Newborns can spend up to 18 hours asleep each day, making their bed one of the most important and prominent places in their young lives. A baby bed is more than just a crib or bassinet; a parent’s choice of crib set, including a mattress, a blanket and bedding is just as important to an infant’s health and well-being.
When it comes to bedding, it’s more than just sheets and blankets. After you’ve selected your crib and mattress, look for a mattress protector, which can help keep the mattress clean. Next is a crib sheet. Experts recommend a fitted sheet in cribs as they’re less likely to come loose and become a suffocation hazard.
Young babies can’t regulate their body temperature, so it’s important to keep them warm while also avoiding overheating. Blankets can be layered if needed. Some parents like sleeping bags, or wearable blankets, which keep them snug in a warm cocoon that can't be kicked off.
Bumpers made from a breathable material are now on the market, which can allow your infant to continue breathing even if their mouth is pressed up against the bumper.
If you're still feeling overwhelmed, a crib set is a good place to start. Many come with sheets and comforters that can be coordinated with the rest of your nursery.
If you look after your baby’s bedding, it will last longer and be safer for baby. Crib sheets and blankets are soiled more regularly than normal sheets, and it’s important to wash them thoroughly so that they are clean and hygienic. Wash the sheets before use and then when needed with a baby-safe laundry detergent. Use warm or hot water as it kills more bacteria.
As baby bed sheets need to be changed more regularly, you’ll need a good collection of bedding sets. The exact number will depend on how messy your child is and how often you intend to wash. Swaddled babies generally need fewer sets as any mess is contained in the swaddling blanket; however, a sick infant may need their sheets changed daily. In general, four or five sets allow for regular washing and ensure you have extras on hand.
With a place to sleep and all the bedding ready, the last thing to do is put your baby down to sleep in a safe manner. Experts recommend that a baby bed be kept as free from clutter as possible. In particular, keep toys, pillows, duvets and quilts out of the crib. Next, make sure that all bedding fits properly. The mattress needs to fit firmly in the crib. Sheets and blankets need to be the right size for the mattress and tucked in firmly. Keep the baby’s head uncovered, and don’t pull sheets higher than the shoulders. Make sure you choose the right weight of bedding for the temperature to prevent overheating.
Lastly, put your child to sleep on their back, so they can breathe freely. Many parents find a baby monitor allows them to respond quickly to their child’s cries and also gives them peace of mind as they find their own rest.