The moment you find out you are pregnant your whole world changes. One of the first things that you think of is the baby room, filled with toys and you need to buy best baby bed possible. Once crib shopping starts there are a few things that you need to keep in mind such as:
- Your baby is growing
Every single day your baby grows a bit and before you know it he/she is going to start sitting, crawling and eventually walking which means their entire body has muscles and bones that are constantly growing and developing as they progress. So by making sure they get a good night’s rest will help them develop to their full potential. Part of this process of giving them a great night sleep is a good mattress that they to rest on, cosy. If your child sleeps on a worn out, too soft or too hard mattress it will start causing his/her body to ache to make it harder for your child to develop.
- Firmness and Density
If you think of how your body feels after sleeping for a night or two on an uncomfortable mattress that is either too soft or too hard? Don’t you wake up feeling sore which leaves you irritated all day? If that how we feel, how must a baby’s little fragile body feel after an uncomfortable night’s rest? If your child sleeps on a worn out, too soft or too hard mattress it will start causing his/her body to ache, making it harder for your child to develop fully. Movement is restricted because it is too painful. Therefore making sure you purchase a mattress that has the best firmness and density will illuminate this problem. Let’s have a look at some of the options that you have available in mattress firmness and density:
The foam mattress is the most common and most purchased mattress. It has various thickness sizes (density) that you can choose from. To test if you have t correct mattress, press on the mattress with your hand as hard as you possibly can on various spots and see if it is resilient. Make sure that it is also on the heavier side and not too light as this is an indicator of how long it is going to last. The firmness of the mattress is so important because if it is not firm enough and resilient it can take to the shape of the baby’s body which can lead to him/her suffocating if the mattress folds around them.
There is also the innerspring mattress which mostly consists of coils that are covered in padding, foam and material. This mattress is the best resilient and also has the best density and firmness; however, when it starts to wear out the coils will make holes through the fabric that can pinch or injure the baby. Therefore you need to be hundred present sure that it is the best possible coil mattress and that it has a warranty.
Option number three, organic mattress, if you are one of the thousands of people that have gone “green” in their home environment then this is the mattress for you. It is made up from various different materials such as cotton, wool, coconut fibres, food-grade polymers, plant-based foam, and natural latex. It is also known as the chemical free mattress for babies.
When purchasing your babies mattress, first decide the density and firmness that you would prefer your child to sleep on and they look at the material that will provide you with that as that will help make the decision much easier.
- Lifespan of mattress
None of us wants to spend hundreds of rands every six months on a new mattress because the old one is completely worn out or torn. When you purchase a mattress for yourself you look at quality and durability and how long the lifespan is that you will get from the mattress, why should that be any different when purchasing a mattress for your baby’s crib. A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a mattress for a baby crib that will help you determine if it is one that will last long enough.
- Firstly look at the height and weight of your baby as well as how much weight he/she gains every week as this will give you an indication of their weighing growth until he/she is old enough to sleep in a bed. That way you will know how strong the mattress needs to be.
- Secondly, consider the child’s growing rate in height as there is a difference in muscle mass and body mass.
- Thirdly, research the brand of mattresses that you are considering. Read the reviews from other mums and ask around. Word of mouth can give you a pretty good indication of which brand is the most popular and preferred by mums.
- Fourthly, look at the warranty, the ideal mattress has a lifetime guarantee, which means that company truly believes they have the best product and also means that you won’t be purchasing a new one during your baby’s crib developing lifetime and I believe that is exactly what you are looking for.
By combining all these points and speaking to a mattress specialist at your local mattress store you will surely make the correct decision in choosing a lifetime long mattress for your child.
- Flow of liquids
Most of us know that baby’s cribs are a magnet for liquid. That’s why water resistance is very important. If it is not the milk bottle then it’s the tea bottle or the juice bottle or even the occasional wet diaper after a good night’s sleep that leaves a big wet spot on the mattress, but “how can I make sure my baby does not wake up because of that wet spot on mattress feeling” the answer is easy, make sure that when you purchasing a mattress for your baby’s crib that it is water absorbent. Not only the mattress but also the material that you place on top of it for the baby to sleep on.
Your baby’s mattress basically needs to work as a big diaper. If the bottle falls out of the baby’s mouth when he/she falls asleep and lands on the mattress it needs to absorb every drop that is dripping. This way, when your baby tosses and turns he/she won’t become sticky (in the case of juice or milk) or wet during the night ensuring he/she and you get a good night’s rest. Look out for mattresses that have either double or even triple laminated ticking with reinforced nylon. If you have decided to “go green” in your baby’s room and using an organic mattress you might have to purchase extra materials to place onto the mattress to assist with absorption. When visiting the store to purchase a baby crib mattress speak to the mattress specialist and confirm with them which one of the mattresses you are considering will be able to absorb liquids quick and easy.
Once you have found the few choices of mattress that are firm, dense and absorbs liquid you need to start looking at how I can keep the mattress clean so that it does not attract dust mites and bacteria that could make your baby sick. Mainly you are looking for a mattress that doesn’t come with a weekly dry cleaning bill. A lot of the mattresses on the market mostly suggest “spot cleaning” which is effective up to a certain point. Where others are fitted with sheets that are removable and machine washable. There are at least one or two mattresses on the market that you will be able to hose down or hand wash after you have removed all the covers. One thing that you have to keep in mind when you do wash the mattress itself is that if you bought an organic mattress to wash with organic soap and to make hundred present sure that the mattress is completely dry before placing the covers back on and putting it back in the crib. If it is not dry in certain spots it might start rotting and give off a damp bad odour that will fill the baby’s room and stain his/her clothes.
- Breathable Materials
The newest invention in mattress technology is baby crib mattress that allows your baby, to be able to breathe even if they end up sleeping with their faces on the mattress. We have all seen the social media pictures of baby’s sleeping on their stomachs with their legs up into the air and face down into the pillow, no scientific reason yet why they do it but it happens. Your baby will sleep in the most awkward positions which would require them to be able to breathe comfortably at all times and therefore a good mattress that allows for air to flow through it is a solid investment. It will also assist in keeping his/her body temperature at a normal level.
Within the first few days of your baby being born, you have the opportunity to have him/her tested for allergies or in the case of some institution you can have your baby tested while he/she is still in the womb.
Why do I need to do this? Let’s have a look, if your child is allergic to, for instance, dairy and you feed him/her the wrong milk product you could trigger events such a chest closing up causing the baby, not to breathe. This is just one example, It is the same with fabrics and cleaning products as it is with food however with fabrics and products it could mostly lead to a very ugly rash or intense itching. Ensuring that your baby is not allergic to the material in or on the crib mattress will help eliminate restless crying nights for you and your baby.
- Size & weight
Size does matter. Ninety percent of all cribs are the same size but you do have one or two that are either a little bit bigger or smaller. Once you have decided on the crib make sure to take the exact measurements of the inside of the crib so that when looking for a mattress you look for the right size from the beginning. Do not use the size that as provided for the crib when you purchased it as it is the outside perimeter of the crib which will lead you to buy a mattress that is too big. Ensure that you measure it perfectly to each corner otherwise, the mattress will move around every time the baby moves. This is quite dangerous especially when he/she comes to the age where they start to stand up in the crib. If the mattress is loose it may slide out from underneath the baby and the baby could fall and injure him/herself badly.
The weight of the mattress is also very important. I you as a mum have to clean the crib every day then a heavy mattress will be a nightmare. Make sure that you can comfortably pick it up and redress it when necessary. You will be hand washing it as well which will make it a lot heavier as it will absorb a lot the water. Your body has already gone through so much so give your back a break and make sure that your baby’s crib mattress is light and easy to handle.
- Second Hand – Good idea or not
In a lot of households they pass on a crib in the family from one sister/brother to the next which is great because it saves you money and time in not having to buy one or in other cases, you purchase a second-hand crib because it is more affordable. But making use of the second had mattress is a big no even if it comes from a family member. There have been speculations that there has been an increase in SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) in used mattresses. This alone is reason enough not to use a used mattress, but there are other factors as well such as fluids that have leaked onto the mattress that could have attracted germs. Your baby’s immune system is still developing and exposing it to so many unknown gems that could come out of an old mattress, especially if you don’t personally know the previous owner, is extremely harmful.
However, if you are in the position where you do not have another option but to use the mattress then make sure you properly wrap it in a breathable and safe product.
- Toxic or non-toxic (organic)
A mother and father have to make so many decisions on her baby’s behalf even before he/she is born, one of them is to choose whether to purchase a basic crib mattress or an organic non-toxic mattress.
There have been so many speculations surrounding the toxic gases that are used in the manufacturing of crib mattress and its connection to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Various tests have been conducted in countries such as New Zealand and report released by British governments but more research into this matter is most definitely required. But should you choose to make use of an ordinary crib mattress like millions of new mums and dads to be you have the option of wrapping the mattress in one of the various products available?
If you and your husband lead an eco-friendly lifestyle and you home is organic then purchasing an organic mattress for your baby’s crib is a no brainer. Organic mattress is mostly still in the experimental faces when it comes to being able to hand wash it for example but there are a few on the market that have been tried and tested and heeded great results. Organic mattresses are made up of organic materials which mean no toxic gases that can be inhaled by your baby making a very safe choice.
- Cost – Is it worth the price?
Let’s face it in the current economy price is the ultimate deal breaker when purchasing any item. In the case of buying your baby’s first mattress, there is no difference. Most “soon to be” parents set out a budget when they starts with the baby’s room and one of the items that should be awarded the highest amount is the baby crib as this is where you baby boy or baby girl will be growing whilst he/she is sleeping and where they will be spending their morning and afternoon naps if they didn’t fall asleep with dad on the couch. Your baby’s crib will be his/her playroom, comfort zone and safe zone for the first at least six months of their lives. To put a price on that will be difficult but as previously mentioned there is a budget and there is a reason for that.
Step one is to take into factor all the points mentioned above to find out exactly what it is that you are looking for, then you head to your computer and start your online research for the perfect brand of mattress that contains all the elements that you need. Once you have the specific brand of mattress that you require you can start looking for the perfect one in that group. Try and look for a store locator online for the brand that you are interested so that you can visit the shop and see the product that you are interested in up close and personal. If there isn’t one close to you, the recommendation is that you find a friend or family member that you trust hundred percent that has a store close to them and sends them to take a few photos and a short video clip where they test the product and send it to you. If you are not able to do either of this contact one of the stores that have the mattress you are interested in and find out if you have a seven-day return policy when purchasing it online, should it arrive and you are not satisfied you then have the option of sending it back? Make sure to keep your eyes open for great specials on crib mattress at certain stores. That is always a winner especially if you are buying on a budget.
Step two is to ensure that there is a warranty on the product. No matter if it is purchased online or in the store. We all know how much a warranty can help if you if a product is not working the way that it should
Step three, make sure the product is really worth the price and that the price is hundred percent in your budget, if you have saved a few bucks on other items you will have much more left in your budget to spend on a great quality mattress and all the trimmings (pillows, blankets etc.).
Step four, stand back and be proud of your purchase.
Purchasing the first mattress that your baby is going to sleep on for at least the first six months of his/her life is such an important task in so many ways which makes it something that should not be done in heist, take your time, do the necessary research just like you have been doing on everything else that is baby related, choose the brand of mattress that you are most comfortable with for instance: Sealy, Naturepedic (organic), Colgate (no not the toothpaste) and Simmons to name a few products.
Get the best quality mattress for the best price possible that your wallet can afford and ensure that you and your baby enjoy a good night’s rest every night whilst he/she grows a little more every day.
Guest blog written by Vasti Lourens