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When Can Baby Sleep on Soft Mattress: The Comprehensive Guide

From the Puffy Editorial Team | 4 min read.
When Can Baby Sleep on Soft Mattress: The Comprehensive Guide

New parents find themselves bombarded with a myriad of decisions to make, and choosing the right sleep surface for their baby is definitely one of them.

Should it be soft and cuddly, like your child, or should you opt for a firmer mattress? This guide will delve into the complexities of deciding when it's appropriate for your baby to sleep on a soft mattress.

Table of Contents

Can Baby Sleep on Soft Mattress?

Here’s the straightforward answer: No, infants should not sleep on a soft mattress. Medical experts and child safety organizations uniformly recommend a firm sleep surface for babies. Why?

  • SIDS Prevention: A soft mattress increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The mattress may conform to the baby's face, which can obstruct their airway.
  • Spinal Development: A firm mattress supports the baby’s still-developing spine.
  • Ease of Movement: Babies find it easier to move and eventually roll over on a firm surface, promoting physical development.

When Can Baby Sleep on Soft Side of Mattress?

Many baby mattresses come with dual sides - one firm for infants and one softer for toddlers. So, when is it safe to flip the mattress to the soft side?

  • Mobility: Once your child can roll over and sit up without assistance, it's generally considered safe to transition to the softer side.
  • Age: Generally, the transition happens around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Doctor’s Advice: As always, consult your pediatrician for personalized advice.

How to Make Baby Mattress Softer

Say you're past the initial infant stage and looking to make the sleep environment cozier for your toddler. Here’s how:

  • Mattress Toppers: Organic or hypoallergenic mattress toppers can add a layer of softness.
  • Quality Sheets: Soft, breathable sheets can make a significant difference in how the mattress feels.
  • Comfort Layer: Some parents add a quilt or a comfort layer over the mattress but under the sheet. Ensure it fits snugly to avoid any safety risks.

Firm vs. Soft: Understanding the Science

While the firm vs. soft debate may seem trivial, there's a scientific reason behind it.

  • Breathability: Firm mattresses tend to be more breathable, reducing the risk of suffocation.
  • Pressure Points: Soft mattresses may alleviate pressure points but at the cost of proper spinal alignment, especially for infants.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

The Risks of a Soft Mattress for Infants

Let’s delve deeper into the potential dangers a soft mattress can pose for an infant:

  • Airway Obstruction: Soft materials can mold to the shape of the baby's face, restricting airflow.
  • Rolling Risks: A soft surface can make it difficult for babies to roll over, potentially leading to them sleeping face-down.

A Checklist for Choosing the Right Mattress Firmness

So, you're shopping for a mattress. Here's what you need to consider:

  • Certifications: Look for certifications like CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold which assure that the mattress meets strict safety guidelines.
  • Material: Opt for materials that are naturally more firm like high-density foam or natural latex.
  • Warranty and Trial Period: These can be lifesavers, allowing you to test out the mattress firmness without long-term commitments.

When to Transition to a Soft Mattress

  • Monitor Developmental Milestones: Keep track of when your child starts rolling over, sitting up, and moving independently.
  • Doctor’s Clearance: Always consult your pediatrician before making the switch to a softer mattress.
  • Comfort vs. Safety: If your child seems uncomfortable on a firm mattress past the recommended age for a softer mattress, it might be time to consider a transition.


Choosing the right mattress for your baby isn't just about comfort - it’s a critical choice that can impact their safety and development. While a soft mattress might seem like the cozier option, it's not the safest for infants.

Use our store locator to find the closest furniture or mattress store near you and feel the cloudlike comfort of our Puffy Mattress in person.

However, as your child grows and reaches specific milestones, transitioning to a softer mattress becomes a viable option. In the interim, there are ways to make a firm mattress feel a little cozier for older babies or toddlers.

Always prioritize safety first, and when in doubt, consult with healthcare professionals to make the best choice for your child.

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  • 6 layers of cloudlike luxury.
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  • 101-night sleep trial.
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