Ushering in the early days of life for your newborn there are many things to consider including where to bed your baby at night. Bassinets are one of the many things that must be considered before your baby is brought home and provides a comfortable, cozy solution while assuring maximum rest. These convenient, cute alternatives to cribs serve a better purpose during the first few months which is something that you, as a parent, will come to appreciate.
In this bassinet buying guide, we take a closer look at all there is to know including the many types, advantages, disadvantages, safety concerns, features, options, price and much more.
What is a Bassinet
A bassinet functions much like a crib, but much smaller. Due to the size, most would say they offer a better environment that helps promote rest which is vital to newborns first months of life. Some incorporate additional features like music, vibration, rocking which makes it even more functional.
Types of Bassinets
Bassinets come in many different shapes and sizes, and depending on what you’re looking for this is something worth considering. Some are more compact then others and are meant to be portable while others fully integrate with other baby products like strollers which allow you to keep your baby comfortable while transferring from car to stroller.
Below are some of the most common types of bassinets:
- Bassinets with wheels – larger bassinets, but with wheels they’re much easier to move from room to room. Make sure the wheels lock with large, caster wheels highly recommended
- Classic – handmade or woven bassinet which are typically classified as a handle basket and are easy enough for DIY.
- Co-Sleeper – co-sleeper bassinets are becoming increasingly popular and experts have produced enough data to support it. Co-sleeping is the idea of parent and baby sleeping in the same room, in many instances right next to each other. This helps foster a parental bond which should start right after birth.
- Modern – classic style and is usually mounted on a platform with legs that extend outwards that form a T. They typically have wheels that lock and may or may not be able to be lifted off its base.
- Multi-purpose – provides an additional use other then just a sleeping area. Notable functionality include a cradle, change table, toy box, shelf, storage, and more.
- Portable – lightweight, compact designs make them more portable then others. Some even offer a handle for ease of carrying
- Wood – wood offers a natural look, is highly durable and can be found in both light and dark colored wood
Advantages of Bassinets Over Cribs
Some of the most common advantages of bassinets are as follows:
- Affordable – When comparing the price of bassinets and cribs there really is no comparison. Some of the highest quality cribs can cost in the $400 - $500 range, while top of the line bassinets come in under $200.
- Bond – probably the single biggest advantage is the bond a bassinet helps to create between parent and child. This maternal bond will last a lifetime and starts the very first night. Co-sleeping, or sleeping in the same room as your child is where it all begins with some co-sleepers being able to be affixed to the bed itself.
- Convenient – they make late night feedings and diaper changes much more convenient. Some are easily convertible to a diaper changing table while others are large enough to change a diaper without removing your baby from the bassinet itself.
- Portable – due to the smaller size and most being lightweight, they can typically be moved elsewhere with ease and can even be taken out of the home. Many are designed to be portable and make great additions while on vacation or staying the night at grandma’s house.
- Security – no where not talking about someone breaking in and stealing your baby, but instead, were talking about parental security. There is no better peace of mind knowing your baby is alright when their sleeping right there next to you.
Disadvantages of Bassinets Over Cribs
Some of the most common disadvantages of bassinets are as follows:
- Short term – to say a bassinet will be a permanent fixture in your home for years would be a true understatement. The truth is, your baby will outgrow the bassinet before they reach 6 months old or when they’re able to push up on their hands and knees all on their own.
- Sleep pattern – when not sleeping, babies can be loud and demand a lot of attention, even at night. Some babies even get their days and nights completely crossed which means up all night and sleeping all day. In short, this may disrupt your sleep pattern as co-sleeping won’t be for everyone.
- Unnecessary expense – due to the short-term nature of bassinets, some would say they’re an unnecessary expense. If you’re raising a newborn on a budget, then this is something to consider with a crib being a better choice. Most cribs can be converted into a toddler bed which will give you years, versus months of use.
There are numerous bassinet features and accessories that can truly transform a singular sleeping product into multi-functional baby product. This ultimately gives you more bang for your buck and most 2-in1 or 3-in-1 products cost the same, if not cheaper for some.
Bassinet Features, Accessories and Other Terms
Below are some of the most common features and accessories that are worth considering before making your purchase:
- Assembly – most will require some degree of assembly. Make sure the instructions are included as many manufacturer’s, especially those from China may not include them, or include poorly designed instructions.
- Bedding – it’s recommended to only use the manufacturer’s suggested bedding. In most cases they’ll be included which includes any bumper, padding and sheet which are specifically designed to fit and are safely designed to use.
- Canopy – canopies help block out light which is a good idea if your bedroom gets natural light from a window, TV, or if you ever turn on a light while your little one is sleeping.
- Light – dim, or soothing lights acts as either day or night illumination. Dim light itself is believed to offer a soothing advantage, but keep in mind that many addons like lights, music and vibration run on batteries.
- Mattress – when it comes to a mattress, comfort is not the only thing to consider. You want to choose a mattress that’s firm and is about 1-inch thick. Thicker, softer mattresses have been attributed to SIDS due to closing off the airway when a baby sleeps.
- Mesh – you want the walls of the bassinet to be made of mesh material. When babies are sleeping, they tend to roll or turn to the side. For babies that roll in to the wall, they’re still able to breath due to the holes in the mesh material.
- Music – some offer music options including melodies, natural sounds of the womb and even sounds of nature
- Rocking –either electric or manually controlled rocking is enough to put any baby to sleep
- Size – some are smaller, lighter and meant for carrying making them more portable then others while other are larger, less compact and more of a permanent fixture. If size matters or if you’re looking for a space-saving solution, be sure to choose accordingly.
- Storage – most feature either a shelf, basket or something underneath which can be used for storage. There are also models out there that easily convert into a toy box adding another practical use when your baby outgrows it around 6-months
- Toys – suspended from an arm offers entertainment or visual appeal that may aide in relaxation. It’s not recommended to add on aftermarket mobile due to safety, but instead only consider one that’s specifically built for it.
- Wheels – wheels allow it to become portable. Large caster wheels are the most common as they’re the most durable and can be locked in place.
- Vibration – gentle vibrations offer a soothing effect and seems to work well with a fussy baby
Safety Standards for Bassinets
Here in the US and most industrialized countries, there is no mandatory safety standards for bassinets. Aside from being mandatory, there are numerous standards that are optional which gives parents a piece of mind knowing the construction meets all national recommendations.
Many believe the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will eventually step in and oversee the safety standards for bassinets, but until then, there are only voluntary standards to consider.
Below are some of the most prominent:
- ASTM – ASTM looks at cradles on a voluntary basis and recently agreed to look at same standards for bassinets.
- JMPA – this is another safety standard which stands for the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association and visualizing the JPMA seal on bassinets offers some level of assurance
Other Safety Considerations
Before buying a bassinet, there are many other things to consider including:
- Never buy used – bassinets have a short life span and when you buy used theirs no guarantee as to the age and how many good years are left
- Don’t ever carry with your baby in it – self-explanatory, but you’ll be amazed how many accidents occur because of this
- Always lock the wheels – when stationary, it’s a good practice to keep the wheels locked
Best Bassinet Reviews
If you’ve made it this far then the only thing left is to buy your new bassinet. This is where we come in as we’ve managed to break down each buying category out there and created the most comprehensive, unbiased reviews to help with your next decision. Buying a bassinet should take careful consideration which is why this page was created, and hopefully by now you have a true understanding of what you’re looking for.
Feel free to browse our huge selection of reviews broken down by category below.