Know when it’s time to move from bassinet to crib.
Last night my husband and I finally packed up our daughter’s bassinet. She certainly had been giving us some obvious signs that it was time for a bigger sleeping space: like her head peeking up above the bassinet wall, and on a separate occasion, we found her leg hanging out over the wall. As if that wasn’t a clear sign – with her starting to sit on her own, we just knew it was time.
So while your baby may currently be loving their sweet little bassinet, an unavoidable big change is coming their way.
For safety reasons, you want to be sure to know what to keep an eye out for so your baby does not fall out of the bassinet. But don’t worry mamma. After reading this article you will have the peace of mind of knowing when it’s time for your baby’s transition.
In this article we’ll cover the following:
- How long can you use a bassinet?
- Signs that the baby is too big for the bassinet
- Baby bed options for babies too big for a bassinet but not yet crib-ready
- Tips for a smoother bassinet-to-crib transition
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Are bassinets necessary?
If you are new parents your head may be spinning when you start to explore sleep options for your baby. Most people think a standard crib will suffice, but when you consider size and space you may reconsider starting your newborn baby off in a full-size crib.
Bassinets are often the first safe sleep environment for newborn babies. They allow both parents and babies to sleep close to each other without the dangers of bed-sharing. Since they are smaller than cribs, they fit easily in the parents’ room.
While they certainly are not necessary they are a great option as a first sleep space.
Why can’t my baby just sleep in my bed?
According to safe sleep guidelines, newborn babies should sleep in their parents’ bedroom but in their own safe sleep space. Approved sleep spaces include standard-sized cribs, mini cribs, bassinets, and playards. For your baby’s safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) specifically does not recommend bed sharing.
These guidelines exist to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Other safe sleep recommendations include using a well-fitted firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet and always placing your baby to sleep on its back. If this is new to you, I recommend you read the AAP safe sleep guidelines.
How long can you use a bassinet?
Babies grow at different rates, but from two to four months, a baby will grow from a tiny infant comfortable in his bassinet into a much more active little person. In general, most babies will outgrow the bassinet by around 6 months of age. At 6 months of age, your baby can safely sleep in its own room – making it a perfect time to transition to a crib.
By around 6 months of age, some babies will simply outgrow their bassinet. They will no longer have enough space to sleep there comfortably.
Other babies will meet developmental milestones that make it important to transition to a bigger sleep space, like sitting up and crawling. For your baby’s safety, you want to be sure to know what to keep an eye out for so your baby does not fall out of the bassinet.
Which is the best bassinet?
The Snoo! Ok, I’m not gonna lie, as a mother of two I’ve tried a few bassinets. The Snoo was magical at getting and keeping my daughter to sleep for the first four months of her life. And new parents will soon learn that baby sleep = time for you to sleep, and quality sleep is priceless!
If you are not familiar with the Snoo, it is far from the traditional bassinets of our grandmother’s times. It is a smart bassinet that rocks your baby to sleep. And if you have commit issues (or are suffering from sticker shock), don’t worry – you can also rent a Snoo!
We loved the Snoo and I would 100% use it again (but I am 100% done having babies). Before motherhood, I probably would never have considered spending this much on a bassinet, but considering their resell value it’s well worth it.
When to move out of the bassinet
You should move your baby to a crib from a bassinet when you see these signs:
- Your baby rolls over
- Your baby can push up on all 4s
- Your baby’s head can look over the wall of the bassinet
- You find your baby with an arm or a leg hanging over the wall of the bassinet
- Your baby can sit inside the bassinet – another sign that it is no longer a safe space for your baby!
- Your baby can crawl
- Your baby can pull-up
- Your baby exceeds the bassinet weight limit set by the manufacturer
- Is your baby frequently up against the wall of the bassinet? If your baby appears cramped inside, it’s time for a new place to sleep.
- Crying when you put him or her down in the bassinet
- Frequent wake-ups in the middle of the night can indicate that the bassinet is no longer comfortable
Baby too big for the bassinet but not ready for a crib
You have seen the signs above, but your baby is just not ready for a crib. Good news! There are plenty of safe sleeping options for babies.
Below are some baby beds and safe crib alternatives to choose from if your baby isn’t crib-ready.
A bedside co-sleeper is a good option if you want to keep your baby nearby but don’t want to risk co-sleeping. Simply attach the co-sleeper to the side of the bed, and get your precious sleep!
This option is excellent for moms who are nursing since their baby will be right next to their own bed, giving the baby easy access to the boob!
However, it is not without disadvantages. Bedside co-sleepers may make it harder for your baby to transition to his own crib in his own room. This is mainly because he’s so used to having you near that he will have trouble adjusting to sleeping alone in the nursery.
Mini cribs are smaller than standard cribs but bigger than bassinets. They are really only a few inches bigger, so be sure you check the dimensions before buying one to determine if it’s worth it for you.
Pack n Play
I actually love this option. Pack and plays or playards are designed as safe sleep and play areas for babies. Many come with a changing station and bassinet area that you can transition out of as your baby grows. They are also portable, so they can function as your travel crib.
It’s a great budget option and also a great option for a second crib in the home – for the living room or upstairs area.
Inventions are said to be born out of necessity, so we’re thankful to the inventor of this baby furniture. We love that it can be used as a bassinet when your baby is still one to six months old, then converted as a crib when needed.
One example in the market is the Ingenuity Dream & Grow Bedside Baby Bassinet 2-Mode Crib. It can be a bassinet, a bedside sleeper, and a crib all in one! Talk about value for money.
Big bassinet (Bassinet for bigger babies)
Consider your baby’s size. A bigger bassinet, one made for bigger babies, might be the solution to your bassinet problems.
Transition to a larger bassinet that can accommodate your baby better, or buy a big bassinet before the baby arrives! We love this Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet for its versatility and size.
If you are expecting a big baby or concerned about only getting to use a bassinet for a few months, then this might be a good option for you.
Transitioning from bassinet to crib
Like adults, babies need to get used to their new sleep space. How can you, as a parent, ensure that your baby is cozy and comfortable in his new sleeping environment?
Can you do anything to ease your baby’s transition? Here are just a few tips below that will have your baby loving their new bed in no time.
- Introduce the crib slowly. Start with nap times, little by little, until baby can handle bedtime in his new crib.
- Bring the crib close to your bed. This practice may help if your baby is used to having his bassinet near you.
- Make the space familiar. Does he have a baby mobile hung over his bassinet? Attach it to the crib so that his new sleeping space will feel more familiar.
- Be consistent with the bedtime routine.
- If your baby is used to being swaddled, a sleep sack can help the transition process
Why co-sleeping should be your last option
The topic of co-sleeping has always been controversial, with the American Academy of Pediatrics citing it as a risk factor for SIDS. A 2014 study found that bed-sharing promotes breastfeeding but also increases the risk for SIDS.
While the risks and benefits of co-sleeping are not yet fully understood, it is best practice to have your baby sleep in their own bed.
Safety aside, as a mom who co-slept with my first I can guarantee you that co-sleeping can lead to years of poor sleep. And that was a major reason for me to splurge on a Snoo for my 2nd born.
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