August 30, 2009

Seriously, What IS Up With Crib Mattresses?

Now that you mention it, Mark, what's up with all those impossible-to-comparison-shop crib mattresses?

I'm a newly expecting father and I'm usually pretty good at cutting through the myriad of choices and identifying preference when it comes to most babies items. The one big exception however is crib mattresses. My head is about to explode from the options and different makes and models. Does anyone have a simple chart comparing brands and models side by side? coils, firmness, organic/non-organic, chemicals/no chemicals, air vents,covers, non-allergenic, wireframes, square corners, etc etc et. Can anyone help simplify? thanks
For us, we looked at organic, we looked at latex, we looked at hypo-allergenic, cotton-wrapped, infant futon blah blah blah. But when push came to shove, we ended up buying the third- or fourth-cheapest mattress at Buy Buy Baby because it felt more substantial than just the foam; it was firm; it wouldn't soak up pee; it didn't seem like it'd offgas too much. But mostly, it was the cheapest mattress we felt comfortable buying.

I have had Seth Stevenson's Slate mattress shopping article stuck in my head since 2000. And so I figured if the grownup mattress business is 99% marketing, the crib mattress business is, too, with an extra 99% of emotional manipulation and guilt thrown in for good measure. [If you're serious about buying a sustainably manufactured mattress, this pointless ramble on Slate a few months ago tells me you'll just have to research until your own conscience is satisfied.]

If anyone knows any different, and especially if there are any practical insights for Mark and other novice crib mattress shoppers out there, feel free to chime in.


i read a lot about it when getting our crib mattress and we decided on an ikea mattress b/c they have less chemicals than the others, and they are hundreds of dollars less than the organic ones. Even after the mattresses we bought for the first 2 kids were used for a while, I still felt that they were too chemically. This one was not like that. We got an organic crib pad from toysrus.

We bought an organic crib mattress made by, yes, the Amish. We paid $220 dollars for it and were completely happy. Then we had a second baby and bought a middle of the road mattress from Ikea that didn't seem like a death trap. Both of my kids survived their respective sleeping options and I have no idea which one was the better choice. Hopefully this helps in the sense that crib mattress indecision is a global issue.

hmm, interesting. An Amish-made organic mattress for $220 seems like crib mattress nirvana. That's less than we paid for our baby industrial complex version.

Sorry, here's the link to said mattress.

don't stress out over mattresses---that is where your money should go instead of the actual crib, but if you do a nice, firm foam mattress or coil or organic it doesn't really matter---a few things to consider:

--if you REALLY convert your crib into a toddler bed (and not many people I know do) you want to go coil because there will be more support for the child as they get heavier, and if you want to sit in the bed with your child it's more comfortable than a foam mattress--coils have border rods and foam mattresses do not

--if you do an organic mattress (we will use naturepedic as the example here) that is cotton-based, you don't run the risk of a wool or latex allergy if you have a history of that in your family...if you do the naturepedic, even though it's waterproof, you're still going to cover it with a waterproof pad that you will then wash, which makes it not organic anymore.....

Jamie- you can get wool mattress pads which are organic. not if there's an allergy, but for many of us it is an option.

I read the Slate article too, and it was motivating. We bought an organic crib mattress from Costco because unlike any other store we could find, they let you return the mattress if you don't like it (they donate returns to shelters, etc.) It cost ~$150 and the baby loves it; she started sleeping better immediately when we moved her there from the little sidecar in our room at about six months. It had no noticeable smell, which was also a plus.

Then we picked up a couple of organic waterproof mattress pads at Amazon and called it a day.

We're using a hand me down used mattress that came from people who received it as a hand me down used mattress. Who knows where it's been. Throw a pee cover and a sheet over it and does it really matter?

We bought our organic crib mattress from a store called Furnature and paid $375. It worked out wonderfully and made us feel all good inside. Of course we felt a little guilty about spending the money on the mattress and settling for an unpainted steel crib contraption laden with barbed wire.... j/k!

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