When you’re getting a crib set for your little one, there’s a lot of questions you might find yourself asking:
What kind of crib bedding do you need? How many extra sheets should you buy? Should you change your baby’s sheets every day?
Caring for a baby can seem like a whole new world, but we can help you out. Here are some tips on how to set up your baby’s crib set, along with some items you really ought to purchase.
Buy at Least Four Extra Sheets
This may seem like an excessive number of crib sheets, but think about it – babies are messy by nature. If the baby gets sick in the middle of the night and you don’t have any spare sets, what will you do?
Sleeping in unsanitary conditions is not helpful for a growing immune system, after all. For that reason, make sure you get at least four extra sheets to keep your baby’s sleeping area clean and tidy.
Machine washable sheets are also a necessity to make sure that you have enough in case of a mess!
Wash Crib Sheets at Least Once A Week: But Check Regularly
If you’re lucky enough not to have a very messy baby, you won’t have to wash their bed sheets every day – once a week or so will be enough.
However, you’ll want to check every day to make sure that the sheets aren’t messy. If they’re too dirty or unsanitary for your baby, then into the washing machine they go!
Your child’s environment should be clean and safe, but there’s no need to overdo it. How many times you’ll end up washing your sheets really depends on your baby.
Select the Right Type of Fabric For Your Little One
Cotton sheets are the standard for crib sheets – they’re soft, breathable, and durable in the washing machine.
Also, purchasing organic cotton sheets means that there are fewer chemicals involved in the process of making them. This is ideal for babies with sensitive skin.
You can also try polyester, which isn’t as breathable as cotton but is usually cheaper. Polyester can be soft and comfortable, and do well in the washing machine.
Bamboo is another eco-friendly fabric to try since it’s soft and hypoallergenic. However, bamboo tends to show more wear and tear.
Choose whatever works for you and your baby, and contact your pediatrician if you feel your baby is reacting to a particular fabric.
Select Sheets That Are the Right Size For Your Crib Mattress
There are two common sizes for crib mattresses: standard and mini. To buy the right sheets for your crib set, you’ll want to know the size of your mattress.
For the safety of little ones all over the United States, the US Federal Government has set the standard size of a crib mattress to be 28 inches wide and 52 inches long.
Naturally, standard crib sheets are about the same. It may help to measure your crib mattress to find out the pocket depth before you purchase anything.
Mini mattresses and sheets are smaller than the standard but do not put standard sheets on a mini mattress. This can potentially harm your baby and increase the risk of SIDS.
Also, you should never use a flat sheet to replace a snug, fitted sheet. Always use a fitted sheet to make sure there are no safety hazards.
Make Sure You Select the Right Kind of Mattress
Your crib mattress should fit very snugly into your baby’s crib to avoid injury. You shouldn’t be able to place more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib.
This may seem obvious, but the mattress should be made explicitly for the crib. So make sure it fits properly. It should also be firm, as a soft mattress could potentially harm your baby or increase the risk of SIDS.
Make Sure the Mattress Is at the Right Level
You’ll find that a lot of cribs have an adjustable mattress height to adjust as they grow up. This is pretty handy! If your baby can’t stand or sit up yet, it’s okay to keep the mattress at the highest level since they’re not likely to be in danger.
However, once they reach 4 to 7 months of age, you’ll want to lower the mattress so that they can’t climb out and fall.
Babies are curious and mischievous, but you’re smarter than they are!
Purchase at Least Two Mattress Pads
Mattress pads are a super important part of your crib bedding. They keep the mess your baby makes on their sheets from leaking through to the crib mattress.
Place the mattress pad under your little one’s sheets, to they’ll absorb the mess they make. In case one of the pads gets dirty, you’ll want to have an extra one on hand while the other is being washed.
I would suggest having at least two mattress pads on hand. You don’t want to replace the whole mattress, do you?
An Empty Crib is A Safe Crib Until 12 Months of Age
Maybe your child received a lot of cute items at the baby shower, and you’re excited to make the crib look extra cute. However, this isn’t the best idea for babies under the age of 12 months.
Your infant could unintentionally suffocate in their sleep and have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Scary, right?
For the safety of your infant, keep only a tight-fitting crib sheet in their crib and avoid extra bedding like blankets or quilts.
If you’re concerned that your baby will get cold, Mayo Clinic recommends using sleep sacks or other warm sleep clothing.
Try Buying Some Crib Rail Covers
Is your little one starting to move around and teethe? You might notice your baby’s crib getting some new teeth marks!
It may sound crazy, but it happens, and that’s why crib rail covers were invented. Not only do they keep your little teether from eating your crib, but they also come in different designs to make it look prettier!
Be sure to stock up on these before your baby hits the 4 to 7-month mark.
Location of the Crib is Key
Don’t ever place your baby’s crib near a window. You never know whether the baby could fall somehow, and any curtains or blinds you may have will pose a safety hazard.
Really, any item that your baby can grab could pose a safety risk (just make sure your mobile is high enough if you have one). These are things that we don’t think about a lot, but it’s essential for your little one’s safety that their sleeping area is safe.
Make Sure the Crib Itself is Safe
Of course, the place your baby sleeps needs to be as safe as possible. Wondering what you should be looking out for? Here are some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
- The rails on a crib should be no more than 6 centimeters apart to ensure that the baby can’t get trapped.
- Don’t get cribs with decorative cutouts – your baby could become trapped in them.
- Use only the materials that the crib came with to put it together. Make sure they’re put together tightly and in the right place.
- This may seem obvious, but you shouldn’t use a crib if any of the parts are missing/broken.
- The safety standards of cribs were updated in 2011, so you shouldn’t use a crib made before then.
- Sorry, thrifty moms – it’s not usually a good idea to buy cribs secondhand.
- Corner posts in a crib should fit snugly with the end panels, or they should be tall like a canopy bed.
- Check the crib for safety periodically. You’ll be looking for damaged parts, loose parts, missing parts, or sharp things that your baby might be able to reach. Make sure there are no splinters in the wood (or teeth marks, as discussed earlier).
There’s a lot of things to think about when it comes to setting up your baby’s sleeping area, which surprises some moms.
Think about it, though – you’ll be leaving the baby alone there, so it should be safe enough for them to stay for hours without you having to watch over them every minute.
A lot of parents opt to sleep in the same room as their baby for this reason (but you shouldn’t sleep in bed with your baby, as it’s unsafe).
However, if you follow the tips above, your little one’s sleeping area should be not only safe but also ready for anything they may throw at it.