Oct 01 2008

Help! I need a crib recommendation

I’m having the hardest time picking out a decent crib. There’s so many options! I bought a one-month subscription to Consumer Reports online to read what they had to say about cribs, and to say the least, I was underwhelmed. I don’t know how they conducted their research, or the specific factors they were testing.

Next, I bought the most up-to-date crib chapter from Baby Bargains. I need to go through it, but after my brain can sort through all that info.

So now, I’d like to turn to you and ask those of you who have purchased a crib in the last year or two to give me some recommendations. If you love your crib or hate it, please let me know!

I’m looking for:

  • No frills. It’s just a place for baby to sleep, after all.
  • As far as how it looks, I don’t care that much. Don’t care about the stain or paint color or design. I’m unpicky in that regard.
  • A side rail that lowers without much hassle and is fairly quiet.
  • Sturdy! I want this thing to last us for at least two babies.
  • I’d prefer a mattress support that is springs or something — not just a board. Doesn’t seem too comfy.
  • Simple enough to assemble.
  • A lot of cribs out there today offer “convertible” models that can go from an infant crib to a toddler bed and more. I don’t want to pay more for one of these options, especially since I’ll likely move my baby from the crib to a regular bed when he’s ready. But, I’m open to a convertible model if that seems to be the best pick. So, either way on this.
  • Can it please cost less than $200? Or maybe less than $250?
  • What else should I look for?
  • If you suggest a specific crib, can you also tell me which mattress you bought, and if it fits really snugly?

I know that all cribs must meet federal safety regulations. But, for goodness’ sake, so many cribs have been recalled lately, and now the state of California is suing several crib manufacturers because the cribs are emitting high levels of formaldehyde. Are you kidding me?

Sometimes, I wish I was a kangaroo. That way, Baby would already have a place to sleep and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Halp!



27 Responses to “Help! I need a crib recommendation”

  1. If you are planning to co-sleep at all, don’t be in a hurry to buy one. The three of us co-sleep and we still haven’t used the crib yet!

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  2. My boys, when they slept alone, slept in a bassinet my dad made for the first few months. Mostly, till they were 6 & 9 months they slept with me. After that they slept in our Berg crib. Love it & highly recommend it! I’m pretty sure it cost more than you are looking for though. The perks: drop down side is quiet, hardware is hidden, wire spring like support instead of a board, and converts. The thing is sturdy! My youngest, 2 yrs old, is using it as a toddler bed (w/ drop down side removed.) I can sit on the bed with him with no worries and hardly any dip in the mattress.

    Good luck finding one you like.

  3. Yeah, I do think we’ll need to get a crib from the get-go. There barely seems to be room enough for me and my hubby in our bed (and it’s a queen size!) so I’m pretty certain we’d smoosh our baby. Without a doubt.

  4. My wife is expecting our third child any day now. We ended up with two different Stork Craft brand cribs. They’re completely safe. We had two incidents with the crib – both of which I caused, not due to design faults. When the instructions say to have someone help you, do it. The first time, I bent a bolt out of shape and was unable to reassemble the crib. The second time, same kind of problem, but the bolt hole in the crib end board got destroyed instead of the bolt bending. This meant we needed a whole new headboard for the crib – which we got under warranty. Actually, come to think of it, those incidents were reversed. Our second crib has been moved and disassembled far more than the first one with no problems – because I’m not too dumb to learn from my mistakes. :)

  5. Our daughter slept in a pack-n-play beside my bed for the first 13 months of her life. This let me just roll over and nurse her, rather than get up, go into another room, sit in a rocking chair…I could sit on the edge of the bed and not even totally wake up. I felt a lot of pressure (from myself) to get the whole nursery put together before she came, but honestly, we had a year before she needed that kind of a set up. I wish I had spent more time resting and enjoying my partner instead of fussing over the nursery.

    Relatedly, we got our crib from a friend of a friend, then bought a standard crib mattress at Target. She’s still sleeping on that mattress, now on the floor, while we procrastinate getting her a real bed. She could climb out of the crib by 2 1/2, so we had to get her out of there…

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  6. I’ve owned 2 cribs (one for my grown kids, the other for my 5 year old) and I wouldn’t ever bother to buy another one. They make a great place to store the clean baby laundry before you fold it and put it away but it’s a thousand times easier to have the baby in bed with you.

    First of all, I never mastered the art of putting a sleeping baby into a crib. They wake up, cry, you pick them up, nurse them back to sleep, put them down, they wake up, etc.

    Plus, even if you have the crib in your room it wakes you up to get them, stay awake while they nurse and put them back in the crib. By that time your chances of getting back to sleep before they wake up again are not so great. Or you fall asleep sitting up nursing, which isn’t very safe for either of you.

    Considering that babies really wake up about a half dozen times per night and that you can just roll over, nurse and both go back to sleep if you co-sleep, it’s the difference between being kind of tired (mothers with babies are always tired) and being exhausted to the point of being non-functional.

    Why not borrow a Moses basket or a cradle or something similar to start with and see what happens? You’ll kick yourself if you spend a couple of hundred on a crib and about $80 on a decent mattress and then find that you rarely use it.

  7. Yeah I was going to suggest co-sleeping, which to have the baby in the same room with you if you plan to breastfeed is IMO the best thing on your sleep levels.

    My DH and I (And together we are above average people-600+lbs) sleep in a queen size and have room for a lil one at first. But we did get a bassinet to use for those first few months incase we do run out of room.

    And then hopefully baby is sleeping through the night and will be in the crib my oldest used. Which was discontinued and I’m not sure the brand. Sorry. I’m really no help but don’t let it get to you. Baby doesn’t really care! I WILL say that make sure you get a crib that lowers with one hand!

  8. Let me explain a little more about our setup.

    We have a two-bedroom apartment. Our room has a queen-sized bed, and we sleep there.

    Our second bedroom (and baby’s room) has a double bed that we use for guests. The bed will stay there, cuz where in the world would we put it?

    So, I can put the crib in that room and sleep in the guest bed if I absolutely need to.

    I do plan to nurse, and I realize that’s an every-two-hour or more commitment for awhile. I know that I can’t even fathom the fatigue I’ll be feeling in a few short months.

    But.

    I don’t want my baby in my bed. I don’t want him to get used to sleeping with us. I don’t want to roll over on him (and I certainly would, or Shane would) and I don’t want to sleep lightly because of worrying about hurting him.

    I know it works for some families, but for the sake of our sanity and our marriage, I don’t want him in there. At all.

    I’m concerned about using pack n plays or bassinets, since there aren’t any federal safety regulations on them for the purposes of sleep. I know many people use them without trouble, but I’m still a bit wary.

    So, all that said….any specific crib recommendations?

  9. Lowering the crib rail…. hmmm… never happened with us. Always seemed like too much of a hastle. We have always just leaned over and placed baby in… we’re on baby #2 and it still is the best option for us. (Especially easy when you’re tall, as you both are. I’m 5’8 and hubby is 5’6 and it was fine for us.)

    So, in that respect, I wouldn’t stress over that part too much. But maybe other people lower the rail all the time… hmmm wonder about that. Anyway, we never did and it was easy to reach down without waking baby or without straining your back. Even with mattress lowered all the way.

    I can’t remember what our crib is called, but we bought it at Target.com, cost about $130 and easily lasted through both kids and can go much further… I’ll end up selling it when baby #2 outgrows it.

    It’s a convertible crib, but didn’t convert it for kid #1 because when she outgrew it, her baby brother arrived and needed it. She just went right to a twin bed. That was super easy for us. If I did it again, I wouldn’t worry about getting a convertible crib. Thought we’d use it, but ended up not. And prob won’t convert it for baby #2 because he’s very tall and will probably be too big for it.

    Sorry for rambling, hope this helps a
    little.

  10. I just saw an article yesterday on http://www.celebrity-babies.com listing their favorite top 10. I’m not sure of the prices though as I didn’t read it myself.

  11. You could take a look at ConsumerSearch.com (http://www.consumersearch.com/www/family/baby-cribs/), they list information from Consumer Reports.

    My wife and I went to IKEA and looked at the LEKSVIC (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60108663) and thought it looked pretty good. Plain, simple, sturdy. Rails don’t lower, but it does convert to a toddler bed. It’s only $159.

    Here is what Consmer Reports said about the Leksvic:

    Best convertible baby crib.
    IKEA makes inexpensive cribs that reviewers say are safe and stand up well to everyday use. The IKEA LEKSVIK is made of solid wood and veneer and has two mattress height settings. Other than the fact that it converts to a toddler bed, the LEKSVIK is a basic crib without additional features. The LEKSVIK baby crib doesn’t have a drop side, but some critics say stationary sides are safer overall. Parents who prefer an upscale look or a wide choice of finishes may want to opt for a more expensive crib, but for those who don’t mind IKEA’s minimalist styling, the LEKSVIK is a good choice. A mattress isn’t included, but any standard crib mattress will fit.

    My wife and I also looked at co-sleeping and had our eye on a co-sleeping bed/crib that sits next to your bed but have decided against it and we’re now looking to frugally go with as few pieces of furniture as needed.

    Love your blog.

  12. our baby is quite a bit older, but we had a cosco crib, convertibles weren’t common back then but we converted it as she grew til she went into a twin bed. We bought it from K-Mart and it was barely $100, check for recalls, but I would not use a Jenny Lind as the baby grows and begin standing they can flip them.

  13. Wish I could give you a recommendation but our family received a crib from our neighbors for free. I checked the manufacturer website and no recalls or safety issues. It would be great if you had a friend who has one stored in a garage or basement that no longer needs one. Free is always good.

    Scott @ The Passive Dad’s last blog post..$50 Costco Or American Express Gift Card Blog Contest and Share Your First Bank Account Story

  14. Our crib is on baby #4, and they each slept in it for about 2 years (baby #4 is 19 months and actually, he does sleep with us at night quite a bit, but always in his crib for nap and at the beginning of each night). It’s a very simple light wood Simmons crib. Looks-wise, it’s probably not what I’d choose if I were starting over (I prefer dark wood now) but it’s classic and simple and still sturdy after 8 years of solid use! :-)

  15. Oh yeah, I meant to add that I am 5’8″ and I never lower the side rail. My bigger kids (10 and 8) do when they get baby out of the crib for me, but I don’t need to. It’s not much of a reach. Test it out for yourself & see how you feel about it. :-)

  16. We found our crib for just under 200.00 at a local baby store (a family owned store) and I like it just fine. Although it is pressed board and I never thought about things like formaldehyde before I had the baby.

    But anyways, you could always look on craigslist or in the bargain corner of your paper, not to mention local garage sales or consignment shops. With folks only having a couple kids now a days, most of the time when they get rid of their cribs, they’re only a couple years old. Regulations have stayed the same the last 10 years or so, so anything new would be considered safe. The main thing to check is the spacing between the bars as it’s smaller now than it was 20 years ago. I’ve even seen some actual real wood cribs for under 100.00 at sales. Wish I would have just waited to buy one! (and don’t worry to much if it has springs or not. The mattresses you have to use are as hard as a rock so the babies don’t smoosh into them and suffocate. The time springs come in handy is when they start jumping around in there!

    And no, baby really doesn’t need a big ‘ol crib when they get home, so if you haven’t found one by then it’s not the hugest deal. Last time I used a pack ‘n play w/ the bassinet attachment (a shower gift!) and this time I’ll actually be using a moses basket I found for 10.00 at a garage sale!

  17. Hey! I have been enjoying learning along with you, as I am expecting my first in March. So…I really don’t have any answers to your questions. But, I did read an article recently over at The Simple Dollar (http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/09/27/a-visual-guide-to-saving-money-with-a-baby/) that was really really interesting, both in the article and there were some useful tips in the comments! Hope that maybe you can find a little info there….wishing you and the little one well!

  18. Kacie, We purchased a “Jenny Lind” style crib from Babie’s R Us. I’m pretty sure it was under $200, In fact I think it was around $150. It is not very modern looking, but if you don’t care about that, then it works great. It DOES convert into a toddler bed if you want it too. Our mattress is a Serta mattress purchased from Walmart, not sure of the model. Hope that helps!

  19. Also, I know you are wary of using a pack-n-play for sleeping, but…we used the bassinet feature of our pack-n-play for the first two months and for us that worked out great. I thought I wouldn’t want him in the same room, but after he was born I sort of changed my mind on a lot of things like that. It just ended up being so much easier. Course, after he starting sleeping better at night, it became easier to have him in his crib.

  20. My first was born almost 6 years ago. We bought a crib that you put together for a couple of hundred. Got a nice mattress with it. It has lasted well through two more babies since then. I put mine in a regular bed and never did the toddler bed with them.

  21. I have had 4 baby boys in my lifetime and I can honestly say, you won’t be lowering the rail much at all. I lower mine only when I am changing the mattress sheet.

    I honestly think you can get a used one that is just as nice. I would not fork over 200 plus dollars for a crib, especially if you are not picky about the color or the ability to convert. Look in your local bulletin or visit Once Upon a Child or some other high end used baby clothing store.

    Our last son was not planned for, we did not have a crib. We had sold our other one. I lucked out and was given a nice one with a matching changing table. As long as your crib is fairly new—not more than 5 -7 years I am sure safety wise it will be fine. You don’t want their heads to fit through the rails and you want the sides to be sturdy and up, but really there is not much a baby can get hurt from in a crib. Oh and of course you would not want anything painted or chipped.

    Spend your money on things that people are going to see more and that can look run down……What I mean is…I was all for buying a spending some money on a nicer stroller. Mine was 13 years old (did not even have a cup holder!) So when we found out #4 was coming I said lets definately by a new stroller. Those can look shabby used, but a bed doesn’t…..Buy a new mattress and get a used crib is my vote. Spend money on things that truly can look worn out like diaper bags, bedding material etc. But high chairs, swings, walkers, excersaucers, etc. can all look really nice when only used by one baby for short time.

  22. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    I know that for many people, getting a used crib works perfectly fine for them.

    I’m all about getting used things, but I’m not comfortable with getting a used crib. If one little piece or bolt or whatever is missing, a safe crib could turn into a serious hazard.

    I’ll want to make sure I have the exact model # in case of a recall. If I acquire a crib without that info, how am I to know it hasn’t been recalled? I dunno. Maybe that info is stamped somewhere on it.

    So yeah, getting used could be a way to save money. I’m going to save money on clothing and things of that nature, and it’ll probably balance out.

    As far as the crib goes, I do hope to get a good deal on one, but I’m willing to pay a few hundred if that’s what it takes.

    Yeah, I’m probably a paranoid new mom, but I’d rather be a little too paranoid about safety than save $100 and then regret it later.

  23. I know this is late, but I had a Jenny Lind crib from Babies R Us that lasted through two kids. It came with the spring base for the mattress and it was under $150. We gave it away or we’d be using that crib now for number 3. I am getting the same crib for this baby (in a different finish). The side does slide down rather easily, easy to assemble and easy to move.

    This is what we’re getting (this weekend to finally get things set up for the baby!) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3012702

  24. Both of our children slept in a pack n play and co-slept with us until they were about six months old. We inherited a generic Jenny Lind crib from a relative and bought the thickest mattress from Wal-Mart. This worked great for our two babies until they were ready for big beds. Do you have to have a brand new crib?
    They are so easy to find used at thrift stores and on freecycle. Just make sure that the slats are close enough together and you should be fine.

  25. A few days ago, I placed an order for a crib. It’s the “Graco Lauren” crib and I paid $159 for it. User reviews on the crib were good, and it was highly rated on Consumer Reports.

    I know that many families out there have used a used crib, and their kids were fine. I slept on a used crib, and my sister used the same one.

    However.

    When you get a used crib or a used car seat, you’re taking a huge risk.

    Every safety org out there will tell you “DO NOT BUY A USED CRIB/CAR SEAT.”

    With cribs, you can’t be totally certain that all of the parts are intact. One tiny missing bolt could turn the thing into a death trap.

    Earlier this year, millions of cribs were recalled.

    If you got a used crib, you wouldn’t be able to submit a registration card so you could be alerted in the case of a recall. You’d just have to pay attention to the news or the CSPC, and know the exact maker and model number of your crib. Good luck.

    Especially since you can get a new crib for about $100, to me it’s simply not worth the risk. Sure, a used crib might work out ok. But if my baby is seriously injured or killed because of a problem with the crib, do you think I’d care about saving a little money? Heck no!! I’d never be able to forgive myself.

    Crib injuries and deaths are surprisingly common. What’s worse, is some of those deaths might have been preventable. It’s critical that the bed meets all safety requirements, and the sheets must be tight on the mattress to lower the risk of suffocation.

    Folks, I don’t want to sound like a paranoid first-time parent. But seriously. Do NOT compromise on your cribs or your car seats.

    Save money elsewhere. And that’s why I’m buying a new crib and mattress.

  26. For more on this, read: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml95/95161.html

    Published in 1995. Still true 13 years later.

  27. hey Kacie.
    I was going to tell you my bassinet/crib story, but then I saw you opinion on crib safety.
    I freaked out the same way you did/are when I was pregnant with #1. One of my friends who already had a baby said something so helpful to me: that some parents are allowing safety regulations to do their job for them, that I don’t need to obsess over my used crib because I’m an alert parent and I will check on my babies while they nap. For example, we didn’t plug our sockets with those plastic protectors; we taught our daughter not to touch sockets, plugs and cords.
    Please don’t buy into the culture of fear that surrounds parenting. When you love someone, you want to keep them safe, yes. But keep your perspective. Of course the industry wants us to buy new cribs and car seats!
    I’m on baby #2 now and I really really enjoy him – I’m more relaxed than I was with #1, even though I still check to see that they’re breathing while they sleep.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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