Crib Mattresses – A Guide

We finally purchased a mattress for the crib after countless hours of stress and confusion. As I’ve mentioned, the world of Baby is a complicated one, filled with gear of inexplicable value and an entirely new language.

Mattresses were my first foray into that world.

Luckily, my Sister-in-Law, the same one who recommended The Ultimate Crib Sheet, came to the rescue once again with a book that has been invaluable when circumnavigating all this baby stuff!

I would HIGHLY recommend that any parent purchase this book – whether it’s your first child or not. The book may be titled Baby Bargains, but its not really a guide for getting gear for cheap. It’s actually more of a guide for getting the best quality products – no matter the cost. They have a ranking system that includes price, certainly, but it also includes durability, company reputation, and environmental safety among other things. This book, combined with The Complete Organic Pregnancy, have been life savers, helping stave off the migraines and keep the stress at bay!

The Key Things I’ve Learned when Looking for a Crib Mattress:

  • Firmness – Because of the risk of SIDS, the firmer the mattress, the better. This can change when you make the switch to a toddler bed, and many crib mattresses come with a 2-in-1 component – flip the mattress for a softer, toddler-friendly option.
  • Thickness – Make sure crib sheets fit very snugly. Mattresses vary in thickness from 4-6 inches, and some sheets won’t fit a 6 inch mattress. Again, there’s a risk of SIDS if the sheets don’t fit properly.
  • Mattress Size – The mattress should fit into the crib with no more than 2 fingers width of room on all sides. Most mattresses come in a standard size, so this is typically not a problem.
  • Foam or Coil – This is a personal preference. However, foam mattresses are lighter, making midnight sheet changes much easier. For example, foam mattresses hover around 8lbs, while coil can run up to 20 or 30 pounds! Foam mattresses are generally less expensive, as well. Keep in mind that many large chain baby stores stock a majority of coil mattresses – you may be better off buying online.
  • Cost  – In the case of mattresses, many times you get what you pay for. Cheap foam mattresses may be light weight and low cost, but will also not take much wear and tear, and may contain harmful chemicals. Same goes for coil.
  • Chemicals – Conventional mattresses contain dangerous chemicals, whether foam or coil. It’s possible to purchase a crib mattress that is safer than conventional, but without the price tag of an organic version if price is a concern.

The best mattress companies I found ranged from “less chemical”, to fully organic.

Good: Moonlight Slumber’s Little Dreamer – $170-185. Foam mattress that has a PVC free, “hospital grade” vinyl cover. Dual-zone firmness, one side for baby, the other for toddler.

Better: Lullaby Earth – Under $200. New division of Naturepedic, debuting in 2012. Affordable eco-friendly lightweight foam mattress. Features seamless edges and is Greenguard Certified. Two-stage firmness for both baby and toddler.

Best: Naturepedic – $260-330. Offers a coil version as well, but the Organic Cotton Lightweight foam is the better option at half the weight. Seamless, dual-zone firmness for baby and toddler, and has an Organic Cotton Ultra option as an upgrade, which offers a stronger, more durable cover. Waterproof or Quilted options. All mattresses are Organic and Greenguard Certified, and they have a wonderfully helpful website!

So as it may sound, we went all the way and purchased the big guy at Naturepedic, also getting an organic mattress pad for the waterproof mattress.

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