Babies are so cute and fun and precious. But they are also fragile and sometimes tiring! Baby sleep is a hot topic, and that includes where your baby will be sleeping! So if you are wondering how to keep your baby safe when it comes to sleep and bassinet usage, look no further!
Signs your baby is outgrowing the bassinet
Most infants outgrow their bassinet between 3 and 6 months. But the exact time you should move your baby out of the bassinet depends on their size and their physical abilities!
Almost all bassinets have a weight limit that you should be aware of to keep your baby safe. These range from 15 pounds to about 30 pounds. Be sure to check your specific bassinet as the restrictions vary.
There are a few physical developmental milestones that you should look out for when deciding when to put your baby in their own crib.
If your baby is able to push up to hands and knees they should not be using a bassinet any longer.
When your child is able to sit up unassisted or pull themselves up on things, then you should no longer use a bassinet.
Rolling over is another indicator that you should consider moving your baby out of the bassinet. Bassinets are much shallower than cribs, and rolling over can put your baby in an unsafe position.
What’s a bassinet?
A bassinet is basically a mini crib that is used most often so your newborn baby can sleep right next to you.
It is smaller than a full-size crib and has a rigid frame with varying materials for the mattress or bed portion.
A bassinet also called a “bedside sleeper “is specifically designed for infants.
Why do people choose bassinets?
I LOVE bassinets. I have used one with all three of my babies for several reasons. Using a bassinet is the best way to keep your baby safe, and save yourself some energy in those early months.
For one, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that room sharing (babies sleeping in the same room as their parents) is safest. Room sharing is beneficial for at least the first 6 months, and up to a year. This is said to decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The bassinet’s smaller size allows you to keep your new baby nice and close without taking up too much space in your room.
Since your baby is right next to you, you are more likely to catch anything that might be wrong or unsafe.
Additionally, bassinets are great for those middle-of-the-night feeds.
If you or your partner breastfeeds, no one even has to get out of bed to nurse.
Height: Many bassinets come with the ability to adjust the height to match your bed. This means you don’t even need to get out of bed to snuggle, feed, or calm your baby. You can stay in your own room with baby right next to you!
Size: Bassinets are significantly smaller than cribs, making them a great option if you want to be in the same room as your baby. Most people don’t have enough space for a crib in their room, so bassinets are often the safest place.
Materials: Bassinets have solid frames that are usually made with metal or strong plastic. A baby bassinet usually has mesh or cloth sides for comfort and breathability. The mattress is firm for safety reasons.
Washability: Babies are messy! They pee, poop, and spit up A LOT in those first few months of life. So having a bassinet that is easily cleaned and washed is super helpful. It’s a good idea to check that there is some way to clean your bassinet, especially the mattress portion. Bonus if it is machine washable!
Age and Weight Range: Most bassinets are a safe place for your baby to sleep for the first several months of life. Check your specific bassinet so you can be sure that your child doesn’t exceed the age or weight limit.
Mobility: If you plan to take your bedside bassinet to other parts of the house (maybe a different bedroom or the living room), you can get one that has wheels. That way, you can easily move it wherever you go.
Another aspect of mobility is how often you plan to travel. You might want a bassinet that is smallish and can be easily packed up so you can go on trips or vacations.
Sides: Some bassinets have sides that come down or can be removed so you have easy access to babies. This is one more feature that makes it easy for those breastfeeding mamas! You might not even need to sit up to get your baby out safely if your bassinet has sides that come down. You can just scoop your baby out!
Smart Design: Some bassinets have gotten high-tech and can “rock” your baby back to sleep if they wake up. The smart design can “hear” your baby when they start to cry and will turn up the white noise feature and begin a gentle rock. Some of the smart sleepers boast that with their product, you will get 1-2 more hours of sleep per night! So if you can afford it, this might be the best decision you could make for your little family!
Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Bassinet
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has several current safety standards to ensure that your baby is safe. And the American Academy of Pediatrics has great “Safe Sleep Guidelines”. Here are the highlights:
- Your bassinet should meet all of the requirements to decrease choking and suffocation hazards. This includes breathable side fabric and no small parts. For more details about safety regulations, check out this detailed article.
- The bassinet should have a firm mattress that helps reduce the risk of suffocation. Additionally, you should not have any loose blankets or stuffed animals in the bassinet.
- You should put your baby on their back to sleep. However, a premature baby may need to sleep on their stomach while still in the NICU.
- Make sure your baby is on a flat surface. Your baby should not be reclined during sleep.
- Safe sleep practice includes not bed-sharing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby sleeps on their own.
- Don’t let your baby get too overheated. Many parents choose to use a sleep sack to keep their sleeping baby cozy. But do not put a hat on your baby, and check for signs of overheating. This includes sweating, flushed cheeks, and a warm chest.
- Check the bassinet weight limit to ensure that your baby does not exceed the recommendations.
Related Article: Is your baby ready for a high chair?
Best Bassinets for Everyone
The Koola Baby Bassinet is a fan favorite and is one of the best modern bassinets. It includes all of the basic features, along with some extras that will give you peace of mind.
The bassinet has a zipper on one side so it can be used as a side sleeper. It’s perfect for nursing moms and caregivers who want to pull baby into the bed to snuggle.
Mesh sides make sure that your baby stays safe and can breathe easily, even if they are up against the side.
The bassinet has built-in wheels that have a braking system so it can stay when you want it to, and move easily when necessary.
There are five different heights the bassinet can be adjusted to so that it fits any bed!
This “Dream on Me” bassinet is under $100 and comes with all of the basic features you need in a bassinet. It offers enough room for new babies and can be converted into a rocking cradle.
It’s safe and cute with its classic style and ruffles.
It also features wheels that allow you to move it around easily. The wheels lock, to ensure your baby is safe when sleeping.
The bassinet comes in several colors and has a canopy to shade baby.
The Pack N Play brand is known for its ease of use and how well it travels.
The best part is that it doubles as a travel crib and has a bassinet attachment, so it grows with your baby.
There is even a diaper-changing attachment that can be utilized. The add-ons can be used separately or on top of the pack-and-play base. The options are endless!
This might be your best option because it is all-in-one! Although it doesn’t offer all of the extra features of a modern bassinet (like the pull-down sides and bedside height).
The biggest perk is the ability to be so many things, while still being much smaller than standard cribs.
The Snoo Bassinet offers some features that may help new parents actually get some sleep.
This bassinet can sense when your baby cries and will start to gently rock and turn up the built-in sound machine.
You can also hook up the bassinet to an app that will help track your baby’s sleep. You can even adjust the functions right from your phone as baby is sleeping. The pediatrician who designed the bassinet also gives you baby tips.
It includes a weaning feature that makes the big transition to a regular crib easier.
This amazing bassinet has a feature that keeps your baby from rolling over, so they can stay safe while they sleep.
It’s certainly a pretty penny, but it might be the best choice you make for yourself and your baby!
If it’s time for your baby to move out of the bassinet, what should you opt for next?
Most parents will likely choose a new crib. This offers your little one bigger sleep space and keeps your baby safe as they grow.
Cribs keep your baby or toddler contained, but the mattress is much deeper. This means they can stay safely in their crib, even when they start to get more mobile.