Buying Guide – Shopping for the The Best Bassinets
Newborns sleep—a lot—so you want to find the perfect place for your little one to rest her head. We’ve outlined the most important considerations to make when purchasing a bassinet to take the guesswork out of finding the one that’s right for you and your baby.
How to Choose a Bassinet
Picking the best bassinet means finding the right combination of features, price, and comfort for you and your baby. Here are different features to consider when buying a bassinet.
Keeping your baby in your room for at least six months is the safest way for him or her to sleep. It’s also known as a form of co-sleeping, which is essentially sleeping in close proximity to your baby. At the same time, the AAP recommends that babies sleep on their own sleep surfaces. For these reasons, the safest bassinet is one that will enable you to room share for as long as possible. Consider your space. Is a compact bassinet the best option, or can you fit something larger? Also think about how you’ll take care of your baby during the night. If you think you’ll prefer nursing in bed, you might want a co-sleeper bassinet to easily transfer baby after feeding and not risk falling asleep with baby in your bed.
All new bassinets must comply with safety regulations under the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which outline standards around size, stability and mattress flatness, among others. To be on the safe side, you’ll probably want to purchase a new bassinet rather than finding on second-hand. Also make sure to choose an actual bassinet designed for sleep. Some newborn “holders” or seats do not meet the standards for safe sleep. When in doubt, remember that babies should sleep in a stable structure on a firm, flat surface.
Bassinets are typically less expensive than cribs. That said, you’ll probably also use your bassinet for less time than you will your crib. Look for a bassinet that’s well-made but won’t break the bank, considering you’ll likely use it for about five months. Bassinets made from solid wood tend to be more expensive than those made from plastic, but they’re also more durable. You also tend to pay more for special features. Bassinets that play white noise or have built-in vibration will cost more than basic models. If these features help keep your baby asleep, though, you may decide the extra cost is more than worth it.
The ideal design for your bassinet depends entirely on how you plan to use it. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Co-sleeper Capability: While you can technically pull a standard bassinet right next to your bed, a co-sleeper is essentially an extension of your bed. Most have an open side that lines up with your bed or a side that can be lowered to achieve the same result. This can be a great option for mothers who want to nurse in bed or anyone who wants to bed share, but doesn’t want the risk. Your baby can be right next to you while sleeping in his or her own space. If you’re a very light sleeper and will wake up every time your baby takes a deep breath, then a standalone bassinet at the foot of your bed might suit you better.
- Portability: Your baby may sleep in your room at night for the first few months, but that doesn’t mean he or she needs to nap in there. Many parents appreciate a bassinet that’s portable because they can move it around the house to keep baby close during naps. Look for a lightweight bassinet if you think you’ll want to move it around. Some even fold up for easy transport. Just remember never to move your bassinet while your baby is in it.
- Versatility and Adaptability: If you don’t like the idea of putting your bassinet in storage after your baby outgrows it, you might consider one that doubles as a play yard, or portable crib. You’ll be able to use it as a play area or for travel long after your baby is finished with the bassinet element. Also pay attention to the weight limits on bassinets. While you should stop using any bassinet once your child can push up onto all fours, some have higher weight limits than others, which could enable you to use the bassinet for longer.
Some bassinets come with add-ons that might make your life easier:
- Nightlight: A built-in nightlight can be helpful when you’re tending to your baby in the middle of the night. A diaper change in the pitch black is nearly impossible, but turning on an overhead light will also probably ensure your baby doesn’t go back to sleep easily.
- Sound: Many newborns sleep better with white noise because it reminds them of being in utero. Instead of purchasing a separate white noise machine, consider choosing a bassinet that is capable of playing white noise. Some will also play lullabies to help lull your baby to sleep.
- Vibration: While babies are in the womb, they get used to constant vibration, so many find it very soothing once they’re out in the world. A bassinet with a vibration feature can help your baby fall asleep and can also help babies go back to sleep when they wake during the night.
- Storage: The last thing you want to do in the middle of the night is wander through the house looking for pacifiers, extra diapers or burp rags. A bassinet with built-in storage can help you keep everything within arm’s reach.