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Sleeping Like a Baby: A Guide to Buying Bedding for Your Little One

sleeping baby in soft blanket

guide to buying bedding for your little one

Your newborn baby is going to need many new items when he or she enters the world in a few months. You’ve probably already created a checklist of important items like a car seat, a new wardrobe, plenty of toys and a stroller, but don’t forget one of the most important items—your baby’s new sleep area. Locating and purchasing the proper gear for nighttime is extremely important to your baby’s comfort and safety. In this guide, learn more about what you should be looking for when buying a crib, mattress and other accessories like baby boy bedding and baby girl bedding. Plus, read up on helpful tips to keep your baby safe throughout the night by purchasing the correct gear and keeping your baby’s crib free of potential hazards.

What Bedding Items Will You Need?

Crib and Mattress

The foundation of your baby’s new sleeping arrangement–the crib and the mattress–are vital to providing your infant with a good night’s rest. When searching for a crib, keep in mind some of the most important aspects you want to keep an eye out for including a product that has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. This group is dedicated to ensuring that each product created and marketed for young children is safe and meets government regulations. While shopping for your baby’s new crib, you should familiarize yourself with some of the laws related to child sleep safety. These guidelines often change based on new research. Most recently, there was an alteration to the law in 2011 after drop-side cribs were banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Committee. Educate yourselves ahead of time so you’re well-prepared when the big day comes.

newborn baby in crib

Many new parents struggle with the decision of purchasing a crib or a bassinet. In most cases, your baby is not going to spend much time in a bassinet, so save yourself some cash and invest in the crib right away. You can help acclimate your baby to sleeping in their own room while still using a monitor to keep an eye on their activity. Though bassinets are convenient because they are capable of rolling around the house, it may be a better idea to purchase a crib and a travel crib that can double as a play area as your baby gets older.

Once you’ve found a crib that you like, it’s time to begin searching for a mattress to fit. Much like with adults, babies benefit most from a mattress that is on the firmer side because they will be spending most of the time sleeping on their backs. With a softer mattress, it’s easier for a baby’s body to create an imprint which, while rare, can become a suffocation hazard. Aside from the hardness of the mattress, you’ll need to consider the size. You want the mattress to fit snugly in the crib with very little space between the bars of the crib and the mattress itself. If there is a gap between the two, it could become a safety issue. If you’ve purchased the crib first, take the exact measurements of the inside area and use this to locate the correct mattress size. Some mattresses are available with a harder side and a softer side. You can use the hard side while your baby is very young and then switch to the softer side as he or she gets older and less prone to safety issues in the crib.

Sheets and Blankets

Once you’ve found and purchased the perfect crib and mattress, you should begin looking for sheets. Whether you’re waiting to find out the gender of your baby or not, you can find adorable baby boy bedding and baby girl bedding to decorate his or her crib with. The most important piece of bedding you’ll need is a fitted sheet. Be sure that the sheet you get is the correct size and fits tightly over the mattress as you do not want the sheet to come loose and become a potential hazard to your child.

what bedding items will you need graphic

Though the fitted sheet is really the only piece of bedding that your baby requires, you can opt to get a mattress pad, which will help to protect the mattress from spills and accidents. Because mattresses are often expensive, it’s a good investment to protect the item as your baby will likely be using it for quite a while until he or she is ready to move into a big boy or girl bed in a couple of years.

Though babies require a swaddle or traditional blanket to stay warm and help regulate their body temperature, it can be dangerous to leave loose blankets in the crib as this may turn into a suffocation hazard. Swaddle blankets are a great crib accessory because they are less likely to come loose while your baby is asleep because they feature a stitched bottom and Velcro straps. Baby sleeping bags are another option to help keep your baby warm at night because these items are nearly impossible for infants to kick off.

Crib Decorations

Though not necessary for a baby’s sleeping area, crib decorations are other popular items to purchase before your baby’s official arrival. There’s nothing more exciting than creating a comfortable cute environment for your newborn. A crib skirt is one of the most useful items as it can cover the bottom portion of the mattress and help to prevent your infant from sticking their fingers between the crib bars and getting stuck beneath the mattress. Find a colorful crib skirt that matches your baby girl bedding set and then design your other crib decorations around this theme.

closeup baby mobile with stuffed animals

Mobiles are a staple of crib decorations. Babies are often fascinated by these spinning objects with cute toys hanging down or soothing music playing from the trinket. Mobiles can help to stimulate your newborn’s brain activity and provide them with an intriguing new object to recognize. Before purchasing a mobile, consider the purpose of this decoration as some of them are meant to calm your baby to sleep while others are meant to spike your child’s engagement with his or her surroundings. If your baby’s room is themed, you can find the perfect mobile to match the bedroom and crib sheets.  

Safety Tips for Putting Your Baby to Sleep

Before bringing your newborn home, you need to read up on common safety tips for your baby’s bedroom. As previously mentioned, it’s very important that you only keep a fitted sheet in your baby’s crib and no loose blankets as they can easily become a suffocation hazard should your child start moving around in his or her sleep. Keeping an eye on your baby’s temperature is essential because newborns are still learning how to regulate their own body temperature, so you may need to provide extra warmth. However, keep a lookout for signs of overheating such as red face and sweating. If you any of these symptoms occur, remove any swaddles or blankets from your baby’s body and allow them time to cool down.

Modern technology’s great advances have allowed for new baby monitors that provide excellent picture quality to allow parents to keep a close eye on their child’s activities during naptime and throughout the night. Before purchasing a monitor, do your research and check reviews to find which product will be best suited for your needs. You can keep your receiving end of the baby monitor near your bed to check on your newborn throughout the night and ensure that baby is safe and comfortable.

avoiding suffocation risks quote

To avoid any additional choking or suffocation risks, you should dress your baby in a single layer at bedtime, plus a swaddle or traditional blanket for extra warmth. With too many layers, your baby could become overheated or articles of clothing could come loose and restrict his or her access to oxygen. In the winter, a long-sleeve Onesies® Brand bodysuit paired with a swaddle blanket should be the perfect amount of clothing to keep your baby comfortable through the night. In the summer, a simple short-sleeve bodysuit is a good idea, potentially with a blanket if the room feels a bit chilly with the air conditioning.

Avoiding Crib Bumpers

When deciding on which crib accessories are absolutely necessary, you may come across information on crib bumpers. This item was created in an attempt to prevent children from sticking their limbs through the slats of their crib or hitting themselves against the crib’s wooden sides; however, experts agree that crib bumpers do not provide any additional safety measures. In fact, crib bumpers have actually become associated with an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) often caused by suffocation. Although the item has not yet been banned, you should avoid using a bumper at all costs to avoid exposing your baby to the risk of hurting themselves. Sometimes mattresses are sold along with a matching crib bumper. If this is the case, you can still purchase the mattress, but please do not use the included bumper.

Types of Baby Boy Bedding and Baby Girl Bedding

When shopping for baby boy bedding, you can choose from a selection of patterns and colors to match your newborn’s room. Baby girl bedding also comes in a variety of adorable designs from animal prints to traditional girl-related colors. If you don’t plan on learning the gender  of your baby until after birth, or you want to provide your child with neutral-colored bedding and decorations, you can select fabrics in shades of yellow, green or gray.

interior of gray themed baby's room with crib

Most sheets and blankets are made from cotton to provide warmth in the winter and breathability in the summer to prevent overheating. If you live in a region where the temperature drops drastically in the winter, you may consider purchasing blankets and bedding from an alternative material such as wool or fleece, though the mattress sheet should always be something thin and breathable. If you decide to wrap your child in a wool or fleece blanket, be sure that he or she is secure in the swaddle or use a premade swaddle blanket to prevent it from coming loose during the night.

Organic Bedding Options

Though regular baby bedding is typically safe and perfectly comfortable for newborns, some babies are born with extra sensitive skin that could benefit from organic cotton sheets. The main difference between regular and organic cotton is that organic is farmed without the use of any pesticides. Though regular cotton is not dangerous for babies, if you’re concerned about your infant’s sensitive skin or you just want to provide him or her with additional comfort, it may be worth investing in organic bedding. To match your newborn’s organic bedding, you can also purchase a pack of organic baby clothing that will nurture your baby’s skin and provide comfort all day and night.  

Tips on Decorating Your Baby’s New Crib

Before purchasing any of your newborn’s bedding items, consider how you want to decorate the room. If you don’t already have a plan for how to theme your child’s bedroom, browse children’s room ideas and select a color scheme that will be easy to match with wall decorations, bedding and blankets. Then, you can seek out specific patterns for bedding like elephants, hearts or stripes amongst dozens of other common designs.

baby room with princess theme

When shopping for decorations to go in the crib area, keep in mind that you should never leave stuffed animals or other toys in the crib while your baby is napping or sleeping for the night. Instead, decorate the area with adorable wall decals to match your baby’s bedding along with a mobile. You could consider adding a soft nightlight to the room as well to provide minimal light when you come in to check on baby during the night.

The Perfect Solution for All Your Baby Bedding Needs

Gerber Childrenswear offers expecting and new parents all the items they need to prepare for the arrival of their little one. Stock up on baby boy bedding or baby girl bedding items as you design and create your child’s new bedroom. Then, browse the large collection of baby clothing including sleepwear, Take-Me-Home sets, bathtime items, accessories like caps, mittens as well as bodysuits in a variety of colors.