firm newborn infant crib mattress

The Best Selection of Firm and Extra Firm Crib Mattresses for your Newborn

- By Lucie Evans

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​Pregnancy brings on many emotions as parents prepare to bring their newborn home. While you're busy looking for the perfect coming home outfit, it's critical to take some time to research newborn crib mattresses. You may think they are all created equal but there are important distinctions that make this a crucial topic to discuss.

Why Does Your Newborn Baby Need a Firm Crib Mattress?

​Your baby will spend a lot of time in his or her crib, especially in the early months. Infants can sleep for 16-17 hours a day. A firm mattress promotes safe and healthy sleep, which should take priority over cost and even comfort when choosing a newborn mattress.

Yes, firmness really matters. While a soft and cushy mattress sounds like a dream. Who wouldn't want their newborn to sleep on a cloud? Soft crib mattresses pose many dangers. A firm mattress is vital to help reduce the risk of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It also reduces the likelihood of suffocation. A firm crib mattress should be covered with a fitted sheet and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission should be flat in a crib with no other soft bedding or toys.

This is an important area to invest in quality. A firm mattress that is low-VOC or even organic will have less toxic chemicals. Many mattress chemicals can disrupt a baby's breathing leading to apnea, SIDS, or other respiratory problems. Because an infant spends so much time in the crib, this is critical.

What Is a 2-stage or Dual-sided Crib Mattress?

​The great thing about shopping for a firm crib mattress is that there are many great options. They are categorized as either single-sided or dual-sided. A single-sided mattress is not flippable. There is one sleep surface for your baby. It also has a lower profile than a dual-sided mattress and can easily fit any standard crib sheet. These tend to be more affordable than similar quality dual-sided mattresses and can be used after 1 year as long as it isn't breaking down.
The dual-sided mattress is the perfect blend of softness and firmness. It's also called a dual firmness mattress and boasts a firm, waterproof surface on one side and a soft, quilted surface on the other. It's the type of crib mattress that grows with the developmental needs of your child. When your infant is young, lay them on the firm surface. Once they are old enough, around 1 year old, flip the mattress over to reveal a soft surface that's much more comfortable. These mattresses are a bit heavier and deeper than a single-sided mattress, but they can extend the life of your mattress significantly. You can typically get more years out of a dual-sided mattress than you would the alternative. They can also easily fit a standard toddler bed for when you make the transition.
We've reviewed some of the best firm and extra firm mattresses for newborns, infants and toddlers to help you narrow your choices. With so many options out there, it's important to get accurate information about the pros and cons of each.

​Quick Snapshot​ of the Best Firm Crib Mattresses

Best Overall

Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Sleep Surface Crib Mattress

​This mattress has plant-based foam with two sides that can be used for infants and toddlers. One of the parents' favorites. ​All the features of a premium mattress for a reasonable price.

Best ​Budget

​Delta Children Twinkle Stars Limited Fiber Core Crib and Toddler Mattress

​​The most affordable newborn mattress on our list, this one is GreenGuard Certified and eco-friendly, which is great when you want a low-toxin option.

Best ​Eco-friendly

​Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Orthopedic Style Crib Mattress

​​This firm toddler and infant mattress has a super soft waterproof cover, dual firmness, lightweight, and eco-friendly certifications make it ideal for parents looking for a safe baby mattress.

Best ​​Coil Mattress

​Sealy Nature Couture Cotton Bliss Waterproof 2-Stage Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress

​​The other three mattresses were foam at the core, but this one is ideal for families who want a more traditional spring mattress that is still comfortable and flippable.

​You can read below our notes for each of these newborn and infant mattresses.

Complete Review of Firm and Extra Firm Mattresses for Newborns and Infants

​For ​parents who buy only the best rated: ​Moonlight Slumber ​Dual ​Mattress

Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Sleep Surface Crib Mattress

​Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Sleep Surface Crib Mattress

​This dual-sided mattress is extra firm on one side and soft and plush on the other. It was 3rd party safety tested and includes a water-resistant cover that can easily be cleaned with a sponge. It was made in the USA and doesn't have any fire-resistant chemicals sprayed on it. One mom bought it for her two-month-old, but gave it to her 20-month-old first and then bought a second one for the newborn baby. The infant went from never sleeping on her back, to sleeping 6-8 hours straight on this mattress. Another mom commented that after three years her Moonlight Crib Mattresses were still holding strong.

​​If you are looking for an affordable Firm mattress: ​​Delta Children Twinkle Stars

Delta Children Twinkle Stars Limited Fiber Core Crib and Toddler Mattress

​Delta Children Twinkle Stars Limited Fiber Core Crib and Toddler Mattress

​If you need a more affordable newborn mattress that still provides safety and comfort, try this one. With a truly budget-friendly price point, this crib mattress has a firm foam core with a waterproof cover. This protects from leaks and spills and extends the life of the mattress. When your baby is ready, flip the mattress to reveal a soft side that is better suited for a toddler. One grandmother commented that the dual-sided nature was just a bonus because even the firm side was comfortable without being too soft. Another mom noted that the mattress was firm, but comfortable and was as good of quality as a $200 infant mattress she had purchased for her first child.

​for parents concerned by toxic chemicals: Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness

Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Orthopedic Style Crib Mattress

​Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Orthopedic Style Crib Mattress

​For an eco-friendly toddler and infant mattress, this one is amazing! It is GREENGUARD GOLD & CertiPUR-US CERTIFIED, which makes it an excellent low-toxin option. The eco-friendly foam is made without formaldehyde, flame retardants, or other harmful toxins. And moms and babies love it. One mom boasted that the first night her baby slept on this new mattress, she slept for 12 hours! Another mom shared that this dual-sided mattress has withstood her child's growth over the first year and doesn't show signs of wear. Additionally, her 1-year-old also sleeps 15 hours a night.

​If you prefer the firmness of a classic spring mattress: ​Sealy Nature ​ Waterproof 2-Stage

Sealy Nature Couture Cotton Bliss Waterproof 2-Stage Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress

​Sealy Nature Couture Cotton Bliss Waterproof 2-Stage Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress

​Sealy's are known for their quality, but how does this coiled crib mattress hold up? This newborn crib mattress is flippable and firm on one side, soft on the other. The coils ensure adequate firmness that's also surprisingly comfortable. One mom loved the breathable cloth exterior but commented that it does need a mattress protector to keep it from getting stained. Another mom loved that it was firm and safe, yet still soft for an infant. She also noted there was a slight smell when the package was opened. It may be important to let this mattress off-gas before letting baby sleep on it.

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