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Baby bassinets are truly a lifesaver! Nighttime with a newborn can already be a challenge, so anything that makes this season easier (and safer!) is a huge bonus. Am I right, mama?
But you may be wondering if a bassinet is really a necessity and why it’s different from a crib. You may also be concerned about the safety of your sleeping newborn and I don’t blame you! I’ll be touching on all of that in this article.
Also, to help you out, I’ll be discussing the top four reasons using a baby bassinet might be a good option for your family. This article will also review several baby bassinets currently at the top of the list out there. I’ve looked to find a range of sizes, styles and prices to make sticking to your personal baby budget AND snagging a bassinet more likely.
What’s the difference between a baby bassinet and crib?
To begin, let’s look at the difference between a bassinet and a crib. It may seem like there is little difference, but there are some main differences. And, it is good to know all the facts when making decisions about the sleep of your newborn.
When looking for a definition of a bassinet, you can find that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a bassinet is defined as a “small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants that is supported by freestanding legs, a stationary frame/stand, a wheeled base or a rocking base, or that can swing relative to a stationary base.”
A bassinet can also be found in non-stand alone options now, as well. You may find your Pack and Play or stroller both have bassinet options. Bassinets are growing in popularity, again, so you may seem them around a lot more.
On the other hand, a crib is determined by their dimensions, which include exterior and interior measurements, as well as a few other factors.
A crib’s descriptors include:
- interior dimensions of 28 x 5/8 inches (71 x 1.6 centimeters) in width by 52 3/8 x 5/8 inches (133 x 1.6 centimeters) in length
There is also a non full-sized crib and it’s descriptors include:
- an interior width dimension either greater than 30 5/8 in. (77.7 cm) or smaller than 25 3/8 in. (64.3 cm)
- without being taken apart, it can fold or collapse when not in use
- legs can be removed
- has hard sides
- is a non standard shape (circular, hexagonal, etc)
- no mesh, nets or screens
Which is safer?
As is the case with most situations with our babies, we have to be the one to make the final call on what we deem safe. There is no website or single person who is going to be able to determine if every choice we make is a safe one.
So, you need to do your research, talk to an experienced friend or two, trust your gut and move forward with a decision. You do the best you can and that will be a job well done, I’m sure!
While the Consumer Product Safety Commission does not recommend one sleeping situation over another when it comes to bassinets and cribs, they do suggest you absolutely follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Their suggestions are:
- Do not use a crib bumper
- Keep all loose items out of baby’s sleeping area, including bedding, stuffed animals and extra clothing.
- Do not use anything to change the sleeping position of your baby
- Do not hold the baby while you sleep in a bed, chair or any other location
- Lay baby down to sleep on her back only
- Do not share a bed with your baby
- Share a room with baby until she is 6 months old
As you can see, the recommendations of both the AAP and the CPSC include specific recommendations about how to sleep your baby. They do not specify if a crib or a bassinet is safer as you can follow their recommendations by using either option. More so, you need to consider the space you have, the size of your baby and how much you want to spend.
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Should you buy second hand?
Another important question to answer here is if you should purchase a bassinet that has been used. Becoming a parent can be expensive so it’s a good idea to save money where you can. However, there are certain baby products that you should lean towards purchasing brand new whenever possible.
You’ll have to decide if a bassinet is one of those things. You may have a good friend or a family member who is willing to lend or give you a bassinet. And that may be very tempting since you’ll use it for much less time than you’ll be using a crib. In this case, you may be able to fully trust the condition of the bassinet and therefore, it may not be a big deal.
It is also very common for people to purchase more expensive baby essentials with the plan of selling them afterwards. In these cases, they often take very good care of them and that is a bonus.
On the other hand, purchasing second hand from someone you don’t know can be a gamble. If you choose to do this, you want to make sure you take the time to fully inspect the item before purchasing it. Also, read reviews of the item and be on the lookout for the right bassinet, not just the cheapest one.
Here are a few reasons you may want to purchase a new bassinet:
- you cannot guarantee how the bassinet was treated or how much wear and tear it actually went through
- you may not know of any damages or flaws until it is too late
- it could have been modified at some point
What to look for if you purchase second hand:
- the bassinet adheres to the current CPCS guidelines
- the slats and railings are sturdy and undamaged
- all features of the bassinet work, particularly if there are any mechanical elements
- the weight limit is in line with the size of your child
- the bassinet is not older than 10 years (as this would make it impossible to meet the CPCS guidelines that were put into place in 2011)
4 reasons a bassinet may be the way to go
If you are still trying to decide if you want to use a crib or a bassinet, let me lay out 4 reasons you may find the use of a bassinet a positive thing for both you and your baby.
The fourth trimester is described as the first few months of baby’s life after birth. During this time, both you and baby are making big adjustments. One way you can make the transition from womb to world a little easier on your baby is with a bassinet.
A bassinet does this by making a cozy place for baby to sleep. This is helpful because baby has just been used to your warm womb and she loved it! You can help recreate this experience with a bassinet.
The CPSC recommends that you sleep in the same room as your baby for the first 6 months minimum. Up to 1 year is even more ideal. But the reality is that not everyone has a bedroom that accommodates adding a crib. For this reason, you may be more easily able to follow this safety guideline by using a bassinet in your bedroom.
Peace of mind
As you follow the highest safety recommendations, you will have peace of mind. During these first few months peace of mind will go a long way while you are recovering from delivery, adjusting to a new family dynamic and adjusting to your new little love.
In addition to knowing you are following the safest guidelines for your baby, you’ll be able to check on her as much as you want with less effort when she is right next to your bed rather than in another room. I know from personal experience that just because baby is sleeping doesn’t mean mama is. We often find all sorts of things to check on and just feel better if we can keep a half open eye on our baby at night.
An added bonus to using a bassinet is that it is incredibly convenient. Instead of groggily stumbling down the hall to your baby’s room when you hear her on the monitor, you can just reach over for her.
This allows you to attend to baby’s needs much quicker, which should result in a lot less crying from your little love. And less crying means baby will wake less fully…and get back to sleep quicker.
All of this means you’ll be able to get back to sleep quicker and easier, also. And that is a mama win for sure!
Top 7 bassinets
There are so many great options out there and that can be overwhelming. Here some best sellers that offer a variety of ways to have baby sleep nearby.
You’ll notice that I have a lot more to say about bassinets that I have personal experience with. To try to be as helpful as possible, I have used information found on Amazon to bring you more choices than only what I have personally used. I have also sought the review of other moms who have used bassinets and asked them to give us a recommendation.
As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase the item after clicking from this website.
This baby dome is a unique option that is sturdy, easy to assemble and is great for both indoor and outdoor use. For this reason, it is a really popular choice.
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
This could be used in a bedroom at night and easily moved around the house during the day to keep baby near by. It would most definitely be a very fun way for baby to both play and sleep.
It is ideal for naps or play time, has a canopy and folds flat for easy portability or storage.
It only weighs 13.6 lbs and measure 7 x 31 x 21 inches.
While this is super easy to fold and pack around as well as use really anywhere (which is what makes it a top seller), it isn’t a typical bassinet. It could easily be near a parent’s bed, but wouldn’t fit snuggly against the bed most some other options.
So while this may be ideal for a variety of uses during the day, it might not be your best bedtime option.
Arm’s Reach Mini Co Sleeper
This mini co sleeper works much like a really small Pack ‘N Play. That is because you set it up and take it down very similarly….but it’s much, much smaller. It has also been around since 1997, making it one a bassinet that has been around perhaps the longest.
Click on the image to see it on Amazon.
The co sleeper weighs 25 pounds, so it’s not an extremely light option. However, many have remarked how sturdy the co sleeper is, which is always a helpful when you are sleeping your baby.
When set up, the co sleeper’s dimensions are 34″ x 20″ x 32.5″. It will work next to beds that are not taller than 24 inches. If your bed is taller than that, you can purchase leg extenders to make the co sleeper match your bed height.
The storage on the Arm’s Reach co sleeper is amazing! It has ample storage underneath the top bassinet where baby sleeps as well as pockets around the outside. I haven’t seen a bassinet with more helpful storage!
One of the stand out features about this bassinet is how versatile it is. The Arm’s Reach Mini co sleeper is that it is has a side that can collapse, making this a bedside sleeper. So, you can use it with all the sides up anywhere or you can collapse one side and snug it up to your bed.
You can also remove the top mattress and make this co sleeper a pack and play. So this could be useful even after baby outgrows sleeping in it. Or, something small to throw in the car for a trip that will double as a sleeper and play yard.
This bedside sleeper has the chance to really do it all for you. It is on wheels and can move around the house with you. You can snug it up to your bed or fit it in a corner in your bedroom. This is also a bassinet that you can break down and toss in the car like the larger Pack ‘N Plays we all love. While baby is little, the Arm’s Reach mini co sleeper really does it all.
It also comes in a lot of different designs and colors, making it fun to pick out!
I used the Arm’s Reach Mini co sleeper with two babies and really liked it! It was so small and fit into the little space I had between my bed and the wall…and was one of the only options that would do so.
The challenges I found with this co sleeper was that I found the collapsable side difficult to get down! So, it was much less of a bedside sleeper for me. However, I loved that it fit in a small space so well and kept my babies so very close to me.
It also allowed me to be be so close to my baby without bed sharing, which also meant my husband stayed in the room with myself and our newborn.
Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to look up a couple videos to learn how to get the collapsable side down as that would have been really amazing!
This bassinet is ideal for both home and travel. It weighs only 15.63lbs and measures 37.4 x 23.8 x 28 inches.
It ideally fits next to mom and dad’s bed so that baby is within easy reach during the night, which makes checking on baby and feeding easier.
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
This portable crib has breathable mesh sides and can stand stationary or rock.
While this portable crib is super easy to take with you on the go, it is a bit supersized. The benefit to this is that it will fit baby for some time, but pay attention to the measurements if you want this to fit into a specific space next to your bed (including height).
The Pack ‘N Play has been a staple in family homes for years. It got even better when a removable bassinet option was added, which makes it easier than ever for this portable crib to be used for a very long time.
Click on the image to view on Amazon
And while you may think the little basket on the Pack ‘N Play above is a bassinet, it is not! That is actually a place to change baby’s diaper. The bassinet portion is a flat space that sits half way up the Pack ‘N Play.
However, Graco didn’t stop there and they have an option that is quite a bit more expensive, but includes an actual bassinet. And that, my friends, is not all! This Pack ‘N Play can do all of this:
- raised bassinet
- travel bassinet
- play yard
- travel toddler cot
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
This Pack ‘N Play can be used for two different kiddos at the same time as the different elements can come apart and be used separately. Wow! I have to say, if I was doing it all over again and I was expecting my second baby while already having a toddler, this would be the investment I would make!
It also folds up like the traditional Pack ‘N Plays but the toddler bed can fold up separately and be taken on trips.
It is helpful to note that Pack ‘N Plays have wheels to make moving them around easier, though they usually don’t fit through doorways unless broken down. So, if you are looking for something to easily move around the house during the day, this is not what you are looking for.
These portable cribs weight 16.8 lbs and measure 40 x 28.5 x 29 inches.
Pack ‘N Plays are sturdy, easy to set up and have a good reputation. They are an ideal option when desiring something that will grow with baby, which is always nice financially.
Additionally, a nice possibility with Pack ‘N Plays is that you can purchase mattresses that safely fit into the crib (bassinet or lower, main section) to make long term sleep in this crib more comfortable.
Something to keep in mind is how large they are (the largest of all that are featured here) and that the railing will not allow mom to get baby without reaching up and over it during the night, which could be somewhat inconvenient compared to other bedside options.
The raised basinet option on the second Pack ‘N Play may meet this need better. However, depending on the height of your bed, it may not make it so that baby is on your same level.
However, overall, the Pack ‘N Play is one of the most versatile options out there.
With four babies under my belt, I have most definitely had a Pack ‘N Play. In fact, it is still in my two year old’s closet for use on camping trips.
I found that I used this less for full time sleeping and more for a play yard when my babies got big. However, all of my children have slept in one at some point or another and I have always been happy to have one on hand.
And, as I mentioned above, I would most definitely be trying the second option I listed above because of the dual use for both a baby and toddler. Love it!
Dock A Tot’s are essentially large cushions with a raised ring around a flat middle. This keeps baby in place and provides a rather snug place for baby to settle into.
It is marketed as an ideal solution to safe co-sleeping, though that is most definitely up for each parent to decide.
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
These little dream cushions weigh only 1.25lbs and measure 24 x 6 x 18 inches.
Dock A Tots can be used in a parent bed for co sleeping or can be set into a crib/travel bed. It can offer the snugness a baby craves after being used to the womb, which makes it an ideal calming and comforting option.
Keep in mind that along with the price tag of the Dock A Tot, you may want to have a spare cover on hand for laundry purposes.
Also, the Dock A Tot is suitable for infants through 8 months and then the Dock A Tot Grand can be used from 9-36 months.
Dock A Tots were only around when I had my fourth baby and we straight up loved this little thing. My husband slept those first early weeks in our spare bed and the Dock A Tot was in his place. We weren’t comfortable with two adults and a newborn in our bed, so this was our solution.
This allowed me to easily comfort my baby, replace a pacifier as well as allow my baby girl to fall back to sleep with me nearby but not holding her.
I really appreciated this option for those first few months as we became aware that our baby girl was choking when she spit up. The little flap that stops food and liquid from going into the lungs wasn’t working quite properly for some time, so choking was a serious concern.
As my baby girl would fall back to sleep after a feed, she would choke (even after a good burping and keeping her upright for some extra time) and I would need to help her. Having her next to me was an absolute must. I honestly can’t imagine what could have happened if I didn’t have her next to me during the night.
This set up was essential the same as having my baby in a bedside bassinet because of the fact that it was only me and baby in a queen bed. And it made it so much easier on me to be able to comfort and keep my baby safe all while being able to lay down. This mama of four wouldn’t have made it without a bassinet option!
The Baby Delight Beside Me Bassinet is an ideal option for mamas who want their baby snugged up next to their bed.
This bedside sleeper has wheels to allow for ‘rocking’, a side that opens to a parent’s bed as well as six adjustable height options to ensure it works with most all adult beds.
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
It comes with a waterproof fitted sheet as well as a fiber filled mattress.
The Baby Delight Beside Me Bassinet weighs 19 lbs and measures 37 x 22.5 x 30.8 inches.
The Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer Bassinet is on trend with heather grey fabric, is a good size without being oversized and has mesh sides to allow for breathability.
This bedside sleeper is ready to be attached to the parent bed for extra stability, which is recommended.
Overall, it really seems like one of the best options for having baby super accessible but not sharing a bed.
Snoo | Smart Baby Sleeper
This is the smartest bassinet you will find anywhere. This little beauty does it all, while being sleek and gorgeous.
Click on the image to view on Amazon.
Happiest Baby claims the Snoo bassinet adds 1-2 hours of sleep and can calm fussing babies in under one minute. Those are some pretty amazing claims!
They also say that this bassinet will help you sleep train your baby because it provides everything your little darling would need while learning to fall asleep independently.
And this beauty has a couple ways it works to calm your baby. It’s ‘smart helper’ uses white noise as well as motion to help baby get to sleep and stay asleep.
Another interesting aspect of the Snoo bassinet is that your baby is actually swaddled to the bassinet. This is a safety measure that means you can rest easy, knowing baby is not going to roll or end up in a loose blanket.
The recommended use for the Snoo is from birth to six months or when baby can get on her hands and knees. The bassinet has a weight max of 25 pounds.
The Snoo weighs 38 pounds and measures 30″ L x 16″ W x 32″ H (with legs).
The Snoo comes with the Smart Sleeper bassinet, 3 Snoo sacks, one cotton fitted sheet and a mattress with a water resistant cover.
As you may have guessed, a smart bassinet like the Snoo isn’t going to be a cheap option. It is the most expensive option out there, in all likelihood.
However, I decided to put it on the list because if you can afford it, this bassinet would make baby sleep a literal dream.
You can purchase the Snoo outright or you can rent it. So, if this sounds like something you’d love to use, you have a couple options to check out!
I have not used the Snoo myself. I have a friend who swears by her’s though! And because she loves it SO much, I knew it was something I’d want to share with other moms.
Ashley says this about the Snoo:
“The SNOO has been a huge asset to me for my third baby. I have had two babies who didn’t sleep that contributed to me having PPD/PPA. I was apprehensive because of the cost but I went for it regardless.
The SNOO swaddles the baby into the bassinet so she cannot roll. She can’t get her arms free to wake herself up. She can’t get the blanket over her face. This in itself helps me sleep when she’s sleeping because I know she is safe. Plus, it feels like she’s swaddled and held tightly in someone’s arms when in reality she’s in her own bed.”
There ya go, mama. My hope is that you now have the information you need to decide if a bassinet is the right choice for your family based on the CPCS and APA recommendations as well learning about how convenient they are.
Hopefully one of these options will be a great fit for your family and help both you and baby get all the sleep you need.
And hopefully you are signed up for your baby sleep course. I can’t wait to help you start off on the right foot with baby sleep and lay a foundation for your baby sleeping through the night early on.