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crib and mattress buying guide

Adjusting to this new world can be exhausting, which is one reason why babies sleep up to 18 hours a day! That makes your crib an MVP in the baby furniture department. And since the crib sets the tone for the rest of the nursery, take your time finding the one that's right for your home. Then choose a good mattress with durability and comfort, to give your little one a dreamy night's sleep. We've put together some crib notes on the different styles available, as well as what you should look for when buying a mattress.

choosing a crib

Today there are more crib choices than ever to fit your preferences and budget. When considering a crib, think about design, finish, long-term value and portability. Knowing your requirements will help you narrow your search and zero in on the perfect crib.

standard cribs are a classic choice, designed to see baby safely through infancy and early toddler times, until he's ready for a toddler bed. You should be aware that these cribs formerly featured one-drop side. Since this proved potentially hazardous, that option is no longer available.

round cribs are becoming increasingly popular and offer a space-saving alternative. Their compact shape allows them to be placed in the center of a room rather than against a wall, creating a unique nursery layout.

convertible cribs can grow with your baby all the way through the teenage years. This investment piece converts into a toddler bed, daybed, or a full-sized bed.

portable cribs are lightweight and fold up easily for storage when not in use. This makes them ideal for travel or sleepovers at grandma's house. Some models, often called bedside bassinets, keep an infant within arm's reach for easy bottle or breastfeeding during the night.

choosing a crib mattress

What good is a crib without a mattress? A firm baby mattress will keep your little one safe and support his growing bones. Just like cribs, mattresses have a range of durability, so pick one that suits your needs and timeline. Foam and innerspring are the two basic types of crib mattresses. Both are also available in organic options, but tend to be a bit more costly.

what to look for

  • Firmness. While your instinct might be to lavish baby with everything soft and fluffy, a firm mattress is the safest and most beneficial foundation for baby's sleep. Compare the firmness of crib mattresses by squeezing at the edges and pressing down on the center. The firmer the better!
  • Mattress size. Newer crib mattresses, by law, must be 515/8 inches long by 271/4 inches wide and cannot exceed a 6-inch thickness. The mattress should fit the crib snugly, leaving no more than a two-finger width space between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • Durability. Quilted vinyl or multiple layers of laminated vinyl reinforced with nylon add to the quality of the mattress. Fabric binding along the seams allows air to escape, preventing the seams from straining and splitting over time from pressure caused by baby's movements. Carefully positioned vent holes help to keep the mattress fresher by allowing odors to escape and to alleviate air pressure against the seams.

Note: Most cribs come with a multi-position mattress spring that allows you to adjust the mattress position as baby grows. Some cribs even permit the mattress to be lowered to three or four different positions.

Happy shopping and pleasant dreams!