through several children, but you want it to be suitable for both the baby and toddler phase. You want it to provide firmer support for your infants, when it’s the most important for them while sleeping on their backs, but also want to provide comfort to your toddler as they transition out of their toddler bed. There are several crib mattress brands on the market that offer 2 sided mattresses giving you the best of both worlds.
- Safety: This goes without saying that the safety of your child when in their crib is of the utmost importance. You want non-toxic materials. You want it to be sturdy enough that it won’t flip or cave when your child begins to stand on it. You need it to be firm enough to provide a safe sleeping surface without a suffocation risk. You need it to fit correctly in your crib so your child can’t become trapped between the gaps. You want it to be clean. [If possible, always buy your mattress new – don’t get a second hand mattress. You don’t know what types of germs may be lingering from a previous mess that went uncleaned or undiscovered.]
Types of Crib Mattresses
There are 2 major types of crib mattresses, but I like to consider 2-sided mattresses their own category. Here’s a breakdown:
- Innerspring Crib Mattresses: Innerspring mattresses are more traditional in the sense that it’s most likely the style of mattress you grew up with. They have a core of springs or coils in the center. These coils can come in different shapes and sizes,they can be wound more tightly and the number of coils can vary. All these factors will affect the overall firmness and comfort of the mattress – essentially the more coils/layers you have, the more comfortable and supportive your mattress will be. Those coils are then surrounded by a layer of padding, typically polyurethane or cotton batting, and the entire mattress is then covered with a top layer that is often quilted. The pattern of the quilt will affect the general feel of the mattress. A large or wide pattern will feel softer and less firm than a tighter and smaller pattern.Innerspring crib mattress will tend to be heavier than the foam core alternative. This is something to consider when you’re having to switch out your sheets!
- Foam Crib Mattresses: Foam crib mattress have been a favorite for a long time for several reasons. They’re lightweight and a high quality foam will not mold to your infant’s body, keeping them safer when sleeping. You can find them in a variety of densities, which will affect their firmness and often come 2-sided. These are generally made of polyurethane.
- 2-Sided Crib Mattresses: When you see a mattress being described as “2-sided” what that means is that one side of the mattress will be firmer and intended for newborns/infants, while the other side will be slightly softer and designed for toddlers to provide additional comfort as they get older. Both innerspring mattresses and foam mattresses can be 2-sided.
Baby Logic’s TOP 7 Crib Mattresses
OK, now that you know all about crib mattresses, the types available to you, and what to look for, here are our TOP 7 choices and our reasons why we love them!
- Best Organic: Organic Cotton Classic Seamless Lightweight Mattress by Naturpedic
- Best Budget Friendly: KRUMMELUR Crib Mattress by Ikea
- Best Breathable: Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress by Nook Sleep
- Best 2-Stage/2-Sided: Ultra Dual-Sided Premium Crib Mattress by Graco
- Best Lightweight: Healthy Support Waterproof Crib Mattress by Lullaby Earth
- Best Eco-Friendly:Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress with Smart Cover
- Best Innerspring: Baby Firm Crib Mattress by Sealy
Organic Cotton Classic Seamless Lightweight Mattress by Naturpedic
Why we love it: The Classic Seamless Lightweight mattress is made of organic cotton and fill, it’s waterproof (thanks to a non-GMO sugarcane coating)and does not contain ANY flame retardants, phthalates, vinyl, PFCs or polyurethane. Their patented wavesupport™ offers firm support for your baby while keeping the mattress lightweight. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for your family.
BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY
KRUMMELUR Crib Mattress by Ikea
Why we love it: Ikea is known for quality products at affordable prices. They offer several crib mattresses (starting at $40!) but the Krummelur Crib mattress has a great multi-layer inner foam core and is free of harmful chemicals. It meets all the safety guidelines so your baby (and you) sleep well at night.
Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress by Nook Sleep
Why we love it: So many reasons! The Breeze Breathable Crib mattress comes in a multitude of colors, no sheet is necessary (the cover zips off for easy cleaning), it’s made of non-toxic and organic materials, it weighs only 7lbs AND it’s breathable! Phew! Its cover is made of their 3D SafeSleep Breathe-Thru Technology™ which increases air flow surrounding your baby keeping them extra safe while sleeping.
BEST 2-SIDED (2-STAGE)
Ultra Dual-Sided Premium Crib Mattress by Graco
Why we love it: The Ultra Dual-Sided Premium Crib mattress comes at a great price-point that won’t break the bank AND it grows with your child. One side is firm for your infant while the other side provides additional comfort for the toddler phase. It has a removable/washable waterproof cover and comes in a compact BOX!
Healthy Support Waterproof Crib Mattress by Lullaby Earth
Why we love it: The Healthy Support Waterproof Crib mattress weighs in at ONLY 7 LBS, making swapping out sheets a dream. It’s also made of food-grade polyethylene and polyester, keeping it safe and non-toxic for baby. It’s waterproof (always a bonus) and features a firm surface with reinforced edges to keep your toddler safe as they begin stand in their crib.The inside core isn’t your traditional foam either – picture foam waves surround by non-toxic waterproof sheeting.
Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress with Smart Cover
Why we love it: The Babyletto Pure Core Crib mattress not only provides your baby with a safe and comfortable night’s sleep giving you peace of mind, but you can sleep well also knowing what’s inside! It is made of non-toxic polyester core with a breathable water repellant cover. This mattress is vegan and is free of all chemicals and additives like vinyl, PVC, dyes, allergens and phthalates. As an added bonus, the cover comes off easy and can be washed when needed.
Baby Firm Crib Mattress by Sealy
Why we love it: The Baby Firm Crib mattress keeps baby’s safety in mind with its 204 innerspring coils system, full perimeter border wire and distribution bars to prevent sagging. It’s firm (just like you want) and features an antibacterial waterproof cover that helps prevent germs and mold from growing on your sleeping surface.