Buying a baby crib and mattress is a big decision. Your baby will spend a lot of time in it, and so here are some things I considered before I bought a crib.
For a newborn, something small that you can keep near your bed is really helpful because newborns wake up every few hours to eat. They don't know the difference between night and day, so be ready to get up around the clock!
The so-called Moses baskets are nice and small and even portable, but don't carry your baby around in one. They can tilt, and the baby would slide out. I used one, but I kept it on the floor or couch. Once your baby starts to roll around, though, it's not safe anymore because the baby could roll out or get trapped on the sides.
The co-sleepers are also great. I had one that attached to my bed, which made it easy to reach the baby at night. After your baby reaches about 15 pounds, you have to take out the basinette part and convert it to the play-yard.
Then there are regular cribs. An old, hand-me-down crib may save you money, but it's not a safe choice. Things wear out over time, and as sweet a thought as it is to inherit an old crib, don't put your baby in it today.
Consumer Reports does reviews of cribs, and they are quite comprehensive and offer good advice on choosing a crib.
As far as mattresses go, that's a whole other topic. Again, here you can go cheap, but I wouldn't. Economize on other things like baby clothes (especially shoes--skip them until your baby starts to walk!) rather than the crib and mattress.
Experts recommend a firm mattress, which will help decrease the risk of SIDS. How do you judge if a mattress is firm? And there are even organic mattresses now.
I really think that investing in a good, safe baby crib and mattress will make you sleep better. I still got up regularly to see if my little one was breathing, and I still do. Hey, he was a long time in coming, and I make sure he's okay all day and all night. You will, too!