Crib Mattress Firmness

baby laying in a crib underneath a mobile

Of all the products in the nursery that expectant parents need to purchase, the crib mattress is arguably the most important one. It is on the crib mattress that the baby will grow and develop. Because the needs of a newborn are different than an adult’s, a quality crib mattress most likely will be firmer than what a new parent might think it should be. We hear this lament rather frequently: “Oh, that crib mattress is too hard. I wouldn’t want to sleep on that!”

That may be true for a fully-grown adult who is looking for a comfortable night’s sleep. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and First Candle (formerly the SIDS Alliance) all recommend a firm, snug-fitting sleep surface for your baby (see links below). A baby’s body grows while it sleeps. The majority of their sleep time will take place in the crib on the mattress.

Also, the crib is generally the place where they start to use their large muscle groups. By having a firm mattress, it will provide resistance so that those muscles will be able to develop to their full potential. Eventually an infant will begin to stand in their crib. Their little legs are already wobbly. Having a firm foundation will help their leg muscles develop so that they will be more stable. For a baby, the mattress is more than a sleep surface. It’s also the place they will start to move about and explore the new world around them. Having a firm mattress will help aid in this process.

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