For your crib, you will need… a serviceable baby crib mattress.
While your baby might not care which kind of crib mattress he sleeps on, most parents do. With more and more parents opting for organic crib mattresses due to concerns over chemical flame retardants, we decided to cover them separately (see best organic crib mattresses).
No matter what brand of mattress you pick, you want it be FIRM. If it feels uncomfortable to you, that’s good. And remember, babies weigh nothing (comparatively) and don’t exactly have back or hip pain like us old geezers, so their mattress needs are quite different (in response to a lot of emails asking, “won’t it be too uncomfortable for him?”). Stay away from anything cushy or plushy.
If you’re in the market for a “regular” crib mattress, our favorites are (in order of price):
Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib & Toddler Mattress ~$88 — Economy Pick
This is a decent and sturdy mattress with vinyl covering that is very easy to wipe clean. It works just fine for many, but it’s not necessarily the most long-lasting mattress (mostly prone to dents and such with time), so if you’re looking to invest in something that can last through the toddler years (or future kids), you may want to look elsewhere…
Free from flame retardant chemicals; GREENGUARD Gold certified.
Milliard Dual Comfort Crib Mattress ~$109 — Best Value (Tie)
This is a great mattress with two sides: a firm “infant” side for babes and a softer “toddler” side for cozier nights after the newborn weeks are past. It comes with a removable, machine-washable cotton cover. (Millard advertises the cover as waterproof, but a good leak can seep through, so I would still suggest using a waterproof fitted sheet with it.)
Made with CertiPur certified foam.
Little Dreamer Crib Mattress from Moonlight Slumber ~$199 – Upgrade Pick
Parents absolutely LOVE this mattress, and many families report using it for years. Yes, you can definitely count on this one to hold up well (and it comes with a lifetime warranty if it doesn’t… though, who needs a crib mattress for that long? lol). Although it’s trending toward “the norm,” the Little Dreamer was actually one of the first designs to offer the dual-sided crib option — infant (firm) on one side and toddler (slightly less firm) on the other.
Per the company’s website: “The Little Dreamer is comfortably topped with a medical grade, flexible performance, 4-way stretch-knit cover that delivers waterproof, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, odor and stain resistant properties in the cover. Featuring CertiPUR-US® certified foam infused with plant oils and wrapped in a woven fire barrier with no spray-on FR chemicals, our crib mattresses take sleep seriously.” (Also GREENGUARD Gold certified.)
HALO’s new dual-sided, hypoallergenic, and 100% machine-washable mattress is looking pretty great — folks are calling it a “Newton dupe” (see below). At $249, I’m not sure it fits super neatly into the “dupe” category, which has a certain “economy factor” to it, but it is technically cheaper than the Newton… and parents who have owned both say the HALO Dream Weave really does hold up to comparison.
On the toddler side, the removable cover is waterproof (though not on the infant side, kind of a bummer), and it’s nice that you can buy an extra mattress cover — since it’s washable, this could in theory mean you don’t need a mattress cover, however in terms of practicality, it is MUCH more difficult to wash a full-on mattress cover than a mattress topper (a waterproof fitted sheet that goes between the mattress and fitted sheet) when your baby spits up everywhere, which, spoiler alert, happens. (Also, the replacement cover for the HALO is ~$79, while a waterproof fitted sheet will cost you about ~$30.) In any event, if you have been thinking about the Newton but worried about the price tag, you can save a few bucks with the HALO and know you’re getting a very similar mattress that will also hold up well over the years.
Newton Crib Mattress ~$299 — Splurge
There are so many good things to say about this mattress — the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) gave it the 2015 innovation award… and it has gone on to win numerous other accolades since then.
This mattress is known for its breathability and temperature regulation. Wovenaire technology means that it’s made of safe, food-grade polymer that’s free of biocides, toxic fire retardants, foam, latex, springs, and glue… IOW, it’s not off-gassing and it’s completely hypo-allergenic.
The best part about this mattress is that it is fully washable (say what?!). Yes, the whole thing. You can remove the zipped cover and give the mattress a bath. Yes, like… in the bath tub. With soap and water. Great for passing down to younger kids. You can also recycle it at the end of its life. Love the Newton!
*Recommended to wash the removable outer cover before use.
OK — now for some organic crib mattress options… or you can skip ahead to sheets ‘n blankets ‘n such.