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.
1. The Overall Best Foam Crib Mattress
This foam mattress from Graco is the perfect pick for your little one’s crib. It’s made of high-quality foam that is breathable, allowing for maximum air flow. The mattress is compressed inside a box for delivery purposes, but once you open and unroll it, it magically expands to a mattress that fits perfectly in standard cribs and toddler beds. That said, the mattress is firm enough for an infant, without a second softer side for a toddler. The mattress outer cover is water-resistant and removable, but just make sure that you solely hand-wash it, in order to prevent any damage.
Oh, and you can check "safe" off your list for this pick: it's Greenguard Gold-certified. The mattress is free of phthalates, lead, and mercury, and meets all flammability standards.
Weighing in at around 7 pounds, this pick is certainly lightweight, a feature that Amazon reviewers are very pleased about; they give this mattress an impressive 4.5-star rating, with more than 4,300 reviews on the site.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "We have loved this mattress! It's worked well for our son. I keep a waterproof mattress cover over it in order to protect it from normal baby fluids, and we wash the cover monthly and switch his sheets up every week. It's firm, comfortable, and he sleeps so well on it. [...] He's about to turn 13 months old and this mattress shows no sign of [aging], even though he's slept on it since he was 4 weeks old. I don't frequently write reviews by after seeing how well this mattress has held up, I had to share our experience!"
2. The Overall Best Innerspring Crib Mattress
With a coil count of 204, this innerspring crib mattress from Sealy is firm enough to safely support your little one. It's not dual-sided, which means it's best for infants, rather than toddlers. All-around border rods keep the sides, corners, and edges firm, too, while the anti-sag system evenly distributes baby’s weight. All of this adds up to a mattress that Amazon reviewers rave about; despite being a little heavy (at 13 pounds), they give this pick a solid 4.2-star rating on the site after more than 500 reviews.
This mattress has a waterproof antibacterial cover that can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. It’s safe, too, as it's Greenguard Gold-certified to be free of unhealthy chemicals.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "[I] like this mattress because it's nice and firm. [I]t gives the right amount of support under my little one. [T]he quality also seems to be very good. [I] highly recommend it."
3. A Dual-Sided Foam Crib Mattress With An Organic Cover
This mattress from Colgate will work for your little one in the long haul, thanks to its dual-sided functionality. The infant-friendly extra-firm side provides proper support, and the slightly less firm (read: comfier) side is ideal for toddlers.
At 6 inches thick, the foam mattress is designed to fit standard cribs and toddler beds, and weighs just over 9 pounds. The mattress is wrapped in a soft, organic cover that’s waterproof so the mattress stays dry. And while it's not the cheapest crib mattress out there, it's worth the money simply for the peace of mind you get from its safety certifications. The Greenguard Gold-certified mattress is made from CertiPUR-certified safe foam and is compliant with all federal and state flammability requirements.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "We love this mattress! It had absolutely no smell upon opening, fits our Graco crib like a glove, seems to be very well made (made in the USA!!), and appears to be the perfect blend of comfort and firmness.[...] Our baby will be spending quite a bit of time on this mattress, so we definitely thought it was worth the money."
4. The Most Bang For Your Buck: A Dual-Sided Innerspring Crib Mattress That You Can Use For Years
The Beautyrest crib mattress combines the sturdiness of an innerspring mattress with the functionality of dual-sided design, for less than $130. And the end result is a crib that is truly amazing. Featuring 231 coils, the mattress is nice and firm on both sides, but the toddler side features an additional layer of foam for just a bit of extra comfort. The mattress is also Greenguard Gold certified, making it free of harmful materials and chemicals, plus it’s covered with a woven cover that’s waterproof.... aka cleanup is a breeze. At 26 pounds, it's the heaviest product on the list, but it's also one that will see year's of use, especially if you plan on investing in a crib that transitions to a toddler bed.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "Originally ordered a cheap mattress to go with our convertible crib; after a short time it compressed and my daughter kept rolling into the center. We ordered this one, and she sleeps so much better! The mattress is comfortable and firm, supportive, and was competitively priced. Very happy with this purchase."
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