How to Choose the Best Crib Bedding for Baby's Nursery

Baby sleeping in crib
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Crib bedding is an essential part of baby's nursery. The colors, patterns, and styles of crib bedding available today are nearly endless. From budget to luxury and classic to ultra-trendy, you can give your baby's nursery any look you desire with the right crib bedding. These tips will help you choose the perfect crib bedding for your baby's nursery.

Crib Bedding Sets or Separates?

Many crib bedding companies package their products as sets that often include a crib sheet, comforter and crib bumper pad.

These sets may also include a crib skirt and accessories such as diaper stackers or crib mobiles. Babies don't need comforters, though, and crib bumpers raise some safety concerns. If you won't use the comforter for nursery decor and don't want to use a crib bumper, consider crib bedding separates that will allow you to select exactly which pieces you'll buy and use. Luckily, many companies today offer pared-down crib bedding sets with just a fitted sheet and crib skirt, with or without the other matching nursery accessories.

Key Words: Soft and Washable

Whether you spend a little or a lot on the crib sheets your baby will use, make sure the sheets are very soft. Knit cotton sheets are popular, as are flannel crib sheets and higher thread-count woven cottons. Choose a fabric that will wash easily, and make sure that all of the bedding pieces can be washed in a machine. Babies make too many messes to deal with hand-washing or spot-treating.

    Crib Bedding Must Be Snug

    Traditional baby cribs and crib mattresses today are made to a standard size, which is set by federal regulations. Most crib bedding is designed to fit the federally allowed variation in crib mattress sizes. You may find that your crib bedding is slightly larger or smaller than your crib mattress, though, so it's a good idea to check that everything is the right size before washing the bedding for baby's arrival.

    For your baby's safety, crib bedding must fit the crib mattress snugly. If you want an extra measure of security, look for elastic straps that clip to the crib sheet under the mattress to hold the sheet in place.

      The good fit is one reason why you shouldn't use other non-crib items in place of a crib sheet. Trying to fold a regular sheet around the crib mattress probably wouldn't give a snug, safe fit, for example.

      There are a few cribs that take specially sized bedding. These include round cribs, mini cribs, and non-standard-shaped cribs, such as the Stokke Sleepi. You'll need to buy crib bedding specific to these models. The manufacturer may also produce bedding for their specialty crib or could point you to a store that carries the perfect size.

      Buy Extras

      Babies make a lot of messes in their early months, so prepare by buying at least one extra set of crib sheets. Having three or four crib sheets is even better in case of an extra-messy night. If the crib mattress itself doesn't have a wipe-clean waterproof cover, buying an inexpensive plastic mattress cover to put under the crib sheet will help in quick bedding changes, too, by keeping the crib mattress dry.

        How Long Will You Use It?

        When you're deciding how much to budget for crib bedding, consider how long you will want to use the same crib sheets or other coordinating pieces.

        Many toddler beds can use the standard crib-size bedding, so a luxury crib bedding set could be used for many years. Handing crib bedding down to siblings or friends might also warrant spending more on a high-quality bedding set. If you'd like to be able to change a baby's nursery decor often, or you don't intend to use a toddler bed, inexpensive crib bedding or basic crib separates might be a better choice.

        Choosing inexpensive solid color or printed sheets doesn't have to mean the nursery is visually boring. Add bright touches on the walls with paint or artwork, or select a cool lamp that goes along with your chosen nursery theme instead of relying on the crib bedding to be a focal point.

        Other Baby Linens

        If your baby has more than one sleep spot, you may need to invest in a few other types of sheets.

        Bassinets, cradles, and play yards all have their own size sheets. Since babies are messy, it's a good idea to have a backup sheet for each, as well. As with the crib sheets, the bassinet or play yard sheet should fit snugly in order to be safe.