Guest Post: Favorite Crib Mattresses, Travel Cribs and Bouncers at Every Price Point
Tori Frericks, mom of 3 and entrepreneur, simplifies baby products with her favorite mattresses, travel cribs and bouncers!
As a mom of 3, entrepreneur and former founder of a maternity and baby company, Tori Frericks often sees new and expectant moms entirely overwhelmed with the baby product market. She’s here to help us simplify!
New baby products seem to be popping up everyday. Making it harder and harder to make sense of not only what works best, but what you really need. Even with thousands of online reviews, knowing what will work for you, your baby, your space and your budget can be very difficult. Even more daunting, many of these items are expensive and meant to last you through your child bearing and toddler years, making the choices lasting ones.
I had a list of the many magical products that helped me get through those early years, but as soon as I fall in love with a product it seems a new one is coming on the market and I start to doubt what I have.
The truth that no one wants you to know is that there are many things in the baby product world that you can do without. In fact, you definitely should do without.
Do you all remember when the Pee Pee Teepee came out to protect you from those mid diaper change wee-wees? I’m curious if anyone has ever found these more useful than simply laying a wipe or towel over a boy’s front side while changing him? But as we all know, marketing can be powerful and lead us to do and buy things we perhaps never thought we would.
So what do you really need (or not need)? And how do you begin weeding through all the online muck to figure out what will make your life easier and baby’s life happier?
Because isn’t that what modern baby products are really for anyhow? It’s not about having the best or most expensive, but about having what YOU feel will have a positive impact in your’s and your baby’s lives.
Not everyone will choose to use a bassinet, need a baby lounger or perhaps want the jogger stroller. This is why I suggest starting with the basics when you begin building your registry and then adding to your collection of products as your baby ages and you start having “needs”.
That being said, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you are searching for a baby product. Thousands of differing online reviews oftentimes make things more confusing, which is why we want to help take away a lot of the researching time, shopping pains and guessing games.
Simply trying to find a particular product at a specific price point, with your desired features, can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s why we are simplifying it for you! By bringing you our very favorite baby products at multiple price points. Hopefully making your mom-life easier–both in the planning of it and in the living of it.
How are you supposed to know what to look for in a crib mattress!?! It’s not like you can go into a store and try it out for yourself, nor are you looking for the same factors you are in an adult mattress.
There are 5 key elements that are important to look for in today’s modern crib mattresses.
- Firmness: Babies require a firm, flat surface for safety and development
- Breathability: Many new mattresses are formulated to enhance air-flow through the mattress, helping to regulate baby’s body temperature.
- Flame & Fire Retardant: It is important that mattresses use natural non-toxic flame barriers as opposed to synthetic fire retardants.
- Waterproof: Most, if not all mattresses, are waterproof-backed, but it’s important to make sure.
- Eco-friendly & Organic: Finally, I think it is important to highly consider purchasing mattresses that are eco-friendly and organic, not only because our babies spend so much time on them, but also because mattresses made with synthetics and toxins very negatively affect the environment during their production. Being able to produce them consciously, while providing a safer environment for your baby is very important. Fortunately, you do not have to necessarily have to pay more to go this route today.
Colgate Kids Natural I
Colgate Kids prides themselves on all of the above features and produce multiple crib mattresses offering different features in a green and eco-friendly way. The Natural I was a finalist for “Healthiest Crib Mattress”, is produced without metals, plastics, insecticides, pesticides and is instead made with coconut husks and plant based latex. Made with a non-toxic, natural flame barrier and organic cotton cover. It is also Greenguard Gold Certified, just like all of their mattresses. It is a bit heavier than other 5” mattresses, but meets a gold standard in being “naturally” produced. $$$
Bundle of Dreams Classic Crib Mattress
This is also an eco-friendly, Greenguard Gold Certified mattress made by a company focused on eliminating toxins, gases & synthetics in their products. This foamless mattress is a 6” dual sided mattress providing breathability & firmness on the infant side & a bit softer (but still firm) support for toddlers. It also has a 2” edge support for a standing toddler so that the mattress doesn’t sink or buckle with their weight. It is light, organic cotton backed and waterproof with natural flame barriers. You won’t be disappointed with this mid-budget option. $$
Colgate Kids Eco-Classica III
At a lower price point, is the Colgate Kids 6” mattress that is made with a high density, plant-based foam that provides just the right support for your baby at a lower price point. It is also Greenguard Gold Certified and dual sided so that your infant has the firmest support and can be flipped to give your toddler a little softer sleep. Additionally, it is produced completely green, waterproof, has an organic cover and natural flame barrier. It is another perfect product for your nursery. $
Having a quality travel crib is something that my husband and I regularly acknowledge as being life saving. When I was purchasing one seven years ago, I was wary of spending a few hundred dollars on a travel crib, unsure of how much we use it. We ended up purchasing the Baby Bjorn and have zero regrets as we have gotten a ton of great vacation sleeps out of it with all three of our children over the last 6+ years. For me, travel cribs need to be easy to assemble (like less than a minute), easy to collapse, have a comfortable, but firm mattress and be able to be easily cleaned. A good carrying case is also a must.
This travel crib is a tried and true winner for durability, ease of assembly, comfortability of mattress and minimal carrying size. This crib has breathable mesh sides that are both easy to clean and easy to see baby. It does not have a topper or changing addition and the carrying case cannot be worn as a backpack or over the shoulder–it’s more of a handle situation. It’s the easiest to assemble, collapse and reinsert into the carrying case. Now it comes in multiple colors and is even lighter in weight than before. The price tag is high, but for us it has paid for itself and more. $$$
Lotus Travel Crib
This crib is the perfect fit for someone looking to have the new “it” item of the year. This travel crib has a side zip opening for easier use as a play yard outdoors or for grandparents who prefer to not reach all the way to the bottom of the crib to lift the baby out. Made of a mesh, breathable fabric and has an extremely comfortable mattress, almost identical to the Baby Bjorn’s. It is easy to assemble and disassemble, but can be quite tricky to put back into its carrying case. It comes with a smaller carrying case that can be used as a backpack, which comes in handy at airports for sure. The Lotus Crib by The Guava Family has all the bells and whistles with a mid-range price tag. You won’t be disappointed with this purchase. $$
Micralite Sleep & Go
The most affordable by far, the crib is simple to assemble and pack up. Other than the price point, the amazing feature about it is the infant bed that can sit on the top, if desired. This can be used for newborn sleep or for diaper changes. Or it can simply be removed and left at home. It also has a zipper side for easy use as a play yard and packs up in a case quite a bit bigger than the Lotus or the Baby Bjorn. The only hiccup to consider is that the mattress is not quite as comfortable as the other two and it has a crease in the center which could possibly cause discomfort as your baby grows. But, as the reviews show, it certainly doesn’t seem to sway people’s opinions about this great, inexpensive option. $
The concept of a bouncer is a bit of a new one. Swings have been around for quite some time. I imagine your own parents had one for you. But bouncers are different in many ways. They are one of my very favorite items to have. Firstly, they are light and can be moved anywhere in your home. Swings, on the other hand, are typically quite heavy and so remain stationary.
Secondly, bouncers can be used from the newborn age and often grow with your child. They provide an upright, supported lounge that allows you to interact with your baby while not having to hold them. I think they are great for placing outside your shower when you just need to get one, putting in your kitchen when you are making dinner, taking along with you to the park or a friend’s house, etc. They are not necessarily made for naps, but simply for play and hanging. I also think it is a great place to place your baby while your other children interact with them. It provides them all with eye to eye, safe contact.
Baby Bjorn Bouncer
This is a “can’t go wrong” product for me. While a bit expensive, it is lightweight, easily collapsible and transportable and extremely easy to clean in instances of blowout or spit up, especially if you buy it in the mesh material. The cover not only wipes clean, but is removable within seconds and machine washable, coming out brand new each and every time. It supports baby from day one, has three reclined positions and is very comfortable. It also comes fully assembled and ready to go out of the package and has many color and fabric options. It’s only drawback is price (the toy bar is also extra). $$$
Baby Delight Alpine Bouncer
Much like the Baby Bjorn, this bouncer collapses flat, is lightweight and has three recline positions. The cover is also easily removed and machine washable, but the white fabric can stain after longtime use. Unlike the Bjorn, the Alpine comes with a toy bar AND a carrying case for easy transport when traveling. The best part is its price, coming in under $100. The only possible drawback is the chance that your baby might not feel entirely supported those first few weeks. Some moms report feeling that their smaller baby was tipping a bit. It also requires some assembly upon opening. That being said, I still think it is a great product that is safe, comfortable & very helpful to mom and baby. $$
Fisher Price Comfort Curve Bouncer
This budget-friendly bouncer has an extremely soft, machine washable seat and toy bar. It has a 1 speed vibrate option that seems more helpful and functional than its bouncing ability. It is sturdy, light, safe and comfortable for baby. Can only be used up to 25 lbs and requires assembly. $
Every year means newer baby products, but it doesn’t always mean better. Often the test of time solidifies certain brands and products that simply have it right. That being said, technology changes so fast, and more work is done than ever in making sure new baby lines are safe, reliable, effective and often eco-friendly. So, perusing the newest certainly can’t hurt! That’s why the process of registering and committing to a whole slew of big (and small) priced items can be incredibly overwhelming and quite time consuming. The trick to knowing what is right for you and your family is to take inventory of your lifestyle without baby and your lifestyle intentions with baby. Do you hope to continue traveling often? Do you plan on flying home to see family with an infant? Is making your own baby food important? Do you plan on pumping at work? Do you want more children in the near future? Where do you plan on having baby sleep? Answering these questions will help you prioritize your budget and needs.
As a mother of three who moved to four different cities in the midst of three pregnancies, Tori Frericks quickly learned just how hard it can be to prepare yourself for bringing home a new little life, especially when you are without family to help guide you, or simply the time to do all the things. She founded Babes to Babies with the thought that you can definitely do it all, but a little help goes a long way in the road to motherhood. Tori recently shifted her focus to her new company The Landing Lab, a hosting lab for entrepreneurial brands in the apparel, accessory & lifestyle spaces.