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Bassinet vs Crib: What’s The Difference?

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Are you expecting a baby and not sure whether to buy a crib or a bassinet?

Given how long your newborn will spend asleep each day, it’s important to consider the differences between the two before you make your mind up about which one to buy.

So let’s take a look at the key differences, as well as the pros and cons, of both cribs and bassinets.

Bassinet vs Crib: What’s The Difference?

What Is A Bassinet?

What exactly is the definition of a bassinet?

A bassinet is essentially a small bed designed for newborns and very young babies up to around 6 months of age.

They tend to be supported by freestanding legs and a stationary frame, and are easily movable.

Bassinets may have a flat, wheeled or rocking base depending on the design.

What Is A Crib?

A crib is a small, enclosed bed with high sides which are designed to stop your child from falling out or being able to climb out of the bed by themselves.

Cribs are larger and more solid than bassinets, and are not designed to be moved around the room or around your house.

They can be used until your child is around 3 years of age, and some can convert into a toddler bed by removing one side of the slats, which lengthens its usable lifespan.

Top 3 Differences Between Bassinets & Cribs

Cost

One of the major differences between a crib and bassinet is the cost.

A crib can cost anywhere between $100 to $1000 or more, depending on the material, design, brand and retailer.

On average most parents spend somewhere in the region of $150-$500, which is enough to get a high-quality, safe and new crib.

Bassinets on the other hand are much cheaper, ranging from $50-$200 on average.

Size

Another key difference between cribs and bassinets is their size.

As you’d expect, cribs are significantly bigger and bulkier, because they contain a larger mattress and have a solid metal or hardwood frame with high walls.

Bassinets are only designed to be used with newborns and babies up to 6 months of age, so they are therefore much smaller and more mobile.

Duration Of Use

Lastly, there is a big difference in longevity between the two.

After around 5-6 months most babies are too big to fit in a bassinet, and they could be strong enough to move around and fall out.

This means that around this time you will need to transition your baby into a crib.

Thanks to their more sturdy design, high walls and larger mattress, you can use a crib until your baby is around 3 years of age, and if you buy one that converts into a toddler bed, then you can use it for even longer.

Pros of Bassinets

Easier to Fit In Your Room

The advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that babies should sleep in the same room as an adult until at least the age of 6 months.

This is easier with a bassinet, because they are much smaller than a crib, so are more likely to fit in your bedroom and beside your bed.

Can Be Moved Around The House & Taken On Trips

Given their portability, bassinets are also easy to move from room to room, meaning your little one can be moved around the house so that their daytime naps can be in the same room as the one you’re in.

They are also easy to transport in your car, so you can take them on day trips to visit friends or family, or on a vacation.

Lower Initial Spend

The initial cost of a bassinet will be lower than a crib, which is helpful if you don’t want to make a big outlay on a crib within the first few months, but to balance this point you should remember that you’ll still need to buy a crib a few months later, so you won’t be saving money in the long run.

Easier To Put Down & Pick Up Your Baby

Moving, stretching and bending can be difficult for new moms, especially if you’ve had a C-section.

With their lack of rails / walls compared to a crib, it’s much easier to get your baby out and lay them down in a bassinet.

Cons of Bassinets

Lack Of Longevity

As you may expect, the lack of longevity is one of the biggest drawback to a bassinet.

Most babies will need to transition out of a bassinet by 6 months at the latest, so keep in mind that it is not something your baby will sleep in for very long.

Paying Double

For many parents their biggest complaint or frustration with bassinets is the need to spend twice – once for a bassinet and once again for a crib.

Pros of Cribs

Longer Lifespan

As we’ve seen, cribs can last a very long time, especially if they convert to a toddler bed, in which case your little one might still use the same crib until they are 5.

Contain Your Baby In A Safe Space

Because babies and toddlers cannot get out of a crib themselves, you can relax and sleep better in the knowledge that they are in a safe and contained environment.

With a crib, you decide when your little one is up and about, meaning they won’t be wondering around their room or your house unsupervised!

Cons of Cribs

High Initial Cost

Unfortunately there’s no getting away from the fact that a crib is an expensive purchase.

Spending anything up to $1000 on a bed for your baby is a big deal, but the positive is you will get a lot of use out of it over the next 3-5 years.

Requires More Space

Unless you have a relatively large bedroom, you may struggle to fit a crib beside your bed, making it hard to follow the AAP and CDC guidelines about sleeping in the same room as you baby for at least the first 6 months.

Less Cozy For Newborns

A crib is a very big space for a tiny newborn, so it’s not the coziest of spaces to sleep in for the first few months of their lives.

Which One Is Safer?

Both cribs and bassinets are safe for newborns, which is why the AAP do not give a recommendation for parents to use one over the other.

Cribs and bassinets are subject to stringent safety tests, so as long as you buy one that is new, you do not need to worry about comparing their safety.

Conclusion

  • Bassinets are specifically designed for newborns, meaning they are a smaller, cozier environment in which to sleep.
  • The main advantages of a bassinet it that it’s easier to fit beside your bed, and can be moved around your house without any issues.
  • If using a bassinet, after around 5-6 months your baby will need to transition into a crib.
  • Cribs are much larger and more solid than bassinets so they cannot be moved around the house, but they do contain your baby in a safe environment in which they cannot fall out or get out themselves.
  • Depending on the type of crib and whether it converts to a toddler bed, your baby can sleep in a crib until the age of around 5.
  • Bassinets tend to be much cheaper than cribs, but if you buy a bassinet keep in mind you will still need to buy a crib several months later as well.
  • Both bassinets and cribs are safe for newborns, but if budget allows then the recommendation is to use a bassinet for your newborn and then transition them to a crib a few months later.

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