Crib sheet life hack

At some point, it happens to all parents. 

Your baby spits up all over in the crib. Or your toddler gets sick and throws up in bed. Or your recently-potty-trained preschooler has an accident while sleeping. 

When these things happen in the middle of the night, they're even more difficult to deal with. You need to clean up the mess as well as comfort your child and then try to get them back to sleep (so hopefully you can sleep more, too). 

The struggle
Sure, you probably have an extra sheet (and mattress cover?), but now you have to pull the mattress out of the crib or bed so you can remove the dirty sheet and cover. Then you need to wrestle the new cover and sheet onto the mattress so you can have a clean bed for your little one to sleep in — after you get him or her cleaned up and calmed down.

I'd like to share a trick with you that I learned while registering for gifts for my first baby (who is now 3!).

The look
I'm sure I had that dazed, first-time-mom look on my face as I wandered around Babies R Us with the registry scanner in my hand. 

My husband and I were standing in the bedding section of the store looking at sheets and I said something about wanting to register for some extra crib sheets "in case the baby spits up or something."

The bedding set we'd chosen came with two sheets, but I thought we should have more. Anyway, while we were standing there, this friendly store employee came up and asked if she could help us with anything.

She asked if we'd registered for a waterproof mattress cover yet. We hadn't, so I thanked her for suggesting one. We definitely wanted to protect our baby's mattress since she'd be sleeping on it for at least a couple years.

The tip
The next thing she said blew my first-time-mom mind — "What you should really do, is have two mattress covers and two sheets... and layer them on the mattress. Then when you need to change the sheets in the middle of the night, all you have to do is pull off the top sheet and mattress cover."

This advice has come in handy on multiple occasions (refer back to the list of possible scenarios given at the beginning of this post). 

It's also been helpful in less urgent situations during the day. I've been able to quickly change the sheets on BOTH my babies' cribs — in less than a minute — before laying them down for a nap. 

I've also avoided added bedtime delays with my 3-year-old daughter when she's asked to have her sheets changed before bed "like you did for the babies."

I can easily pull off the top sheet and mattress cover, revealing the clean set underneath, and then get her into bed. This saves an extra 10 minutes changing the sheets the traditional way because she wants to "help" (read: dance around on top of the mattress while I struggle with the sheet and cover).

Before my twins were born, I received a new mattress cover for each of them as a baby shower gift, but I knew I wanted extras so I could double them up like I do on their big sister's bed. I went back to Babies R Us and found a 2-pack that cost a little less than buying two individual covers. 

I hope you've found this post to be helpful and informative. In the Resources bar (top right side of the page), I've provided links to the mattress covers we have as well as the baby and toddler bedding sets shown in the picture of my 3-year-old daughter's bed (it took me a while to find toddler bedding when she suddenly became obsessed with having a "top sheet" like we have on our bed).

Please feel free to ask me questions about this or any of my previous posts. Check back soon for my next post!


This blog is truthful and based on personal experience with the products or items mentioned. It doesn't have sponsors, and no one paid to receive positive reviews of their products. All of the links provided are for your convenience and are not "affiliate links" — Valerie doesn't receive payment or kickbacks if people purchase products based on her recommendations.

Valerie Moe is the Senior Graphic Designer for Minnesota Parent magazine. She lives in Bloomington with her husband, their 3-year-old daughter and 8-month-old twins. You can comment below or contact her directly here.