Sure, you’ve seen bassinets at every baby store, but do you know how long you can actually use one? It’s ok if you don’t know…(because neither do most new parents).
This is a question that many people have, especially with the number of safe sleep options on the market today.
If you are wondering how long you can use a bassinet…keep reading. This article will answer your question, and help you decide if bassinets are even worth it!
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What Is a Bassinet?
A bassinet is a great crib alternative. They are designed to be the first safe sleeping space for babies.
They have a small sleeping area surrounded by low-side walls. They are lighter and more compact than a standard crib.
Their small size makes them an ideal sleeping space for a newborn baby.
Advantages of Bassinets
There are many advantages to using a bassinet
- The low walls make it easy to place your baby down to sleep without waking them up!
- If you are recovering from a c-section you will not have to bend over the rail of a crib to set your baby down.
- In contrast to large cribs, bassinets are much cozier, making it easier for a newborn to adjust to life outside of the womb.
- Since they are more compact than a crib – they fit easily in the parent’s room.
Do I Need a Bassinet?
No, you do not need to buy a bassinet.
However, in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in their own safe sleep space. That could be a crib, bassinet, cradle, or other approved sleep space.
The sleeping area should be the safest place for the baby since they will often be in there for hours while no one is watching them.
Here are some additional safe sleep recommendations from the AAP:
- Babies should sleep in their parent’s room (but in their own baby bed) for the first 6 months of life
- Don’t put your baby to sleep in your bed
- Babies should always be placed to sleep on their back on a flat, firm surface
- The mattress should have a tightly fitted sheet
- Avoid suffocation hazards: don’t put any soft objects or loose blankets in the crib or bassinet.
Be sure to read the APP guidelines on safe sleep to have peace of mind that your baby is in a safe place at bedtime.
How Long Can You Use a Bassinet?
One of the biggest downsides to a bassinet is that they are really only designed to be used for about 4-6 months!
Around this time, your baby will have either outgrown the small sleeping space or reached milestones that no longer make it safe to sleep in a bassinet.
Although it may seem like only a few short months of use, a new baby will sleep 16-18 hours a day! They can sleep in their bassinet for nap time and for night sleep – so it can actually get quite a bit of use!
Remember, that according to the AAPs safe sleep guidelines it’s ok for a baby to sleep in its own room once they reach 6 months of age. So babies can often transition out of the bassinet and into their own crib in their own room at the same time.
When Is a Baby Too Big For a Bassinet?
In order to prevent a fall, you should transition your baby to a crib at the earliest sign that they have outgrown their bassinet.
Look for the following milestones to know when it’s time to transition to a crib:
- Your baby rolls over
- Your baby can push up on all 4s
- Your baby is mobile
Bassinet Weight Limit
Be sure to check the weight limit specific to your baby’s bassinet. If your baby weighs more than 20 lbs, it may be over the weight limit.
Most babies do not reach this weight til about one year of age. But, if your baby is BIG for their age, it can be an issue.
Why Are Bassinets Unsafe After 6 Months?
The early months of life, are a time of rapid growth in your baby’s development.
Once your baby is mobile, there is a risk of falling from the bassinet. For most babies, this occurs by 6 months of age.
According to Dr. Gallegos, an emergency physician, “Emergency Department visits for falls from bassinets are associated with head and neck injuries. A fall in an infant can be very serious and even life-threatening.”
That’s why it is important to keep your baby safe and transition them to a new sleep space at the right time.
Remember, the baby’s sleep space should be the safest place for a baby since they will spend hours in there without anyone watching them.
How Much Does a Bassinet Cost?
Bassinets have a huge range in costs.
You can get a budget bassinet that sells for less than $100 (even under $50 if you find one on sale)!
But, you don’t have to spend a lot to create a safe environment for your baby to sleep in. All bassinets being sold in stores should meet current safety standards.
Is a Bassinet Worth It?
I hear a lot of people say bassinets aren’t worth it because they can only be used for a short period of time.
I really don’t agree. I think the small sleep space is perfect for newborn babies.
Despite only being used for 4-6 months, a newborn can sleep 16-18 hours a day! So a bassinet can get a lot of use.
If you simply can’t afford an extra expense, then skip it altogether, and please don’t stress about it!
But keep in mind that you may be able to resell it or use it for your next baby. And if that’s the case, then it may be worthwhile after all.
For my second daughter, I splurged on the SNOO bassinet and I LOVED it. Yes, it was expensive, but I was able to resell it with its accessories for a little less than I paid.
Not sure if a bassinet is right for you? Consider these bassinet alternatives:
- Cradle – A bassinet on rockers
- Mini Crib – Smaller than a standard-sized crib, mini cribs are a great option for small spaces. Mini cribs come in different sizes, you so you will need to pick a mini crib mattress carefully to ensure a perfect fit. Be sure to read my full blog post on cribs vs mini cribs to decide if this is the best option for you!
- Bedside Sleeper – A bedside bassinet can be placed right beside the parent’s bed. The side attached to the bed has no wall, allowing for easy access to the baby.
- Pack n play (aka Playard) – A good value option, that often comes with a built-in changing station and bassinet. It is portable and made of mesh sides.
- Full-size crib – A standard crib will generally be safe to use until at least 2 years of age.
A bassinet will generally get used for about 4-6 months. Once your baby is rolling or pushing up it’s time to move them to a larger sleeping space such as a crib.
While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, your newborn will likely adjust to the small size of the bassinet’s sleep space easier than a crib.
A bassinet is not a MUST HAVE, but a safe sleep space for your newborn is.
Good luck with whatever you decide. We hope you found this helpful and we wish you lots of good newborn sleep in the months to come.
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