Making the choice to bed-share with your child means more than sweet snuggles, synced-up breathing, and the occasional tiny foot in your face. It means preparing a comfortable and safe bed for everyone involved. Investing in a quality mattress is a great idea, but whether or not you want to spring for a new one, you can always use a good mattress cover. But what's the best mattress pad for bed-sharing? There are plenty to choose from, but yours needs to meet some important criteria.
In order to keep everyone — especially little ones — safe when bed-sharing, the sleep environment needs to be free of any possible hazards that increase the risk of injury or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As Healthy Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended, firm sleep surfaces are best for babies, since soft or fluffy surfaces could cause potential suffocation. So you'll want to find a mattress pad that is firm enough to keep its shape. This means you'll want to steer clear of the popular memory foam, gel-infused, or pillow top covers that are no doubt super comfy, but not at all safe for a baby to sleep on.
In addition to the no-fluff standard, it's in your best interest to find a mattress pad that can withstand wetness. Whether it's spit-up, spills, or a little pee surprise in the middle of the night, having a waterproof mattress pad will make those late night sheet changes a lot easier. And since the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame suggested babies always be put to sleep on a clean surface, having a pad that absorbs liquid accidents is your best bet.
Your baby spends a lot of time sleeping, so to make sure your little one isn't breathing in toxins while snoozing, search for a non-toxic mattress pad. Additionally, you want to make sure that cozy cover doesn't produce too much heat. The risk of a baby overheating while sleeping is a danger you want to avoid, according to Dr. Sears's website. Mattress pads with breathable, cool cycle technology are worth looking into.
Finding the perfect mattress pad for your family bed may take some time, but it's time well spent. Knowing your baby is safe and well cared for while in dreamland will allow everyone to sleep easier.