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It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning on having an elaborate nursery design or a very simple furniture set. Shopping for your baby is both fun and overwhelming. When it comes to picking out crib sheets, there’s a lot to choose from.
However, it’s important not to get overwhelmed with the wealth of options, especially because not all of the options on the market are the best. In fact, there are still some really unsafe crib outfits for sale in many stores.
Don’t be fooled, and don’t spend a fortune. Safety should be your first priority, but you can also save a ton and still have a sweet nursery at the same time if you know what to look for and what you need.
|Best Overall: Nube Island Crib Sheets
|Premium Choice: Magnolia Crib Sheets
|Best Organic Mattress: Pehr Crib Sheets
|Best Material: Babyletto Crib Sheets
|Most Affordable: Burt’s Bees Crib Sheets
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Your baby is going to be sleeping for up to 18 hours a day in the beginning, so you want your nursery to be attractive, comfortable, convenient, and safe.
While the bedding choices, from designer sets that easily cost over $100 to the store brand single fitted sheet, are seemingly endless, you don’t want to get swept up in the distractions of cute baby gear.
Take all of the inspiration you want from that cute vintage print or the jungle pattern with the trendy rustic colors, but make sure you stay true to what your baby really needs. Here are some of the things you should really be thinking about.
Babies have sensitive skin, so rather than focusing on what the crib sheets look like, you should pay more attention to what they feel like. You want them to be soft and breathable, but you also want to make sure that your baby doesn’t end up with a rash.
Cotton, and especially organic cotton, is very healthy and comfortable for your baby. They’re much softer and more breathable than any other fabric on the market, and they’re also hypoallergenic.
However, they’re not quite as durable and may shrink in the wash. While this can be frustrating, especially after all of the other work and expenses you’ve endured with a new baby, many people would much rather focus on the feel of the sheets.
If you care about appearances, you’ll have to keep them ironed, but if you don’t mind a few wrinkles, they’ll still be just as soft, no matter whether you press them or not. And your baby is bound to love them either way.
Cotton polyester is definitely a less expensive option. They’re not quite as soft and they’re not all natural, but they are very easy to clean, wrinkle resistant, and super durable. This is a fantastic combination when it comes to children.
Flannel is always soft and comfy, so it’s a good option for babies, but always make sure you’re buying a high-quality flannel. Cheap flannel pills, which makes it very uncomfortable to sleep on.
It’s a great choice for winter because it retains warmth, but keep in mind that your baby, when dressed appropriately, will be able to regulate his or her own temperature without the help of a sheet.
High-quality flannel gets softer the more you wash it. It’s also more durable than organic cotton, so it will last a lot longer.
Fleece is water resistant and retains heat well. If you’re not a fan of flannel, but you want something for the winter months, this is a great option, and the water resistant qualities make it great for babies.
It dries quickly, but it tends to attract hair and dust really easily, which makes it hard to keep clean.
The fit needs to be perfect. The only thing you need in your baby’s crib is a fitted sheet to begin. You don’t need pillows, stuffies, bumpers, or quilts. Any extra fabric can be dangerous for your baby. Measure your mattress and buy fitted sheets that will fit. Full-size crib mattresses are 27 ¼ inches wide and 51 ⅝ inches long. They also shouldn’t be more than 6 inches thick.
However, there are other crib sizes from mini cribs to specialty designs and shapes. Make sure the crib sheets you choose aren’t loose. If they come off, they can prevent a choking hazard. They should fit tightly, but not so tight that they’re too small, which could also mean they sneak they’re way off at unpredictable times. The elasticity around the edges is critical. It ensures a secure fit underneath the bed.
Don’t leave your baby alone in their bed until you’re sure the sheets fit correctly. There are also extra elastic straps you can buy to make sure your crib sheets stay put.
Washing and care
Another thing to pay attention to is how you care for your sheets. With a newborn in the house, the less work you have to put into bedding, the better. Your baby will spit up, have leaky diapers, drool, and a whole lot more.
You’ll be doing laundry more than you want to admit, so make sure you stay away from sheets that need hand washing, unless there’s something like a material allergy about which you really need to be concerned. It can really save time and frustration knowing that you can throw all of your sheets on the same cycle and let them run without worrying.
There are even disposable crib sheets you can buy, but they’re not made of natural materials and they’re not as breathable as the other options. They’re not as healthy for your baby, and they’re not as affordable to use long-term, but they can be great options for traveling or for when your baby is sick.
One or two sheets won’t cut it. You’ll want to make sure you have enough sheets to get you through at least 3-4 nights of bedding changes. You’ll be thankful you have enough spare sheets so you don’t have to do daily laundry when your baby is sick or having repeated diaper leakages.
Even when your baby isn’t sick, they’ll sometimes sweat through the night. It’s not anything to worry about, but it’s their way of regulating their body temperature on their own. It can wet their sheets or soak through, causing you to need to change them.
There will be periods of time when you find yourself changing the sheets nightly for one reason or another. Nobody wants to do laundry at 2am, so having several spares in the closet is well worth the cost.
This may not seem as important as some of the other considerations, but color can help nurture and calm your baby when you’re not there. Busy or distracting patterns can often detract from the rest they should be getting.
Not to mention, parents like it when their baby’s sheets match the rest of the room. Sometimes matching patterns can be hard, but solid colors can be a bit easier.
In addition to a crib sheet, you may want to consider having a mattress pad on your baby’s mattress. It’s a must for your baby’s bedding because it’s 100% waterproof, and if you’re not choosing the 100% waterproof variety, you should be.
It fits just like a fitted crib sheet, with elastic under the mattress, and it contains a cotton cover with a waterproof layer underneath. It can help extend the life of your crib mattress by keeping it dry.
While some of these only cover the top of the mattress just like the crib sheet, others fit over the entire mattress and zip up to protect the entire surface from spills, leaks, and anything else it might come into contact with.
You can also get smaller pads to go under your baby’s crib sheet. They’re called burp pads or lap pads. They’re smaller than the mattress and meant to be washed when they’re dirty. They’re usually either quilted or made of fleece with a waterproof layer on the bottom.
As with any baby item, there are a lot of different brands that offer what seem to be nearly identical items. It can be tough to decipher which one is better, how they differ, and what’s right for you.
Here are some of the best brands you can buy.
Carter’s began in 1865 and has grown to include brand names like Child of Mine, OshKosh B’gosh, Genuine Kids, and Just One You. Aside from crib sheets, they have blankets, pajamas, clothes, shoes, furniture, and a whole lot more.
If you happen to like their crib sheets, you may want to branch out into their world of brands and try some other things, too. You may find that you can stick pretty close and get everything your baby needs.
One of the best things about Carter’s and its brands is that they’re easy to find and affordable, so they’re accessible to nearly everyone. They have a huge variety of styles, and they carry sizes from preemie all the way up to big kids.
Summer Infant hasn’t been around for as long, but it’s still a pretty well-known brand. A father started it in 1985 after realizing he needed a safe place for his baby, Summer, to sit. He invented a bouncer seat, and today the company makes all kinds of baby products.
They have bathtubs, high chairs, cribs, and a lot more. They also own the popular SwaddleMe brand. It’s another affordable line of products that offers quality without the price tag on a lot of the others.
Aden + Anais
As a young woman in Australia, Raegan Moya-Jones came into contact with muslin fabrics a lot. After moving to the states, she couldn’t find muslin swaddles anywhere, so she made some of her own. She was able to launch a company out of the idea, and today she has muslin bibs, washcloths, burp rags, sleep bags, blankets, and more.
She built her company on the belief that muslin offers a lot of benefits that other materials don’t, like softness and durability with a natural give and breathability. It’s also simple, versatile, and safe.
The products are high quality and stylish, but they’re much more expensive than other brands. If you’re looking for premium products for your baby, you may want to venture here, but if you’re looking to save a few dollars, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
When it comes to safe sleep, you’ll hear pediatricians worldwide harp on the subject endlessly, and they all say the same things. Most babies love to be swaddled, but as they work themselves loose of the blanket, the loose material can pose a hazard.
Halo was born out of Bill Schmid and his wife experiencing the loss of their first child to SIDS. They’ve made it their mission to educate other parents about safe sleep practices. Their SleepSack is even recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
They donate a portion of every sale to First Candle/SIDS Alliance and the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.
This company offers natural mattresses and other baby sleep products like nursery furniture, sleeping bags, organic cotton bedding, fleeces, wool blankets, and duvets. They’re not as well-known as some of the others, but they make baby and child products that will grow with your child.
Everything they produce is made from all natural materials, like their organic lambswool from local sheep grazing in the green fields surrounding the factory. It’s all made by hand, too, so you can trust the quality and the human touch.
Dangers of Crib Bedding
While there’s a lot of things that go into crib bedding you have to consider before buying, there are also things you want to avoid. The many dangers of crib bedding have a lot of parents paranoid, but as long as you know what not to do, you’ll be just fine.
The only thing your baby needs is a fitted crib sheet. If you’d like to put a waterproof mattress pad underneath it, you may do so. However, you don’t need things like comforters, blankets, bumpers, or anything else that could cause strangulation or suffocation.
In fact, your baby is already equipped with everything they need to regulate their own temperature while sleeping at night. If you’re worried about it, you can use appropriate sleep clothing and sleep sacks instead of blankets.
Purchase a crib that is designed to prevent head entrapment. Older cribs should not be used with crib bumpers in an attempt to retrofit it or make it safe. Instead, update the crib with a new style. Anything manufactured before June 2011 is no longer allowed to be sold.
Here’s what to avoid to keep your baby safe in their crib.
Not only are you keeping your child safe by avoiding all of that extra bedding, but you’re saving money, too. You simply don’t need it. You might think the crib doesn’t look as cute or complete without it, but your baby won’t know the difference, and you can take comfort in knowing your baby is as safe as they can be.
You could even take the extra cash and invest it in higher-quality crib sheets. Get crib sheets that will hold up well under repeated washing. Maybe invest in something that’s extra soft or organic.
Believe it or not, stores still sell unsafe bedding. You’ll have to be careful to know what to look for and avoid it at all costs. Despite all of the warnings, you’ll still find bedding sets that include things like bumpers and blankets.
It really will blow your mind what manufacturers can get away with, and what the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has not yet banned.
If you receive these types of items from friends, you may want to try to find better uses for them. You can use blankets as wall hangings or simply keep them as keepsakes for your child as they grow. This is especially important if they were handmade or given as an heirloom.
You can also use blankets safely during tummy time. They’re a great way to get use out of an item that someone might have given you, so you can take some pictures of the item in use. They also make great exercise pads or play mats.
A crib tent is a mesh covering that you place over a standard crib, a play yard, or a portable tent. Some fit securely over the top of the crib like a dome and some simply drape over the top.
They can pose a serious strangulation hazard. If your child isn’t capable of climbing out yet, you may be safe, but there have been cases of babies being strangled after getting wrapped up in the mesh cover.
It’s best to avoid these. If your child is trying to climb out, it’s time to move them to a toddler bed rather than placing a cover over the crib to keep them in.
Some crib locations aren’t safe. Avoid placing your baby’s crib within reach of toys, curtains, blinds, windows, wall decorations, other furniture, anything with a cord, or any other item that your baby could potentially reach and use to injure themselves.
Even stencils on the wall could be peeled off and swallowed. It’s best to place your baby’s crib in a place where they can’t reach anything else. Don’t hang anything on the wall or place any other furniture near it.
Mobiles can provide some stimulation for your baby, so they’re a great tool for independent play in the crib. It can be a safe toy, but it’s very important to make sure you attach it securely and make sure it’s not within their reach. If your baby can reach it, it’s time to take it off.
Bedside sleepers and co-sleepers
Bedside sleepers and co-sleepers have become very popular lately, and this is a parent’s personal preference. I am not a doctor, nor am I here to offer any medical advice, but there have been cases of infant deaths due to co-sleeping.
If you intend to co-sleep, make sure you have all of the information you need prior to doing so, and research the best co-sleeping options. There are a ton of co-sleepers out there intended to keep your baby safe while in bed with you.
While it may seem like common knowledge, you should never let your baby sleep on places like a soft mattress, an air mattress, a waterbed, a sofa, a bean bag chair, a pillow, or anything made of memory foam.
These surfaces are too soft and can create a suffocation hazard. Your child could sink too far into the material and not be able to move their head to either side or up and away from their chest.
If you’re in the market for some crib sheets, but it all seems just a tad overwhelming, here are some of the best options on the market today. Each has its own set of benefits, so you can choose which ones you think you might like best, or you can buy one of each!
Cloud Island Fitted Crib Sheets
These crib sheets are Target exclusives. They come in super sweet patterns, trendy colors, and they’re incredibly affordable. You can choose from solids, patterns, robots, florals, clouds, animals, hearts, balloons, and all kinds of other totally cute designs.
They come in packs of two, and for the price, you can afford to stock up on plenty of spare sheets, even if they sit in the back of the closet. They’re made of 100% cotton and you can get standard crib sheet sizes or play yard sheets.
Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet
Burt’s Bees chapstick, anyone? We all know it’s the best. If we apply the same logic to a crib sheet, we have to assume it’s amazing. Luckily, we’re right.
These crib sheets are made of thick, soft cotton that even I want to sleep on. It’s a quality sheet that won’t lose its softness no matter how many times you wash it. In fact, it just keeps getting softer.
It’s organic and hypoallergenic, so it’s great for even the most sensitive babies. It won the best crib sheets of the year in 2018 from The Bump Best of Baby. They’re a bit pricey, but oh so worth it. The collection comes in all sorts of prints, patterns, and solids including stripes, plaids, bees, stars, and so much more.
Brooklinen Brooklittles Crib Sheet Set
Brooklinen is a popular online sheet retailer. They make super soft and cozy sheets for everyone. Their Brooklittles line is clearly for the littles, but they’re just as soft and cozy as everything else.
You can get this in white or in one of their nine bold patterns including jungle, dots, and sprinkles. They come in sets of two, but you get to mix and match the two designs you like best. They also come in standard crib sizes or mini crib sizes. They’re ultra-pricey, but also ultra-durable.
They’re 300 thread count cotton sheets with a sateen weave that creates a smooth finish everyone loves. Your child will be spoiled from the very beginning, and may never want to sleep on regular sheets.
Pehr Organic Cotton Crib Sheet
If you’re looking for a 100% organic cotton crib sheet that’s still excellent quality but won’t break the bank, Pehr is a good way to meet in the middle. It offers a 200 thread count sheet with handmade screen printing.
It’s not as affordable as some of the other options, but it’s not as expensive either. It’s ultra soft on your baby’s skin and machine washable.
Aden + Anais Classic Crib Sheet
If you’ve been dying to try some Aden + Anais merch ever since you found out about the benefits of muslin (you know, since I mentioned it a few minutes ago), here’s your chance.
The prints are super adorable, the fabric is super soft, and they’re super affordable. Compared to other premium items on this list, you’ll get awesome patterns and durable sheets at just a fraction of the price.
It comes in solid white or you can get flowers, bears, stars and giraffes, or world wonders.
Little Star Organic Crib Sheets
These sheets, surprisingly enough, are Walmart exclusives. They’re 100% organic cotton and they don’t contain any chemicals or dyes. It’s a soft jersey knit offering a safe place for your baby to sleep.
The patterns coordinate with swaddles, changing pads, towels, and more. You can choose from bright and simple colors and patterns like wildlife, stars, hearts, black and white, blue, gray, and pink. Each comes in a coordinated set of two.
Babyletto Crib Sheets
These sheets are made of a durable but lightweight poplin. It’s an awesome fabric that has colorfast ink. It comes in whimsical patterns like polka dots, stars, arrows, the galaxy, and something they call tuxedo monochrome. The colorfast ink won’t fade, even after several washes, which is something that doesn’t hold true for every crib sheet.
Magnolia Organics Fitted Interlock Crib Sheet
The Magnolia Organics interlock fabric makes a double knit, super thick, but still ultra breathable crib sheet. It’s soft to the touch and incredibly durable. It actually gets softer with every wash and it won’t pill, so your baby will always be safe and comfortable.
The dyes are eco-friendly and the prints are unique and beyond adorable. The colors are vibrant, and they also have flannel sheets if you prefer a warmer fabric for the cold winter weather.
Little Unicorn Percale Crib Sheet
This brand features vivid colors with nature-themed patterns as well as some geometrics and solids, too. They’re lightweight percale cotton or cotton muslin crib sheets and they get softer with each wash.
The designs are definitely unique, so you’ll find some interesting things here that you won’t find anywhere else.
Answer: Muslin is a type of cotton, but it’s super soft and ultra breathable, so it does a really great job of keeping your baby warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It is gentle on your baby’s skin, durable, and easy to clean.
Muslin is an excellent choice for your baby’s crib, but they’re not the most affordable option. There a lot other great options, too, so do some exploring before deciding what you want to do.
Answer: You certainly don’t need organic crib sheets, but they can be useful for some people. Organic products are necessary if your baby has allergies or very sensitive skin. While all babies have skin that’s more sensitive than an adult, some babies have increased sensitivities or skin issues that might lead to the need for organic sheets.
On the other hand, if you purchase mostly organic products because of your beliefs, morals, or lifestyle, then organic sheets are an excellent choice.
Answer: Just like the sheets on your bed, your baby’s sheets will accumulate dead skin cells, hair, and dust. This attracts pests and bacteria that can impact their health, so it’s important to switch their sheets at least twice a week.
Answer: This number will be different for everyone. Some people find that their baby is particularly sweaty when they sleep and they need to change their sheets much more often. You’ll also deal with the occasional diaper blowout in the middle of the night.
It’s always good to have at least one backup crib sheet, but if you don’t want crib sheets to be a constant source of laundry, having four or five spare sheets is a good idea. Even if you buy two high quality sheets and then use several more affordable sheets as the rare backup when needed, you’ll have plenty, just in case.
Answer: Some people prefer not to have any waterproof crib pads at all, and they’re not required, but there are benefits to using them. The primary benefit to using one is that it protects your mattress from moisture, which can increase its lifespan
It makes sheet changes a lot easier, too. If your baby wakes at night with a leaky diaper or another source of moisture, you can change the sheets and the mattress pad, and the mattress underneath will be dry.
It’s a good idea to have two mattress pads on hand. One will be on the crib and one will be your backup in case you need to change it.
Usually, two is enough. Very rarely will you need more than two. It’s generally in situations when your child is very sick, which for most parents, is infrequent.
Answer: Many people find themselves asking this question because the packaging can be confusing.
Yes, crib sheets and toddler sheets are the same size. The fitted sheet in a toddler sheet set will wrap around your baby’s crib mattress just the same as a crib sheet will.
The primary difference between the two is what’s included in the bedding set. Crib sheets come individually or as a set while toddler sheet sets will come with fitted sheets, flat sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and sometimes more.
Answer: Soft bedding like pillows, thick blankets, and quilts can block your infant’s airway and increase their risk of SIDS. For very young babies, it’s best to only use a fitted crib sheet. However, you can introduce something a bit thicker as they get older.
Answer: While there’s no recommended age to start using a blanket, comforter, or softer bedding, many medical professionals agree that soft bedding is too dangerous for babies younger than 12 months and suggest waiting until at least a year, if not 18 months to introduce those things.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Buying the right crib sheets is about more than offering your child a good night’s sleep. Sure, you want to make sure it’s soft, comfortable, breathable, and safe. But making sure it’s all of those things also gives you the peace of mind you need to sleep well at night.
Knowing your baby is at rest will be one less thing you have to worry about. While there are a lot of options on the market, you should have a better idea now of which one is right for you.
I’m partial to the Target exclusive Cloud Island crib sheets because I think they’re the cutest and the affordability is just a bonus.
However, your child’s allergies or sensitive skin may dictate your need for something a bit more premium. It’s up to you, but whatever you choose, you’re bound to love it.