Give Baby A Safe Sleeping Environment With The Best Bassinet (2018 Guide)

Give Baby A Safe Sleeping Environment With The Best Bassinet (2018 Guide)

At first, I was skeptical when my friend told me that I needed a bassinet on my registry.

I was counting on my baby sleeping in her crib right off the bat and figured that I’d be fine with trekking upstairs to nurse. So, in my mind, there was virtually no need for an additional item in my bedroom. 

Welp, wasn’t I wrong!

Not only did I have a C-section and couldn’t climb stairs for several weeks, but once I laid my eyes on my tiny, little baby, there was no way I could place her in that huge, vast crib!

So, if you’re on the fence about using a bassinet, or you're unsure which is the best bassinet for you, read on to learn everything you need to know about making this sleeping selection. 

What Is A Bassinet?

A bassinet is essentially a raised baby basket that safely contains a small baby, usually a newborn or up to a two month old.

It serves as a bed or resting place, with plenty of open airflow, so your baby can sleep and you can keep your eyes and ears directly on them.

Many parents place a bassinet right in bed with them, making breastfeeding a cinch, while others place a bassinet right next to their bed.

Some even use a bassinet for co-sleeping by removing a wall of the basket.

There are many kinds and styles to choose from, so it just depends on your personal preference and post-natal needs.

Why Might You Need a Bassinet

You may need a bassinet if your baby’s room is not on the same floor in your home as yours.

This will help you sleep better since you won’t be up all night checking the monitor, since the risk of SIDS is high the first month of your baby’s life.

It also allows you to remain in bed while breastfeeding, and this can be very helpful if you’re recovering from a C-section and other postpartum ailments.

A bassinet is also needed if you wish to start the concept of co-sleeping.

Many experts suggest adding your baby to your bed immediately to get them used to it if you plan on pursuing this parenting technique.

Bassinets are also helpful to have on hand if you plan on traveling often with your baby since it can serve as an instant crib.

Or, it can be a secure place to contain your baby if you need to shower, use the restroom, or get some cooking or cleaning done. 

When Do You Need a Bassinet?

bassinet

You should probably purchase (or receive a bassinet as a gift) prior to bringing your baby home from the hospital.

This allows you to set it up, test it out, and decide if you’re comfortable with the amount of airflow your child will receive, as well as prepare any kind of bedding that goes with it—always wash it straight out of the packaging—or even set up a diaper changing station on the bottom of the bassinet, if it boasts shelving.

This way, you’ll be ready to go as soon as you walk through the door with your baby in your arms. 

Types of Bassinets

There are a few types of bassinets. They are outlined as follows:

Bedside Bassinet

A classic bassinet is basically a large, woven basket with handles.

It has a padded insert, which can be covered with a mini sheet, and a shade that can completely cover the basket.

HALO 360 Bassinest
  • Rotates and swivels 360 degrees to bring baby to you for close, safe sleep. Side wall lowers so tending to baby is easy. Wall can be locked in the upright position, if desired.
  • Unlike other bassinets, its 360 degrees rotation makes getting in and out of bed hassle-free. Ideal for nursing mothers and mothers recovering from C-sections.

It can be picked up and placed virtually anywhere, and it’s sides are high and thick for support.

It’s light in weight, but doesn’t fold up, so it’s long, big, and bulky for travel. But, it can be taken outside or from room to room in a jiffy. 

There are some classically designed bassinets that have recently been given a more modern twist.

These styles are still c-shaped and have handles, except they are plastic and are similar to a car seat carrier.

Some believe they are more durable and practical than a traditional woven basket, and they have built in material, to keep baby comfortable and warm.

They also have a hard top shield that keeps baby dry and safe from weather elements.

These hard bassinets can rock and sit on top of different kinds of surfaces. 

Classic Bassinet

A classic bassinet is basically a large, woven basket with handles.

Summer Infant Classic Bassinet
  • Soothing melodies, calming sounds, and vibrations help lull baby to sleep
  • Wheels allow you to effortlessly move the bassinet from room to room

It has a padded insert, which can be covered with a mini sheet, and a shade that can completely cover the basket.

It can be picked up and placed virtually anywhere, and it’s sides are high and thick for support.

It’s lightweight, but doesn’t fold up, so it’s long, big, and bulky for travel. But, it can be taken outside or from room to room in a jiffy. 

There are some classically designed bassinets that have recently been given a more modern twist.

These styles are still c-shaped and have handles, except they are plastic and are similar to a car seat carrier.

Some believe they are more durable and practical than a traditional woven basket, and they have built in material, to keep baby comfortable and warm.

They also have a hard top shield that keeps baby dry and safe from weather elements. These hard bassinets can rock and sit on top of different kinds of surfaces.

Modern Bassinet

A modern bassinet is much like a classic style, but it’s usually positioned on a platform, which has legs that fold out, form a tri fold, or can roll.

BabyBjorn Cradle
  • Lulls your baby to sleep with relaxing, gentle rocking movement
  • JPMA Certified Product with low height and transparent mesh fabrics allowing for secure supervision of your baby

The raised bassinet serves as a bed, resting place, diaper station, or even a dressing area.

Its height can be adjusted and it’s sides are high, yet see-through and mesh. Generally, the sides don’t fold down like a co-sleeper, so a baby needs to be picked up and put down, rather than rolled or slid out. 

Some modern bassinets also have rocking legs built in, so it will not only hold your baby, serve as a cozy and safe place to sleep, but can also rock them to sleep and pacify them when they’re upset.

These styles are small, light in weight, and fold up with ease if you need it to travel or to just move it to a different room in your home. 

Multi-Purpose Bassinet

Another modern take on a bassinet, a multi-purpose style allows for growth over time.

Sale
Dream on Me Lacy Bassinet
  • Spacious bassinet with hooded locking wheels
  • Mattress pad

So, parents can take advantage of a small, stationary holder, a lower level resting area, and eventually a full fledged play pen.

Parents use the bassinet as a sleeper in their room, and a play place once their little one has grown and can get into trouble when mom or dad has their back turned.

It safely contains them, has see-through mesh panels, and high, sturdy walls, making it difficult for even the most skilled climber to scale.

This multi-purpose bassinet is also often used in place of a diaper changing table, eliminating the need for an additional large piece of furniture.

It folds up and packs quickly as well, making it ultra-portable for indoor or outdoor use. 

Benefits of Using a Bassinet

Here are some benefits of using a bassinet with your little one:

  • Reduced risk of SIDS. Studies show that when parents have their baby next to them while they sleep (but not necessarily directly in their bed), the risk of SIDS lessens.
  • Instant comfort. If your baby starts to scream in the middle of the night, you are literally a step, bottle, diaper change, and pacifier away. You can generally catch them and sooth them before they wake themselves up too much. 
  • Makes feeding and diaper changes easy. Moms are able to nurse from the comfort of their bed, and diapers can be placed underneath the bassinet so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around in the dark, at a changing table, on another level of your home. 
  • lightbulb-o
    Assist with postpartum needs. Moms have a lot of recovering to do after a delivery, especially if you have a C-section. A bassinet is simply more convenient and safe for a mother’s needs initially.
  • lightbulb-o
    Can remain active. A bassinet allows you freedom and flexibility once your baby is born. You can resume traveling and can get outdoors knowing that your little one has a place to be held and sleep besides using a super heavy carrier or crib. 
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    Helpful to caregivers. A bassinet is helpful for elderly caregivers if both parents are returning back to work. It eliminates the need for them to go up and down the stairs with your baby and can be taken and set up at their house as well. So, there’s no need to run out and buy a crib. 

Downsides of Using a Bassinet

Bassinets can also have the following downsides:

  • Takes up space. If you’re already working with a tiny bedroom, a bassinet will suck up more space. Choose a model that drops off a side to allow you to move it as close to your mattress as possible.
  • Short shelf life. Once your baby really starts rolling and moving in their sleep, then it’s time to say goodbye to a bassinet. For most babies, they are out of their bassinets and into their cribs by around 3 months of age or so. 
  • Can be unsteady. Bassinets are able to tip, so be sure to choose an ultra safe, heavy model that remains grounded and has wheels that lock, to always keep your little one safe and sound. Folding legs also tend to be a bit less sturdy than a trifold, stationery style. 
  • Can feel restrictive. Bassinets don’t have many downsides, but one of them could include your baby simply not liking it. Most feel that their baby loves the limited, snuggly space a bassinet provides, since it reminds them of being curled up in the womb, while others can’t wait to get space to explore and roll around. Some babies simply don’t like the restricted space. 

Look for the Following Features

A good bassinet should have some of the following features:

  • Mesh sides. For obvious reasons, you not just want to be able to see your baby, but you want to make sure enough air travels through.
  • Sturdiness. Before you put your baby in the bassinet that you set up, use a doll or other comparable item, and give the bassinet a good push from all angles. If it overly sways, shifts, or tips, get rid of it! It shouldn’t budge, and should be a bit on the heavier side.
  • Ease of pack-up. Many parents purchase a bassinet because they wish to travel. So, a bassinet shouldn’t take more than five minutes to shut down or set up. A handy, dandy carrying case is also always an added bonus. 
  • Swivel. A bassinet should be able to be turned from all angles. This allows parents easy access and the ability to care for their child, without literally getting out of bed. 
  • Lowered walls. Being able to lower a wall is ideal until you get the hang of nursing, swaddling, and soothing your newborn. 
  • calendar-check-o
    Vibration and soothing. If you can find a bassinet that either vibrates, rocks, or plays soothing sounds, you’ve got yourself a winner. These features just help make parents’ lives easier—especially overnight. 
  • calendar-check-o
    Built-in shelf. A bottom, built in shelf is a great feature. It allows you to set up diapers, meds, bottles, burp clothes—you name it. 
  • calendar-check-o
    Comes with bedding. The last thing you probably want to do is run out and buy bedding for a bassinet. Opt to choose a style that throws in a sheet set or two, to get you started with everything you need right from the get go. 

Shopping Tips

Now that you know all about why you need a bassinet, different styles, benefits, and features to look for, it’s time to start shopping.

Here are a few tips that will help you make the right choice for your registry or home:

  • Pay attention to safety standards. Look for labels that JPMA or ASTM. This means that the bassinet is ultra-safe for your child and has a reduced risk of suffocation or entrapment. 
  • Scan for safety. If the bassinet you're looking at doesn’t have a safety label, then be sure to evaluate certain features. If it has decorative posts sticking out of the sides, it could catch your baby’s clothing. If there are side slats that you can fit a soda between, pass on it. If you notice cutouts anywhere, pass on it since it could entrap a baby. These are all little things you need to consider and be prepared for. 
  • Rock it. Many bassinets are already set up for you in baby stores to view. Give it a good rock or shake. If it doesn't appear safe or sturdy, then it’s not and it’s time to view a different brand or model. 
  • Go no-frills. Many parents buy an item based on how it looks. But, sometimes, it’s the simplest things that are the safest. Frills, extra material, you name it—all can lead to safety issues.
  • Choose a finish that complements your decor. Because bassinets come in many colors, shapes, sizes, and styles, why not shop for one that will fit in with the vibe of your room and home? 
  • Think clean. When shopping for a bassinet, be sure to keep in mind how you’re going to clean it. Does it have lots of nooks and crannies to get in between? Are parts removable to get sanitized? Do you need to purchase sheets or does the set you’re looking at come with them? You’ll need an extra set of sheets when one is getting washed.

Safety Tips

In addition to shopping tips, there are some safety tips to consider when using a bassinet with your baby:

  • Adhere to weight limits. Many bassinets have specified weight limits (usually around 20 pounds). This means your child should no longer be in one!
  • Mattress support. When you receive your bassinet, always check it for mattress support. It should not bend or flex. It shouldn’t dip anywhere either, especially in the middle. If this happens with your baby in it, return it as it’s not safe. 
  • Be aware of recalls. If you’re borrowing a bassinet (not recommended), stay up to date on safety recalls. This will help you remain current and safe.
  • Say no to bumpers. Your bassinet does not need a bumper or pillow. Stick to bare bones and lots of support when choosing what’s on the inside of it. 

Best for Babies

HALO 360 Bassinest

The Halo 360 Bassinest (click here to check the price on Amazon) combines many of the features you look for in a bassinet. It has a small footprint, allows you to keep baby close to you while you sleep, and is JMPA certified.

In fact, the CJ Foundation for SIDS recommends this bassinet as the safest alternative to bed sharing.

The Halo 360 bassinet fits most beds 22” to 34” tall, and is also phthalate and BPA-free.

We like

The base slides under the bed so that it takes up less space, and the height adjusts to optimize bassinet for the size of your bed.

The basket swivels 360 degrees to allow you to sleep or get out of bed without moving the entire bassinet.

The nursing timer helps you wake up for feeding intervals, and sounds, music and vibration soothe baby and shut off automatically after 30 minutes.

It's made of polyester material that wipes clean easily, mesh sides allow for adequate ventilation, and comes with fitted sheet.

Keep in mind

The stable base can be a little heavy, making this bassinet hard to move.

The vibration and light are strongest at the center of the basket, making it inconvenient if baby’s head is in that area.


Best for Newborns

BabyBjorn Cradle

The BabyBjorn Cradle (click here to check the price on Amazon) has sleek, contemporary style and a versatile design.

Note that it doesn't use electronic sounds, music or motion, and while the cradle rocks, it’s not a traditional rocking motion. 

Instead, the cradle sways gently in response to your baby’s movements. You can also push the cradle with your hand to rock it gently.

It is stable on any flooring, and the low 31” height from the floor to base of cradle makes this possible to place next to a bed.

We like

The spring suspension sways gently in every direction, soothing baby every time they move.

It's easy to assemble, lightweight, and its small footprint doesn’t take up unnecessary space.

The mesh sides allow for adequate ventilation, while the fabric and mattress pad cover are machine washable but must be air dried.

Keep in mind

It doesn't fold up, so it's a no-go if you need it for travel.

It doesn’t have wheels, so you have to lift the entire bassinet to move it.


Best for Travel

Graco Pack N Play Playard Bassinet

The uber-popular Graco Pack N Play is an economical bassinet (click here to check the price on Amazon) that's designed for versatile portability.

It contains ample-sized storage pockets so that you can keep baby’s items and diaper-changing accessories handy, and one of the most adaptable features of this bassinet is its removable bassinet insert.

When the bassinet insert is being used, it allows baby to sleep at a higher level.

Once baby becomes more mobile, he or she can be placed to sleep on the lower pad, which is safe to use until baby weighs 40 pounds, 35” tall and is unable to climb out.

We like

It collapses easily with the click of a button, and folds into a convenient carrying case.

Designed to be light enough to carry from place to place when folded down.

It comes with a mobile that gives your baby soft toys to watch, kick and bat.

Keep in mind

It doesn't move or rock, so it's a no-go if your baby to falls asleep in motion.

None of the fabric is removable for machine washing.

You must bend down to reach the mattress pad, which is close to the floor.


Best for Small Spaces

Graco Dream Suite

The Graco Dream Suite (click here to check the price on Amazon) may not be the prettiest bassinet, but it’s loaded with features, including a canopy, toy bar, locking wheels, a large storage compartment and soothing vibration.

This bassinet also turns into a diaper changing station—extending the usefulness of this item—simply by rotating the basket.

We like

The basket rotates to provide a diaper-changing surface, while the large storage compartment beneath the basket holds a large amount of diapers.

The wheels make it easy to maneuver around the house and from room to room.

It comes with a removable, machine-washable mattress pad.

Keep in mind

Only having mesh on a portion of the sides makes it difficult to see baby from the side.

The diaper changer may be better used alone once baby outgrows bassinet.

The canopy can't be removed, so taking baby in and out can be cumbersome.


Best Rocking Bassinet

Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play

The Fisher-Price Rock n' Play (click here to check the price on Amazon) is an alternative to a flat bassinet.

It offers automatic all-night rocking motion, which may be exactly what an exhausted parent needs.

The slight incline can help if your baby has digestive issues, and it's designed to be lower to the ground, making it easy to see your baby if you place it next to the bed.

We like

It plays soothing sounds at the push of a button, and provides two speeds of gentle, hands-free rocking that can help baby sleep even when you’re sleeping.

The slight incline can be more comfortable for babies with reflux issues.

The entire sleeping surface can be removed and put in the washing machine and dryer.

Keep in mind

The need to plug it in may limit the location where you can use it.

It can't be adjusted to lie flat if baby doesn’t prefer the incline, and there's no storage compartment.


Best Co-Sleeper

Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

Another popular bassinet, the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper (click here to check the price on Amazon) is designed to be used next to your bed or anywhere in the house.

The side rails are 11” high when fully extended, and one side lowers to 5.5” high to make it easier for you to reach baby when the bassinet is next to the bed.

The leg height is adjustable to help line up the co-sleeper with your bed, and the casters at the bottom of each leg help you roll the bassinet easily from room to room.

It also comes with straps to hold the co-sleeper flush to the side of your bed.

We like

The extra-large storage compartment beneath basket holds plenty of diapers, while the tall storage compartment sides hide clutter.

The side pockets provide easy access to important accessories, like pacifiers and diapers, while the full mesh sides give you a good view of your baby.

It comes with a fitted sheet for the mattress, while extra fitted sheets and an organic mattress can be purchased separately.

Keep in mind

It doesn't fold for storage or break down for travel, so keep this in mind if you're typically on-the-go.

Some moms say that it doesn't feel sturdy enough.


Best for Infants

Summer Infant Soothe & Sleep Bassinet

The Summer Infant Soothe & Sleep Bassinet (click here to check the price on Amazon) has the look of a vintage bassinet but the benefits of modern technology.

The bassinet plays several sounds, including a womb sound, two nature sounds and music. Soothing vibrations lull your baby to sleep.

The storage basket is large, and its sides are covered with decorative fabric for a clean look.

We like

The mattress is waterproof and comes with a fitted sheet.

The vibration and sounds have auto shut-off to preserve battery life, while toys dangle from the canopy to give baby something to play with.

An extra-large compartment beneath basket provides plenty of storage, while tall storage compartment sides hide clutter.

Keep in mind

It doesn't fold for storage or break down for travel.

There are no mesh sides, so viewing baby can be difficult from the side.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a bassinet for your little one is ultra-important—it’s the first thing your baby is going to lay their head on.

It will provide their bodies with safe support, and will guard them against the risk of SIDS.

Choose a style that boasts lots of safety features and conveniences so that it makes your life easier as you rest up postpartum.

Whether you plan on keeping one besides your bed or packing it up and jet setting, there’s a bassinet for every baby and every body!

Kate Trout
 

Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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