Whether you’re a first-time parent or welcoming your newest addition to the family, you must have spent plenty of time exploring the baby section of every store that you can think of. If the rush of excitement that comes from buying your infant all the essentials has turned into stress over finding the best and safest necessities, don’t fear. We’ve assembled a list of crib mattresses to help ease some of that shopping stress so you can get back to the fun part of shopping for a baby.
In this article:
What to look for in a crib mattress
With all the options available, it is important to remember a few basic features that every crib mattress should have. Since your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping as they grow, you want to be certain that both their comfort and safety are taken into consideration. You’ll soon find that a quality mattress and a decent baby monitor are fundamental for a safely sleeping baby and relaxed parents.
Size and thickness
The mattress you use in your full-size crib must be at least 51×27.25 inches, and no thicker than 6 inches, as per the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. These mandatory dimensions will decrease the possibility of head entrapment and the risk of suffocation between the mattress and crib sides.
While you may have seen plenty of sweet pictures showing babies sleeping on fluffy clouds, in reality you want a firm mattress for your child.
Consumer Reports recommends a simple test to check the bed; just place your hand on the mattress and push down. Your hand should spring right back up, showing no lasting indentation in the mattress..
Remember, a firm mattress helps prevent SIDS so while those images of babies sleeping on clouds might make for a sweet nursery mural, you want your infant sleeping soundly on a firm surface.
You want to be sure that both your mattress and mattress cover are waterproof. Mold is an insidious thing that will grow on any wet surface.
Make sure your mattress is designed with a surface type that makes cleanups easy and that will prevent moisture from leaking into the mattress core.
Everyone loves a good hand-me-down or second-hand deal, but when it comes your infant’s mattress, however, it’s best to buy new.
Babies are not the cleanest of sleepers, so the purchase of a new product ensures that it is clean and ready to use. An improperly stored mattress could be unsanitary for a newborn, while possibly containing mildew or other harmful bacteria. Moreover, simple wear and tear of a hand-me-down mattress might have rendered it unsafe for your infant.
Foam vs. innerspring
A good quality firm mattress will offer a safe sleep regardless of what it is made from, so choosing between a foam and innerspring mattress is mostly a choice of preference and budget.
The average foam mattress will be lighter than an innerspring product, which is certainly something to keep in mind if you are going to be changing the sheets a lot.
If you’re concerned about traditional mattress materials and looking for an eco-friendly, organic option, here’s the good news. While they carry a slightly higher price tag, organic mattresses are being manufactured by more and more companies. Just be sure the materials are all-natural. This means checking that filler, such as cotton, is grown without the use of pesticides and that the product is made non-flammable without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
Now that you know the basics of purchasing your baby’s first bed, here is a list of some of our favorites.
Our picks of the best mattresses for a super-safe sleep
All the mattresses recommended on this list meet federal standards, but some provide a little extra in the safety column.
This mattress has 204 steel innerspring coils for a firm, comfortable surface. With a waterproof, hospital-grade cover, mold and mildew won’t be an issue. In fact, Sealy has a unique Staph-Gard antibacterial mattress cover, keeping bacteria and germs at bay!
It also has a full-perimeter border wire, enabling the sides, corners, and edges to stay firm. As with all Sealy crib mattresses, this product is GREENGUARD® Gold Certified and comes with a 20-year warranty.
- Price: $
- Dimensions: 51.6″ x 27.2″ x 5.8″
- Weight: 13 lbs.
Our second choice
Your baby will have no trouble attaining REM on this memory foam mattress, the triple-layered foam being supportive. This mattress expands after being unpackaged, and, as such, we recommend ordering it before you go into labor. Rest assured that it is made from 100% child-safe materials and firm enough to support both newborns and infants. Many parents swear that this mattress has mystical, sleep-inducing powers!
Price: Less than $100
Dimensions: 27.5 x 52 x 6 inches
Weight: 13.6 lbs.
Best light-weight mattresses
You’re going to be doing enough heavy lifting without adding a crib mattress to the list. While a good mattress will have some heft, some are lighter than others without sacrificing any quality.
Our third choice
This mattress is waterproof, and its hypoallergenic and antibacterial cover will help prevent mold and mildew growth. Light and comfortable, easy to clean, and meeting federal flammability standards, this is a quality product.
Manufactured in the United States, it carries a 10-year warranty and can still be used for your child when he or she reaches toddlerhood.
- Price: $
- Dimensions: 52″ x 27″ x 6″
- Weight: 6 lbs.
Our fourth choice
This bed provides a non-toxic and waterproof sleeping experience for your little one. A recipient of the GREENGUARD® Gold Certification, this dual-sided bed can safely be used as your baby becomes a toddler.
American made, with foam that meets a high-quality medical grade, it is also hypoallergenic and easily cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Price: $$
- Dimensions: 52″ x 27.5″ x 5″
- Weight: 10.3 lbs.
Best organic mattresses
If you are looking for eco-friendly crib mattresses, you’re not alone. Luckily, many companies have stepped up to the plate to provide you with all-natural options.
Our fifth choice
This crib mattress has a waterproof surface and meets flammability requirements without the use of flame retardant chemicals; its surface even meets food contact standards.
Food-grade polyethylene, a material favored by many environmentalists, makes up this comfortable mattress.
- Price: $$
- Dimensions: 52″ x 27.5″ x 6″
- Weight: 7lbs.
Our sixth choice
While a little higher up the price scale, this organic mattress is breathable, safe, waterproof and stainproof, with no need for a mattress pad. Its coconut coir is surrounded by an organic wool fire barrier for your child’s safety.
The cover removes easily and is machine washable, ensuring that your baby will always sleep on a clean bed.
When your baby becomes a toddler, this dual-sided mattress’s natural latex will provide a comfortable sleeping surface.
- Price: $$$
- Dimensions: 53″ x 28″ x 4″
- Weight: 25 lbs.
Best affordable crib mattress
If you are looking to tighten those purse strings while assembling your baby’s nursery, you needn’t sacrifice safety and peace of mind.
Our seventh choice
While some might find this mattress a little on the thin side, it does provide quite a few perks for the price. Made with hypoallergenic materials, it is very light and easily cleaned.
We’re not too keen on the design (white cloud print on one side and colorful bears on the other), but it’s going to be covered with a sheet anyway, so don’t let this put you off while looking for a great-value mattress for home or your grandparents’ house.
- Price: $
- Dimensions: 52″ x 28″ x 4″
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
The best of the best
For moms looking for the best of the best, and without budgetary constraints to worry about, we’ve found the perfect crib mattress!
Our eighth choice
Handmade in Devon, England, the core of this mattress consists of durable horsetail hair. This unique material provides a firm surface that won’t sag from repeated use.
The outer layer is mohair, a luxurious fiber that comes from Angora goats. The thermal insulation benefits that come from mohair will allow your baby to maintain a comfortable body temperature as they rest.
With its unique and hypoallergenic materials, this mattress is truly an organic product that keeps your little one’s safety and comfort in mind.
- Price: $$$$
- Dimensions: 52″ x 27.5″ x 5″
- Weight: 15.4 lbs.
When huddled over your coffee-maker in the wee hours of the morning, it might feel like your baby never rests. Be assured however, that with the help of some of these products, they will spend lots of time asleep as their bodies and minds grow.
Hopefully, this list has helped you pick a crib mattress that meets your needs and budget. Remember, the safer your baby sleeps, the better you sleep. And, whilst a quality baby carrier will often be their preferred snoozing spot during the day, at night time a quality mattress is essential.
Here’s to ‘sweet dreams’ for you and your family for years to come!