As far as baby products go, there are plenty of items that are marketed as absolute essentials while actually being optional, at best. This is not the case, however, with crib mattresses!
A crib is a key feature of your baby’s nursery and needs to be outfitted with a quality mattress that will allow your little munchkin to sleep as well as possible!
When shopping for a mattress for your little one, there are some key features to keep in mind.
The first one is breathability, as a highly breathable mattress will ensure your baby is sleeping safe and sound even if they roll over onto their belly.
This also helps protect them from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
You should also consider the different materials the mattress is made from – whether it’s hypoallergenic, water-resistant, or free from flame retardants, for instance.
I know how hard making this decision can be, so I decided to check out the latest baby and toddler mattresses and have put together a helpful list of recommendations and a guide to make your choice easier!
1. Newton Baby Crib Mattress
While it may seem like your baby doesn’t like sleeping, most infants spend as many as 18 hours a day dozing!
Since they’ll spend much of that time lying in their crib, it’s important that their mattress comes with some key features to keep them sleeping safely and comfortably.
For both babies and toddlers, I know so many moms who relied on the Newton Baby mattresses and they were really happy with how high-quality and durable they were!
Originally, the first thing that caught my eye with these mattresses was the fact that little ones could use them from birth until they turned 4, so they could work as a toddler mattress, too!
I’m always happy to invest in a piece of baby gear with a slightly higher price point when I know that my kids will be able to use it for years, and I won’t have to replace it with a bigger model after a couple of months.
This way, you save money in the long run without sacrificing quality.
Since babies are prone to diaper messes and toddlers can also have accidents while potty training, it’s great that the Newton mattresses are washable!
And I’m not just talking about the cover, I’m talking about the whole mattress.
While the cover is made from polyester and can be thrown in the washing machine and in the drier as well, the baby mattress can be hand-washed.
For example, you can put it in your bathtub and clean it using water and a bit of soap.
I don’t think you need to clean the mattress as much as you do need to clean the cover, but it’s great to know that the entire thing can be washed from time to time!
Especially since babies sometimes sweat in their sleep and this can even cause mold to grow in the mattress.
Whenever you’re picking out a crib mattress for your little one, breathability should be high on your list of priorities, so paying attention to the material it’s made from is key.
The Newton mattress is made from a special material called Wovenaire, which mostly consists of air (and this means that there is no polyurethane foam at play)!
It makes the mattress very breathable, which reduces the risk of suffocation.
This is really helpful, especially when the baby learns how to roll over in their sleep and begins sleeping belly-down, even though you’re trying your best to keep them sleeping on their back!
Generally speaking, most mattresses are really heavy, which makes it such a hassle to move them when you need to.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this mattress only weighs a little over 10 pounds!
When it comes to the covers, you can choose from 4 different options – white, grey, baby blue, and baby pink.
You can also pick between 2 different Newton crib mattress dimensions – it comes in a standard size, and a smaller, mini crib mattress size.
I also definitely recommend getting one or two extra crib mattress covers to alternate between washes!
I know that a lot of moms also like to get sheets to go over the mattress cover.
While many parents never get sheets since the covers are really soft, getting a pair of good-quality sheets isn’t a bad idea either.
The Newton Baby breathable sheets are made from organic cotton which means that they won’t prevent your little one’s airflow, and the cotton sheets are really soft as well.
2. Ultimate Waterproof Crib Mattress
The Newton mattresses also come in a waterproof edition that offers extra protection to the mattress while your little one is sleeping.
The waterproof cover is added to the side of the crib mattress for toddlers that will be helpful during the potty training period and protect the inside of the mattress from getting too messy.
There are some other minor differences in design as well. For example, the mattress cover comes only in white.
What’s more, the dimensions only come in a standard size, there is no version to fit a mini crib.
However, all the other great perks of a Newton Baby mattress, such as breathability, can also be found in this waterproof edition.
It’s also Greenguard Gold Certified, which means that the mattress releases very few of the chemicals that can have a negative impact on the air inside the nursery.
3. Newton Baby Crib Mattress Pad
If you have a mattress by another brand but you would really like to make sure that your baby’s environment allows as much air as possible, then you can get a crib mattress protector or breathable mattress pad.
It’s going to fit any regular-sized mattress and it comes in two different sizes – one for standard cribs and one for twin toddler beds.
There’s also a waterproof pad included to protect the rest of the mattress from any leaks or moisture.
In case the pad does get dirty, you can just throw it in the laundry machine for a quick wash.
4. Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress in a Box
The Graco foam mattress is also one of the best crib mattresses on the market and I’m sure it can be found in many nurseries across the country.
What’s more, it’s also very affordable and makes for a good choice when you’re running on a tighter budget.
This foam crib mattress can also be used as a toddler bed mattress, so it will stay with your little one for the years to come!
Because your little munchkin needs a quality sleep surface, the crib mattress is extra firm and also made from a very breathable material that will protect them in case they roll over on their tummy while sleeping.
Here’s the downside though –you can’t wash the mattress, only the cover.
On the other hand, the cover is waterproof and should do a pretty good job of keeping any leaks from getting to the mattress.
But here’s something really important to consider before purchasing this crib mattress.
It’s made from polyurethane foam, a material that many parents stay away from because it has been connected to many chemicals that pose a health hazard.
So, before opting for a polyurethane foam mattress, try to spend a couple of hours reading up on it online and get as informed as possible.
5. Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Crib Mattress
In addition to being an environmentally friendly option, the Colgate mattress can be used by both babies and toddlers.
It has an infant side that’s a bit firmer, while the softer side is reserved for toddlers.
I also love the fact that the cover is made from organic cotton, a material that supports air circulation and protects against dust mites.
What’s more, if your baby is prone to skin allergies, this material won’t irritate their sensitive skin.
Aside from being organic, the cover is resistant to water and other liquids, meaning that the inside of the mattress will stay dry even if your little one has an accident.
Another thing that I’m crazy about is how light this mattress is – just a little less than 10 pounds.
So even if you’re not very strong (like me), you will be able to lift it out easily when you need to change the covers, for example.
6. Simmons Kids SlumberTime Naturally Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress
The Simmons mattress is the first one on my list that contains soy in its core (in addition to polyurethane foam) but like the other models, it also has a firm mattress side that’s perfect for babies and a slightly softer one that’s great for tots.
It has a cotton cover that adds another extra layer of safety and breathability for your little one.
What’s more, it’s resistant to water and will help keep the baby’s crib as clean as possible.
The Simmons mattress also has a CertiPUR-US label which is USA certification that basically means that the polyurethane foam it’s made from is free from chemicals such as lead, phthalates, and mercury.
7. Organic Dream Crib Mattress
I know many moms who would like to get an organic crib mattress for their little one, and this one by Organic Dream comes pretty close to being entirely organic.
The inside of the mattress is actually made from a polymer (no polyurethane here, thankfully!) that belongs to a “food grade” category, meaning that it’s safe enough to come into contact with your food!
In this aspect, it’s quite similar to other mattresses that avoid polyurethane, such as the Babyletto Pure Core, Serta, or the Naturepedic crib mattresses.
The organic cotton cover is a breathable and super-soft surface for your little one to sleep on and it can be taken off and washed as needed!
8. Dream On Me 2-Sided Crib and Toddler 260 Coil Mattress
For a quick change of pace, let’s talk about innerspring mattresses, like the Dream On Me model.
It is not made from foam, but from coils (260 of them to be exact) that provide support to your little one as they sleep.
Just like the foam mattresses I’ve mentioned above, this one also has 2 sides for toddlers and babies, so you’ll be able to use it for a few years at least!
Unfortunately, though, this mattress is much heavier than its foam counterparts, weighing in at 22 pounds, so changing covers might get a little tricky.
But I love that it’s resistant to water – such an important feature for all baby mattresses.
9. Sealy Baby Select 2-Cool 2-Stage Dual Firmness Lightweight Waterproof Standard Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress
While the Sealy mattress contains a soybean foam-core, it’s also made from polyurethane, a crib mattress foam that might be a big no-no for some mamas out there, so I feel like I should definitely mention that first.
But I do appreciate that both babies and toddlers can use it and that the different sides are labeled as such (there’s nothing worse than being confused about which side to put your infant on).
10. Safety 1st Transitions Baby and Toddler Mattress
With the inside of the mattress made from polyester, this will be a great sleeping surface for your little one even as he or she grows into their toddler years!
Simply flip the mattress over once your baby is ready to transition to a softer surface.
What separates this mattress from the rest is that the cover can’t be removed, but if your baby makes a mess you can simply wipe it off.
And as it weighs just a little over 10 pounds, it will be very easy to move it when you need to.
Crib mattresses 101
While browsing through all sorts of baby mattresses, you must have come across different types and that can be a little bit confusing unless you know what all the labels mean.
Let me make it easier for you!
In general, there are two types of mattresses – innerspring mattresses and foam mattresses.
The innerspring models are very sturdy, but that’s also what makes them much heavier than the foam ones.
So, changing covers or moving them out of the crib isn’t as easy as with a lightweight foam model.
They usually come with a vinyl cover, too.
If you’d like to go with an innerspring mattress, make sure it has as many coils as possible (they contribute to the firmness).
Some, like the Beautyrest mattresses, even come with cooling gel to regulate your little one’s temperature during the night.
Foam mattresses, on the other hand, are really light and can last as long as innerspring ones, even though they are not being supported by any coils.
The catch with the foam models lies in the material!
As I’ve already said, many foam mattresses contain polyurethane which is generally not one of the healthiest materials for your baby to sleep on.
And even though many of these brands might have organic covers, the inside of the mattress counts just as much as the outside.
So if you can, I would definitely recommend investing in a mattress that doesn’t have any polyurethane.
That being said, with any brand that claims to use organic cotton, look for certification to see if they can back it up, such as the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
There are also many mattresses that can be used by both toddlers and babies – the soft side is for toddlers and the firm side is reserved for infants.
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I know that, as adults, we love sleeping on plush and soft surfaces, but babies actually need the exact opposite for their healthy development!
Even the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agrees, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also advises avoiding memory foam crib mattresses.
Furthermore, before running to Amazon to make a purchase, make sure to check whether you have a regular or mini-size crib.
The answer to the question “What size are crib mattresses?” is usually pretty straightforward as most mattresses are made to fit standard crib mattress sizes, but some do offer smaller models for bassinets and such.
Last but not least – don’t accept or purchase a second-hand mattress for your baby’s crib, no matter how tempting it is to save a couple of bucks.
With a hand-me-down mattress, you just don’t know what you’re getting. It could have mildew, for example, or be in much worse shape than it looks, so getting a brand new model is always a better idea.
To wrap up
There’s nothing more important than your little munchkin getting a good night’s sleep!
And with the right crib mattress, you will find that your baby is even able to sleep through the night.
With this overview, I’ve tried to give you a clear picture of the different mattresses that are available so that you can make the best decision for your little one.
While there is no guarantee that your baby boy or girl will take to their new mattress quickly, we can do everything we can as parents to make their sleeping environment the best it can be.
Whether you end up picking a foam or innerspring mattress, I hope that your baby loves it and uses it for years to come!
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. N.D. “Safe Sleep – Cribs and Infant Products Information Center.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2016) “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.” Pediatrics 138(5).
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