How Long Can a Baby Sleep in a Bassinet?
Time to read 6 min
Time to read 6 min
Like most new parents, you may have questions about caring for your newborn baby. Choosing the best sleep space for your baby is an important decision to make if you’re anticipating the arrival of your little one or if you’ve just brought them home.
How long your baby can safely use a bassinet may affect whether you buy one or might get you thinking about how soon you’ll be making the transition to a crib.
It’s typically recommended that babies stop sleeping in bassinets between 4-6 months old. However, age isn’t the only factor you should consider when choosing between a bassinet or a crib for your infant to sleep in. Their size, development, and individual sleep needs will determine the length of time your baby can safely sleep in the bassinet.
Regardless of which baby bed you choose, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies share a room with their parents until at least six months of age. It’s normal for newborn babies to sleep for short periods of time and wake up frequently for feedings and diaper changes throughout the day and night. Sharing a room makes it much easier for new parents to quickly respond to their little ones.
Making the transition from the bassinet to the crib is a big change for you and your baby. It’s important to time the shift properly so you both have the opportunity to adjust to a new bedtime routine. Keep these signs in mind to help you recognize when to move your baby out of their bassinet.
All bassinets have a length and weight limit that your baby should be below to safely sleep in that bed. Each bassinet has individual limitations—it’s not one size fits all—so be sure to check the recommendations for that specific bed. Babies grow quickly in the first few months of life so knowing the maximum length and weight limits of the bassinet when you buy it will help you better plan for the crib transition.
Frequent stirring or waking during your baby’s regular sleep periods might mean that he or she is uncomfortable and feeling a little cramped. Some babies like to stretch out and touching the sides of the bassinet may disturb their sleep cycle. Even if they aren’t maxed out on the length and weight limits, a baby who wakes often in the bassinet might be ready to sleep in a crib.
Around 4-6 months old many babies will start to hit big physical milestones. Once your little one begins to roll over or pull themselves up they’re no longer safe in the bassinet. You might notice your baby’s physical development during their wake time and it can be a clear indication of the mobility they’re capable of in the bassinet. When your baby starts to become mobile it’s time to change their sleep environment.
If your little one isn’t giving you clear signs that they need to move out of the bassinet and into the crib, look to their age as your final sign to initiate the transition.
At 6 months of age—even if they haven’t surpassed the length and weight limit, been waking up frequently, or started rolling over—you can begin the crib transition. It’s only a matter of time before one of the other factors puts more pressure on making the big move, so now is a good time to start introducing your baby to a larger sleep area as they continue to grow and develop.
Baby sleep can be finicky and changing up the routine might sound exhausting to new parents who are already tired, but with time and patience, you can help your little one form healthy sleep habits in a safe sleep environment. Introducing your baby to the crib for the first time may seem intimidating, but we have some tips to make a smooth transition.
Help your baby feel comfortable in their new bed by letting them spend time in the crib while they’re awake. This first step can start very early on—well before you actually intend for them to sleep in the crib. When your baby is given time to explore their crib with you close by they associate it with the familiar safety they feel when laying in their bassinet.
Being in the crib at bedtime isn’t enough to let your baby know this is where they should sleep. Create a space conducive to sleep, preferably with similarities to the bassinet they have been sleeping in. A soft fitted sheet, dim lighting, and white noise can help your little one drift off to sleep in their crib.
Babies fall asleep more easily when they can rely on a consistent schedule and aren’t overtired. As they get older and enter new stages of development their sleep and wake windows may fluctuate, but establishing a routine to wind down helps your baby identify when it’s time to sleep. Allow yourself enough time to practice a similar routine for naps and bedtime in the crib.
Check that your baby’s furniture meets The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards before putting them to sleep in the crib. Along with CPSC safety requirements, it’s important to assemble the crib according to the manufacturer’s instructions and with all the correct and complete pieces and hardware.
When choosing a crib for your little one, you can look to Nurture& for a crib you know will be safe. The Crib meets and exceeds safety standards, is made with non-toxic materials, and has no harsh chemicals. When you purchase a Nurture& crib you’ll receive the assembly guide and all the hardware you need to easily put the crib together.
A slow transition will help your baby adjust to a new sleep space. Start with nap times during the day and work your way up to nighttime sleep. When you give the process a trial run with a short daytime nap, your baby gets a glimpse of what it’s like to sleep in their new bed and you don’t have the high expectations of a long stretch of sleep through the night.
The American Academy of Pediatrics sets safety standards for baby sleep in bassinets, cribs, play yards, and bedside sleepers. These safe sleep guidelines are meant to help new parents reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other potential sleep-related hazards. Following these AAP safety standards is the best way to provide your baby with a safe sleep environment.
The best place for your baby to sleep is on their back on the flat mattress of a crib, bassinet, or other firm surface specifically designed for baby sleep. Never place your infant on a sofa or other soft surface to sleep.
Your little one’s sleep space should be free from loose blankets, pillows, bumpers, and soft toys. Anything that could cling to or block your baby’s face poses a suffocation hazard. All your baby’s bed needs is a properly sized mattress and fitted sheet.
AAP recommends room-sharing with your baby, not bed-sharing, for at least the first six months of life. Sharing a room with your little one helps you immediately attend to their needs in the middle of the night. With instant access to soothe and care for your baby the risk of SIDS is reduced.
It’s important to make sure the room your newborn sleeps in isn’t too hot. Proper airflow at a cool temperature makes breathing easier. Consider a fan in the room and dress your baby in appropriate layers of clothes and a swaddle if needed. If you notice your baby is getting too hot at night, adjust the thermostat or the amount of clothing they’re wearing.
How long your baby sleeps in a bassinet will vary depending on the unique needs of your little one, but following our tips and guidelines will help you feel confident in every decision you make regarding your baby’s sleep.
Find peace of mind when you shop Nurture& for your baby’s crib and other nursery furniture. We’ve created premium, non-toxic furniture, safe and functional for your entire family. At Nurture&, all of our modern baby essentials are made for parents, by parents.
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