Jul 7, 2010

Saving Money on the Nursery- Crib Bedding (Guest Post by Kayla)

This post is written by Kayla, who had the good sense to have two babies before Janssen had any so that she could pass along all her wisdom. She is also the queen of the homemade gift and her blog is full of pictures of darling items that will make you wish you lived next door. 

What I have to say will either be rather upsetting or a huge relief to all the first time expectant mothers out there:

You do not need that darling fancy pants $300 crib bedding.

Picking out the crib bedding is like a motherhood rite of passage, something many of us spend hours agonizing over. I came thisclose to spending $250 on seriously awesome pirate bedding for my first son before I did some research and realized my money would be better spent elsewhere.

Crib bedding usually consists of the following:
  • Quilt
  • Crib Skirt
  • Bumper
  • Fitted sheet
It may also come with a few extras but those four items are the basic package. Now:
  • You should not use the quilt in the crib. Period. It is a suffocation hazard. You could get creative and hang it on the wall or something, but you are not supposed to put it over your baby (if you're concerned about keeping your baby warm this article from Baby Center has some good suggestions).
  • Crib skirts are generally of the proper length to be used while the crib mattress is in the upper position but are too long to be used when you have to drop the mattress, around 5-8 months (although some skirts work in both positions).
  • There is some debate over the necessity of crib bumpers but the new AAP recommendation is that soft, pillowy bumpers not be used. There is the possibility of the bumper covering a child's nose and mouth and causing suffocation, but there is also the possibility of something called "rebreathing," which is when soft bedding or other items in the baby's sleeping area trap carbon dioxide around the baby's face. It is speculated that this phenomenon is the cause behind a fair number of SIDS deaths. Plus, those fancy bumpers tend to be sturdier and thus become very handy step stools when your little Precious decides his crib is boring and he'd rather get down to the floor and play with an electrical outlet.
So, by the time your baby is about 7 months old you're left with...the fitted sheet.

A quick search at Target.com reveals that a standard fitted crib sheet can be had for $8-$10. When my first son was born I bought two white fitted sheets from Target for less than $20 and 2.5 years later they are still going strong. If you're the DIY type or want to use a funner (my Google spell check says "funner" is totally a word) fabric, here is a tutorial for making your own.

If you still need bumpers (and we did), there are a lot of safe, affordable options out there. While I was pregnant I really wanted these breathable bumpers but at the time they only had yellow gingham and I have my standards. Now there are a whole bunch more colors available and, at $23, they are quite affordable.

We ended up with the Kompisar crib bumper pad from Ikea. It fits the AAP recommendation of "thin, firm, well secured, and not 'pillow-like'" and, at $12.99, the price couldn't be beat. We put them on when Wes started scootching in his sleep and catching his legs in the bars and we took them off as soon as he was old enough to extricate himself.

So my crib bedding cost all of $33, leaving me lots of room left in my budget left for fun things like art, books and a bookcase, and fabric for re-covering my glider (a piece of furniture which, incidentally, I shouldn't have bothered spending money on, but that's another post altogether. Live and learn!).


Nathan Pralle said...

Here's the real fact: No matter how fancy your crib bedding is, it will last for precisely an hour until your baby either A) pees on it B) pukes on it C) craps on it D) spills a bottle on it or E) all the above, at which point you'll be stripping it off, usually in the horrifically wee hours of the night, to replace it with something else. And I guarantee at oh-dark-thirty you care exactly squat about what color it is or what's on it, so long as it's comfy and it gets your little bundle of joy back to sweet slumber.

The OP is smart; buy something soft and comfortable on sale at Target/Walmart/etc. and save your money for something they'll truly appreciate and love, say...savings bonds. I always have this huge laugh at these done-up nurseries that new moms put together JUST SO before the baby arrives, knowing that within a week of it getting there, the room will look like a madman has taken an axe to the whole thing in a fury. Survival before pretties.

Carly said...

I concur that the stuff they sell as crib sets is a total crock. Even if you want matching stuff, you can do it WAY cheaper other ways.

Just be sure you get MORE THAN ONE fitted crib sheet. They definitely need to be changed more often than you expect!

Grace Marie said...

great, practical and timely (for me and my little lady) post for me. Thank you!!

destination: target and ikea
population: me

Preethi said...

Thank you for validating yesterday's decision to remove a very cute, but not $180 cute, crib set from our registry. :)

emily kate said...

I found a cute red gingham fitted sheet that matched my baby's nursery and called it good. So far no regrets! When she's bigger we'll likely invest in one of the bumpers mentioned in this post to keep her from whacking her head or sticking her limbs through the rails. There are several baby items I find worth investing in but baby bedding isn't one of them.

Camille said...

Or....you could not buy one single solitary thing for the crib and get a couple of sheets and a blanket at your shower and call it good (even if they don't match :)
Also, about the bumpers - http://www.sids.org/nprevent.htm

Rita said...

Such a great post and advice not just for first time moms. I'm also going to use some of Kayla's suggestions as I'm about to put baby girl #2 in her crib. Thanks!!!

Becca said...

I totally registered for one of the breathable mesh bumpers--Target even had it in the right color. I'm all about doing this baby bedding thing cheap--I was appalled looking at the PBK crib sets for freakish amounts of money!

Packrat said...

When my children were babies, no one used bumpers and the babies never bumped their heads. Crib skirts just got in the way, and it was something else to gather dust.

I suggest lots of mattress pads and bottom sheets in a color and fabric that will withstand the use of several babies. Also, take advantage of those women who only want one child. Buy their used stuff.

Anonymous said...

So . . .I haven't posted to this but follow Janssen's other blog as well (I'm a teacher and I like to see her recommendations about books) and love to be frugal ... though I''ll admit that I'm not very good at it . . .but I have found myself thinking WWJD a lot lately . . and not as in the old saying What would Jesus do but as in What would Janssn do? I have three examples of this. 1. My friend and husband refer to me as the return queen -- hey if I don't like it why am I going to keep it!? I used to be embarrassed by this nickname, but what would Janssen do . . I think she would be proud of it, so I will to. 2. My husband tried updating his ipod touch only to have it lose all of his music including the songs from itunes (almost $40 worth) that he had downloaded. He wanted to throw in the towel, I thought WWJD and called itunes, explained the situation, they reinstated all of my downloads -- not just the recent ones but all 254 downloads I have done in the last ? years that I have had itunes which was great because there was stuff I downloaded that was accidently deleted or on another computer that wouldn't let me "have" that music. 3. While on vacation, my husband and I stayed at 4 Holiday Inn's . . we signed up for the priority club rewards club on stay #4. Stay's 1-3 were in my name, stay 4 was in his name. Club account in his name . . Holiday's Inn's claim . we can't give you credit because stays 1-3 weren't in the name of the club member. So once again WWJD? I sent a long email to priority club rewards, explained we were told all stays would transfer, explained that all stays were paid for with the same credit card and the responded today saying that all stays must be in the same name so they wouldn't credit them, however because the appreciated my business they would give me 3000 points -- which is the equivalent of the three stays. :-) So my two new mantra's in life . . WWJD and What does it hurt to ask . . . the worst anyone can say is no. --Amy

Unknown said...

Also, you can make your own fitted bed sheet for the cost of about 2 yards of fabric if you're really interested in something adorable. Get it on sale, and you're looking at super cheap, and REALLY easy. For the replacement sheets, just go with a couple yards of muslin or cotton lining--at our Joanns, it's like, $2 a yard, and all the elastic you'll ever need is only about $2 at Wal Mart.

We went super cheap on bedding and such partially just out of necessity. Looking back, I'm not sad about it at all. We might need to make some bumpers now that Katie pushes off the bars, but that's the only possibility. Thus far, no regrets whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

About to have my first girl after 2 boys. I'm so excited to have a little change in the nursery. I'm making two crib sheets to get just the right look- I've already made them for my porta crib and it's so easy. Also, I feel I need the crib skirt but my crib is in the corner so I'm just making one that only covers the 2 exposed sides.

Jane @ Crib Mattress Reviews said...

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed this article and want to quickly say getting a foam crib mattress may help save you some money as they tend to be less expensive than innerspring crib mattresses.

Crib Blankets said...

Thanks for sharing the information. The details will surely help many readers in dressing up the child nursery to make the environment more comfortable and pleasant for the baby.

Crib Blankets said...

Ahem hmm. Very nice handmade decoration. Seriously it is clear from the picture regarding the hard work which you had done in decorating the room for your newborn. Nice preparation..

Pooja said...

I am doing custom crib skirts for crib beds in any drop length you want in my online bedding store www.LinensnCurtains.com and already did it for many buyers. Just write to me from site's contact us page and let me do it for you at very reasonable price in creative patterns.