Whether you like layers of lace and rows of ruffles, or prefer neat pleats and fine fabrics, there's a crib bedding set out there just for you! One of the true joys for any expectant parent is selecting the bedding that will adorn their baby's crib. There are as many styles to choose from as there are parents to choose them, but there are some things everyone can agree on; picking safe bedding and accessories that will bring you years of delight.
What should I look for in a crib bedding set?
The bedding you choose will create the atmosphere in the room. Bedding is what influences and enhances the entire room setting. First, narrow down your selections to styles that you find attractive. You'll be spending a lot of time in the nursery, so you want it to be decorated in a style that you really like and that usually starts with baby crib bedding sets. There are many options, so take your time browsing.
Crib sets in traditional patterns and colors are still a popular choice, but there are a lot of modern crib bedding options for hip parents to choose from, unconventional colors, funky prints and sophisticated patterns. Some parents opt for organic crib bedding that's better for the environment. Look for organic products that are processed without chemical finishes and are hypoallergenic, especially if your baby has sensitive skin. Discount crib bedding is available, of course, but watch out for products that aren't made to last or that feel rough against baby's skin. This is a good choice until you decide on what you'd really like. But, keep in mind that chances are you'll be stuck with it for a while.
If you're at all uncertain about a bedding set's colors (or even how deep or pale its colors are), ask the company for a fabric swatch before you buy the set. Another great way to get exactly what you want is to purchase custom crib bedding perfect for traditional as well as round cribs. With this option, make sure the company offers a wide variety of choices in patterns and colors or, better yet, can combine two favorite patterns to create a bedding set that's reversible. A great value! Ensure, too, that you can purchase other nursery accessories in the same custom pattern(s).
It's important to know what you're getting in a set, so look over the product description information carefully before ordering. The product description also informs you about the fabric content of your set. Since babies are hard on everything, make sure the bedding you select is durable and will stand up to repeated washings. Keep in mind that crib mattresses (and bedding) fit toddler beds, so you could potentially be washing the same sheets for years and years.
Pillows are dangerous in cribs, so if your baby crib set comes with pillows, use them as decorative accents around the nursery until your child is old enough to sleep with them.
There's definitely something on the market that will suit your style and decor. Take advantage of the many designers out there and find what you like without having to sew one up on your own.
Tips to keep in mind when selecting sheets
If you purchase a bedding set, it will most likely come with a sheet. Lots of parents buy their bedding as separates, though, and even parents who select a set will want to purchase additional sheets for those middle-of-the-night accidents. When selecting baby crib sheets, think about the style and color you want. Then, consider the fabric that will best suit your needs. If you live in a colder climate, flannel crib sheets may be a good option. If you live in a warm climate or just like the feel of them, cooling satin crib sheets are a nice choice. And since sheets are the one piece of bedding that touches baby's skin most often, some parents are adamant about choosing organic crib sheets that protect their baby's delicate skin from formaldehyde and other chemicals that may be used in traditional bedding.
Most people only think about style when it comes to baby crib sheets, but safety is also an issue. It's a suffocation risk for babies to have excess material, such as from a flat sheet, in the crib with them. The only safe crib sheets are flat sheets that fit tightly around the crib mattress. And definitely avoid comforters or large blankets in the crib.
Tips for selecting bumpers
There's controversy among pediatric experts about whether bumpers are a safe addition to a baby’s crib. Some believe that traditional baby bumpers increase the risk of crib death, while others maintain that they are perfectly safe and help keep baby's limbs from getting caught between the crib slats. If you choose to include crib bumper padding, it's safer to select one that's relatively thin or even a mesh version that allows for maximum air circulation. Also, it's crucial that you remove the bumper as soon as your baby is able to stand; he or she could use the bumper as a tool for climbing up and out of the crib.
Another way to keep your bumper as safe as possible is to make sure it's tied securely to the crib. Select a bumper that includes at least six sets of both top and bottom ties for the best fit.
When it comes to style, white bumper pads are the easiest to mix and match with a room's decor. And organic baby bumpers are the perfect choice for parents concerned about chemicals coming into contact with their baby.
Tips for selecting crib dust ruffles
Crib skirts, while by no means a necessity, put the finishing touch on a nursery. Crib skirts are used just like the skirt on your own bed - to provide a look of elegance and sophistication - and are placed on the crib below the mattress. If you're purchasing a dust ruffle for your crib separately, make sure you know it's "drop height" (how far it hangs down). You want a dust ruffle that looks good when your mattress is on its highest setting as well as one that won't puddle on the floor when the mattress is on its lowest setting. The average crib skirt has a 14" drop. For a floor that gets dusty easily, it's best to go with something shorter. If you're looking to give your crib that special draped look consider getting a longer dust ruffle.
Whether to keep extra linens handy or simply to utilize wasted space, lots of parents use the area underneath the crib for storage, and bed skirts for cribs are a great way to camouflage the mess.
The Bottom Line
Crib bedding sets are an efficient way to decorate your child's nursery. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting in the set before you buy. Purchase several extra sheets so you always have a clean one on hand, and look for fabrics that will be comfortable for your baby and hold up to hundreds of washes. If you opt for a crib bumper, make sure it's not too thick and that it ties securely to your crib. Pull your nursery decor together with a dust ruffle that will look good no matter how high or low your mattress is set.
Our Mom Expert
"Our pediatrician recommended that we not use the quilt that came with our bedding set until our baby was much older, but it was too cute to just leave in the box. I decided to hang it on the wall, which was an inexpensive way to add pizzazz to the room and tie the nursery's color scheme together. Our theme was 'moon and stars,' so I bought star-shaped quilt clips and attached them to the wall. Instant style!"
Caron Webber, 37, is the mother of five children, ages 2 to 12.