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While new parents may rush to assemble their new baby’s crib before their due date, the truth is that most babies don’t sleep in their cribs for the first few months of life. Many parents opt for a bassinet, which is a smaller sleeping area for newborns, similar to a cradle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in their parents’ rooms for at least their first six months, if not a full year. Fitting a full-size crib into your bedroom along with everything else is probably out of the question, but a compact bassinet can be an elegant solution. Bassinets allow young babies to sleep near their parents—even within arm’s reach—while remaining on their own sleep surface, which is what the AAP recommends. In addition to being the safest option, room sharing is also convenient. Your baby will be close by for middle-of-the-night feeding and soothing, and you won’t have to hop up to check on them whenever they make a noise.
Bassinets are typically designed for young babies. Because of their low sides and weight limits, babies should transition out of most bassinets by the time they can roll or push up on all fours, which is usually around three to five months.
In this guide, we’ll run through our top picks for the best bassinets as well as considerations to make when choosing a bassinet.
Best Bassinets of 2019
Editor’s Pick – Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear-Vue
Best Bedside Bassinet – Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
Best Multi-Purpose Bassinet – Graco Pack N’ Play Reversible Napper
Best Portable Bassinet – Evenflo Loft Portable Bassinet
The Arm’s Reach Concepts Clear-Vue bassinet combines functionality and convenience at an excellent value. It can be used either as a free-standing bassinet or a co-sleeper by lowering one of the sides and placing it right next to your bed. The legs adjust between 24” and 30” at 2” increments, so the co-sleeper option can fit with a variety of beds. To keep the bassinet safely attached to your bed, a strap is included that runs under your mattress and stays in place using an attachment plate that sits on the opposite side.
The Arm’s Reach is equipped with wheels so you can easily move the bassinet if needed. A built-in storage basket will also help you avoid running into the nursery in the middle of the night for new pajamas, extra pacifiers and the like. Included with the bassinet are a mattress, fitted sheet, attachment strap and plate, and the bassinet can be used until your baby is five months old or can push up to all fours.
The HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper offers the best of both worlds for many parents. Your baby can sleep right next to you while remaining safely in his or her own separate space. The bassinet’s 360° swivel design means you can customize your baby’s position next to you, and its minimal four-point base easily fits under most beds. The base is adjustable and fits beds between 24” and 34” high. The sidewall also lowers so you can easily tend to baby from your bed, which can be especially vital for nursing moms or those recovering from C-sections.
In addition to its convenience, the HALO comes with some unique features, including a built-in nightlight, lullabies, white noise and two levels of vibration. With all of these tools at your fingertips, you and your baby are sure to get some much-needed rest.
If you want a bassinet that’s still functional after your infant outgrows it, the Graco Pack N’ Play Reversible Napper and Changer is likely the one for you. This product is like a traditional portable crib, but includes a bassinet insert—or “newborn napper”—that clips onto the side rails. The bassinet has sloped sides to comfortably cradle your baby and can be used until your baby is 15 pounds.
The bassinet insert also flips to become a portable changing station made from wipeable fabric. This can be a great option for middle-of-the-night diaper changes so you never have to leave your room, or you can use it on the go. And because you can transition your baby out of the bassinet insert into the portable crib when he or she reaches the weight limit, you can easily keep your baby in your room for as long as you’d like.
The Evenflo Loft Portable Bassinet is an excellent fit for families who are always on the go, or just want the flexibility of having their baby nap in any room in the house. At only 10 pounds, the Evenflo is light and comfortable to carry. It folds easily using clips on the side of the bassinet, so you can even throw it in the car to take to the grandparents’ house.
This bassinet also uses technology to help baby have the most restful night possible. A bluetooth speaker not only plays soothing nature sounds, but you can also play any music you’d like from a bluetooth-enabled device. A nightlight and room temperature monitor provide comfort and peace of mind. The bassinet comes with a fitted sheet and can be used until your baby is 20 pounds or can roll onto all fours.
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.
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:
Some bassinets come with add-ons that might make your life easier:
Many parents choose to have their babies sleep in a bassinet from day one. Bassinets are small and compact and serve as the perfect bed for tiny newborns. How long your baby stays in your bassinet depends on a variety of factors.
Most bassinets come with height and/or weight limits. The time to transition out of a bassinet depends more on birth weight and growth than on age. You’ll also want to pay attention to your baby’s movements. Depending on the construction of your bassinet, you may need to move your child out of his bassinet when he can roll or push up on all fours.
Many parents decide to move their babies out of their bassinets when it’s time to transition to sleeping in their own room. While the AAP recommends room-sharing for six months, some families opt to make a change earlier for a variety of reasons. The four-month sleep regression sometimes causes families to end room-sharing in hopes everyone will get more sleep. Related, some parents decide to start sleep training around four months, which can be difficult to do if you’re sharing a room. Finally, babies can be noisy sleepers, and some parents can’t sleep with their baby right next to them.
Safe sleep practices don’t just apply to cribs. It’s important to familiarize yourself with safe sleep guidelines when it comes to your baby’s bassinet: