Crib Mattress Buying Guide: How To Choose A Mattress For Your Baby

baby sleeping on crib mattress

There are several decisions to make when outfitting your baby’s nursery. And when it comes to choosing a crib mattress, there is a lot to consider — it’s more than just getting the right size and covering it with a cute fitted sheet!

Deciding on a mattress also includes looking out for your baby’s safety, the ease of cleaning the mattress, and so much more. But don’t worry, we’re here to make things crystal clear!

To help you make a great choice, we’ll list six of the most important considerations when choosing a crib mattress: size and shape, firmness, materials, breathability, cleaning, and linens.

What To Consider When Choosing A Crib Mattress

Size And Shape

Expecting mom standing next to crib in zoo themed nursery

Obviously, the crib needs to fit around the crib mattress like a glove. Cribs are sometimes made in shapes like ovals and circles, and if you opt for a shaped crib, it will typically come with the corresponding mattress.

But when it comes to run-of-the-mill rectangular cribs, the two sizes are standard and mini. A standard-sized crib (around 28 inches by 52) uses a standard crib mattress. And a mini crib (24 by 38 inches) uses a mini mattress.

Easy, right? Yes, but you’ll still need to check the fit. While the size of standard crib mattresses is regulated, there is a bit of wiggle room. Meanwhile, the size of mini crib mattresses is not regulated.

Regardless, your job is to test the fit of the mattress in the crib to make sure it’s snug.

A big gap between the mattress and the inside of the crib poses a safety hazard for your little one. How can you tell if the fit is perfect? In general, when the mattress is inside the crib, you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between it and the crib frame.


big sister looking over her new sibling that laying in crib on crib mattress

Sleeping on a soft, fluffy surface is a major safety hazard for your little one. This means your baby should never sleep on your bed or the couch, and you should choose a firm crib mattress.

Sleeping on a firm mattress might not sound appealing to you. But just remember that for babies, it is the safest way for them to snooze.

As part of safe sleep recommendations, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises putting babies to sleep on a firm surface. But keep in mind that a firm mattress doesn’t have to mean a rock-hard and uncomfortable mattress.

That brings us to our next point to consider: the materials that your crib mattress is made of.


Newton Baby crib mattress

The inside of a crib mattress — what it’s made of — affects comfort, which we will discuss first, as well as the toxicity of the mattress.


Again, for the safest sleep, your baby’s mattress should be firm. But to help them sleep soundly all night, of course it should also be comfortable!

When it comes to comfort for your sweet baby, we love the Newton Baby Crib Mattress. Unlike traditional mattresses — which are often hard, wrapped in plastic, and made with springs, foam, and latex — ours is comfortable and designed for better sleep.

What makes the Newton Baby Crib Mattress different? It’s mostly air!

This mattress is made with a Wovenaire® Core, which is composed of 90% air and 10% material used to make yogurt cups. This provides the comfort of foam and latex without any of the drawbacks, like toxic chemicals or allergens.

This Wovenaire® Core is then covered with a soft, quilted, 3-D space cover.


Some crib mattresses release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals into the air through a process called off-gassing.

All sorts of objects in your home can off-gas, and sometimes you notice the odor. But not all chemicals have a scent when they off-gas.

Whether you can smell them or not, these airborne chemicals are no good! They can cause respiratory irritation, nervous-system damage, endocrine disruption, and possibly even cancer.

So what’s a parent to do? You’ll want to find a mattress that’s made without materials like polyurethane foam, flame retardant chemicals, and vinyl.

But we’ll let you in on the best way to make sure your baby’s crib mattress is non-toxic. Simply choose a mattress that’s Greenguard Gold Certified.

This certification program tests the chemical emission of a mattress and offers two levels of certification: the Greenguard Certification and the Greenguard Gold Certification, which has some of the most rigorous standards in the world. That’s what you want for your little one.

Here at Newton Baby, our Crib Mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified, but it is not the only product that boasts that label! Our crib mattress covers and mattress pads have also been independently tested and certified.

Organic Crib Mattresses

If you’re wondering about organic crib mattresses and where they come into play in all of this, the quick explanation is that an organic mattress is not always a sure bet.

First of all, even though a product is marketed as “organic,” that doesn’t necessarily mean ALL of its materials are organic.

Secondly, an organic mattress may check some of the boxes of what you’re looking for in a crib mattress, but it may not check other important boxes, like breathability. That brings us to our next point.


baby laying on top of Newton Baby crib mattress

Another thing to take into account when deciding on a mattress is its breathability. What are the advantages of a breathable mattress?

Around four to six months of age, your baby will probably learn how to roll over all by themselves, although they could take you by surprise and make the flip earlier!

If your baby rolls onto their stomach in the middle of the night, a breathable mattress allows them to breathe straight through it and helps to reduce the risk of suffocation. That is no small advantage! And it provides a lot of peace of mind for you, too.

The other plus of a breathable mattress is that it provides airflow under your baby while they snooze, meaning no more sweaty backs.

Keep in mind that the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is composed of mostly air — 90% air by volume! That makes it completely breathe-through.

And the mattress cover is made with two layers of Breathe-Thru spacer fabric, quilted together in an attractive cloud pattern to create soft pillows of air.

You can even top it off with our Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad, which is 100% breathable but also 100% waterproof to protect your mattress from leaks, moisture, and mold.

Speaking of which, let’s move onto a consideration that every parent wants to take into account: the cleaning of your crib mattress.


 Mom taking cover off crib mattress to clean

Your little one might be an angel, but they will also occasionally grace their mattress with spit-up, nighttime blowouts, and all the rest. Being able to quickly and effectively clean your mattress is important.

Cleaning a traditional mattress involves a cumbersome process of vacuuming, scrubbing, and spraying. On the other hand, the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is the only one that’s washable from cover to core. You can say bye-bye to mold, bacteria, and allergens!

How is it done? The mattress cover can be unzipped, removed, washed in the washer, and dried on low heat.

To wash the Wovenaire core, place it in the shower or tub. Spot-clean as needed with cool water and a mild detergent or vinegar. Then simply shake it out and lay it on its side to dry.

Voila! That’s all there is to it.


 Newborn baby holding onto dads finger

The final step to choosing a crib mattress is choosing the linens that will go with it. And by “linens” we are simply referring to the fitted sheet because your baby shouldn’t sleep with anything else.

To reduce the risk of suffocation, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends foregoing any other bedding or soft objects in your baby’s crib. This means no top sheet, no blanket, no crib bumpers, no stuffed animals, and no baby pillows. You get the idea.

As for the fitted sheet, look for one that is not only cute (and matches your nursery decor!) but is also easy to wash, breathable, hypoallergenic, and comfy for your baby.

We recommend the Newton Baby Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheet. It comes in both standard and mini sizes and is made with all-around elastic to guarantee a safe, snug fit for any crib mattress.

Plus, the pre-shrunk, organic muslin cotton is breathable, organic, hypoallergenic, and machine washable for the most hygienic sleep surface possible.

If you plan to swaddle your newborn, opt for even more breathable, organic cotton with Newton Baby’s Organic Swaddle Blankets. The comfy, breathe-through cotton keeps your baby at the perfect temperature to avoid overheating.

And, of course, it’s machine-washable for ultra-easy care!

The Best Mattress For Your Precious Baby

 Mom kissing baby before laying them down onto crib mattress

There might be a lot of decisions to make when designing and furnishing your baby’s nursery, but with this crib mattress buying guide, choosing a good mattress for your baby doesn’t have to be difficult!

When picking a crib mattress, take into account the size and shape, firmness, materials, breathability, and how easy it will be to clean. For a breathable and washable mattress, choose the Newton Baby Crib Mattress and outfit it with a Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheet.

Before you know it, your little one will be snoozing away on a comfy and safe mattress that was chosen just for them!