Jersey, linen, flannel, bamboo, cotton…there are plenty of options when it comes to crib sheets, but if, like me, you have never heard of muslin crib sheets, you might be wondering how they measure up. I did a little research, and – as it turns out – $30 muslin crib sheets outperform those $300 ultra-luxury Egyptian cotton crib sheets you have been eyeing in every way.
What Is Muslin?
Muslin is a type of cotton that originated in Mosul (now Iraq.) Soft and breathable fabric with incredible durability, muslin was once as highly prized as silk. Modern production methods have made muslin more readily available these days, but some varieties such as labor-intensive Jamdani muslin remain hard to find and very costly to buy.
Why Muslin Crib Sheets?
Recently, muslin’s popularity has been resurgent, particularly when it comes to crib sheets. But what makes this fabric a better choice than others?
Muslin Is Breathable
Muslin has an open weave, which means that there are wide spaces between the fabric threads. The wide spaces between the threads of the fabric allow air to pass through the material more easily.
Imagine, for example, that you have a sheet made from denim (I am fairly sure this isn’t a thing, and it never should be!) and a sheet made from muslin.
Wrap yourself tightly in the denim, and you will start to sweat in no time as your body heat gets trapped inside the tightly woven denim fabric. With nowhere to go, that heat lingers, and you get a preview of menopause in all its glory.
Now wrap yourself tightly in the muslin, and if you do start to sweat, your body heat escapes through the wide spaces between the threads of the fabric. The heat dissipates, and voila! You miss the free menopause preview *cue collective sighs of relief*.
TLDR: Muslin sheets stop your baby from turning into a hot tamale while they sleep.
Muslin Is Durable
Muslin is exceptionally durable. The strong cotton threads of the fabric mean that muslin can stand up to regular use. The open weave of the fabric means that there is plenty of “give” so that the fabric threads are not under a lot of tension that can cause them to wear quickly.
What does durability mean for your crib sheets? It means that multiple washes in a week will not leave your sheets in tatters. So instead of buying new crib sheets every few months, you can…well, probably buy more diapers.
TLDR: Muslin sheets stand up well to frequent washing so you can stop funding baby bedding companies each month.
Muslin Is Soft
My favorite quality of muslin is its softness.
Let’s face it, we have all made the mistake of buying cheap bed sheets only for the bed to sound like we are sleeping on garbage bags (and let’s not talk about the questionable looks that elicits from our partner.) The last thing you want to do is repeat that mistake for your baby – not only because cheap sheets are uncomfortable, but also because if there’s even the slightest chance of that noise waking baby, you’re going to lose your s….tuff.
Muslin is everything those garbage bag sheets are not. Muslin crib sheets are soft, they are silent, and they are gentle on your baby’s skin.
TLDR: Muslin sheets are really soft, and you should probably consider getting some for yourself as well as for your baby.
Muslin Is Flexible
Stiff sheets are just as bad as the garbage bag sheets that I mentioned before – they are just uncomfortable. An uncomfortable baby means an unhappy baby, and that means that you are unhappy too.
Muslin is not stiff at all, in fact, it is so flexible that it is often used for swaddling blankets to make babies feel safe and secure, inducing sleep. (If you have a difficult baby, consider investing in muslin swaddling blankets as well as crib sheets.)
TLDR: Muslin is comfortable and good for swaddling, so pick up some swaddling blankets while you are shopping for sheets.
You Can Purchase Organic Muslin
Your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive, so as well as the softness of your crib sheets, you have to worry about the fabric content and exposure. By buying organic muslin, you avoid harsh chemicals that can cause rashes and irritation to your baby’s skin, and as an added bonus, you’re doing your part for the planet.
TLDR: Muslin is gentle on sensitive skin.
Muslin Sheets Are Absorbent
When we sleep, we sweat, and so do our babies, so you want to invest sheets that are absorbent enough to pull away that moisture. That is where muslin comes in.
Muslin is absorbent, so if your baby does sweat at night, the sheets will wick up that moisture and draw it away from your baby’s sensitive skin. I might also mention here how beneficial muslin sheets are for those babies that are talented enough to out-pee the average diaper a few times a week.
TLDR: It’s all about drawing that moisture away from your baby’s skin no matter whether it’s sweat, or pee and muslin gets the job done.
Are Muslin Crib Sheets Safe?
Yes. Muslin crib sheets are safe, and they are even better for your baby if you invest in organic muslin.
It is worth mentioning here that a lot of crib bedding safety has to do with how you use bedding. For crib sheets to be safe, make sure they fit the mattress snugly! Also, be sure that you buy bedding made in a country with high safety standards (not China!) from a reputable manufacturer.
Should I Use Muslin Crib Sheets Even In Winter?
While a crib sheet does provide a warm layer between your baby and their crib mattress, its main purpose is to make sleeping more comfortable. When it comes to warmth, your baby’s sleepwear should provide all the warmth they need. Additionally, your home should be a temperature that is comfortable for your baby to sleep in.
So, yes, muslin sheets are comfortable and safe, and they can be used year-round!
Are Muslin Crib Sheets Made From Cotton?
Yes. Muslin is a woven cotton fabric.
Muslin Crib Sheets Vs. Cotton
A lot of parents ask whether muslin crib sheets are better than cotton. As we mentioned above, muslin is cotton, but let us assume that we are comparing muslin to the more traditional cotton sheet.
While traditional cotton sheets are a great choice, muslin has more to offer
- Muslin sheets are more breathable than cotton sheets
- Muslin sheets are more flexible and less stiff than cotton sheets
- Muslin sheets are more durable than cotton sheets
- Muslin sheets are often softer than cotton sheets
- Muslin sheets are more absorbent than cotton sheets
Do Muslin Crib Sheets Fit Pack N Play?
You can buy muslin crib sheets large enough to fit your pack ‘n play! You just need to search specifically for muslin pack n play sheets when shopping.
Do I Need To Buy Muslin Crib Sheets And Muslin Swaddle Blankets?
You don’t have to buy muslin crib sheets and muslin swaddle blankets, but you should know that they two are not interchangeable.
Your baby’s crib sheet is elasticated and made specifically to fit over a crib mattress safely. A crib sheet is not safe for swaddling because it is too large, and the elasticated corners pose a significant safety risk.
Muslin swaddle blankets are not made to fit a crib mattress because they do not have elasticated corners to fix them safely to the mattress. Having a crib “sheet” that can easily come away from the mattress because it lacks these elasticated corners is also a significant safety risk.
I recommend muslin crib sheets and muslin swaddle blankets because as a material, muslin is everything you need, and sheets and swaddle blankets have two distinct uses.
Can I Buy A Muslin Crib Bumper?
Yes, but do not.
You can purchase full muslin crib bedding sets, but these sets are not safe for your baby. Your baby’s crib should have a single sheet that covers the mattress. Adding any other bedding items into the crib increases the risk of SIDS, strangulation, and suffocation.
Some distributors still sell complete bedding sets (including crib bumpers that some states have now outlawed,) but just because they are for sale does not mean that they are safe. A lot of these items are manufactured in countries with very lax safety regulations (like China,) and others are “overstock” that unscrupulous retailers do not want to lose profit on. So, if you do find muslin crib bumpers or full muslin crib sets, please save your money, and don’t buy them!
Are All Muslin Crib Sheets Organic?
No. Just like any other cotton product, muslin crib sheets can be organic, but they are not organic by default. If you are searching specifically for organic muslin crib sheets, make sure to specify this in your search terms AND check the product description before buying!