If you're expecting a baby , then you're probably already thinking of how to ensure your child gets the best night's sleep possible. Newborns, after all, sleep through most of the day. That's why it's important to give your baby an ergonomic place to sleep. When you're buying a crib , you'll find different types of mattress available from firm to soft.
Most parents are confused by all the choices available and don't know which mattress to pick. Should you look for the type of mattress you like, or do babies need a special kind of support from their mattresses?
This buying guide is intended to help you make the right choice in buying a baby mattress.
It also includes information about how your baby sleeps and how to create a healthy bed. Understanding Firmness Levels A mattress's level of firmness is important when you're choosing the right baby mattress, but it shouldn't be your main criteria for buying a particular design.
There are several other aspects you should consider when buying a crib mattress. The main concern is that babies shouldn't be on too soft of a surface. A rule of thumb is that the child shouldn't sink down more than about an inch. This is important because your child needs to still be able to turn over from laying on her stomach to laying on her back without sinking down into the mattress.
This certainly doesn't mean your crib mattress needs to be overly firm or even hard. Many children make it clear that they find this type of mattress uncomfortable. If you have a bassinet or co-sleeper which allows your child access to your own bed, some children will roll off onto your softer, cozier mattress. If your child sleeps poorly on his own mattresses, this might be an indication the mattress is too hard. The right level of firmness is somewhere between these two extremes; you'll be able to judge for yourself by feeling and testing out multiple options.
Mattress Firmness for Babies and Toddlers Retailers often offer specialized crib mattresses with a different level of firmness than toddler mattresses.
Doesn't look bulky and the reviews for it were great. Key features - Age range: Features to look out for:
The difference might not be necessary, however. The US government regulates the size of crib mattresses to This size is large enough for a toddler bed as well, so you can buy one mattress for both purposes. You may even find mattresses which have two sides of different firmnesses — one side is soft, and intended for babies, while the other is firmer, and intended for toddlers.
The assumption is that babies weigh less and will sink less into the softer side. This type of mattress is usually more expensive than a conventional mattress. You most likely don't need to spend the extra money for just a marginal difference. When you're choosing a mattress for babies or toddlers, you should primarily look at its size.
While you can use an infant pillow or nursing pillow to make sure the bed isn't too big for your newborn, with a toddler you'll need to make sure the bed is still big enough. Ensuring Air Circulation for Baby Mattresses Another important aspect when buying baby mattresses is air circulation.
A crib mattress needs to lay on a surface which allows some ventilation.
Many cribs have a slatted base or have gaps under the mattress so air can move through. This ensures moisture can't build up anywhere in the mattress and cause mold to grow. You also need to ensure good ventilation on top of the mattress itself. To be sure your baby doesn't sweat too much, never use a rubber or plastic mattress cover.
These covers interfere with the movement of moisture and fresh air, so the mattress has a harder time drying out. This can lead to dangerous mold and bacteria growth.
The only exception to this rule are specialized anti-allergenic mattress covers that might be necessary for some babies your doctor will recommend them if they are or a cotton mattress topper. The crib mattress itself also needs to be air permeable.
Many baby mattresses are made of multiple layers of foam glued together, but these offer poor circulation. The hardened glue prevents air movement. You will also need an air permeable mattress cover — try to blow through the fabric; you should feel some air movement on the other side. Special Features of Crib Mattresses When you're buying a crib mattress, be sure it has a cover which is easy to remove and wash.
It's best if you can wash it on the hot cycle. The mattress still needs to have a minimum thickness of 6. The most common material for crib mattresses is foam , and memory foam is also common.
Foam materials have a low cost but provide good comfort. If your baby is predisposed to allergies, however, a latex mattress might be a better choice, although it will be slightly more expensive. This type of mattress allows lots of air circulation. Coconut fiber mattresses are another alternative that's great for people with allergies.
Whichever type you choose, make sure it holds in your baby's body heat well. Babies aren't able to produce much heat, and coming in contact with cold surfaces like the bars on a crib can rob them of body heat. Before Bringing Your Baby Home It's best to buy a crib mattress at least a couple of weeks before your baby is born.
Mattresses are usually packaged in plastic wrap; when you remove it, the packaging will leave behind an unpleasant smell.
Why not just raise the mattress and make an incline with a pillow or blanket? Do you recommend baby hammocks?
The mattress will emit solvents and chemicals even after the smell itself is gone. That's why you should let a crib mattress air out at least two weeks before using it. If you place the mattress in the crib while it's airing out, be sure it's not covered and turn it over frequently.
Where Should Your Baby Sleep? Once you've found the right mattress, you'll also need to ask yourself the question of where your baby should sleep. If you're planning on putting the mattress beside your own, do you want your baby to sleep in his own crib, or on a co-sleeper or bassinet next to your bed? You may find that the way you envision sleeping before the birth changes after you bring your baby home. Every child is different and has her own needs. It's possible you might need to be flexible and respond to what your baby is telling you about what she needs for a good night's sleep.
That's why you should choose a bed and mattress that are as flexible as possible to allow you to quickly react to your baby's individual personality. If you buy a traditional crib and plan to have your baby sleep alone in his own bed in your bedroom, you should choose one which allows you to completely remove one side.
You should also be able to adjust the height of the bed. This will allow you to place the crib right beside your own bed if you find this is the only way your baby is able to sleep.
A co-sleeper will allow your baby to sleep in your bed with you and your partner.
Physical closeness to family members calms many babies and helps them sleep. Some babies even sleep with siblings, which can be especially comfortable if the children aren't too far apart in age.
Safety While Sleeping Often, young parents get the wrong advice that babies should only sleep on their backs. Some babies roll over on their bellies, and this may be the only way they are able to sleep peacefully. It's not unusual even for newborns to roll over on their stomachs to sleep. Just like their parents, most babies have their own individual preferred sleeping positions.
Don't feel you have to turn your child over to sleep on his back. This may wake children up and disturb their sleep cycles. Don't worry that they aren't getting enough air; even newborns are able to turn their heads to the side. Newborns get enough air through their nostrils, which is how they breathe while they are nursing, for example.
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