Have you recently purchased a crib mattress and found out that it is a fairly tough, flat and hard surface? You might be wondering how to make a crib mattress softer.
The truth of the matter is, you shouldn’t be making a crib mattress softer. For safe sleep practice, your baby should be sleeping on a firm mattress for the first year of life. This is to prevent the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
It’s so hard to see our little one sleeping in their crib on a hard mattress with no pillows, blankets or anything soft and cuddly, but that is the safest way for your little one to sleep.
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Your crib mattress is as firm as it is supposed to be. Even if it seems like it would not be comfortable, it is exactly what your baby needs for safe sleeping and proper development. Once your baby is older, you can graduate to the softer side of the crib mattress.
Since you can’t really make a crib mattress softer, let’s go over why it is so important for infants to sleep on a firm surface and how to to keep your baby comfortable while following safe sleep guidelines.
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When can my baby use a softer mattress?
You can see cute little pins on Pinterest leading you to DIY crib bumpers, best mattress toppers and even cute little quilts for babies to help the crib feel cozier.
If your baby is having a hard time sleeping, you might be wondering if the mattress is the problem and if those items can really help you create a better sleeping space for your little one.
Unfortunately, you should not put anything in the crib other than the firm crib mattress and a properly fitted sheet to reduce the risk of suffocation. Many doctors warn you not to do this.
90% of SIDS cases do occur in infants that are under 6 months of age and 72% of SIDS cases are between months 1-4. To keep your little one safe, it is best to have your baby on a firm mattress with a tight crib sheet and a proper swaddle.
Even though 90% of SIDS cases are under the age of 6 months, it is still a danger for your little one up until their first birthday.
You should not be switching your little one to a softer mattress or adding a mattress pad or topper until the baby is 1 year old.
You should talk to your doctor before making any changes to your sleep environment.
Some baby crib mattresses have a toddler side and an infant side. This means that you can simply flip the mattress over when your baby reaches toddler age. There is no need to purchase anything new for your baby’s sleep environment unless you want to.
How firm or hard should a crib mattress be?
So you might be understanding that your child should not be sleeping on a soft mattress, so that leaves the question: How hard should a crib mattress be?
If you purchased your mattress from a reputable company with all the correct certifications, then the mattress is the perfect firmness for your infant.
A baby crib mattress must be hard and flat because your baby has soft bones which are just beginning to develop. Their spines need a lot of support, more than we adults do. A firm mattress can also help your little one when they are starting to roll and move around by providing a harder base to push off of. A firm and flat mattress also reduce the risk of SIDS in the first year of your baby’s life.
The mattress is supposed to be hard and firm.
Here are some things you can use to ensure your crib mattress is firm enough for your infant.
- Press your hand into the center of the mattress and notice how much flexibility is going on. When you remove your hand from the mattress the mattress should snap back into place. There should be no contours when your baby lays down.
- If the mattress is cozy, soft and comfortable, it is probably not safe for your baby.
It seems so wild that you need to provide an uncomfortable sleep environment for your little one, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some things you can do to help your baby sleep safe and comfortable at night and during naps.
How To Make Your Baby Comfortable During Sleep
While you should not add anything to your baby’s crib such as crib bumpers, mattress pads and pillows, there are some things you can do to keep your little on comfortable and help them get a better nights sleep/
Place your baby to sleep in a playpen or bassinet
When your baby is still newborn, you may find they are just too little for their crib. If that is the case, you can try placing your baby in a playpen or bassinet for night and naps. This is a great option for parents who want to have their baby sleep in the same room as them.
Here are some great articles to help you choose a bassinet or playpen:
- Guide To Choosing The Best Bassinet 2021
- A Guide To Finding The Perfect Twin Bassinet
- Best Pack N Play For Travel
You shouldn’t let your little one snooze in a swing, especially overnight, but you can let them have short naps in their bouncy chairs and swings. It’s a good idea to transfer your baby to a safe sleep surface once your little one doses off in a swing.
Create A Good Sleep Environment
While you can’t really adjust the crib or the mattress, you can make the room more sleep-friendly.
Try adding a sound machine to the bedroom to soothe your little one. Lullabies are also very helpful to help babies sleep.
Make sure the temperature in the room is between 65-72 degrees F. Anything lower or higher can make your baby too hot or too cold. You can also make sure you are putting your baby in proper baby pyjamas and sleep sacks for proper sleep.
Keep it dark in the nursery as well. Your baby won’t have a fear of the dark until they are older and light can trick your baby into thinking it’s playtime.
Here is some more sleep help for you and your baby:
- Essential Baby Sleep Products To Help You Get A Good Nights Sleep (Even With A Newborn)
- What Is The Best Baby Sleep Book
Swaddling your baby can help calm them down and help with better sleep.
There are a lot of swaddle options out there, so we created a guide on the best swaddles for your little one.
We really like woombie, and even made a review about it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Make A Crib Mattress Softer
Your baby’s mattress should not be very soft to help your baby stay safe while they sleep.
It is important to have stuff and firm mattress, even though your baby may not look so comfortable and cozy.
There are some things you can do to make your baby more comfortable while they sleep such as sound machines, swaddles and darkened rooms.
Don’t put anything extra in the crib, even if you see cute and cozy things online which are advertised as safe…they most likely are not.
We hope this guide on how to make a crib mattress softer is helpful for new parents and helps keep babies safe and sound.
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