Comfort is a priority during most mattress shopping scenarios, but buying a mattress for your baby is totally different. The best crib mattresses are ones that are safest for your little one, which means they're very firm and supportive in order to help reduce the risk of SIDS. A crib mattress should also be new (to reduce contact with mildew or bacteria), free of harmful chemicals, and fit to your crib so there's no dangerous gaps between.
As with with adult mattresses, you’ll find that crib mattresses generally fall into two different categories: foam or innerspring.
- Foam mattress: Foam mattresses are typically made of polyurethane foam, which is lightweight and durable. It’s important that you select a foam mattress that is resilient, meaning it regains its shape quickly after pressure is applied, so that the mattress stays firm and supportive.
- Innerspring mattress: Often the more expensive pick, this type of crib mattress has spring coils on the inside that make it a nice and sturdy option. Pay attention to the coil count — the more coils the mattress has, the sturdier it will be. Downsides of an innerspring mattress? It tends to be pretty heavy, which may not sound like a big deal, but trust me… when you’re trying to change wet sheets in the middle of the night, it's something you’ll notice.
Newborns require the firmest of mattresses, so firm that you might think, “how will my baby ever sleep comfortably on this?” But babies can absolutely sleep on firm mattresses, and softer surfacers are just not safe. Once your baby is around a year old, there is no longer a risk of SIDS, but you should still consult your baby's doctor before swapping a super-firm crib mattress for a softer one. Many crib mattresses are dual-sided (with a newborn side and a toddler side) in order to accommodate this. However, double-sided mattresses are usually pretty costly.
Some crib mattresses offer other worthwhile features, like being waterproof (or at least having an included waterproof cover). There are also crib mattresses made solely from natural and organic materials, if that is a concern of yours.
Babies spend much of their lives sleeping, so it’s justified to invest in a quality mattress. Here are four that Amazon reviewers stand by.