Congratulations on your newest addition! How are you going to get him or her to sleep when the time comes?

Infants have special requirements for their mattresses. Although you want a comfortable bed for them, at first, you’re going to need to forget about just comfort and look at a few different must-haves for the newest member of your family. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite crib mattresses and answer some of your questions. Let’s take a look.

What Does My Infant Need?

Here’s are a few different considerations for the perfect mattress.

Firmness

Instead of focusing solely on comfort, you need to focus on support and breathability. A mattress needs to be rated for infants. Because any soft materials and surfaces that don’t remain completely flat just in case your infant rolls onto his or her stomach.

Your infant will probably be sleeping up to 18 hours, so he or she will spend a lot of time in the crib. You have two different options, foam and innerspring, but both will hold their shape well as long as they’re both rated for infants.

Materials

Both foam and innerspring mattresses are appropriate for cribs. Foam mattresses tend to be lighter than innersprings, but innerspring is often the firmest option. As long as the surface of the mattress doesn’t conform to your child’s head or face, the mattress is safer for infants.

Foam is also less noisy, so if you’re worried about your child being noise sensitive, foam is the best option. However, finding a foam infant mattress at a local store might be more difficult than an innerspring mattress.

The mattress should have some sort of flame resistant barrier, but if you want organic materials, there are options there. Some use wool layers or thistle blends, which are organic. Other types of materials certified by CertiPur-Us or Greenguard, which tells you that the mattress won’t have any harmful off-gassing or toxins.

Waterproof

You’re going to have spills. It’s inevitable that you’re going to get something on the mattress. The cover should be waterproof to prevent moisture from entering the core of the mattress. Otherwise, bacteria and mold can spread inside and cause allergies.

How Do I Choose?

You’ll want to choose your crib first so you know precisely what you’re working with. The measurements for cribs and crib mattresses are pretty standardized, but you want to make sure that you’ve got a mattress that fits ultra snugly into the crib so that there’s no space for the baby to get trapped.

Another consideration is ventilation. The sides of the mattress might have small plastic or metal rivets that allow more air to circulate through the center of the bed. It prevents mildew and mold from building up, but it also helps regulate the temperature of the mattress so your baby will sleep better.

Temperature is also critical because a well-regulated temperature can help reduce the risk of SIDS.

You shouldn’t purchase a used crib mattress or accept one from your well-meaning friends or family. Older crib mattresses may begin sagging far sooner than usual. A sagging mattress puts baby in danger of suffocation.

Also, older mattresses could harbor other smaller dangers. Mold and bacteria are enormous risks with used mattresses. Also, dust mites love used mattresses. For the health and safety of your child, it’s best if you invest the extra money into a new bed that you know will be adequately supportive and clean.

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How Do I Care For My Crib Mattress?

Your crib mattress is only rated to last between three and five years because of the type of mattress that it is. However, there are some things you can do to help your crib mattress go the distance.

It’s essential to use a waterproof liner between the sheet and the mattress itself. The mattress should be waterproof, but the liner can help prevent heavy soiling and make it easier to disinfect the mattress.

Some mattresses have two sides, one that’s firmer for newborns and a second side that’s a little bit softer for toddlers once the risk of SIDS has passed. If your mattress is dual-sided, make sure that you have it on the proper side for your child.

If it’s one-sided, you can rotate the mattress semi-regularly to help it wear evenly. Change the sheets for the crib regularly as well to prevent build-up of common allergens and prevent dust mites.

Never use crib bumpers or blankets when your child is a newborn. These cut down on ventilation, a critical part of sleep safety for newborns. If the crib mattress is foam, make sure it’s open-celled so that it’s as breathable as possible. If it’s innerspring, small ventilation holes on the side help circulate air flow.

When Do I Change To A Regular Mattress?

Crib mattresses often fit toddler beds, but make sure that your child has a regular bed by the time they’re five or so. Crib mattresses slowly lose support, which can have detrimental effects on your child’s sleep.

The firm surface of the crib mattress is the most important part of newborn sleep, but once your child is beyond the toddler years, they’ll need contouring. A newborn’s mattress should never contour because if they manage to turn themselves onto their stomach, they can suffocate. Elementary age children are strong enough to adjust so that they don’t suffocate. Instead, they’ll need a mattress that begins to relieve pressure points, discourage tossing and turning, and keep their spine aligned.

Best Crib/Newborn Mattresses

Here are our recommendations for a crib mattress that will be safe, adequately supportive, and last through the infant years until your child finally gets their big kid bed.

Newton – Best Overall

Newton’s crib mattress is a simple system designed to provide maximum airflow and be as easy as possible to clean. The interior is made of food-grade polymer fibers, which allow the most airflow possible.

Studies show that poor circulation and overheating are considerable contributors to SIDS. Even if your baby manages to turn themselves over to their stomach, they can still breathe through the fibers of the interior of the mattress, giving you time to correct the situation. It also redistributes heat throughout the mattress, so it dissipates safely.

The cover is removable and machine washable (hang it out to dry). You can also wash the core of the mattress in the bathtub with soap and water. Just shake out the excess and stand it up to dry completely.

It’s designed to fit very snugly in standard sized cribs. There are no glues or foams, so it’s easier on your child’s respiratory system. It’s also 100% recyclable when your child upgrades to a big kid bed.

You have 100 nights for your baby to sleep on the mattress before deciding if it’s the right one. This gives you some time to purchase and set up the mattress before baby is born but still have enough time actually to use the mattress.

You’re protected with a limited lifetime warranty. If the mattress shows any defects, Newton will replace it for free. You must be the original owner; another reason to buy new!

The mattress weighs just 11 pounds and comes in a variety of cover colors. The cover materials themselves are breathable materials, and you can order extras through the website as well.

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Naturepedic – Runner Up

Naturapedic specializes in organic mattresses for cribs, toddlers, and adults. They offer both innerspring and foam varieties. None of their mattresses use harmful chemicals or have any off-gassing, so your child’s respiratory system won’t be harmed.

The surface of some of the mattresses has a patented waterproof system that prevents heavy soiling from reaching the interior of the mattress. The interior of the mattresses use materials like organic cotton batting, natural wool, and industrial grade steel springs for support.

The mattress is very breathable and helps regulate your baby’s body temperature. Airflow is kept to the maximum with spaced springs in the interior while the larger wool fibers prevent over compression that can lead to heat buildup.

Some of their models do not have the waterproofing and will require a waterproof pad or mattress protector. Naturepedic also makes protectors designed to maximize airflow and work with the temperature regulation of Naturepedic mattresses.

The mattresses fit snugly into standard sized cribs. Some are dual sided so that they grow with your baby into the toddler years until they’re ready for a bigger bed.

The return policy will depend on where you purchase your Naturepedic mattress. We recommend Amazon because of their excellent customer service and customer protections. Naturepedic does offer a limited lifetime warranty for mattress defects. It covers abnormal wear and tear not related to accidental soiling or improper use.

Honorable Mention

Here are a few of our recommendations based on some specific criteria. If you fit into one of these situations, you might find these mattresses a better fit.

Sealy Soybean – Best All Foam Mattress

If you’re worried about the noise from an innerspring mattress, but can’t quite stomach the price of the Newton, Sealy’s natural foam mattress might be a good choice. The foam is ultra quiet and very supportive.

It uses a soybean-derived foam core with no phthalates, formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals found in many traditional foam mattresses. There are material pockets on the side to allow air flow into the core of the bed to prevent moisture and heat buildup. The cover is completely waterproof. It does have a slightly plasticky feel, but for a newborn, this further prevents any contouring around the face and head if they happen to turn over on their stomach.

It’s designed to fit snugly into standard-sized cribs and fit most standard sized sheets. The return policy depends on your provider, but once again, we recommend Amazon for its excellent customer service.

It comes with a lifetime limited warranty for mattress defects including torn seams and sagging outside of natural wear and tear. Make sure your mattress is adequately supported and that you are the original purchaser of the mattress.

It’s a slightly smaller investment than the mattresses above with the average cost hovering around $100 depending on your provider.

Nook Sleep Pebble Pure Mini – Best For Compact Cribs

If you’re a fan of small living, that full-sized crib might not fit your lifestyle. Mini cribs are adorable and space saving, but if you buy a standard sized crib, you’ll be disappointed.

Nook Sleep Systems have an organic mattress designed to fit compact cribs. The measurements are 38x24x3, so double check your mini crib so that it’s the right one. The cover materials are natural Eucalyptus and organic cotton. They’re breathable and naturally antibacterial.

The core uses coconut coir, a sustainable and non-toxic material that provides firm support for your newborn. Natural wool layers provide a flame retardant property without nasty chemicals. The natural fibers help wick moisture and heat away from your baby’s body and redistribute it throughout the mattress, so the surface stays cool.

It’s an all in one sleep system with a washable cover. You don’t need a pad or sheets. This makes Nook one of the most breathable systems out there.

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It comes in a variety of colors to match your decor. The return policy will depend on your seller, but Nook does provide a limited lifetime warranty for mattress defects. Make sure you are the original purchaser and that you have appropriately supported the mattress. Warranty doesn’t include damage related to soiling.

Bonus! 5 Little Monkeys Twin Mattress – Best For Big Brother Or Sister

Many of you are having your second child, and that means kicking big brother or sister out of the crib for good. You could buy a toddler bed and use their old crib mattress, but we recommend upgrading them to their very first big kids bed.

5 Little Monkeys’ mattresses are built for kids. It uses three layers of memory foam to contour and support your older child’s growing body and foster healthy sleeping habits. The water-resistant cover material helps make cleanup easy. It’s removable and machine washable.

The comfort layer of foam is open cell foam for breathability while the middle layer is an adaptive foam with phase change gel. This prevents heat from building up in the core of the mattress, so your older kid doesn’t toss and turn to look for a cool spot.

The bottom layer is responsive memory foam that rebounds quickly but helps support your child’s spine and joints. It also produces a cradling effect that helps discourage tossing and turning so that your child sleeps more deeply through the night. The base layer strengthens edge support and structural integrity for the mattress.

It provides excellent combination support for kids who don’t stay in the same position all night. As your child changes position, the mattress retains its support and gently eases your child into a comfortable position. It’s an excellent system that considers your child’s changing body, changing sleep habits, and helps ease some of your top issues with child bedding.

The removable cover alone is an excellent way to alleviate some of your main issues. If your child is currently potty training, it might be scary to move them to a regular mattress, but with the removable cover combined with some of 5 Little Monkey’s other products such as the pillow and mattress protector.

You can update your older child’s entire system to allow your newest addition to using your beloved crib in one swoop. Your child has 100 nights to sleep on the mattress before deciding if it’s the right one. Allow your child to sleep on the mattress at least a few weeks os that the mattress breaks in and your child adjusts.

You’re also covered by a 15-year limited warranty against mattress defects. Make sure that the bed is supported correctly so that you don’t accidentally void the mattress warranty. They have a payment plan available on their website, so you don’t have to shoulder the cost of the bundle all at once while you’re investing in other bundles.

Our Final Thoughts

Crib mattresses can be confusing to shop for because they’re so different than shopping for your own mattress. It’s critical that you purchase a mattress that matches the unique needs of your newborn.

The mattress needs to be firm so that your child doesn’t suffocate if he or she accidentally turns over to the stomach. Wait to get contouring and comfort layers for your older child’s changing sleep needs.

It needs to be breathable and allow air to circulate so that temperature regulates better. Hot babies have a higher chance of breathing issues that can lead to SIDS, so this temperature regulation is critical.

And don’t forget your older child if you have one. Likely, their sleep situation is changing too, so continue to encourage healthy sleep habits now.

Tell us, is this your first child? How are your preparations coming along?

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