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:
- Crib Skirt
- Fitted sheet
- 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.
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!).