A new baby means LOTS of new purchases! From diapers to onesies to strollers and more, new moms have a lot of choices to make when outfitting their little ones from head to toe. But, what about where baby sleeps? Most moms know room sharing in the early months of life tends to be the safest (and easiest!) choice, and deciding between starting out in a crib or using a bassinet can be a tough decision. The answer comes down to what fits you and your parenting style best.
Understandably, many parents feel like they just want to skip the bassinet style sleepers altogether and go straight for the gorgeous crib they have picked out for the nursery. While a completely empty crib with a fully flat mattress is a smart and safe choice, many parents quickly realize that walking even a few feet over to a crib multiple times a night can add exhaustion to the already tiring task of feeding and caring for baby overnight. Since most cribs can’t roll or be moved around easily, parents are also stuck with only one location to place their sleeping baby overnight. Finally, the crib can also just feel a bit big with a tiny newborn in it. Many parents feel a crib fits them and their lifestyle perfectly, but when in doubt, a bassinet (or one of its many variations) may be the best way to go.
Thankfully, parents have a myriad of choices for safe places to put their babies to sleep overnight. Families can pick from the traditional to the modern, or my personal favorite, a travel yard outfitted with the bassinet attachment (the only bassinet option with long-term use outside of the newborn stage!) The main advantage to bassinets over cribs is that baby is much easier for mom to reach since bassinet heights tend to match the heights of most beds (making it a breeze to pull baby in and out as needed overnight), and many bassinets are even height adjustable!
Second, bassinets can be moved all over the house – Dad wants to nap on the couch but also be near his sleeping baby? He can easily roll the bassinet right next to him and snooze away. Finally, many bassinets come in the “sidecar” style, which means parents can enjoy the best of both worlds – essentially co-sleeping with baby, but in a safe way. If Mom is choosing to nurse, sidecar style bassinets make it easy to nurse throughout the night, and bassinets, in general, are much easier for women to use to care for their babies overnight if they’ve had a C-section. The main disadvantages of bassinets are cost and the fact that they can only be used safely during the newborn period.
*A note of caution – babies should not be placed to sleep in bassinets beyond the recommended age by the manufacturer – when in doubt, check with your pediatrician about what age to transition your baby to a regular crib.
Above all, don’t feel pressured to make a choice before a baby is born. It’s always okay to start baby in a crib and then purchase a bassinet once you get a better feel for what would fit your personal needs best.
Natalie has spent the last 5 years of her life pursuing her passion – helping parents teach their kids how to get healthy sleep, both day and night. She has worked with over 4,000 families around the globe and currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband, children, and wonderful kitty, Dennis. She can be found all around the internet @babysleeptrainer and has created affordable options for sleep training support at www.babysleeptrainer.com.