Basics Sleep

Do You Really Need A Bassinet?

From baby formula to clothing, shoes and accessories, the cost of having a baby can add up quickly.

So one thing you may be asking yourself is whether you really need to buy a bassinet as well as a crib.

The short answer is no, technically your baby can sleep in a crib from birth.

But you may still want to consider buying a bassinet as they are specially designed for newborns, and much much more lightweight and easier to move around your house.

Let’s take a look at bassinets in more detail to help you make the best decision for your little one.

Do You Need A Bassinet?

Newborn babies do not have to sleep in bassinets for the first few months, but there are some good reasons why you might want your baby to sleep in one.

Just like a cradle, one of the main advantages of a bassinet or Moses basket is that it provides a convenient way of having your baby nearby when sleeping.

Bassinets are lightweight, compact enough to fit in even the smallest of rooms, and easy to move around the house.

They are also cozy for your little one because they are designed with newborns in mind, so proportionally they are a more appropriate size for a small, young baby compared to a crib.

What Is The Point Of A Bassinet?

Bassinets are specifically designed to accommodate newborns and very young babies.

They are smaller than cribs and are usually mobile, so you can move them around your house – for example you may have it beside your bed at night, and move it to the living room for daytime naps.

They are also easy to fold up and take on a day trip when you’re visiting friends or family or going on vacation.

Do You Need A Bassinet Mattress?

Yes, bassinets should always be used with a mattress.

When you buy one it should come with a mattress that conforms to federal safety standards, so it’s not something you will need to buy separately.

Wicker Moses Basket On A Wooden Stand

Are Bassinet Mattresses Supposed To Be Thin?

You may have noticed that a bassinet mattress is a lot thinner than the one you sleep on.

The reason for this is down to safety.

A thick mattress is a suffocation hazard for your baby if they end up face down.

In this scenario they may sink into the mattress and struggle to breathe, so mattresses are deliberately thick to enable your baby to breathe even if they end up head down while in their bassinet.

Are Bassinet Mattresses Supposed To Be Firm?

Yes, bassinet mattresses are designed to be firm, and again the reason is safety related.

A firmer mattress has more resistance compared to a softer one, so if your baby ends up head down while in the bassinet, they should still be able to breathe properly.

Do You Need Bassinet Sheets?

Yes, bassinets need sheets for several reasons including:

  • Hygiene. Babies have sensitive skin, so a clean, soft mattress sheet made from organic cotton will help protect their skin from irritation.
  • Comfort. As we’ve seen, mattresses can be quite firm and hard, so a sheet will provide some extra comfort for your little one while sleeping.
  • Protects Your Investment. From diaper blowouts to throwing up milk, we all know that babies can be messy! So using a sheet will protect your mattress and with a quick change of the sheet, any mess your baby makes can easily be dealt with.

How Long Do You Use A Bassinet?

If you’re thinking of buying a bassinet something that’s probably important to you is how much use you will actually get out of it.

There is not an exact rule or number for how long your baby should sleep in a bassinet.

In general, babies can sleep in them for a minimum of 3 months, and usually a maximum of 6 months.

The advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is that a baby should sleep in a crib before they are 6 months old.

Can Newborns Sleep In A Crib Right Away?

If you do use a bassinet, you will need to move your baby to a crib within the first 6 months.

So do you really need to buy a bassinet as well as a crib? Can a newborn sleep in a crib from birth?

The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things you should consider if you’re thinking of putting your baby in a crib from day one:

  • The advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is that you should sleep in the same room as your baby for at least the first 6 months. So your bedroom needs to be big enough to accommodate a crib. This is less of an issue with a bassinet, as they are much smaller and more portable than cribs. But given cribs take up much more space, you will need to have quite a large bedroom to consider this option.
  • Are you comfortable with your baby sleeping in your room for all their naps? What this means is unless your are also in your bedroom every time your baby naps, there will be times (especially during the day) when you’re not in the same room as them while they sleep.
  • Finally, make sure the mattress of the crib is safe for a newborn, which means it should be thin and firm as mentioned above.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Baby & Toddler Sleep

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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