How to Choose a Crib or Bassinet

Crib vs. Bassinet

Most families put a crib, bassinet or both on their baby registry.

Why do some families decide to use both? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies share a room (but not a bed) with their parents for at least the first six months and preferably for one year. Many parents use a bassinet that is small enough to fit in their room for a few months. After that babies often start sleeping in cribs until they graduate to a toddler bed or a twin.

Bassinet Styles

Bassinets are great for nighttime feedings and keeping baby in your room, but they have a limited lifespan. Most can only be used until the baby is six months or can roll over on their own, whichever comes first.

Cribs are great for the long term, but they are big. The standard-size crib mattress is 28” x 52”. Some parents find a crib is just too big to put in their rooms, or they want baby sleeping in their own room from birth.

Cosleeper Bassinet

Cosleepers are popular bassinets that can be attached to your bed. They often have a drop-down side so the baby is almost in bed with you, but safely in their own space at the same time.

These bassinets can sit alongside your bed or elsewhere in your room. Some popular bedside sleepers even swing over the bed to make picking up baby easier.

Baby Bassinet for Bed

Some cosleepers are meant to be used in the bed with the parent. If there are two parents, these typically require a king-size bed because they take up a lot of space.

Portable Bassinet

Many families prefer to have a portable bassinet, or a Pack ‘n Play that also has a bassinet addition. A portable bassinet is helpful if your baby has overnights at grandma’s or if you want them to be able to nap in the living room or anywhere other than their nursery.

Twin Bassinet

If you are expecting twins, look for a bassinet that can accomodate two babies.There are limited options for these kinds of bassinets, so some families opt to put one baby on each side of the bed with a cosleeper bassinet.

Bassinet and Crib Features

If you are registering for a bassinet, consider whether it can fold for travel and whether it can snap on to your stroller to convert it into a pram. Some parents prefer rocking bassinets, but few of these are approved for sleep. Though wooden bassinets have been popular in the past, many are now unsafe.

If you are deciding how to choose a crib, look for one that can convert into a toddler bed to grow with baby. If you are very constrained on space, consider a mini-crib that can convert into a regular-size crib and even a toddler bed.

Safety Tips

The most important safety sleep tip for parents is to put your baby to sleep on their back. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended only putting your baby to sleep on their back since 1992 because it significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.

In 2011, crib safety standards were updated to ban the use of drop-rail cribs, which could cause falls. Do not use a hand-me-down crib from before 2011.

To keep your baby safe, your bassinet or crib should only have a tight fitted sheet and an optional mattress pad under the sheet, according to the AAP. Toys, blankets and crib bumpers can be risky for newborns, so do not put them in your crib.

Have you created your baby registry yet? If not, head to Babylist now where you can create the perfect baby registry, quickly and easily.


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