One thing I consider essential for newborns is sleeping places because believe it or not newborns spend most of their time asleep.
Your baby will need a comfortable sleeping station and that’s where bassinet and pack-n-play come in.
Now, you may be wondering what difference there is between these sleeping stations. That’s what I’m here for! Join me as I weigh the differences and similarities of a bassinet vs a pack n play.
Difference Between A Bassinet And Pack n Play
As I already hinted, a bassinet is very similar to a pack n play. How? Well, they are both great places for your newborn to sleep in.
Regardless, a bassinet and pack n play differ in a few ways. They serve the same purpose, yes but they do have different names for a reason, don’t they?
Let’s take a look at some key differences between a bassinet and a pack n play.
- A bassinet is used only for sleeping whereas a pack n play can serve a variety of other purposes like a changing table, play station, etc.
- A bassinet is made solely for newborns up to 4 – 5 months. On the other hand, a pack-n-play works perfectly for newborns and still will for toddlers!
- A bassinet is usually small in size since it only accommodates tiny babies while a pack-n-play is a bit cumbersome because it can fit an older baby.
- Most bassinets will feature sleeping toys and systems designed to aid sleeping while a pack n play usually doesn’t contain these. You may find a few with a mobile, rocking mechanism, or things like that though.
Bassinet Vs Pack n Play: What Are The Pros And Cons?
As a parent, especially if you’re a first-time parent, you are probably worried and overthinking what’s best for your baby. I was once in those shoes and trust me, the overthinking can get out of hand.
Not to worry though, I’ll be highlighting the benefits and demerits of each of these sleeping stations.
Pros Of Using A Bassinet
- It is usually more convenient to move from room to room around your house and even outside! Most bassinets feature wheels on their legs so which adds to their portability alongside their compact size.
- You can place a bassinet by the side of your bed. Since it is elevated to a good degree it allows you to conveniently carry your baby without getting off the bed. This makes it a great choice for nighttime nursing or rocking.
- Some bassinets can be attached to your bed for co-sleeping. However, you need to check that the bassinet meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s(CPSC) standards and instructions.
- Some bassinets are suitable for travel, particularly long-haul journeys. Their compact size is again an advantage here.
- If you are recovering from a C-section or have back pains, the bassinet may be a good choice. This is because it’s usually raised above level ground.
Cons Of Using A Bassinet
- You can only use them up to when your baby is around 5 months, when they start rolling, using their hands push up, or as soon as they exceed the manufacturer’s weight and height limit.
- It can only be used for sleeping purposes. There’s no diaper changing with this one, sadly so.
Pros Of Using A Pack n Play
- A pack n play is the perfect travel buddy as it can easily be wrapped up in a bag for use in the car(with detachable bassinets). It doesn’t have the common name “travel crib” for nothing!
- The fact that I could use my baby’s pack n play to change her nappies or keep her occupied while I did some house chores was a major breather. If this isn’t enough to get yourself a pack n play, I don’t know what is.
It is a multi-functional sleeping station as it works as a play area and a changing table. It may come with an underneath or side storage box, and *drum roll* a bassinet!
- You can use it from your baby’s first months up to 3 years! This depends on how fast and big your little one grows. Still, a pack-n-play will last up to 6 times more than a bassinet.
Cons Of Using A Pack n Play
- A pack n play is cumbersome to carry about as it takes a lot of space. It’s better kept in one room in the house permanently.
- It probably won’t be compatible with co-sleeping since it’s too big to size on or beside your bed.
What To Look For When Deciding Between A Bassinet Vs A Pack n Play
It’s not enough to know the differences between them when it’s time to buy one for your baby. You have to take that into account alongside some other factors that I’ll be explaining.
It would have been nice to have all this information before I got my bassinet and pack n play. That’s why I’ve carried out enough research to help you make the right choice for you and your little one.
The factors to consider before deciding on getting a bassinet or pack n play are:
- Age of baby
- Length of use
Age Of Baby
This is something you put into consideration for almost any baby supply you get. There are certain products for certain stages in your baby’s life. This rings true for a bassinet and packs-n-play.
You may want to get a bassinet if your baby is a newborn up to 3 – 6 months. This is because it is so small that it can only contain an equally small baby.
On the other hand, a pack n play will accommodate a newborn and even a toddler! I have mentioned this a few times already and it’s an attention grabber for most parents(including myself!)
Consider the age of your baby before you decide on a bassinet or pack n play. Just make sure to get the one that works best for you and your baby.
The next thing you want to take into account is how much money you would be spending on each. Let’s compare:
- I made use of the Graco pack n play Dome LX Playard and it worked very well for me. It features a portable domed bassinet made with a UV protection canopy. The bassinet is perfect for your newborn and then there’s a playard for your toddler as well.
Now comes the additions, this Graco pack n play has a diaper changing place, and side storage and it is foldable for easy packing! The pack n play is available on Amazon for $219.99. Its length by width by height dimensions are 27 × 28.5 × 37.
- Looking at a bassinet, the Amke-baby 3-in-1 baby bassinet is a good choice too. It features an open side so you have clear view of your baby when using it by your bed. There’s a cradle mode I frequently used to rock my baby to sleep or calm.
The thing I particularly love about the Amke-baby bassinet is the 6-level height adjustment. It makes it so easy to get the right height that’s convenient for you! On Amazon, this bassinet costs $189.99 with dimensions of 37.4 × 23.2 × 32.7.
The difference in pricing doesn’t necessarily mean a pack n play costs more than a bassinet. They both can be equally high-priced or cheap. The ones I’ve mentioned are just from different price ranges.
The pack n play may be I cheaper option in the long term since it serves lots of purposes and you get to use it for a longer time.
This depends on the movements you plan to make with your baby by your side.
If it’s just occasional room-to-room journeys, a bassinet may be the perfect fit. Most brands make bassinets with wheels and are small enough to pass through doors.
If your movement involves regular travels then a pack n play might be a better choice. I already mentioned that it’s used for traveling. I used the Graco pack-n-play’s detachable bassinet for long-haul car rides and it worked wonders!
You will have to check well to find the bassinet or pack n play that meets your movement needs.
Length Of Use
If you’re the kind of parent that lives on value for their money (like me), you would likely go for the one that’s usable for a longer time.
At this point, you probably already know that a pack n play can be used for longer than a bassinet. If you would prefer you can just get a pack-n-play from the beginning, it saves cost.
Otherwise, you could get a bassinet for your baby’s first months then switch to a pack n play later. It all depends on your individual preferences and means.
I got both a pack n play and bassinet right from the very beginning. Although I used the bassinet for my little one’s first 3 months then I switched to the pack n play.
This factor is very important for picking the right bassinet or pack n play. You want a sleeping station that fits into the room without taking up too much space.
I’d say the bassinet wins here since it takes up less space than a pack n play. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a convenient pack n play though; modern versions are now being made to take up less space.
If space is a huge factor for you then a bassinet is likely to be a good choice. If you’re going to get one make sure to surf online and offline stores for a convenient choice.
Which Is Safer For Your Baby: A Bassinet Or A Pack n Play?
After you’ve gone through the bulk of the article, the question that is probably stuck in your head is “which is safer?”
What if I told you none?
Calm your nerves mama(or papa)! What I mean is that a bassinet and a pack n play are equally safe according to the CPSC’s standards.
The American Association of Pediatrics mentions that a bassinet, pack-n-play, and crib are safe when used properly; and, they are less likely to result in SIDs.(2)
The bassinet and the pack n play are quite useful in their ways. If you can’t decide on which to get, then going for both would be fine. That’s what I went for with my bassinet and pack n play. Although this isn’t necessary, so you should only do so if you have the means.
Well, do you prefer a bassinet to a pack-n-play or vice versa? I’d love to know. Don’t forget to share your sleeping station’s story below in the comment section!
1. Safe Sleep – Cribs And Infant Products. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission https://www.cpsc.gov/SafeSleep
2.Rachel Y. Moon MD FAAP, (2022, Jun 21). Healthy Children. How To Keep Your Baby Safe: AAP policy explained https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx