Your guide to buying sheets for your baby's crib

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
June 3, 2014
mother and baby playing

Choosing bed sheets is a fun way to decorate your baby's nursery. As a crib is often the center of attention, the crib sheets can kick off the entire decor of the nursery.

It's all well and good to choose good looking sheets but they also have to be soft and comfortable for your little baby. Read on for all you need to know regarding baby sheets.

Do the research

crib with stuff toys

If you have been reading through my other baby bed guides you will notice that this is a recurring theme. I repeat it as it is a point that many parents skip before jumping into purchasing baby products.

Check with local quality control authorities in your region such as the CPSC website to ensure that the particular sheet has not been recalled due to safety reasons.

Fitted or non-fitted crib sheets

The majority of crib sheets you will come across will be of the fitted variety. The reason for this is that they are not only safer but make your life easier in general.

Fitted sheets will stay in place. Your baby can wiggle, tug and pull all it wants but that fitted sheet isn't going to move. Be mindful that this effect is lost if you choose a fitted sheet that is too big for your baby's mattress.

An unfitted or sheet can become a suffocation hazard.Have you ever experienced a night tossing and turning only to have the sheets ride up on you? The exact same thing can happen to your baby, only the sheet can potentially interfere with your baby's breathing.

Another advantage of the fitted sheet is, assuming no diaper leaks, you will not have to remake the bed each and every morning. This is great for parents who struggle to make their own beds.

Buying bedding set

Usually, crib bedding is sold in a set that can include fitted sheets, comforter, blankets and bumper pads.

despite the rise in popularity of crib bedding sets it is important to remember that the only type of bedding your baby requires is fitted sheets. Bumpers have been known to be a suffocation hazard as having blankets and comforters as they can cover your baby's mouth or nose.

The main appeal of buying a bedding set is that the set will feature a theme such as monkeys or butterflies. While these can add the finishing touches to your baby's nursery, don't forget to remove them from the crib come bedtime.

Buy more than one set of sheets

baby inside crib with blue blanket

If you are buying sheets for your own baby, it is always best to buy several sheets. Your baby is a mess making machine in its early life. Accidents will happen, diapers will leak.

Washing and drying sheets in the middle of the night is a job that no parent wants to do. Spare sheets on had will see that you do not need to wash and clean the soiled sheets then and there.

Crib Sheet Materials

Fitted sheets come in different types of materials. What suits you will depend on the amount you are willing to spend and the climate you live in.

Summer crib sheets

If you it is summer or you live in a climate where it is warm year round then your best bet is to choose cotton or cotton blend sheets. These materials do not easily store warmth, allowing your little baby to remain cool and comfortable.

Cotton is the preferred crib sheet material for your baby if you live in a warmer climate.Its softness and hypoallergenic qualities make it an appealing choice. If you do not wish to spend that much then a cotton blend will suffice.

Cotton blend sheets contain a mixture of cotton and another material, usually polyester. Cotton blends are less soft than 100% cotton, however, there is much less chance of shrinkage due to washing.

toddler inside the crib

Cotton sheets

Cotton sheet

Advantages:

  • Soft
  • Breathable
  • Hypoallergenic

Disadvantages:

  • Can be expensive
  • Can fade in sun
  • Can shrink in wash

Cotton blend sheets

cotton blend

Advantages:

  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Durable
  • Less prone to shrinking

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to piling
  • Less soft than cotton
  • Cold water wash only

Winter crib sheets

If you live in a cooler climate or are experiencing winter then fleece or flannel sheets are a much better option for your baby.

Out of fleece and flannel sheets, flannel is by far the most popular option.Flannel is excellent at retaining warmth and generally cheaper than fleece. Just be sure to not expose flannel to high temperatures such as hot water or a dryer as you risk damaging it.

Flannel sheets can be made of synthetic fibers, cotton or wool. The loose stitching helps the sheet retain warmth. Flannel is generally quite susceptible to piling.

Fleece crib sheets are generally more expensive than flannel. Like flannel, you do need to avoid hot temperatures when washing and drying fleece sheets. The one advantage fleece has over flannel is that it is water resistant and can dry quickly.

Flannel sheets

Flannel sheet

Advantages:

  • Retains warmth
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Disadvantages:

  • Can shrink in wash
  • Cold wash only
  • Susceptible to piling

Fleece sheets

Fleece Sheet

Advantages:

  • Dries quickly
  • Water resistant
  • Retains warmth

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to piling
  • Cold water wash only
  • Attracts lint easily
 

What is the best thread count for crib sheets?

For those of you who don't know, thread found refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric. This measures both horizontal and vertical threads in a given square inch.

Generally speaking, sheets with thread counts around 300 are considered ideal for your little one. Sheets with lower thread counts will be prone to quicker wear and tear. Flannel is the only exception to this rule as the low thread count in flannel sheets keeps it feeling soft.

While thread count is promoted as being important, you should not rely on it alone to determine the quality of a sheet.

You made it!

Congratulations, if you made it this far then you should be an expert on baby crib sheets. Now get out there and get shopping. Good luck!

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