It can be pretty difficult to get baby to sleep through the night during those first few months. To give yourself the best chance at a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to give your little one every opportunity to sleep comfortably. That’s where the best mini crib mattresses come in!
Unfortunately, mini crib mattresses can be very hard to choose. If you’re like us, you’ve probably read reviews for a lot of mattresses only to realize that most of them come with mixed reviews. In this post, we will try to make this process easier for you by telling you exactly what you should be looking for in a mini crib mattress and recommending our top picks. If you haven’t yet bought a mini crib, or if you’re still deciding between a full-size or a mini crib, you should check out our post on the best mini cribs of 2021 which discusses those topics in depth.
Types of Mini Crib Mattress
The first major decision you will need to make is to choose the type of mattress that you want. The 2 main options are innerspring and foam. Choosing one of these options at the start of the process will narrow down your options, making your search more manageable. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each type of mini crib mattress.
Innerspring mattresses usually have the benefit of a firmer feel and superior durability relative to foam mattresses. Because of the “bounciness” of the springs, they tend to offer better spinal support. To get the most benefits, you will want to consider an innerspring mattress with a high coil count. Mattresses with low coil counts have been known to sag and lack durability. Innerspring is the way we went with our daughter’s crib mattress and what we would recommend. However, innerspring options are very limited for mini crib mattresses (though they do exist).
What to Look for in a Mini Crib Mattress
Mini crib mattresses can come with a ton of different features. Knowing which ones matter to you will expedite your shopping and help you make the right decision.
Given that your little one will start off spending most of their day in bed, it’s important to ensure that they aren’t surrounded by harmful chemicals. With mini crib mattresses coming with such a variety of safety certifications it can be difficult to figure out which ones are reliable. In order to learn more about the various certifications, we would invite you to visit this great post from Sustainable Slumber. The key takeaway is that the Greenguard Gold certification is best-in-class to ensure that your baby isn’t breathing in nasty chemicals. We picked a Greenguard Gold certified mattress for our daughter and only recommend mini crib mattresses with this certification.
The wrong fit between your mini crib and mattress can pose a hazard for your little one. Crib manufacturers have a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to size requirements. Some manufacturers decide to make roomier cribs while others build them smaller. The same is also true when it comes to crib mattresses. This means that you want to avoid a situation where you buy a mini crib at one end of the size spectrum and a mattress at the other end. The fit should be snug enough that you can’t fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib, yet still loose enough to allow you to comfortably change the fitted sheet at 3 a.m.!
Infant mattresses are extra firm – so much so that they might seem quite uncomfortable to you. That’s totally normal and doesn’t mean your baby won’t be comfortable. Infant mattresses are firm for a very good reason: to help prevent babies from suffocating in their sleep. Providing baby with a safe sleeping environment is one of the easiest ways to minimize the risk of SIDS. The right mattress is a good place to start.
Many mini crib mattresses come with a firmer infant side and a softer side for toddlers who use the mini crib as a toddler bed. This feature will likely save you money in the long run as the cost of these mattresses tends to be fairly similar to single-side mattresses but can be used longer. As a bonus, a flippable mattress will save you the hassle of shopping for another mattress a year down the line and having to figure out what to do with your first mattress!
Many mattresses come with a waterproof cover for the unavoidable accidents that baby will have during sleep. While this may sound nice in theory, there are a couple of reasons why we don’t personally like or recommend a number of them:
- Waterproof covers are often made of vinyl, PVC or other materials that have been shown to be unhealthy for humans. For example, this is what the New Jersey Department of Human Services has to say about PVC: “PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.” These are definitely not materials that you want your baby sleeping on all night.
- Waterproof mattresses using poor quality materials don’t breathe well and may cause you sleeping baby to overheat. Overheating is known to be one of the risk factors for SIDS.
- Finally, many parents complain that waterproof mattresses are noisy (imagine the sound a bed covered in a layer of a plastic-y material would make as you move in your sleep) which wakes their baby up. The last thing any of us needs is an extra reason for baby to wake up in the middle of the night!
The good news is that there are a few good options for water-resistant mini crib mattresses on the market, including the 5 mattresses that we have listed in the recommendation section. If you end up selecting a waterproof mattress that isn’t part of our recommendations, you should keep in mind the common issues discussed above.
Our Mini Crib Mattress Recommendations
And now, time to take a look at our favorite mini crib mattress options. If you’ve looked at other similar recommendation lists you will notice that our list is significantly shorter than most. There’s a simple reason for that: there aren’t that many mini crib mattresses worth recommending! What we found is that the majority of mattresses either were made with poor quality or toxic materials, had poor customer satisfaction, or were overpriced for what they offered. After carefully considering all available options, this list of 5 mattresses listed below is all that we were left with. All of them are great options, and your final choice will likely depend on your budget which is why we ranked them by price. So with that, let’s have a look at our top overall pick!
Best Overall Mini Crib Mattress
We think the Newton Baby mini crib mattress is the absolute best mattress available on the market. You just have to read or watch reviews around the internet to see that parents absolutely love this mattress. It’s easy to see why:
- 100% breathable: the extreme breathability of this mattress makes it safer for baby by preventing overheating and allowing baby to breathe right through the mattress!
- 100% washable: the cover can be washed in the washing machine and the mattress can be washed in the tub, which means no mess is too big! This is a truly unique feature.
- No foam, lead or phthalates. In fact, the mattress is recyclable!
- Greenguard Gold certified to protect the health of your little one.
- Optional waterproof cover is made without the typical toxic or uncomfortable products used in most waterproof mattresses.
The Newton Baby definitely checks all the boxes, and then some! That being said, it is by far the most expensive mattress on this list and the price tag might be a bit high for some. Indeed, the price tag was the only thing that kept us from buying this mattress for our daughter.
Best Mini Crib Mattress Under $200
Moonlight Slumber makes fantastic crib mattresses. All of their products are made in the US using quality materials and undergo third party testing and certification to give you peace of mind. Here are some of the Baby Bluebird‘s highlights:
- Dual-sided mattress to provide safety in the first year and comfort once your baby is ready. The toddler side features a cool gel memory foam which is a neat feature that baby is sure to love!
- Water-resistant layer made of stretch-knit, hypoallergenic polyester without any toxic chemicals. The waterproof layer is covered by plush cotton which will be soft on baby’s skin.
- CertiPur-US and Greenguard Gold Certified to provide a safe sleeping environment for your little one.
We think the Baby Bluebird is a close second to the Newton Baby in terms of features and quality. As an added bonus, it is also quite a bit cheaper!
Best Mini Crib Mattresses Under $150
The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Mini is the Bluebird’s little brother. The infant side of the mattress is similar in both mattresses, as is the water-resistant cover layer. Continuing with Moonlight Slumber’s focus on quality and safety, the Little Dreamer is also CertiPur-US and Greenguard Gold certified. There are two key differences to note, however:
- On the Little Dreamer, the water-resistant layer is the top layer. It is not covered in a plush cotton machine washable cover like the Bluebird. The water-resistant layer is still comfortable to the touch, and you can wipe it clean with a wet cloth.
- The toddler side of the mattress is made of a softer foam instead of a cool gel memory foam layer like in the Bluebird. By all accounts this has not prevented toddlers from sleeping comfortably. The toddler side may not be as fancy as it is on the Bluebird, but by all accounts it still compares favorably to most mattresses out there.
This could be the perfect mini crib mattress for your family if these two differences aren’t deal breakers for you. It’s a great chance to get the Moonlight Slumber quality for a pretty affordable price!
The Bundle of Dreams Flagship 5″ is handcrafted in the US and offers great value at this price point:
- Dual-sided mattress with a firmer side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
- 100% breathable mattress to help your little one stay cool.
- Water-resistant cover made from organic, hypoallergenic materials to protect baby’s sensitive skin. The cover is also removable and machine washable.
- Greenguard Gold certified to provide a safe sleeping environment with low chemical emissions for baby.
Best Mini Crib Mattress Under $100
We think the Simmons SlumberTime might offer the best value of any mini crib mattresses out there. While coming in at just about half the price of other options on this list it still offers a long list of features:
- Dual-sided mattress for longer use, with a firmer side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
- Water-resistant and machine washable cotton cover.
- Greenguard Gold certification to provide peace of mind that baby will be sleeping in a safe environment with low emissions.
The only real downside to this mattress, which explains part of the price difference, is that the mattress is only 4″ thick. Thinner mattresses are generally associated with slightly less durability and comfort. On the flip side, however, a thinner mattress will be lighter and easier to handle if that is something that matters to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between a Mini Crib and a Regular Crib?
- Space Savings: A mini crib is large enough to last longer than a bassinet, but small enough to help you make the most of your living space.
- Money Savings: Mini cribs and mini crib mattresses are cheaper than their full-sized equivalent.
- Great for room sharing: The smaller size of mini cribs makes them a great option for sharing your bedroom with baby during the first 6-12 months of life, which has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Portability: Mini cribs are smaller and lighter which makes them easy to carry around the house. There are even foldable options which you could bring with you to a relative’s house, for example.
What Age Is a Mini Crib Good for?
A mini crib can be used as soon as you bring your newborn home and should last until they are about two years old if they are of average size. If you buy a convertible mini crib and a dual-sided mini crib mattress you could convert it first into a toddler bed, and then a single bed, greatly increasing the return on your investment in a mini crib.
While the above guidelines will hold true in most cases, you should take a moment to read the manufacturer’s instructions once you receive your new mini crib and follow indicated weight limits and all other recommendations carefully.
Will a Mini Crib Mattress Fit in a Pack ‘n Play?