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bassinet vs crib

Bassinet Vs. Crib: How To Choose Between The Two

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Bassinet vs. Crib: which one is right for you and your baby? Learn the differences and how to choose a bassinet or a crib.

When it comes to preparing for your baby’s arrival, there are so many decisions to make. One of the most important of those decisions is choosing between a bassinet or crib for your newborn to sleep in. 

During the first few months, your little one will be sleeping more often than not, and ensuring they have a safe and appropriate place to sleep is critical. With so many options and so much information available, you may be wondering how to determine which sleeping arrangement will be best for you and your family. 

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When comparing a bassinet vs. crib, there are some key differences to keep in mind when comparing the two options. We’re highlighting the differences between a bassinet and a crib so that you can make the best choice for your new baby. 

Comparing A Bassinet Vs. A Crib

When you begin your research to determine whether you will be choosing a bassinet or crib for your baby, the obvious differences between the two options are things like cost, size, and length of use. 

A bassinet is smaller, portable, and less expensive than a crib. Bassinets also tend to be easier for most parents to use in the beginning. Many bassinets come with covers or canopies that can be pulled over the baby while sleeping to help shut out light and muffle sounds. Because of their height and size, bassinets make it easier for parents to lie them down for sleep as well as pick them up out of one. 

Cribs are not only a larger piece of furniture, but they are a bigger financial investment. Often, this financial obligation can be one of the initial reasons many new parents look for an alternative during the first few months of their baby’s life. This can alleviate some of the initial cost of setting up your nursery and spread the expenses over time. However, it is important to remember that your baby will indefinitely use a crib for a longer period of time.

Bassinets have weight limits, most averaging between 15-20 pounds. While every infant will reach this weight at a different time, the average baby will reach this weight between 8 and 10 months old. It is important to keep this in mind when deciding between a bassinet or a crib because you will ultimately have to move your baby from the bassinet to a crib

Consider Safe Sleep When Making Your Choice

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend room-sharing with your newborn for at least the first 6 months of their life, and up to the first year when possible. Room-sharing is a safe co-sleeping arrangement that has a number of benefits, including decreasing the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.

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Depending on the size of your bedroom, you may decide that a bassinet, thanks to its smaller size and portability, makes room-sharing an easier and more accessible option for you and your baby. Of course, you can room-share with a crib, but not everyone has the space to do so. 

Ultimately, when considering a bassinet vs. crib, the decision is a personal one. Based on the size, cost, flexibility of use, and other determining factors, whether you choose a bassinet or crib is entirely up to you. However, regardless of which choice you make, there are safe sleeping guidelines that apply to both the use of a crib and a bassinet. 

To ensure your baby is sleeping safely:

  • Only use the mattress padding that comes with your bassinet. Babies should sleep on firm surfaces.
  • Do not add blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or any other loose items to the bassinet or crib.
  • Never use sleep positioners or pillows.
  • Always lay your baby down to sleep on their back.
  • Do not use crib bumpers.
  • Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the mattress and the sides of the crib.
  • Do not use cribs older than 10 years old or that are broken or modified.
  • Be sure to set up your bassinet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Do not bed-share with your baby.
  • Room-share with your baby until they are at least 6-months old

For more information, be sure to download Kinedu to watch classes led by experts in baby safety.

When To Move A Baby From A Bassinet To A Crib

Another factor you may be considering before purchasing a bassinet is when to move your baby from a bassinet to a crib. If you decide to choose a bassinet for your newborn, you may have concerns about how long they will be able to safely sleep there, or what the transition process might be once it is time to move them to their crib.

First, the time to move your baby from bassinet to crib is dependent on a few factors and is different for everyone. As we mentioned before, all bassinets have weight restrictions, meaning once your baby is over a certain weight, it is no longer safe for them to sleep in the bassinet. Be sure to know what your brand of bassinet lists as the maximum weight for use. 

In addition to your baby’s weight, you also want to keep an eye on their length. Babies all grow differently, and while your little one may still be below the weight limit for your bassinet, if they are too long to be comfortable in it, you should start to transition them into a crib. You don’t want your baby to be bumping their head, feet, or arms into the sides of their bassinet while they sleep. 

Finally, your baby’s development is an important factor to consider when deciding when to move a baby from bassinet to crib. If your baby has begun rolling over, sitting up, or pulling themselves up, then it is no longer recommended or safe for them to be sleeping in a bassinet. 

How To Move Your Baby From A Bassinet To A Crib

When it is time to move your baby from the bassinet to the crib, there are some ways to help make the transition easier on you both. You can also use these strategies regardless of whether or not you choose to start with a bassinet or crib, and are transitioning your baby from room-sharing to sleeping in their own room. 

  • Start Gradually- If you are moving from a bassinet to a crib, have your baby nap during the day in the crib, increasing the time there until they are exclusively sleeping in their crib. For transitioning from room-sharing, you can have your baby nap in their room during the day in the beginning, until they become used to their new space. 
  • Bedtime Routines- Rituals help develop associations. Having a dedicated bedtime routine that includes baths, books, rocking, or other calming routines just before bed will help your baby associate their crib with bedtime and their crib with sleep.
  • Room-Share In Their Room-. Moving a baby from a bassinet to a crib, or from your room to theirs is a big adjustment. If you have been room-sharing, consider changing the room first, before the arrangement. If it is possible, set up an air mattress or other makeshift bed for you to sleep in the same room as your baby while they adjust. If that isn’t an option, try sitting on the floor next to the crib while your baby falls asleep. Position yourself farther away each night until they can successfully fall asleep without you in the room. 

When it comes down to it, the bassinet vs. crib decision is yours alone to make. They each have their own pros and cons that you will need to measure against your home, lifestyle, and financial means.  The most important thing to consider is having a safe place for your baby to sleep. 

If you want to learn more about baby sleep, be sure to sign up for Dr. Rebecca Spencer’s Masterclass about Baby & Toddler Sleep Essentials.

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