Putting your baby to sleep is just half the battle. The other half is getting them to sleep for longer, if not throughout the night.
Experts recommend different strategies to help babies sleep through the night. These include shortening daytime naps, establishing bedtime routines, and avoiding diaper changes in the wee hours. A newborn sleeping through the night helps you get your sleep in, too.
There’s another useful tip that is often neglected: providing a cozy resting surface. If your baby is comfortable, they’re less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
To help you out, we’ve scoured the web and compiled a list of the best baby mattresses. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you find a suitable mattress for your little one.
Factors to consider when looking for a crib mattress
There are a few things you should consider before purchasing a crib mattress. These include:
The 3 main types of baby mattresses are:
This is the traditional type of mattress you’re used to seeing in the market. It’s equipped with steel coils, which are responsible for its sturdiness and resilience. Right above the coils, the mattress will be fitted with several layers of cushioning materials that could range from foam to cotton and polyester.
Should you decide to go for an innerspring mattress, there are 2 factors you’ll want to pay attention to: the number of steel coils and coil thickness. The higher the number of coils, the firmer a mattress is. With regards to thickness, baby mattresses with a low coil count tend to be thicker.
However, it’s important to note that innerspring mattresses are pricey and heavy. The weight may become problematic if you have to change your baby’s crib sheets every other night.
Constructed using polyurethane (a type of foam resin), these mattresses are more popular for several reasons. For one, they’re very light, making it easy to tuck in bedsheets. They’re also highly durable and not as expensive as their innerspring counterparts. That said, it can be difficult to determine how resilient and firm a foam mattress is.
If you have a chance, test the mattress firmness by pressing your hand against the top surface. Examine how fast or slow it takes to regain its shape. A mattress that does so faster is preferable.
You’ll also want to go for a higher-density mattress as this means it’s firmer. Denser mattresses typically weigh more than low-density ones.
If a mattress is described as double-side, dual-sided, or two-stage, it means the level of firmness on the top side differs from that on the bottom. More specifically, it has 1 side with a firmer surface (perfect for newborns and infants) and another side that is softer. The latter is ideal for toddlers who are still using a convertible toddler bed.
If you opt for a dual-sided mattress, be mindful of the side your baby lies on. If they’re still in the infant stage, then ensure they’re sleeping on the firmer surface.
Though we’ve touched on this factor, it’s important to re-emphasize it. The golden rule here is to purchase the best baby crib mattress that is extra firm. As a parent, your first thought might be that such a mattress will be uncomfortable for your little one, but the contrary is actually true.
A firm mattress provides the best form of support for your baby’s developing bones. Plus, research shows that getting your baby to rest on a firm surface helps minimize their risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
3. Size and fit
The next most crucial factor to consider when looking for the best baby mattress is size. Given how important your tot’s safety is, the guidelines for baby mattress size are listed under federal regulations.
According to these guidelines, the mattress ought to be at least 51 ¼ inches long and 27 ¼ inches wide so that it can fit snugly in a standard-size crib. Moreover, its thickness shouldn’t exceed 6 inches.
While you’re checking the size, you’ll also want to examine how snugly the mattress fits in the crib. Ideally, there shouldn’t be a gap of more than ½ inch on the sides. If you can fit more than 2 fingers on any of the sides of the crib and mattress, the gap is too big and poses a risk.
These guidelines are all fine and dandy for parents with regular-sized cribs, but what if you have a round or mini crib? According to the law, non-standard cribs ought to be sold with their mattresses included. This saves you from the hassle of purchasing a mattress separately.
Babies nap for anywhere between 12 and 18 hours a day. This means that they spend at least half of their 1st year in their cribs. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure that they’re resting in an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible.
For this reason, pay attention to the materials used to make the mattress. If you can go all out and purchase an organic baby mattress, that’s great. Such mattresses don’t contain any synthetic materials, making them a safer option.
Just to be sure, check whether the mattress has a certification from either Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
Use the following checklist to ensure that your baby mattress provides a safe resting surface for your munchkin:
- Steer clear of hand-me-downs. It’s always better to invest in a brand-new baby mattress. Second-hand mattresses bring with them certain risks, such as the presence of mold and bacteria.
- Place your baby on their back. Whenever you’re placing your baby on the mattress, have them lie on their back. This mitigates the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Consult your pediatrician before flipping the mattress. If you’re using a dual-sided mattress, don’t flip it until you get the green light from your pediatrician.
- Keep your toddler’s mattress clean. To safeguard your baby’s health, you’ll want to keep the mattress clean. This means washing the mattress cover and bedsheets at least 1 to 2 times a week.
Reviews of the best baby mattresses
Wondering what kind of mattress to get for your baby nursery? Here are a few highly-recommended options:
1. Newton baby crib mattress bundle
If you’re looking for the best breathable baby mattress, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Newton baby crib mattress.
It features Newton’s proprietary Breathe-Thru technology, which allows air to circulate freely. In addition, it comes with a detachable dual-layer cover that’s designed using mesh fabric for maximum breathability.
We’ll be the first to admit that the Newton baby mattress is expensive. Still, its price is justified if you consider the quality. Besides, it comes not only with a detachable cover but also a premium-quality set of organic muslin cotton sheets.
2. Graco premium foam crib & toddler mattress
While no crib mattress can claim to be perfect, the Graco premium foam model comes pretty close. It has a nice selection of features and is way more affordable than the Newton baby mattress.
One of its highlights is its firmness level. It provides just the right amount of resistance an infant needs to develop strong muscles, yet it’s not so firm as to be uncomfortable.
Worried about your toddler’s safety? You don’t need to as this mattress is backed by a GREENGUARD Gold certification. It means that it’s been tested for more than 10,000 toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and found to be completely safe.
The removable cover that comes with this crib mattress is a fantastic addition. It’s water-resistant and machine-washable, which makes for easy maintenance.
3. Dream On Me 3″ extra firm crib mattress
Whether you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean for the festive season or hanging out at grandma’s, one thing holds true: your baby needs a safe and cozy resting spot. On that note, the Dream On Me mattress is the most portable baby crib mattress.
This mattress is 38 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 3 inches high and weighs just 2.5 pounds, making it easy to carry around. We also like that it has a square corner design that allows it to fit snugly in cribs.
Unlike other mattresses that come in 1 solid color, this one lets you choose from 4 colors: white, grey, blue mist, and periwinkle.
4. Sealy Baby Flex Cool toddler & baby crib mattress
If you’re hell-bent on purchasing an innerspring model, the Sealy Baby Flex Cool is the ultimate baby mattress for a crib.
It’s filled with at least 204 coils, resulting in an ultra-firm surface that’s ideal for newborns and infants. Better yet, it is a 2-stage mattress, meaning it has a softer side, which is perfect for toddlers.
In addition to the mattress, you’ll also get a mattress cover, which is why the bundle is a bit expensive. This mattress pad is an excellent addition as it’s not only stain-resistant but also 100% waterproof.
5. Naturepedic breathable organic crib mattress
Yes, organic baby mattresses are pricey, but they’re also one of the safest alternatives as they’re made solely from natural ingredients.
If you’re looking for the best organic baby bed mattress, Naturepedic’s offer is just the thing you need. It doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals, and it even has a certification from the Made Safe organization to prove this.
The mattress is also dual-sided, meaning it’s suitable for both infants and toddlers. It’s breathable, too, thanks to the 3D mesh surface provided by the mattress pad.
6. Delta Children Emery crib + Serta dual-sided mattress
If you’ve been looking to purchase a baby crib with a mattress, then the Delta Children Emery bundle is just what you need. The package contains a convertible crib and the Serta Perfect Slumber double-sided mattress.
What we like about these 2 items is that they both grow with your baby. The crib seamlessly transforms into a toddler bed and then a full-size bed with a headboard.
The height of the mattress can be adjusted at 3 levels. This way, you can lower it as your little one starts to sit or stand independently.
Moreover, the mattress comes fitted with a waterproof vinyl cover that’s super easy to clean.
7. Bubble Bear Premium foam crib mattress
If you’re working on a shoestring budget, the Bubble Bear Premium is among the more affordable baby mattresses.
Measuring 52×27.6×5 inches, it can comfortably fit in a standard crib or toddler bed. Plus, it has border wires that enable the mattress to retain its shape and form.
Bubble Bear’s vibrant color scheme is another impressive feature. The version we’re reviewing here includes some funny cartoon graphics that will definitely amuse your little one.
There are a few things you should keep in mind before purchasing a baby mattress. These include factors such as type, level of firmness, size, fit, and materials used in its construction.
On that note, the Graco premium foam mattress is a pretty good option. It has a very firm surface, meaning it’s suitable for newborns and infants. It comes in an ideal size as it can fit into any toddler bed or standard-size crib. Plus, it sports a price tag that’s really hard to beat.