Babies use sleep to grow and absorb everything they learn about the world when they’re awake. This is why their comfort while asleep plays a huge role in their development. After all a fussy baby is not a happy baby and, as concerned parents, we can’t have that!
The crib and its mattress are some of the most important elements when it comes to your baby’s sleep because he or she spends a lot of time in there. For the first months of their lives, babies sleep about 18 hours a day and they should spend this time on a comfy surface that keeps them safe.
I also know that looking for a crib mattress can be boring, which is why I put together a detailed guide for new parents. By the end of this guide you’ll learn how to choose the mattress and why some features matter more (with babies we also have safety concerns).
Types of Mattresses
Most stores that sell crib mattresses support three types:
- Memory foam – lightweight and easy to clean. These mattresses come with different settings such as thickness, firmness, and responsiveness. I recommend getting a high-quality one that’s firm (denser foam) and responds fast. If the memory foam is too soft, there is a risk of suffocation for the baby.
- Innerspring mattresses – an inner structure of coils, padded with fabric and foam. This type of mattress is more responsive and firm, but its general quality depends on the gauge steel and cushioning.
- Organic materials – made with all-natural materials such as cotton, wool, natural latex, and more. Because of their structure, most parents prefer these mattresses, but they are also the most expensive products on the list.
If you want a more detailed approach, you can find more information on each of these baby cribs mattress types here.
Make sure to measure the crib before you go out shopping for a mattress! There shouldn’t be any gaps between the crib’s frame and mattress (to avoid any entrapment hazard).
Keep in mind: there are slight size variations between standards so make sure to check if the mattress you’re buying is the right size.
Check out the Firmness
This feature is not just for memory foam mattresses; it’s valid for any type of mattress you decide to buy. For a baby, the mattress must be firm and bouncy so it doesn’t trap them in a specific position. You should also consider getting a mattress covered with a breathable material, in the situation when the baby does get stuck with their face on the mattress.
Resiliency is Important
To test this features, push your hand down into the middle of the mattress and pay attention to how fast the surface gets back to normal. While this is a feature you usually see in memory foam mattresses, it’s also a way to test the softness of other types of surfaces. If you don’t see an immediate response, it means the mattress is too soft and you shouldn’t buy it.
Overall, a good mattress for your baby should be firm, responsive (bounce back fast), and produced in a chemical-free environment. You should always check to get the right size, and ask for materials that allow for air to flow easily.