What To Look For When Buying Your Baby's Bassinet
There’s nothing quite like watching your sweet newborn sleeping peacefully! If you’ve decided to let them snooze in a bassinet for the first few months, you’ll need to know what to look for to keep your baby safe and cozy during every sleep.
The Newton Baby experts are here to help you choose the perfect bassinet. We’ll explain the main differences between bassinets and cribs and then tell you 11 things to look for when shopping for a bassinet!
Finally, we’ll give you sleep safety guidelines and a primer for choosing the right crib — after all, babies grow right before your eyes.
What’s The Difference Between A Bassinet And A Crib?
Even if you’ve already made up your mind to use a bassinet, it’s still worth learning the differences between bassinets and cribs so you know when to transition your baby into a crib.
And if you’re still undecided about where to put your baby to sleep, understanding the differences will help you make the decision.
A bassinet is simply a small baby bed, designed to be easily moved and fit into smaller spaces, such as next to your bed.
Bassinets often have wheels, a hood or canopy, and a little storage shelf underneath. Some are even equipped with technology that plays music or makes the bassinet rock.
Now that you know what a bassinet is, let’s take a look at exactly how they differ from cribs.
One of the biggest differences between the two is size. Bassinets are significantly smaller than cribs. That makes it easy for them to fit in your bedroom next to your bed, giving you easy access to your baby during the night.
The small size of a bassinet can be convenient, especially if you’re dealing with a small space, but it also means you’ll be moving your baby from their bassinet to their crib before you know it!
That brings us to our next point.
The small size of a bassinet allows for great convenience, but your baby will outgrow it in no time! Babies typically become too big for a bassinet by the time they are four months old, if not earlier.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “In general, your baby should move to a crib around the end of the first month of life or by the time he weighs 10 pounds.”
Bassinets have a weight limit, but regardless of how much your little one weighs, it’s important to move them into a crib as soon as they are able to roll over.
While a bassinet will serve you well for a couple of months, a crib can be used from birth well into your child’s toddler years. This is why some parents choose to skip the bassinet altogether and only use a crib.
Your baby can sleep in a standard-sized crib for the first two or three years of their life. Plus, after that, a standard-sized crib mattress can typically be used on a toddler bed once your little one transitions out of their crib.
A convertible crib will last you even longer than a regular crib since it’s capable of changing with your growing child. We’ll touch on these cribs at the end of this article.
Another difference between bassinets and cribs is how easily the former can be moved.
Bassinets are made to be portable, whereas cribs are not. Many bassinets come with wheels so that they can be easily moved from one room to another, and some can be folded up for easy transport.
Ease Of Use
Because bassinets are smaller and shallower than cribs, it’s easier to put your baby in bed and pick them up. This might seem like a silly advantage, but it can make a big difference for c-section moms who are still sore!
Also, if you’re breastfeeding, it’s nice for your baby to be nearby during the night.
With a bassinet, you’ll lean over less to get your baby in and out of bed, and you’ll move around less if the bassinet is in your bedroom.
While safe sleep guidelines recommend that your baby sleeps in your room (but not in your bed) for at least the first six months, the choice between a crib and bassinet is up to you!
If you’re opting for a bassinet, we’ll offer a few pointers on what to look for. But if you want a longer-lasting option, a crib is a good choice as well. We’ll discuss that option after we give you the bassinet rundown.
Types Of Bassinets
Just like all baby products, there are many different types and styles of bassinets to choose from.
You’ll find traditional, freestanding bassinets that fit next to your bed or in a corner of your room. If you want your baby even closer, you can opt for a bedside bassinet that sits just next to your bed or rests on your bed while still providing your baby with a separate sleeping area.
There are also travel bassinets with added portability and smart bassinets that offer automated rocking, vibrating, and soothing noises. You can find bassinets with drop-sides, storage space, and hoods as well as bassinets that swivel, fold, and roll.
As you can see, the choices are endless. But the important thing is to choose a bassinet that is safe for your baby and functional for your space and family.
That’s why we’ll discuss the factors that you should take into consideration when choosing which one is right for you.
What To Consider When Buying A Bassinet
There are all sorts of bassinets to suit your style and needs! Regardless of what type you’re looking for, there are basic guidelines to follow to keep your baby safe while they sleep.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect bassinet for your little one.
Used or hand-me-down baby items can be great! But there are a few things you should always buy new, including the car seat and your baby’s bed.
Say “thanks, but no thanks” to a second-hand bassinet. Instead, opt for a brand-new bassinet that meets current safety standards and has all of its parts intact.
2) Your Space
Bassinets come in various shapes and sizes. Check the measurements of the one you’re considering to make sure it will fit well in the space you have.
If you plan to move the bassinet around a lot, you’ll also want to take into account how much it weighs.
When it comes to safe sleep for little ones, breathability is important. This applies to mattresses as well as the sides of a bassinet.
For the most breathability, choose a bassinet with mesh sides or wooden slats (like a crib).
Breathability is still important if you’re using a mini crib or when your baby graduates to a regular crib. Go with a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress.
Our Wovenaire® Core is 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer, so your little one can breathe straight through the mattress!
Plus, it’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning that it’s independently tested and certified for low chemical emissions, exceeding the highest industry emissions safety standards to help improve indoor air quality.
Last but not least, this mattress is unique in that it’s 100% washable from cover to core. Wondering how this works?
All you have to do is remove the cover and rinse the core off with a hose or wash it in the shower with soap and cool water. Stand it up to dry and voila — you’ve got a clean mattress. The cover can be machine-washed and tumble-dried.
4) Mattress Fit
Speaking of the mattress, it should fit snugly inside the bassinet with no large gaps between the two. This is why it’s important to use the mattress that comes with the bassinet.
The same goes for cribs and crib mattresses as well. If there is too much of a gap, your little one could get an arm or leg stuck. How can you know if the gap is too big? With the mattress placed inside the crib, you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between it and the crib frame.
Bassinets are small, but they should be mighty! Make sure your bassinet has a sturdy base so it doesn’t tip over easily, even if you bump into it in the middle of the night.
Speaking of a sturdy base, you’ll also need to make sure the legs of the bassinet are safe.
If you’ve opted for a foldable bassinet, check that the legs lock when the bassinet is set up — and that it’s easy to know when the legs are locked and unlocked.
7) Wheel Safety
Another thing that needs to lock on a portable bassinet? The wheels. Ensure that the wheels lock securely, and keep them locked at all times unless you’re moving the bassinet.
8) Small, Sharp Parts
Stay away from bassinets that have small parts that your baby could put in their mouth. This also means avoiding hanging toys, frills, and extra fabric in the bed.
You should also check for sharp or pointy parts, especially on the inside walls of the bassinet.
9) Cleaning Ease
Babies can be messy. Any baby items you buy should be easy to clean — for your baby’s health as well as your sanity!
Choose a bassinet that’s easy to wipe down and, if possible, washable. Stick to easy-to-clean, washable products when choosing your baby’s crib and crib mattress as well.
As we mentioned, Newton Baby’s mattress and mattress cover are both 100% washable. In fact, ours is the only crib mattress that’s washable from cover to core! Bye-bye mold, bacteria, and allergens!
As much as you might like fluffy blankets to sleep with, the safest way for your baby to sleep is on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and nothing else. This applies to their bassinet as well as their crib.
Our Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets are soft and perfect to use for your baby’s crib mattress. We’ve got you covered with sheets for mini mattresses as well as standard mattresses and four cute patterns to suit your nursery decor!
The soft, organic cotton muslin is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards and provides superior airflow to keep your baby comfortable.
11) Sleep Safety
As a parent, keeping your little one safe all day and all night is one of your top concerns!
No matter where your little one is sleeping, follow safe sleep guidelines. We’ll cover the basics here.
Choose A Firm Mattress
If you’re purchasing a bassinet, it will likely come with the mattress, and you won’t have to buy one separately. However, if you do find yourself mattress-shopping for your baby, make sure it’s firm as well as comfortable.
Keep in mind it’s not safe to have soft items in the crib that could get in the way of your baby breathing — and that goes for the mattress, too. Make sure the crib mattress bounces right back when you press on it.
That said, no matter what mattress your baby is sleeping on, remember not to add any soft, fluffy bedding to your baby’s sleeping area.
Keep Bumpers And Toys Out Of The Crib
Since soft, fluffy items are a no-go when it comes to baby sleep safety, that rules out blankets and baby pillows. But you’ll also want to keep the crib free of toys, crib bumpers, and the like, which can be choking hazards.
So, what should go in the bassinet or crib? A mattress, fitted sheet, your sweet little one, and nothing more. If you’re wondering how to keep your baby warm at night without a blanket, opt for swaddles and sleep sacks.
Swaddles are for newborns while sleep sacks (or wearable blankets) are for older infants, and both serve to keep them warm and cozy without the risk of getting tangled in a blanket.
Click here to learn how to wrap your infant in our Organic Swaddle Blankets.
Don’t Share Your Bed
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby sleeps in your room for at least the first six months. However, sleeping with your little one in your bed is not recommended for any babies.
Keep them close by, but not in your bed.
Lay Your Baby On Their Back
Should your baby sleep on their back, tummy, or side? There have been various ideas throughout the years.
While tummy time is a necessity for your baby during waking hours, you should always put them on their back to sleep.
Even after they learn how to roll over, you should still lay your baby on their back when you put them down. But if they do roll over during the night, there’s no need to go back in to turn them over.
Offer A Pacifier
Another safe sleep recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics: offer your baby a pacifier.
For breastfeeding babies, wait to offer the pacifier until they have gotten the hang of nursing. Then, give them a pacifier at nap time as well as bedtime. Be sure to choose one that is the right size and doesn’t have any straps or loose parts.
If your little one doesn’t seem to want the pacifier, don’t worry. There’s no need to force it.
You’ve read all about how to choose a safe bassinet that works in your space up until this point. But, to wrap up, we’ll also discuss cribs since your little one will outgrow their bassinet in a matter of weeks.
Choosing A Crib
You might be wondering why you need to think about cribs while buying a bassinet.
Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies move to a crib around one month of age or by the time they weigh 10 pounds. You’ll certainly need one for your baby in the blink of an eye! Plus, you may want to include it on your baby registry.
With this in mind, there are essentially four different types and sizes of cribs to choose from.
If you have nursery design on your mind, a shaped crib can add a special touch to your theme or serve as the focal point of the nursery. Common options are circle- or oval-shaped cribs and they have corresponding mattresses.
Just note that these cribs may be smaller than standard-sized cribs. And a beautifully-designed rectangular crib can be just as attractive in a nursery as a circular or oval-shaped one.
If you’re looking for something that’s bigger than a bassinet but smaller than a standard crib, the mini crib is your friend, measuring 24 inches wide and 38 inches long.
This is ideal if you’re sharing your room with your baby or if your children will be sharing a room. Just know that your baby will outgrow the mini crib around two years old if not sooner.
At 28 by 52 inches, the standard-sized crib is significantly larger than the mini crib and what many parents use for the long haul. You will get several years of use out of this option and can use a standard-sized crib mattress for a toddler bed frame, too.
A convertible crib is one that is capable of changing with your baby as they grow, converting into different types of beds throughout the years. There are 2-in-1, 3-in-1, and 4-in-1 convertible cribs.
This is a great option for your quickly-growing baby, and here at Newton Baby, we offer a 3-in-1. Let us explain what this means.
Our convertible cribs have three adjustable mattress heights so you can safely change the height as your baby grows. Before your little one is ready to climb out of their crib, the bed converts to a toddler bed (or day bed). You can choose whether or not to attach the toddler rail.
We also have three different styles of convertible cribs.
All of them are ethically constructed from soft, sustainable wood by skilled artisans in an Italian woodworking shop with a reputation for building quality wood furniture since 1932. Fine Italian craftsmanship means your baby’s crib comes with quality construction and attention to detail.
The solid beechwood frame is made with a baby-safe finish and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified for safer, healthier, better sleep. Safety is our first priority, and these durable cribs are made to exceed U.S. standards.
The Austin, Soho, and Domino cribs offer timeless style, safety, and durability, and you can pair them with our standard-sized crib mattress.
For more information on safe sleep, check out our article here.
With so many bassinets on the market, deciding on the right one can be overwhelming! But don’t let it get to you. Follow our tips to easily choose a good bassinet for your baby and your family. Consider Newton Baby's Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper to ensure great sleep — for you and baby!
Then get ready for your little one’s next step by preparing their nursery with a convertible crib, a Newton Baby Crib Mattress, and Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets. With the right bassinet and crib, you can rest easy knowing your baby is sleeping safe and sound. Sweet dreams!