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Bassinet vs Crib: Which is Better for your Baby?

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Deciding on your baby’s sleep space is one of the key decisions you will have to make as a new parent. Both cribs and bassinets have been approved by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) safety standards as safe sleep options.

So which one is better for you? Don’t worry, we’ve broken down the pros and cons to help you decide which is the best sleep space for your little one!

What to Look for in a Crib

A crib is a small bed with a high enclosure made to provide a safer sleep space for babies. The railings are typically made of vertical slats of wood or other material. A crib does not contain mesh or screen sides like a pack n play or bassinet.

the crib

Types of Cribs

Cribs come in different sizes, colors, and styles. Here are the main types of cribs:

Traditional

A traditional crib is the standard crib size. It is a full-size crib with a rectangular shape that fits a standard sized crib mattress. These cribs may have a simple, crib-only design, but they can have attached drawers or changing tables as well.

Mini

A mini crib looks just like a crib but is smaller and does not fit a standard sized crib mattress. Despite their smaller size, mini cribs will typically fit your baby until it is time for them to transition to a toddler bed. Some mini cribs also convert to toddler beds or head and footboards.

Convertible

A convertible crib is an ideal option if you want furniture that will grow with your baby. These are cribs with removable rails that convert into a toddler bed, and sometimes even foot and headboards for larger beds. The Crib from Nurture& is a convertible crib with a modern design.

The Crib is crafted from sustainable wood and made to grow with your child from birth to five years old. If you are looking for a quality crib with longevity and made from materials you can feel good about, check out Nurture&'s crib here!

Round

Round cribs can be oval or circular in shape. This baby crib is great if you want a unique sleeping option for your little one. They may not be the most practical for your baby’s nursery, since they will not sit flush with a wall or in a corner like the more classic crib styles mentioned. But if unique designs are your style, this type of crib would look great as the centerpiece of your baby’s nursery.

Pros and Cons of a Crib

Now that we have covered the main types of cribs, let’s discuss more about the benefits and downsides of baby cribs.

The Pros of Choosing a Crib

  • Longevity: Perhaps the biggest benefit of choosing a crib is longevity. If you choose a crib as your baby’s sleeping option, they will be able to sleep in it from the day they arrive until they transition to a toddler bed.

    Some cribs have the added longevity of converting into toddler beds with the purchase of conversion kits, like the guardrail for the Nurture& Crib.

  • Easy to find mattresses: All full-size cribs will use a standard crib mattress size, which can be easily found at a variety of locations.

    Choose a mattress like the Lullaby Earth Breeze Air mattress for a safe, nontoxic, and washable mattress for your baby’s bed. Don’t forget a breathable mattress cover and 100% cotton crib sheets too!

    crib sheets

  • Variety of styles: Baby cribs come in a variety of styles and colors to match your baby’s nursery. The best cribs are made from nontoxic and sustainable materials, like The Crib from Nurture.


The Cons of a Crib

  • Size: Full-sized cribs take up more space than a bassinet, making it hard to room share if you have a small space.

    A solution for this may be a portable crib or other smaller-sized baby crib that you can fit in your room as a bedside sleeper in the early months with your new baby.

  • Assembling difficulty: If you have ordered furniture before, you know that assembling it at home can test even the most calm person’s patience.

    When shopping for a crib, try to purchase one that is relatively easy to assemble, like this one.

  • Storage and transportation: If you have a full-sized crib, you cannot just fold it up and put it away. However, a portable crib like a pack n play is ideal for travel because they fold up easily and can be stored when not in use.

What to Look for in a Bassinet

A bassinet is a special bed for a baby that is used until approximately four months of age. When your baby is beginning to roll over, able to pull up, or has reached the weight limit, it is time to transition out of the bassinet to crib to keep your baby safe.

Bassinets have smaller sides than cribs so if your baby is rolling or pulling up then they are at risk of falling over the side.

Bassinets offer a tall structure that makes it easier to lay a baby down. This is ideal in those early newborn stages when the mother is healing from childbirth.

 bassinet

You will not have to lean as far into the bassinet to reach your baby as you would in a crib, which prevents straining yourself as you heal.

Many bassinets are designed to be bedside sleepers, so breastfeeding mothers do not have to leave their bed to feed their babies, and enables the baby to be close to them for monitoring and soothing as needed.

Many bassinet models have distinctive features like lights, sounds and rocking to help soothe your baby and coax them into falling asleep. There are also bassinets that come attached to different surfaces, like playpens and strollers.

How Long Should a Baby Stay in a Bassinet?

Your newborn baby should sleep in a bassinet until around four months of age, or when they reach the weight limit. Whether you choose a crib, bassinet, or other bedtime sleeper, it is recommended that you room share with your baby for at least the first six months.

Why Should Newborns Not Sleep in a Bassinet?

If your newborn baby is on the bigger side, a bassinet will not last them very long. Weight limits on bassinets can be as low as 15 pounds. Babies in the 50th percentile reach this weight around three months, so if your baby is larger than that, a bassinet may only last you a month or so!

Pros and Cons of a Bassinet

Now that we have covered the common features of bassinets, let’s discuss the benefits and downsides of them.

The Pros of a Bassinet

  • Smaller sleeping space: Newborn babies feel more comfortable in a smaller sleeping space. After all, they were just snuggled up inside you for nine months!

  • Easy mobility: Since bassinets are for a more temporary use, they are made to move and reposition much easier than cribs. The majority of bassinets have also been designed to act as bedside sleepers, keeping your baby close. Some styles of bassinets also swivel, making reaching your baby from bed even easier.

    For c-section or breastfeeding mothers, this is a big plus. Being able to reach your baby from your bed allows for less movement and strain.

The Cons of a Bassinet

  • Short period of use: Since bassinets were designed to be used in the newborn stages, their period of use is short term. When you are budgeting for your baby essentials and designing your baby’s nursery, you may not see a bassinet as a good investment due to its lack of longevity.

  • Tipping hazard: Bassinets are taller for ease of use, but this also leaves them more prone to becoming top-heavy or off balance. This can lead a bassinet to tip over if it is bumped or improperly balanced.

  • Weight limits: Since bassinets are only designed to be used the first few months of your baby’s life, they can have a pretty light maximum weight limit.

    The typical weight limit is 15-20 lbs, so if you have a bigger baby then you will reach this weight limit much quicker than the typical transition time of 3-4 months of age.

Which Is Better?

Both cribs and bassinets are viable options for a safe sleep place for your little one. Each has its own set of benefits and downsides. Cribs come out on top for their longevity, and options like convertible cribs have removable railings for the transition into a toddler bed.

convertible crib


Bassinets are best for fitting in smaller spaces. Both are designed to keep your baby safe, and if space allows, both can keep your baby close. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends sleeping in the same room as your newborn baby for the first 6 months of life.

If you choose a crib as your baby’s sleeping area then you will not need a bassinet, but if you choose a bassinet then you will also need a crib.

Most bassinets have weight limits, and due to their smaller size, most babies will transition out of their bassinet and into a crib once they reach four months of age–or once they start rolling over, whichever happens first. The mesh railings on bassinets are much lower than on a crib or pack ‘n play, so once a baby is rolling over, it is no longer considered a safe sleep space.

Both are acceptably safe options. Whether you have a bassinet, crib, or other beside sleeper in your room, make sure your baby is sleeping the night away in their designated sleep space, and not in bed with you. Cosleeping is not recommended by the AAP due to the risk of suffocation or falls.

Other safety guidelines to follow are to use a mattress that is firm, with no gaps between the mattress and the rails or sides of the baby bed. Do not put blankets, bumpers, plush toys, or anything in the bed with your little one, and make sure the crib sheet is snug.

crib nurture

Sleep sacks and wearable blankets are the recommended option for keeping your baby warm while they sleep. Make sure that you always put your baby to sleep on their back. When your little one is old enough to roll over, they should still be put down to sleep on their back even if they later roll to the side or their bellies. For more information on safe sleep, consult the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Now that you have made it through this crash course on baby beds, whether it be a crib or a bassinet, choose the option that is best suited for your growing family. Be sure that your choice meets safety standards set by regulatory committees like the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you have decided that the longevity that comes with a crib is best, then consider The Crib from Nurture&. It features a modern, neutral design, and is safe sleep approved. With adjustable heights and available toddler rail, it is built to grow with your baby from 0 months through five years of age.

Discover the best crib and nursery furniture for your baby on Nurture&. We pride ourselves on creating premium, modern, and non-toxic furniture and baby essentials made for parents, by parents.

ABOUT NURTURE&
Nurture& was born out of a desire to create thoughtfully designed and premium quality nursery & kids products for modern parents. We’re here so that you can focus on your number one priority - making the beautiful big moments with your family and soaking in all the little ones in between.
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