Bassinet Mattress Buyer's Guide: Tips For Choosing The Right Mattress
What your baby sleeps on matters just as much as what they sleep in. If your baby sleeps in a bassinet, it’s important to choose a bassinet mattress that benefits and supports them. But knowing what to look for can be challenging.
That’s why we’ve created this buyer’s guide for purchasing a bassinet mattress. In this article, we offer four tips for choosing the right mattress to keep your baby safe and comfortable while they’re sleeping!
We’ll also cover a few recommendations for safe sleep no matter where your baby lays their head. But before we get to that, let’s talk about why you may put your baby in a bassinet in the first place.
Benefits Of Using A Bassinet
Bringing your little one home from the hospital is a memory that you’ll never forget! But once you get home, they’ll need somewhere safe to sleep. You have two options: a bassinet or a crib.
Hint: take a look at our Bassinet Vs. Crib: What’s The Difference And Which One Is Best For Your Baby? article for an in-depth comparison and breakdown of the two.
What are some of the advantages of using a bassinet for your newborn?
Ease Of Access
A bassinet is small and convenient enough for you to put right beside your bed. Although you should never sleep with your baby in bed with you, having them close allows you to easily reach them during the night.
Bassinets are more mobile than cribs. They also weigh less, and many bassinets come with wheels that make it even easier to move the bed as needed.
Pro Tip: As convenient as mobility is, remember to lock the wheels once you’ve finished moving it and to never move the bassinet when your baby is snoozing inside.
Lower Price Tag
A bassinet can be less expensive than a crib, offering a more economical option as you set up the nursery.
The only thing to keep in mind is that before you know it, your baby will grow out of their bassinet, and you’ll be purchasing a crib. Take this into account as you make decisions.
The main reason most parents choose a bassinet over a crib for the first few months of their baby’s life is to save space.
The American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends sharing a room with your baby, but not the same sleeping surface. They suggest following this rule until your baby is at least six months old.
With this recommendation in place, a bassinet is a good space-saving option when you don’t have a lot of extra space in your bedroom for a full-sized crib.
That said, another option that’s bigger than a bassinet but smaller than a standard-sized crib is a mini crib.
Another Option: The Mini Crib
There are two crib sizes: standard and mini.
A standard-sized crib measures around 52 inches long and 28 inches wide and is big enough to accommodate your little one for several years. In fact, a convertible crib is capable of converting into a toddler bed, providing your child with sweet dreams at each stage.
However, if you’re planning to have your infant sleep in your room, a standard-sized crib is probably not the best fit.
Measuring 24 inches by 38 inches, a mini crib is bigger than most bassinets but smaller than a standard-sized crib, making it a good option for room-sharing or small nurseries.
Although your growing little one will need to make the switch to a bigger bed around (or before) their second birthday, a mini crib may allow you to keep your infant in your room more easily for the time being.
If you choose this type of crib, what are the mattress options? We recommend our breathable Crib Mattress, which comes in standard as well as mini size.
This comfortable mattress is 100% breathable, allowing your baby to breathe right through if they roll over onto their stomach during the night. And the breathability provides air circulation so your baby won’t wake up with a sweaty back!
This mattress is also free of foam, glue, latex, and springs and is 100% washable from cover to core.
Knowing the options, if a bassinet is still the best choice for your baby and your family, carry on! But before you make any decisions on which bassinet to buy, check out our article Bassinet Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For When Buying Your Baby’s Bassinet.
Now, let’s discuss bassinet mattresses.
When To Purchase A Bassinet Mattress
Your newborn will need a place to lay their head as soon as you get home from the hospital! So, if a bassinet is your baby bed of choice, you’ll want to have it set up well before your due date or the date you plan to bring your adopted baby home.
Most bassinets come with a mattress already. If your bassinet doesn’t come with a mattress or you aren’t pleased with the one included, you’ll need to consider purchasing one separately.
Also, if your bassinet mattress is worn out, find a replacement right away. One quick way to know if the mattress needs to be replaced is by checking how dirty it is, especially if the surface can’t be easily cleaned.
During the newborn stage, your baby may spit up quite a bit even while lying down. That and other messes will happen on their mattress and, if left untreated, can create an unhealthy sleep environment for your baby.
Tips For Choosing The Right Bassinet Mattress
When searching for a replacement mattress for your baby’s bassinet, there are a few things to keep in mind. We want to make sure your baby is safe while they’re sleeping, so take a look!
1) Put Safety First
As a parent, one of your top concerns is your baby’s safety, especially when it comes to their sleep. One way to keep your baby safe while sleeping is to make sure their mattress is firm.
According to the AAP, your baby’s mattress should be firm and comfortable. The firm surface reduces the risk of suffocation. If your baby’s bassinet mattress is too soft, it could be dangerous.
Tip: To check the firmness of your baby’s bassinet mattress and know whether it’s unsafe or not, see if your baby’s head makes an indention in it. If you notice an indention after your little one lies on the mattress, it may be too soft.
The mattress doesn’t have to be so hard that it’s uncomfortable and difficult for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep; it just needs to be firm.
If your baby’s bassinet mattress is too thick, it could pose another risk for suffocation. But if it’s too thin, it won’t be comfortable for your little one. The right amount of thickness is important for both safety and comfort.
The mattress in your little one’s bassinet should be no more than one and a half inches thick. Anything thicker could be a hazard.
Traditional oval- or rectangular-shaped bassinets measure about 30 to 33 inches long by 15 to 18 inches wide. On the other hand, some bassinets have their own dimensions.
Before choosing which bassinet mattress is best, pay attention to the shape and size of your baby’s bassinet. In order to provide the safest sleep environment, the mattress will need to fit snugly inside the bassinet.
If you don’t have the correct dimensions, this won’t be possible. So before you begin your search, make sure to measure your little one’s bassinet.
2) Consider Your Baby’s Comfort
Look for a bassinet mattress covered in material that’s comfortable for your baby.
Some mattresses can cause your baby’s skin to itch, making your little one extremely uncomfortable. And when that happens, your baby won’t sleep well during naps or at night time.
Additionally, if you notice your baby suddenly isn’t sleeping as well after days or weeks of sound sleep, give their mattress a thorough inspection to see if there’s anything on it that might be causing them discomfort.
Your sweet baby’s head and body are growing and developing constantly, so choose a mattress that supports that growth and gives your baby the quality sleep they need to achieve all of their developmental milestones.
The Moro Reflex is a natural reflex that develops in your baby between 28 to 32 weeks of gestation and disappears between three to six months of age.
It is your baby’s response to a sudden loss of support and involves three distinct components: spreading out the arms, pulling the arms in, and crying.
Because your baby will continue this reflex throughout the first few months of life, they’ll move a lot in their sleep. And when they move, it can make loud noises if their bassinet mattress is covered in certain materials.
(We’ve found that mattresses made with a plastic covering cause the most disruptions in your baby’s sleep in regard to noise.)
Because of this, the Moro Reflex can hinder your baby from getting a good night’s sleep if they’re not swaddled properly. Your little one needs to be tight and cozy while sleeping. If not, the Moro Reflex — or the noise their mattress makes as a result of it — can wake them up.
Newton Baby’s Organic Cotton Swaddles are the perfect solution to help your baby stay safe and cozy (and quiet!) while they’re sleeping!
These hypoallergenic swaddle blankets are made with pre-shrunk, 100% organic muslin cotton that’s certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards. The soft fabric is completely breathe-through to help keep your baby at the right temperature and avoid overheating.
Use our Organic Cotton Swaddles for swaddling, and let them double as a breastfeeding cover, tummy time mat, changing pad, stroller cover, or light blanket, too!
3) Choose A Bassinet Mattress That’s Built To Last
A durable bassinet mattress should last months before showing any signs of deterioration. Mattresses that deteriorate after only a few uses can keep your baby from getting a good night’s sleep.
How can you tell if the mattress you’re considering is durable? Pay attention to its quality.
For example, a poor-quality bassinet mattress will come apart easily and may have bumps or lumps in it. This surface would not only be uncomfortable for your baby but also unsafe.
Waterproof, Washable Cover
For your baby’s bassinet mattress to last as long as possible, it needs to be waterproof. Why? Because your infant will spit up and have accidents. It’s unavoidable.
But you can avoid an unsafe sleeping environment! To create an environment where mold and mildew can’t grow, choose a waterproof, washable mattress cover to protect your little one’s bassinet mattress.
Once your baby graduates to a crib, switch to our Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad, which is available for cribs as well as twin beds.
The waterproof, breathable fabric lining provides waterproof protection under a layer of air. With an additional ⅜” of air circulation on the surface of the mattress, this mattress pad makes any crib mattress safer. It’s also machine washable for easy cleanup when accidents happen.
4) Check The Labels
Many products — even some designed for babies — end up off-gassing after you purchase them.
This process involves releasing chemicals into the air once a product is opened, which may or may not have a strong scent. The chemicals are released because the air has been trapped due to packaging.
To minimize off-gassing, check the labels on your baby’s bassinet mattress for plastic and other harmful substances. And always research the materials labeled on the bassinet mattress if you’re not sure what something is.
If you notice a substance that could harm your baby, keep looking for another bassinet mattress!
As of 2007, all mattresses are required to contain enough Fire Retardant Chemicals to withstand a two-foot-wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds.
Nearly 92 percent of the market (or most major sleep-product brands) use highly controversial fire retardants due to their cost-efficiency. Look for a stamp of certification from the GREENGUARD Gold program to know if the fire retardants used in your baby’s mattress are safe.
The GREENGUARD Gold program is the strictest certification offered by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and recognizes products that are safe for children to use.
A GREENGUARD Certified product has been tested for over 10,000 chemicals and emissions and has passed the test, meeting strict standards for low emissions levels and helping you maintain good indoor air quality.
The GREENGUARD Gold Certification goes one step further by requiring lower total VOC emission levels and ensuring that products are safe for use in schools, nurseries, and healthcare facilities.
Safe Sleep In A Bassinet
Part of keeping your baby safe while they sleep is choosing a safe bassinet and bassinet mattress. Once you have that checked off your list, be sure to follow safe sleep practices day in and day out — regardless of whether your baby is sleeping in a bassinet or in a crib.
While we already mentioned one of the safe sleep recommendations: sharing your room (but not your bed) with your baby, there are a few additional recommendations we’ll discuss here.
1) Keep The Bassinet Bare
When you lay your baby down to sleep, the bassinet should be bare. That means only the bassinet mattress, a fitted sheet if needed, and your little one.
While they may seem cute or cozy, toys, baby pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, and the like can all prove to be choking and suffocation hazards. And if you have a fitted sheet on your baby’s bassinet mattress, be sure that it fits tightly.
Once your baby is in a crib, the same rule applies. Outfit their crib with a fitted sheet like our Organic Cotton Sheets and nothing more! These supremely soft sheets are made with all-around elastic to guarantee a safe, snug fit on any crib mattress.
With 100% breathability, our muslin sheets offer superior airflow (just like our mattresses) to keep your baby comfortable all night long. Choose from multiple classic patterns to fit your nursery theme.
2) Put Your Baby On Their Back
As you put your baby in their bare bassinet for naptime or nighttime, remember that they should always be laid down on their back. It’s safer than sleeping on their side or tummy.
What about when your baby starts rolling over? This usually happens sometime around four months old, and they should be out of a swaddle by the time they get the hang of rolling.
You’ll still put them to sleep on their back, but if they use their new skills to roll over in the middle of the night, you can let them be — there’s no need to turn them over again.
3) Give Your Baby Tummy Time
Although you should always put your baby on their back to sleep, tummy time is essential during waking hours! Spending time face-down helps them develop the muscles that will allow them to reach important developmental milestones.
For safe tummy time, both you and your baby should be fully awake. Make it a special, enjoyable time for your baby by getting on the floor with them and bringing their favorite toys.
Tummy time can even start on day one of your baby’s life, it just might look a little different for newborns. Think skin-to-skin contact or placing them on your lap, for example. Read more tips for tummy time here.
4) Offer A Pacifier At Bedtime
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving your baby a pacifier at nap time as well as bedtime as another way to promote safe sleep.
This should start after your newborn has gotten the hang of breastfeeding (typically a couple of weeks). If you aren’t nursing, feel free to offer the pacifier earlier.
Just remember to keep the “bare bassinet” rule in mind here. The pacifier should be free of any sort of strap. And, if your baby simply doesn’t want the pacifier, that’s OK, too. There’s no need to force it.
5) Care For Yourself And Your Baby
Creating a safe environment is essential for safe sleep, but there are other steps you can take to keep your baby safe and healthy. That includes taking care of yourself and your baby!
Take your little one to their regularly scheduled check-ups and make sure they are getting the right amount of nutrients through breastfeeding or formula. You’ll also want to look out for your baby’s health by taking care of yourself. Avoiding alcohol and drug use as well as stopping smoking can contribute to your baby’s sleep safety.
Learn more about baby sleep safety here.
Helping Your Baby Sleep Well
In your search for a bassinet mattress, remember to put your baby’s safety first, which is what we do here at Newton Baby. But also consider your little one’s comfort level so they can get a good night’s sleep!
Choose a bassinet mattress that’s built to last. Making sure the mattress you choose is waterproof and durable is key. And don’t forget to check the labels!
Once you’ve chosen the perfect bassinet and mattress, look out for your baby’s sleep safety day in and day out with the recommendations we mentioned above.
And finally, once your baby outgrows their bassinet and they’re ready to sleep in a crib, check out Newton Baby’s breathable crib mattress. You can trust us to provide your baby’s safe sleep necessities!