How Many Crib Sheets Do I Need?

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Expecting a new baby and wondering how many crib sheets do I need? This guide walks you through everything you need to know about crib sheets

As an expectant parent, I spent a fair amount of my pregnancy preparing for our new arrival – particularly in the last trimester.

There are so many things you need to buy for a new baby, that staying organized and getting it all without being overwhelmed can seem near impossible.

While there is plenty of baby gear you only need one of – one stroller, one car seat, one crib, and one crib mattress – other items, like the number of crib sheets, require multiples.

Trust me, when it comes to crib sheets, you want to be able to wash them and change them regularly, even in the middle of the night.

Back when I was pregnant, I remember wondering how many crib sheets do I need?

Whereas for our adult bed, and for bigger kids, you generally just need two sets, babies tend to need a bit more.

Below, I’ll talk you through all things baby crib sheets, so you can be certain you’ll have enough sheets when the time comes!

Why Are Baby’s Crib Sheets Important?

Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs, so making sure it is cozy, comfortable, and safe for them is a top priority.

To create a safe sleeping environment for babies, don’t use pillows, crib bumper pads, or blankets in the crib for babies under the age of 12 months. All of these items present suffocation risks.

With blankets and pillows out of the equation as a big no no, all you actually need in terms of baby crib bedding are the crib sheets themselves (and hopefully some sort of organic mattress protector).

But ohhhhh boy, do you ever need those crib sheets!

Babies drool, get sick, pee through their diapers, and have diaper blowouts frequently. Crib sheets provide a layer of protection between all that fluid and your expensive crib mattress, helping to keep it clean and also dry and comfy for baby.

Keeping the crib mattress covered with crib sheets helps to keep the germs away and makes them easier to change when accidents do happen.

Crib sheets also happen to come in a variety of cute colors and patterns to brighten the aesthetic of your little one’s nursery, too!

How Often Are You Going To Change The Crib Sheets?

Just as you change your own bed sheets regularly, you’ll no doubt be changing your baby’s crib sheets frequently.

Frankly, you’ll probably change your baby’s sheets far more often than your own.

It’s a well-known truth that babies can be messy little things. As a parent, you’ll lose count of the times they spit up, drool, sweat, and have diaper leaks in their crib. When these things happen, you’ll need enough crib sheets to be able to change them in order to keep your baby’s crib clean and sanitary.

It’s oh-so-important to check and frequently swap your baby’s crib sheets to keep the crib comfortable for your little one. Your baby is going to be uncomfortable and cranky if they are sleeping on a sheet that is dirty and wet.

Even more importantly, if your baby sleeps in unsanitary conditions, it could result in them becoming sick – something that no parent wishes on their child.

What Should You Consider When Buying Crib Sheets?

When purchasing crib sheets for your baby’s nursery there are a few things that you should keep in mind for the best comfort and to help decide how many crib sheets you actually need.

Breathability

Your baby lays on their back for the majority of the day, unless they’re in your arms. Their little bodies cannot regulate temperature when they are especially small, so they can easily get hot while in their crib, especially if they’re not dressed properly, which causes them to sweat. 

Look for sheets made with breathable materials to help keep your baby cool. 

Organic cotton sheets are a good choice for soft and breathable fabric that haven’t been processed with chemicals.

Fit

To keep your baby safe and reduce the risk of SIDS, experts recommend using crib sheets that fit tightly around the mattress. Additionally, make sure the crib mattress itself is the correct size for the crib, with no gaps around the edges. 

As babies can wriggle and move in their crib, using a fitted crib sheet gives there a lower chance of it bunching up and coming loose. Extra fabric overlap is dangerous for your baby as it can cover their face.

Sensitive Skin

Your baby’s skin is sensitive and delicate, so you need crib sheets that will be kind to it.

Some babies have more sensitive skin than others. If your baby happens to have hypersensitive skin, you want to change crib sheets even more frequently, and wash with unscented detergent and no dryer sheets. The last thing you want is your baby to develop a rash, eczema, or irritation from damp crib sheets.

Allergens

Because your baby will sleep on their crib sheet for many hours each day, it’s important to give them the most hypoallergenic materials possible. 

You can get crib sheets which are hypoallergenic for your baby’s skin. These are handy to keep humidity and moisture build-up away, preventing dust mites from multiplying.

You can also get hypoallergenic mattresses (the Newton is one) and barriers (Naturepedic crib mattresses and mini crib mattresses fit this bill).

Babies Get Sick

Sick babies happen. There are going nights of endless sick, and days where every diaper will contain an explosive poo-nado which leaks all over baby, their clothes, and the crib sheets.

On these times, you seem to be changing crib sheets just as frequently as you change diapers, so having spare sheets on hand is a blessing.

If you only have two crib sheets and one set is dirty, it’s not going to be fun when the second set gets covered in muck in the middle of the night.

When your baby is ill, it is imperative that you put on fresh sheets as often as possible, even if they are not visibly soiled, to ensure that germs are minimized.

Swaddling 

If you swaddle your baby for sleeping, then the crib sheet will stay cleaner for longer as your baby’s body is not coming into direct contact with it. Only the area around the head will touch the bottom crib sheet, so it will last a few more days, and the swaddle blankets may catch any leaks before they reach the crib mattress.

Still remember that your baby will slobber and spit-up, so although changing may be less frequent, it’s still an important task to keep baby’s skin fresh.

Laundry

The number of crib sheets you need also depends on how frequently you use the washing machine.

If you end doing laundry daily, maybe two crib sheets will be enough, with a constant rotation of changing them. If you’re a busier parent, and can’t manage the laundry daily (I know I can’t!) then how many crib sheets you need will be increased.

Also, check the labels for machine washable sheets, so you can wash them with care.

How Many Babies You Have

And of course, all of the above factors apply to having one baby. If you have twins, or more babies, you’ll need to multiply how many crib sheets you need by the number of babies you have.

If you have older kids, you might not need to get all new sheet designs. You can use the hand-me-downs from your previous cribs.

What Size Crib Sheets Do I Need?

Standard Crib Mattress

Standard crib mattresses measure 52 inches by 28 inches. You need to buy standard crib sheets to fit this size and also most toddler mattresses too.

Mini Crib Mattress

Mini crib sheets can vary, as can the size of the crib mattresses in mini cribs, so be sure to check the dimensions carefully before you order your crib sheet choices.

The standard mini crib is 24 inches by 38 inches in size.

It’s not recommended to use standard crib sheets on a mini crib, as the excess fabric can come loose and be a hazard for your baby.

Pack n Play Mattress

A pack n play mattress is notoriously thinner than a standard crib or toddler mattress, meaning you need to consider this when getting the right sheets.

You can get fitted sheets that have some extra padding in them to make it a bit comfier for your little one to lay on. Check the dimensions for your particular model as a standard-size crib sheet may be too big.

(Check out this article on how to make a Pack n Play more comfortable)

Bassinet

Bassinet sheets are made to be the size of your baby’s bassinet. They are obviously smaller than a crib sheet. How many bassinet sheets you’ll need will depend on if you are using the bassinet for overnight sleeping, or just for naptime during the day.

Also remember that you will transition from the bassinet once your baby is able to roll over, so don’t buy too many of these size sheets as you won’t use them for long.

Do I Need a Mattress Protector?

The mattress pad of your crib is more important than the crib itself. A crib mattress is specially designed to be firm enough to allow your baby to sleep safely.

We also know that when babies have accidents and diaper leaks, they can often not only soak through their clothes, but can also go leak through the sheet and onto the mattress itself.

A mattress protector fits over the mattress the same way as a crib sheet does. It has a waterproof layer that stops liquids from seeping through to your mattress. I recommend using a mattress protector underneath the crib sheet to give you peace of mind that even if spills do happen, the mattress will be safe.

They are also machine washable so even if they do become soiled, you can pop them in the washing machine along with the sheets.

How Many Sheets Do You Need?

So, how many crib sheets do you actually need?

All things considered, having four to five sets of sheets should be enough for the standard family, allowing for washing time, sickness, and an emergency spare set.

The absolute minimum number of crib sheets is two, with having a set on the bed and another set in the laundry at any one time, but this won’t allow much room for error if sickness or disaster strikes!

Crib sheets once bought will last you as long as you have the crib, (and then for baby number 2 and more!)

Best Crib Sheets

1. Nestig Organic Cotton Crib Sheets

Nestig makes jersey crib sheets with GOTS-certified organic cotton that’s extra soft for baby skin. Each set comes with one plain color and one whimsical print, with natural themes, including adorable rainbows and funky coral.

They are handmade in Brazil by local artisans using non-toxic, all natural dyes, so super safe for baby.

2. Naturepedic Sateen Touch Crib Sheet

Naturepedic makes premium sateen crib sheets with 100% organic cotton and a 300 thread count. They are fitted, with a full elastic perimeter, to provide a secure fit in your baby’s crib. The soft-touch will provide a restful night for your little one!

Final Thoughts on How Many Crib Sheets Do I Need?

We hope you’ve found this article on ‘How many crib sheets do I need?’ useful. It’s one of those questions that seems silly to ask, but is an important one for parents on a tight budget, or those who are new to child-rearing!

While there is no absolute right or wrong answer to the number of sheets you’ll need, simply put, the more sheets you have, the easier your life will be as a parent.

Two sheets are an absolute minimum, for those with a single baby who don’t mind doing laundry daily.

Four to five sheets are probably the best balance for having a fresh bed, some in the laundry pile, and a few extra sheets on hand for if you have a sick baby.

Remember that for your baby’s safety, a fitted sheet is the only bedding you actually need, and don’t put additional sheets, extra blankets, stuffed animals, or bumpers in baby’s bed.

Please feel free to share this article with other new parents who would also find this guide useful.

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