How Long Can A Baby Sleep In A Bassinet?
Your baby has been sleeping peacefully in their bassinet since you came home from the hospital. But now that they're getting bigger, you notice they don't fit in it as well as they used to. You might start wondering, “How long can a baby sleep in a bassinet?”
After all, though you don't love the idea of mixing up their bedtime routine, you know sleep safety isn't something to mess with.
To help you answer this question with confidence, we've gathered all the information you need to know when to make the switch. But first, let's look at what a bassinet is.
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Bassinet?
- How Long Can A Baby Sleep In A Bassinet Safely?
- What To Do When Your Baby Is Too Big For A Bassinet
What Is A Bassinet?
A bassinet is a small bed that many parents use for their newborn or young infant. These beds usually have a removable mattress, fitted sheet, and canopy. Some even have storage underneath, which helps keep your nursery organized.
Bassinets are lightweight and portable so you can easily move them from room to room. This comes in handy when you want to keep your baby close to your bed at night or in the same room as you while they’re taking a nap.
As a bonus, bassinets are shallower than cribs. This feature makes it easier for you to reach your baby. You won’t have to bend over as far, which can be helpful when you’re recovering from childbirth.
Check out Newton's Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper to ensure safe and comfortable sleep.
How Long Can A Baby Sleep In A Bassinet?
Despite their benefits, bassinets are only a temporary bed for your baby. Your little one will eventually reach a point when they can't safely sleep in one anymore.
Keep in mind there's a recommended age limit for bassinet use. But some babies outgrow their bassinet before reaching that age. That’s why you should also be aware of physical signs that it’s time for a new bed. So, let’s look at the different factors to consider.
Though each manufacturer may have different specifications, most bassinets are meant for babies under six months old.
By the time your baby reaches this age, they'll likely be too big and active to sleep safely in a bassinet. However, even if they aren't yet meeting all the physical milestones described below, it's best to switch to a larger bed to prevent future accidents.
Physical Signs It’s Time To Transition
In addition to the age limit, several physical signs indicate your baby has outgrown their bassinet.
When any of the following occur, it's time to start shopping for a new bed:
- Your baby can sit up without support
- They roll over in their sleep
- Their head reaches the top of the bassinet
- They try to rock the bed or use the sides to pull up
If you notice any of these milestones, it's time for a bigger bed. Otherwise, your baby could injure themselves by falling out of the bassinet.
What To Do When Your Baby Is Too Big For A Bassinet
Before your baby outgrows their bassinet, it's time to start thinking about their next bed. This way, you have time to research your options and purchase the larger bed that you think will work best.
You'll also have time to help your baby transition to another bed without too much disruption to their sleep schedule.
Select A Larger Bed
First things first, you'll need to decide what type of bed to get for your baby.
There are several options on the market, but three of the most common are cribs, pack and plays, and mini-cribs. Let's look at each in more detail to help you choose the best one for your little one.
A crib is a traditional baby bed that your baby can use from birth until they’re ready for a toddler bed. Cribs have high sides to prevent your baby from falling out. They’re also large enough to give your little one room to stretch out.
One advantage of cribs is that you can use them for years. This is especially true if you opt for a convertible bed that turns into a toddler bed and then a daybed. You’ll get a lot of use from an Austin Convertible Crib or a similar model.
Another benefit of using a standard-size crib is that you can upgrade the mattress easily. Using a comfortable, breathable mattress, like the Newton Baby Crib Mattress, will encourage your baby to rest all night.
However, cribs aren’t a good fit for every nursery. They require a larger footprint than other bed options. And they aren’t very portable. So, if you want to continue moving your baby from one room to another, a crib might not be the best choice for you.
Pack and Play
A pack and play is a type of portable crib that typically features mesh sides. Your baby can sleep in their pack and play, but that's not its only purpose.
It also gives you a portable safe place to put your baby down to play, no matter where you are. Since they fold up compactly, these beds are perfect for taking with you when you travel.
However, pack and plays aren't as sturdy as cribs, so yours might not last as long as you'd like. They also aren’t as easy to clean.
Bassinets are pretty compact sleeping spaces for babies. If your nursery is small, you might want something that doesn't take up a lot of room.
If that’s you, a mini-crib could be a great choice. It’s smaller than a regular crib but large enough that your baby can stay in it until they’re about two years old. You can even transition straight to a toddler bed from this option.
And, like a crib, mini-cribs must meet extensive government regulations to ensure your baby's safety.
However, since there isn’t a single size for mini-cribs, finding a comfortable mattress or sheets can be challenging. For example, the Newton Baby Mini-Crib Mattress fits some mini-cribs, but you’ll need to check the size specifications to avoid dangerous gaps.
Help Your Baby Transition
Making the switch from a bassinet to a larger bed can be challenging for some babies. They might cry or resist when you try to put them down for a nap in their new bed.
To help your baby make a smooth transition from one bed to the other, try these tips:
- Continue using the same bedtime routine as before.
- Put the bed in the same room as their bassinet so they don’t have to adjust to too much new stuff at once.
- Let them play in their new bed during the day so they can get used to it.
- Start with naps and let them get used to that before using it at night.
- Be patient and don't force them to sleep in the new bed if they're not ready.
- Use a baby monitor to help keep an eye on how they're doing.
- Keep trying!
It may take some time, but your baby will eventually get used to their new bed. And you’ll be able to rest easier knowing they’re in a large enough space to accommodate their growing body.
Keep Safety In Mind
No matter what type of bed your baby is sleeping in, it's essential to follow safe sleep guidelines. Otherwise, you risk your baby suffocating or getting entangled.
Always put your baby to sleep on their back. Of course, they might be rolling over at night by the time they outgrow their bassinet. If they roll on their own, that's OK. But keep putting them to sleep on their back to encourage them to sleep in that position.
It's also important to never put anything loose in the bed with your baby. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumper pads. These items pose a suffocation hazard and don’t belong in your baby's sleep area.
Instead of blankets, opt for a sleep sack for your little one. This wearable blanket will keep them cozy without the risk of suffocation.
When shopping for a larger bed for your baby, you’ll also want to pay attention to the mattress. It should fit snugly in the bed without any gaps along the edges. And while you may prefer a softer mattress, your baby needs a firm one. A too-soft mattress can increase the risk of SIDS.
Note: Though it costs more to buy new baby gear, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns of using cribs or other baby equipment that don’t meet current safety standards. If the crib is more than 10 years old or has missing parts, don’t use it.
Transition Your Baby Out Of A Bassinet With Ease
How long can a baby sleep in a bassinet? Until they're about six months old or reaching developmental milestones, such as rolling over or sitting up. If your baby is ready to transition to a larger bed, the tips above can help make the process easier.
And no matter what type of bed you move your baby into, try a Sleep Sack For Babies to keep them warm and cozy all night long!