Friday, February 2, 2018

Choosing a mattress for long term health for your children - My Green Mattress Review

Sleep. The final frontier for parents, right? We strive for sleep for our children and ourselves pretty much from day one. I don't remember ever being so obsessed over the thought of sleep before becoming a parent! Coordinating nap times, bed times, coping with your own interrupted sleep that can last for years, dissecting why your child isn't sleeping the same way as they did last week. It. is. exhausting.

As our two girls are growing older we have begun to consider how we are going to adapt their bedroom from being toddler-focused to more a forward, long term set up.  From the time that my second daughter was night weaned and no longer bedsharing with my husband and I, she has been sharing a bedroom with her older sister. Each girl had her own cute toddler sized bed. We knew that we wanted the sisters to continue to share a bedroom but graduating them to twin or full sized bed frames would occupy too much space for their bedroom. Thankfully we scored an amazing deal at our local furniture store for a floor model twin-over-full bunk bed frame and we snatched it up right away!

To give you a short background on where we are coming from; we bedshare with each of our children until they are night-weaned at about 18 - 24 months. Our first two children were girls and we excitedly helped them embrace this special relationship by sharing a bedroom. When we purchased the new bunk bed, we naturally we expected our older daughter (Penny) to want to take the top bunk. But as it turned out our 3 year old (Ruby) was the better candidate because she sleeps through the whole night and never leaves her bed. It's always been that way! Penny is still a night waker; which we've concluded is because of her primary love language: physical touch. The girl still very much loves her snuggles and works diligently throughout the night to sneak into our bed for more! Towards the end of my last pregnancy we set goals for her to find ways to cope with this need; giving her need a name ("the snuggle tank"), with increased snuggles at the end of the day and self-gauging her needs. But we had to draw the boundary for how much time she sleeps in our bed in preparation for our bed-sharing time with Baby Brother whenever he arrives. It's been a slow and gentle process that we are hoping will make more sense to her when her brother arrives and she can tangibly see- there just isn't a whole lot of room for 4 people in our bed as well as it's just not going to be very restful sleep for ANYONE.

In the wake of purchasing the new bed frame that we intend for the girls to use until they move out, we also knew that an equally (if not more) important decision was what type of mattress they would sleep on. Why would it matter? Consider that this piece of furniture will be in contact with your child for usually over 10 hours a day for over 10 years (the average lifespan of a mattress). Not only is comfort a key factor, but the material needs to be as well! There is a broad range of mattress styles, thicknesses, material choices and price points available on the market and it's important to understand how to balance those in the best way for your family.

When I started doing research for new mattresses for our children I started with a wide cast net - what is the least expensive but most readily available option? What kind of mattress does this provide? What kind of product is offered at the opposite end of the spectrum? What do my friends recommend? What are the online reviews? Does it have springs, is it entirely foam, or a combination? Why would material choice matter; comfortable is comfortable, right?

It turns out no; not all mattresses are created equal! No surprise, the quality of materials and the type of comfort you are looking for play a huge role in the price of the product. There are tons of options available at both ends of all the factors one would want to consider.

Long term studies are still being conducted on the effects of the use of memory foam and other petroleum products in the sleeping space. One can't argue that the costs are lower, they are easier to manufacture and memory foam is comfortable. The use of flame retardants in mattresses and childrens clothing has also been shown to be toxic; with several of just as effective non-synthetic options to consider. But because many modern manufacturing practices focus on the bottom dollar rather than the well being of their customer, I am wary of how the use of certain products will affect myself or my family over the course of our lives. This is why I research as much as possible if I am given a choice in a product and opt for responsibly sourced materials and manufacturing practices.

My main goal for choosing a quality, safe sleep mattress for the long term use by my daughters was that it was made from natural materials and did not use memory foam.  Memory foam has become a very popular choice in mattresses; in fact it's quite difficult to find any mattress, especially childrens mattresses to be without it.

This is how we discovered My Green Mattress. Their Pure Echo mattresses are made with GOTS certified organic cotton and wool. No petroleum based memory foam that off gas and emit VOCs that are dangerous for developing systems. The coils keep the mattress soft yet firm without the need of foam to make it more comfortable.
The mattresses arrived tightly rolled up, also in an effort to be more eco friendly and save on shipping space and costs.

We unrolled them and expected to have an air out period to get the manufacturing smells or any other scents to dissipate before having our children sleep on them (this is called "off gassing"). There were no obvious odors, but we gave them a day to relax and the following morning I put them onto our brand new bunk beds.

The girls were both so excited for their new big bed. Both bunks have been the source of hours of imaginary play and a quiet nook to snuggle or read. Since Holden's arrival, there has been a night or two that my husband slept with either girl that needed some extra snuggles. I've even crawled into bed with each of the girls, when the whole house is asleep, to catch up on snuggles that I have been missing from them while I've been focusing on the new baby.  Even in being accustomed to a very soft and forgiving memory foam mattress, the Pure Echo mattress is still very comfortable to an adult. Best of all, I know my kids can safely sleep on them for years to come.

Learn more about My Green Mattresses and why you should consider them when purchasing mattresses for your family's long term health.

Disclosure: Thank you, My Green Mattress, for facilitating this review! 
I received product in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was provided. 
All photography and opinions are my own. 


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