According to Carolyne J. Harvey, a sleep consultant and founder of Dream Baby Sleep, the top concern for any parent should be firmness. “Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface to help prevent SIDS,” she says. Next up, consider crib size (mini or standard) and make sure the mattress you purchase will fit snugly in the crib you have.
It’s a good idea to check your crib’s label for the exact dimensions to be certain the mattress you have your eye on will work well, without leaving any gaps. From there, features are based on parent preference, notes Harvey.
“Many crib mattresses are dual-sided, so there’s one firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers, which saves you purchasing a second mattress if you transition to a toddler bed. It’s up to you if that’s a worthwhile feature, as well as whether you prefer a foam or innerspring mattress for your baby.”
In general, Harvey says innerspring mattresses are more durable and tend to last longer, but they’re heavier—which is something to consider when lifting and changing sheets—and usually more expensive. “Foam mattresses are lightweight and generally less expensive, but they wear out more quickly and are subject to health hazards like mold if they get wet.”
Other things to think about when shopping for the best baby mattresses are breathability, materials (organic/natural) and whether it’s waterproof and GREENGUARD-certified for low chemical emissions.
Last but not least, Harvey definitely recommends buying a separate waterproof cover! “It will protect your mattress from diaper leaks and spit up, as well as make the mattress a bit more comfortable for baby, while still being completely safe.”
Best crib mattress picks 2023
Saatva Dual-Sided Crib MattressMerchant
This Saatva model is dreamiest, breathable baby crib mattress option on the market. It’s a top-rated, dual-sided baby bed that is absolutely worth the splurge. The convenient, flippable design—with an extra firm side for newborns and a nice and cozy firm side for toddlers—basically makes it two beds for the price of one.
It’s handcrafted with natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly materials and is GREENGUARD Gold-certified. That means there are no harmful emissions, formaldehyde or off-gassing from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to keep you up at night. Baby sleeps snug as a bug on the organic and accident-proof, water-resistant cover that’s easy to throw in the wash with your favorite laundry detergent to clean in case of a diaper blowout or the inevitable spit-up.
The toddler side features a 100% GOTS-certified organic New Zealand wool layer, designed to naturally regulate body temperature and wick away moisture for little ones who run hot. Both sides offer double-edge support and center-zone technology as well, to keep kiddos safely snoozing in the middle of the mattress. It’s also hypoallergenic for even the most sensitive babes.
- Dual-sided so it can be used from birth up to six years
- Made with non-toxic, eco-friendly and organic materials
- GREENGUARD Gold-certified so you know babe is breathing clean air
- Breathable, washable and water-repellant cover
- Hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking and temperature-regulating toddler side
- Double-edge support to prevent sagging and gaps from forming
- Pricier than some other options on our list, but worth every penny