Crib bedding: tips for new parents

Choose those that fit tightly around the crib mattress to prevent that could block your baby's face.

Crib bedding: tips for new parents
Most crib mattresses are covered in plastic to protect the insides if, and when, your baby's diaper leaks during the night.

There’s a certain thrill to decorating your baby’s nursery and setting it up just the way you want it. Decking out the crib is one of those things that new parents can’t wait to do. With so many cute options out there, you’re sure to find something you love.

As new parents, you might not realize that what you put in your baby’s crib could be the difference between safe sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome. Newborns don’t have much control over their bodies, and if they get fluffy crib bedding over their faces, they may not be able to get it off and could stop breathing.

With this in mind, medical experts have several helpful pieces of advice that will help you choose the right bedding for your baby. Most crib mattresses are covered in plastic to protect the insides if, and when, your baby’s diaper leaks during the night. However, this means that the mattress gets cold, which is not comfortable for a baby.

Mattress pads provide a barrier between your newborn and his mattress and offer additional containment for leaky diapers. As long as the pad is secured underneath a sheet and isn’t left to flap around in the crib or used as a blanket, a mattress pad is safe part of crib bedding for your baby. For parents who want to go all out with crib bedding, sheets are a good option because they come in many fun prints and are safe for babies.

Choose those that fit tightly around the crib mattress to prevent bunched fabric that could block your baby’s face. Also, tight crib sheets are less likely to come loose and end up over your baby’s airways. Most experts recommend sticking to just a crib sheet for safety’s sake. With the recommendations for a bare crib, you might wonder how you are going to keep your baby warm while he sleeps.

Instead of a bunch of bulky blankets that could interfere with your baby’s breathing, opt for a blanket sleeper or “sleep sack.” It’s like a mix between a blanket and a pair of pajamas. Most sleepers have arms so that your baby is warm, but there isn’t any loose fabric near his face. The bottom is sack-like and gives your baby extra warmth and room to move his legs.

These products are much safer than afghans or quilts, even if they don’t perfectly match the rest of your crib bedding. All the cute crib bedding sets come with a bumper that ties around the edges of the crib right above the mattress. They were originally designed to keep babies from bumping their heads on the slats of the crib while they slept.

However, because they are often plush and thick, they pose a risk of sudden infant death syndrome if a baby gets his face buried and can’t move away. In addition, older babies might use the bumper to climb out of the crib. Most experts recommend skipping the crib bumper altogether.

Rest assured, you baby isn’t likely to bump his head hard enough to cause any damage. They’re soft and they’re cute, but stuffed animals pose the same risk as fluffy blankets and thick crib bedding. Let your baby play with them when you are close by to supervise, but remove any and all stuffed creatures from the crib when your baby sleeps or plays alone in his crib.