New and expecting parents have no shortage of pricey baby gear to purchase. Whether you're working on your own baby registry, buying for an expecting friend or relative, or just thinking ahead, you may find yourself asking, “Do I really need to buy a bassinet? Should I stick with a crib? What’s the difference, anyway?”
Naturepedic is here to help with a quick guide to bassinets: what they are, pros and cons, and some safety tips, too. Check it out.
What Is a Bassinet?
Before deciding if you need a bassinet or a crib, you should probably know the answer to the question, “Well, what is a bassinet, anyway?”
A bassinet, similar to a cradle, is defined by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) as a "small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants that is supported by freestanding legs, a stationary frame/stand, a wheeled base or a rocking base, or that can swing relative to a stationary base."
That’s a mouthful! Essentially, a bassinet is a smaller walled sleep space designed for newborns and younger infants. Often, parents will put Baby to sleep in a bassinet next to their own bed during those early months when room sharing can be a safety precaution.
Mini Crib vs. Bassinet – They're Not the Same!
While both bassinets and mini cribs are great options for parents who are limited on space, they are not the same. Like mini cribs, bassinets are smaller than standard cribs. They are often mobile so that they can easily be moved from room to room, fit comfortably next to your bed, travel easily or even connect to a stroller.
There is not a standard maximum weight capacity for bassinets – this depends on the manufacturer and bassinet model. That said, bassinets are made for the very beginning of your baby’s life and weight limits are often listed at between 15 and 20 lbs.
On the other hand, mini cribs have a higher weight capacity (though also not an industry standard), often around 40-45 lbs., and they sometimes feature multiple levels like a traditional crib. However, mini cribs are stationary, so you lose the convenience of traveling that a bassinet may offer, and they’re clunkier to try to tuck at your bedside if space is extremely limited.
Pro tip: Whether purchasing a bassinet, mini crib or traditional crib, make sure you check the maximum wight capacity for the item you buy!
How Long Can a Baby Sleep in a Bassinet?
Bassinets have a maximum weight capacity, but keep in mind that there are other important factors, too. Once your baby begins rolling over on their own, it is no longer safe for them to sleep in a bassinet – and this can happen as early as two or three months for some babies (although the average is a little later.) The reason for this is that bassinets are shallower than cribs, and if your baby can roll over the risk of a fall increases. Some bassinet manufacturers also list height and age limits, too.
Bassinets: Pros and Cons
As a parent, sleepless nights are inevitable. We feel you! (Our Naturepedic team is made up of parents, grandparents and sleep experts who have been there before.) For many, one cause of parental insomnia is worry.
In fact, research shows that parents worry about their babies more while they are asleep than any other time! Sleeping with one eye open, watching the baby monitor, getting up hourly to peek in on your little one – it’s a lot easier when they’re sleeping soundly at your bedside! A huge benefit of a bassinet in those early days is just that: proximity.
Convenience is another benefit. Bassinets are lighter and often portable. Even the ones that aren’t portable are more portable than standard and mini cribs. Not to mention that your baby might sleep better! It’s true, some babies sleep better in smaller spaces because of the cozy, den-like effect they create.
Bassinets aren’t for everyone, however. The downside to that smaller space is that your baby will grow out of it faster that they would a crib. So, when you have to buy a standard crib just a few months after your babe is born, that bassinet may feel like it was an unnecessary, added expense. Additionally, not all babies sleep better in smaller spaces, and it may just turn out that yours does not. Every child is different!
4 Bassinet Safety Tips
These bassinet safety tips are essential to your baby’s health. Take a look!
1. Bare is Best
This one’s non-negotiable. For your baby’s safety, there should be nothing loose in the bassinet – no bedding, stuffed animals, bumpers, loose clothing or toys. All you need is a bassinet mattress and a fitted sheet if you prefer. A bare bassinet is best!
2. If You Have Wheels, Lock ‘Em!
Got a mobile bassinet? The added convenience is a game changer, but you don’t want Baby snoozin’ and movin’ – so make sure that when they’re in the bassinet, the wheels are locked!
3. Back Sleepers Only
We adults may have different sleeping preferences. Some of us are back sleepers, some side sleepers, some even belly sleepers! But for your baby’s safety, they should always be laid down to sleep on their back, and remember: as soon as they’re old enough to roll over, it’s time to graduate from the bassinet.
4. Do Your Research. Stick to the Standard.
When it comes to our organic mattresses and bedding, we say, “It’s not organic unless it’s certified organic.” When it comes to bassinet safety, we recommend that you use that same logic and find a product that meets the ASTM Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles. And, choosing a GOTS certified organic bassinet mattress is the best way to ensure your baby sleeps on safer, healthier surface.
BONUS Tip: Organic Matters – Naturepedic Can Help!
Your newborn can sleep up to 16 hours a day. Choosing organic is essential to their health, because that’s a LOT of sleep … and a LOT of time to spend resting on toxic chemicals.
If you’ve found the right bassinet, but the bassinet mattress it comes with isn’t certified organic and non-toxic, don’t fret! Naturepedic can help. Upgrade your baby’s sleep safety with our newly launched Organic Waterproof Bassinet Mattress. This certified organic replacement pad is designed to fit Halo bassinets, and it safely passes all government flammability standards without any chemical flame retardants. Plus, it includes a removable, washable, breathable cover for convenience and added safety.
The preparation for your bundle of joy doesn’t stop with their sleep space – make sure you check out these seven organic nursery must-haves for your baby registry!