Babies sleep a lot. And by a lot, we mean 10.5 – 16 hours per day! This means that a lot of the time they will be in their little cribs; that is, of course, whenever they aren’t in mommy’s or daddy’s arms or having quality tummy time.
Therefore, choosing the right crib, mattress, and crib sheet is one of the most important things for your little kitten’s well-being. Since we have you covered with mattresses and crib dimensions are fortunately strictly regulated, let’s talk about sheets.
One thing that is bound to happen to every parent and parent-to-be is, of course, getting infatuated with some variety of adorable little crib set, with sleep bumpers, colorful sheets, and all its bells and whistles. While understandable, you need to step away from those deals.
The main problem is that bumper pads are a hazard to your baby. The pads can restrict your baby’s head movement or reduce airflow, which is why you simply must avoid them altogether. The second thing about these sets is that they are usually cheaper, but with that, the manufacturers oftentimes use lower-quality materials when building them. So, because of both safety and durability, avoid crib sets.
Another general concern when buying crib sheets, depending on where you buy them from, can be whether to buy fitted or non-fitted ones. Although the latter are now fairly uncommon, it’s important to point out that they have no advantage over fitted sheets.
Non-fitted crib sheets are always at risk of coming undone or bunching up, which is simply a risk you don’t have to take. The point is, just buy fitted sheets: they are easier to put on and remove for washing, they are far safer, and they have no disadvantage in terms of material quality or weave method when compared to non-fitted sheets.
Now that those things are out of the way, it’s time to talk about the fabric the sheets are made of. There is a variety of both organic and synthetic material crib sheets available, each of them with their advantages and disadvantages.
We will try to present you with all the pros and cons and give you a clear overview of the matter, but in the end — the decision is, of course, dependent on your and your child’s needs. In this overview, our main concerns will be safety first, ease of cleaning second, and comfort third. The aesthetic side of picking sheets to match your room décor we leave entirely to you.
The long-reigning king of versatile textiles is a classic choice in crib sheets fabric now, as it has been for a long time. The advantages of cotton are manifold: easy cleaning, no risk of bunching-up, a variety of thread counts for a softer or coarser feel to the sheet, absorbency, and breathability; to mention a few.
Nevertheless, some drawbacks exist even with cotton. These include wrinkling, relatively lesser retention of heat (e.g. compared to flannel) and sometimes susceptibility to shrinking in the washer.
Therefore, we suggest you use cotton sheets as long as you know that the room temperature is adequate and there is no risk of the baby being too cold, especially in summer months cotton provides a great breathable and cooling sheeting for your crib.
When it comes to wrinkles, a little tip for those of you who can’t stand the sight of them is to take them out of the tumble-drier a short while before they are completely dry and hang dry them until they are. This will minimize wrinkling.
- Easy to wash
- No risk of piling up
- Organic cotton is hypoallergenic
- Not as warm as other fabrics
- May shrink if of a lesser quality
Polyester crib sheets
Polyester has a cheap ring to it, and many avoid it like the plague. However, the industry has gone a long way with the production process, and in many cases, polyester is on the same level of quality as cotton.
For example, satin sheets are often made from 100% polyester and are in no way worse than cotton sheets. Polyester is simply a synthetic material that is easy to manufacture, but the process of creating the fabric from it is what determines the quality of your sheet.
There are some advantages to it: it fits the crib securely, it is very soft and snug, it is machine washable and retains heat very well, and it is often cheaper than cotton.
However, some of its disadvantages must be carefully considered. Namely, polyester can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions with some babies, and since it sticks to sweaty skin, it is no option in a room that is overly warm.
- Perfect fit
- Variety of colors and prints
- Heat retention
- No bunching up
- Little to no wrinkling
- Reduced breathability
- May irritate the skin
- Sticks to sweaty skin
Technically speaking, flannel is a type of fabric. The material it is made of varies. It can be made out of 100% cotton, or have a mixture of cotton wool and synthetic fibers, all depending on the manufacturer.
However, cotton flannel is perhaps the most common one and will, therefore, serve as a benchmark for flannel in general. There isn’t much to be said about cotton flannel that doesn’t apply to simple cotton – they are both durable materials, easy to clean, hypoallergenic and soft, prone to wrinkling and unlikely to bunch up.
The difference with flannel is simply that it is a thicker fabric, oftentimes with a slightly coarser feel to it, and is, therefore, better suited for chillier winter months.
- Heat retention
- No piling up
- Hypoallergenic (if made out of 100% cotton)
- Sometimes coarser (as compared to cotton sheets)
- Can be pricier
- May contain wool and synthetic fibers (depending on the manufacturer)
When buying organic, look for a label that says Oeko-Tex or GOTS. Those two are the European and global equivalents in organic textile standards, and their seal of approval means that the materials used in the product were tested for harmful chemicals like dyes before being sold.
Especially with organic cotton, many of you will sleep better knowing that your baby is safe from hazardous material, plus, you are being eco-friendly.
- Free of harmful chemicals (as long as they are approved by Oeko-Tex or GOTS)
- May be expensive
- May be made of a lesser material (if they don’t have one of the certificates)
The last option we will talk about briefly is bamboo. Bamboo sheets are often falsely advertised as organic fabrics, although the fabric is made from a material gained from the bamboo plant – the plant fiber is processed into what is called rayon, and in this process chemicals which might be harmful are used. Therefore, it might be best to stay away from this option until some further research on it is done.
Those are the most widely available and popular options in fabrics used for bed sheets and the most important pros and cons associated with them. We should now talk briefly about hygiene concerns. You will be washing your crib sheets a lot.
Even with the best diapers and frequent changing, little mishaps are bound to happen, and if they don’t a weekly change of sheets is the recommended minimum. This has to do with natural dust and other particles building up in the fabric as it is being used throughout the week.
Therefore, you will first need at least a pair of crib sheets, to make sure you can use one of them while washing the other one. But besides this rotation, a hygiene concern will be making sure that any fluids that might come onto the sheets don’t seep through to the mattress. Cleaning a mattress is, of course, much harder than cleaning a sheet.
A precaution to this can be a waterproof crib sheet. Waterproof crib sheets work by placing a layer of waterproof lining underneath the material that the sheet itself is mainly made of. This means that you can find a waterproof sheet made out of 100% cotton, polyester, flannel or muslin.
They will usually cost you a fair bit more but might save you a considerable amount of headache and possibly even money, if you can avoid an accident that would ruin the mattress with them. This doesn’t make it absolutely necessary, of course, but it is an option you should consider.
Now you are equipped with enough knowledge about fabrics, safety hazards, sleeping comfort and maintaining a hygienic environment for your baby so that you can hopefully go out there and pick the perfect little crib sheet for your perfect little child. We hope that this little overview was helpful, and wish you a happy time shopping, and sweet dreams for your baby!