A new parent is always looking for a safe and convenient place for their baby to sleep. You can’t blame them, we’re all worried about our baby’s wellbeing.
Are they comfortable?
Are they getting adequate nutrition?
So many questions hover in our minds.
When it comes to the sleeping-related questions though, a bassinet comes to the rescue.
That brings us to yet another question, “how long can a baby sleep in a bassinet?”
How Long Can A Baby Sleep In A Bassinet?
There is no hard and fast rule for how long you should have your baby sleep in a bassinet. It usually depends on a few factors which are:
- How fast your baby grows
- The state of your bassinet
How Fast Your Baby Grows
Some certain stages or milestones would mean getting your baby into a crib once they reach them. Some babies reach these milestones early on while some take a little longer.
My baby reached the milestone at around 4 months and as soon as I noticed, I changed her sleeping place to a crib and then to her room at 7 months.
As much as you would love to remain in the same room with your child, you have to let them go. The American Association of Pediatrics state that you should share a room with your baby at least till they reach 6 months as it reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by 50%.(1)
That’s why a bassinet can be a lifesaver as it moves around easily, takes up small space, and is foldable. However, as convenient as a bassinet might be you want to stop it when your baby reaches one of the following milestones’
- They can sit up without assistance.
- They can push up with their hands(just enough to elevate their head).
- They can twist and turn in the bassinet basically, they can roll.
- They have reached 4 – 6 months.
- They have hit the weight limit for the bassinet. Check with your bassinet manufacturer for clarification of the weight limit. It typically ranges from 15 – 20 Ibs, some even go higher!
As soon as your baby reaches any of the above milestones it is time to stop using a bassinet and transition to a crib. This simply means that you don’t have to wait for your baby to tick all the above milestones. In actuality, the first one to occur is enough sign that your baby should no longer sleep in a bassinet.
The State Of Your Bassinet
After you have put your baby’s age, weight, and other milestones into account you will want to properly take a good look at the bassinet you are using.
There’s a chance you may be considering a hand-me-down bassinet especially if you have older children as it saves cost.
If this is the case, you may want to stop using it a lot earlier than you normally would. This is because at this point you’re not 100% sure that it can withstand it’s original weight limit.
I got a new bassinet for each of my babies as I wasn’t too sure of the sturdiness of the previous bassinet. If you don’t have the means, it’s fine to use a hand-me-down but you need to pay keen attention to your baby so it doesn’t collapse on them. Also, ensure that the bassinet is not older than 10 years.
Otherwise, you should get a new bassinet with a relatively high weight limit and adequate space for your baby to sleep in. One thing you should know is that regardless of the weight limit as soon as your baby starts showing the milestones mentioned above, it’s time to stop it.
I made use of this Amke-baby 3-in-1 bassinet for my last baby and it worked wonders. She was able to sleep in it until a little over 4 months when it was time to transition.
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Sleeping In A Bassinet?
I can’t stress how much of a help bassinets were to me for each of my babies. They can be very useful if you make use of them properly. Let’s highlight some of the advantages of using a bassinet.
- You can easily move your baby from room to room in a bassinet. This is because most bassinets are small enough to fit through doors and they come with wheels.
- The bassinet is usually the perfect size for your newborn. They’ve been in a tight position in your belly so swaddling them in a bassinet for the first few weeks gives them a sense of familiarity.
- A bassinet is small enough to place in your room so you can sleep with your baby. Note that I’m talking about room sharing and not co-sleeping.
- Most bassinets elevate with an open airy mesh side. This allows you a clear view of your little one at night especially if you’re a breastfeeding mum.
- If your bassinet is foldable(which it likely is) you can easily transport it to grandpa’s house or any other short trip.
What Are Some Of The Potential Risks Associated With Sleeping In A Bassinet?
Every good thing has its disadvantages and this is true for bassinets as well. You just have to be careful around your baby especially in the first few weeks as that is when there is a higher rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS).
According to red nose, there is an increased risk of falling, suffocation, or injuries in a bassinet in any of these cases:(2)
- If the mattress is not firm in the bassinet or if it doesn’t fit well.
- If you use a pillow or other bedding in place of a mattress.
- If the folding legs of your bassinet collapses.
- If the sides of the bassinet is not elevated enough.
- If the base is not sturdy causing the bassinet to tip over(remember I mentioned the sturdiness of the bassinet earlier).
- If there is no sufficient clear space around the baby’s head due to the construction and design of the bassinet.
- If the bassinet is no longer suitable for use by your baby – that is when they have passed the weight limit or reached any of the mentioned milestones.
Bassinet Safety Tips
As much as bassinets can be a lifesaver, if you aren’t careful enough the risks can’t daunting.
Generally, bassinets, cribs, and pack n plays are safe according to the American Association of Pediatrics. So, all you have to do is follow some of these safety tips.(3)
Make sure that your bassinet’s mattress is flat and firm.
Firstly, you need to ensure that your bassinet meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standard and hasn’t been recalled. It’s tempting to get an alternative mattress for your baby’s bassinet but it’s not advised. Only use the right fitting and firm mattress that comes with your bassinet.
If you’re looking for alternative sleep options, you can find safe options that comply with June 2021 CPSC rule. Anything other that should not be used and any baby product not marketed for sleep should not be used either.
• Never Share A Bed With Your Baby
The AAP recommends that under no circumstances should you share a bed with your baby. This goes for bassinets as well.
Bassinets allow you easy access to your baby at night so if you bring your baby to comfort or feed them, you should place them back in their bassinet as soon as you’re done. Otherwise remove all blankets, beddings, and pillows in the area.
• Always Place Your Baby To Sleep Ok Their Back In A Bassinet
Immediately after birth, your baby needs some skin-to-skin time with mommy for at least an hour. After which put the baby should to sleep on its back in a bassinet.
Some babies may roll into their stomachs in their bassinet. In that case, you don’t have to continually place them on their back and that might be a great time to make the switch to a crib.
• Keep Loose Objects Like Bumpers Out Of The Bassinet
Do you see all those paddings that “protect” your baby in a bassinet? Never get one especially for use while your baby is asleep.
They could increase the risk of SIDS as they may lead to suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation. This includes pillows, blankets, and any toy.
If you fear that your baby is cold in their bassinet, simply wear them additional clothes or a lightweight wearable blanket. As a good rule of thumb, you should wear your baby one layer of clothes more than what you’re wearing.
What Are The Best Bassinets On The Market?
To be honest, the best bassinets to use are the ones that meet the CPSC’s guidelines.
I went on Amazon to check out some high-quality bassinets in addition to the ones I used and I found these:
The first page reviews showed that parents loved this bassinet. A lot of them spoke about how it was easy to assemble the bassinet fast as soon as they got it.
It features a steel alloy frame with a fitting cotton mattress. You won’t have to worry about having your bassinet two low or high with the Bersey basinet as it features 9-level height adjustments.
Additionally, it has 360° swivel wheels for easy movement. Some other handy features I find are the mosquito net and storage box.
If you’ve ever been on the market for pack n plays, there’s a high chance that you are familiar with Graco. Well, they don’t only make playards, there are a couple of bassinet’s under their brand too.
For these bassinets, parents particularly love the rocking motion that automatically activates when a baby cries. The only downsides were the loud clicks on the buttons and the loud tunes.
It features a reversible canopy, airy mesh sides, storage pockets, wheels, and many others. Personally, trying out this bassinet would be nice.
I saved this for last because it was the bassinet I used for my last baby. The feature that was useful to me and my baby was the 6-level height adjustment. It allowed me to place the bassinet on the same level as my bed or the couch or wherever we were in the house.
I always had a clear view of my baby at night while she slept. This was thanks to the open side of the Amke bassinet.
It doesn’t feature an automatic rocking motion but it has a convenient cradle mode. All you have to do is set the feet according to the instructions and rock your baby to comfort.
What Is Next?
When your baby has finally outgrown their bassinet the next question in your mind would be “what next?”
Well, there are two options for your older baby.
- A pack n play: This may be a cheaper option in the long run because your baby can sleep in it right from their first weeks. You also stop using it around the same time as you would a crib.
For this, you need to check the product specifications for weight, height, and age limits as it varies.
The downside of a pack-n-play is that it may not be well suited for a mother who underwent C-section. This is because it requires more bending than you wouldn’t experience with a bassinet.
- A crib: Through the course of this article I have continuously mentioned using a crib as soon as it’s time for a transition.
Before you purchase a crib, make sure it meets the CPSC’s guidelines. I really can not emphasize how important it is to get a sleeping station that meets the CPSC’s standards.
Unlike bassinets, cribs cannot be moved from room to room. It’s best to get a crib when it’s time for your baby to move to their room.
When it’s time for your baby to transition from a bassinet to a crib, you can start by letting them take their naps in the crib. You could also play with them while they sit or lie in the crib. This will aid them to get familiar with the new sleeping station.
When your baby hits even one of the milestones mentioned in this article, switch to a crib or pack n play as soon as possible.
How long did you leave your baby to sleep in a bassinet? I would love to hear your bassinet stories. Drop them in the comment section!
- Task Force On Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (2016). American Academy Of Pediatrics. SIDS And Other Sleep Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations For A Safe Infant Sleeping Environment https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/138/5/e20162938/60309/SIDS-and-Other-Sleep-Related-Infant-Deaths-Updated
- Red nose, (2021, March 12). Bassinets https://rednose.org.au/article/bassinets
- 2. Rachel Y. Moon MD, FAAP, (2022, June 21). Healthy Children From The American Academy Of Pediatrics. How To Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx
- Safe Sleep – Cribs And Infant Products. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission https://www.cpsc.gov/SafeSleep