How Many Crib Sheets Do I Need?

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Getting ready for your special delivery is both fun and precious. There are so many adorable options, and you can picture your little against each element of your stunning nursery. And then some questions pop up. Questions like “how many crib sheets do I need?”  

As a new parent, are you an essentialist or an over-prepared? You don’t want to buy too many – and then feel wasteful by not using them, and you don’t want to buy too few – and then be in a mad rush to do laundry because you didn’t account for your precious angel to spit up that much. 

The crib sheets question actually comes down to laundry. Because in an ideal world, you could change your baby’s bed sheets once a week, but in the real world it could be as often as every day. So will those dirty sheets go straight in the washing machine or the hamper? 

Do I need more crib sheets than bed sheets? 

Probably. 

For our bed, we have two sets of bed sheets, but we honestly could do away with just one. On laundry day we take the sheets off, leave the bed naked for the day, and then put them back on once they’re clean and dry. Yay, no folding! 

Now that you have a baby, there is no waiting for laundry day. Your little sweetie can cause quite a mess, and if you’ve opted to scrape by with the bare minimum, that might mean that every day is laundry day. 

How many crib sheets do I need? 

The minimum number of crib sheets 

If you really want to scrape by with the bare minimum, start with 2 sets of crib sheets. 

That way, if your little one’s diaper leaks or she spits up in the middle of the night, you have a spare set.  Just understand that this may mean daily laundry, and that if your baby needs an emergency change, you basically have to hope that they won’t need another one the same night. 

The ideal number of crib sheets

Ideally, we’d recommend you get 4 sets of crib sheets. 

If you’re the kind of parent who likes to be prepared, having at least four won’t leave you feeling in a pinch. And trust us, you will cycle through them. 

This way, if your baby wakes up in wet crib sheets, you can change them and not have to do laundry right away. Also, if your little one is sick and spitting up, you have one less thing to worry about. 

Our Crib Sheets Faves

Burt’s Bees Organic Cotton Crib Sheets

When it comes to Burt’s Bees and organic baby products, what’s not to love?

These are the softest crib sheets you’ll ever find and they come in a huge variety of fun patterns and colors (or plain white if that’s your preference.)

They’re climate-pledge friendly, and totally organic which you’ll appreciate given your baby’s face will be pushed against them for most of the day.

Ely & Co waterproof crib sheets

Wow! Imagine not needing to worry about your crib’s mattress. Ever. These waterproof jersey crib sheets make life so much easier, giving you one less thing to wash.

Beware that you’re better off not putting these crib sheets in the dryer (despite what the label says) which means you may need a few sets.

Why you’ll need so many crib sheets 

Babies sweat.  

One of our little ones used to wake up in a puddle of sweat every day at nap time. Her body reached fever-like temperatures when she slept and then she’d wake up refreshed and ready to go. (which our doctor said was normal.) That was adorable, but the little pool of sweat meant we’d need to wash her crib sheets more often to avoid skin irritation. 

Diapers leak.  

It happens to the best of us. Even though we’re vigilant about changing baby’s diaper at night, leaks are inevitable. Even if the leak dries up, you’ll feel better after changing their crib sheets. 

Babies spit up. 

This may be the biggest driver of why you need to change crib sheets so often. Spit up is normal, but you don’t want your baby’s precious face rubbing in it all night long. 

Babies drool.  

Same with the points above, even a little bit of baby drool can really build up in your little one’s crib. 

Babies get sick.  

When your baby’s sick it can be stomach-churning for you as much as your little one. We may not like it, but getting sick is part of growing up. And you’ll be surprised about how much vomit that tiny body can produce. Of course, when they get sick, you’ll have to change their crib sheets. And you may have to do it more than once in one night. So this is probably the biggest reason to stock up on crib sheets. 

You might be changing baby’s diaper in the crib.  

You know that stylish change table in the corner of the nursery? You won’t dare use it in the middle of the night. You’ll be changing your baby in stealth mode, hoping they don’t wake up. And when you do that, an occasional accident is inevitable which means more laundry for you. Oh well, still worth it. 

Think about this too

Are you a minimalist parent or an over-preparer? 

Obviously, you can be both, but for the sake of the argument – would you rather have more than enough crib sheets just in case you need them, or have the bare minimum and deal with emergencies as they arise? 

Your answer to this will likely guide how many crib sheets you will get. 

How likely are you to do laundry? 

If you’re asking how many crib sheets do I need, you’re really asking how much laundry will I do? 

In an ideal world, you could stretch a whole week between laundry days, but it’s just as likely that you may need to change those crib sheets every single day. Are you willing to do the laundry right away, or would you rather just throw them in the hamper until the end of the week?

It’s not just a matter of preference or willingness either. You may have to lug your way to a laundromat like many young parents, in which case having as many as 5 crib sheets is actually quite worthwhile.   

Does your baby spit up, and have diaper leaks? 

While there are several factors that lead to needing to buy so many crib sheets, the most frequent sheet changes will be caused by spit up and diaper leaks. If your baby has spent his or her first few months in a bassinet, you might already be familiar with their body rhythms and get away with fewer crib sheets. 

How easy would it be to buy a new set? 

If you’re really not sure how many crib sheets you will need, and would prefer to go with the bare minimum, consider how easy would it be to go out and buy a new set. If you decided that the bare minimum is just not enough, no problem – go out and get a few extras. 

But if that’s not really an option for you, then you might as well stock up in advance. 

How to choose the right crib sheets 

  • The right fit.  Baby’s safety comes first, and you don’t want to risk any hazards by having crib sheets that don’t fit properly. Luckily, cribs, crib sheets, and mattresses are pretty standard, so unless you bought a specialized crib, you shouldn’t have any problems finding the right fit. 
  • Breathable cotton.  Cotton is soft, breathable and absorbent, and is the perfect material for your baby’s crib sheets. You can also go with a cozier flannel, which is still cotton, for wintertime. 
  • Organic.  Your little one’s face will be rubbing into those crib sheets for more than half of each and every day. Why not give yourself the peace of mind by buying organic. At the same time, baby products undergo strict regulations, so if organic crib sheets are not an option for you, it’s not the end of the world. 
  • Waterproof.  Waterproof crib sheets are an interesting option that only recently came on the market. We like the idea that you can skip buying a mattress pad, but the downside is that they’re much more expensive and give you fewer options. 

How many waterproof mattress pads do I need for the crib? 

Did you think you could get away with just crib sheets? Absolutely not! Your crib needs a waterproof protector as well. Every spit up and leaked diaper will seep through the sheets onto the mattress unless you protect it. So how many do I need? 

We say you need 2 waterproof mattress pads for the crib. 

We like the SureGuard crib mattress protector. It’s ultra-soft, actually waterproof, and dryer-friendly.

Truth be told, we actually have just one, and that’s very much not enough. 

There have been times when our baby would wake up in the middle of the night in a super-soaked crib. In that case, that crib protector is just too wet to put a clean crib sheet over, so we have to remove it and hope for the best. 

To make things worse, those waterproof covers don’t belong in the dryer, so you have to wait a few hours before you can put it back on. Not ideal. You’re better off with having two. 

Of course, you could just go with waterproof crib sheets and call it a day, but note that they usually don’t go in the dryer either, so you’d have to stock up. 

TL;DR – How many crib sheets do I need?

Ideally, go with 4 crib sheets. This will give you options for unexpected accidents and emergencies and will mean that you don’t have to do laundry every day if your baby’s diaper leaks regularly or they spit up in bed. If you’re more of a minimalist parent, you can start with 2 sets of crib sheets, but understand that this means you’ll have to do laundry more often and you may be stuck in a pinch if your baby is sick.

how many crib sheets do I need
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