Getting ready to welcome a little bundle of joy into your life? One of the very first questions you will need to answer when shopping for baby supplies is, “Where is my infant going to sleep?” Your first thought might be to go out and buy a crib—but hang on. You might actually want to shop for a bassinet!
You can view my top recommended bassinets for 2017 below. Not sure what you need? Before you can pick out the best bassinets for newborns, you need to know a bit more about what they are, what features are important, and what types of bassinets are on the market. Scroll down past the table for my full buying guide!
Chicco Lullago Travel Crib
This bassinet is a cost-effective option if you are in the market for a portable travel sleeper. It measures only 36” x 27” x 22.” With its Snap-On legs, it can be assembled in a matter of seconds. It comes complete with a carry bag you can use for travel and storage, and includes mesh windows, anti-slip feet, and hand-washable fabric parts.
Baby-Bjorn Cradle Review
This JPMA-certified bassinet has a minimalist, modern design which fits in well with any home décor, whether rustic or contemporary. It rocks gently to soothe your baby, and is made with breathable transparent mesh. The elegant simplicity of the design isn’t just visually appealing; it is also safe and functional. There are no parts in this bassinet which could trap your baby’s hands or feet. This makes it a safe, cozy resting place.
Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
Those in searching of the best co-sleeper crib should check out the Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper. This luxurious bassinet is made out of soft, comfortable mesh, and can be rotated a full 360 degrees, making it perfect for nighttime nursing. Reaching inside for your baby is easy, as is getting in or out of bed. The sleeper includes a patented side wall which can be lowered and automatically raised again. This is a safe and convenient design. The base is adjustable, so no matter what size or shape your bed is, you should have no problem putting this bassinet next to it.
Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard
Another excellent portable option is the Lotus Travel Crib. Designed for ease-of-use, the Lotus bassinet can be set up in just 15 seconds. The sides are made of breathable ClearView mesh. The bassinet’s safe, sturdy design is 16 CFR 1221 + ASTM F406-13A certified. With the inclusion of a side door, it can be converted into a play area. What’s also cool is that it can be packed up in a backpack. This leaves your hands free while you are on the go—great for traveling or home use.
Fisher-Price Soothing Motion Bassinet
If you are shopping for a bassinet which includes some extra soothing features for your baby, think about getting the Fisher-Price Soothing Motion Bassinet. This reasonably priced sleeper can be rocked gently, either by you or by your baby. There is also a removable light unit which can create a soothing projection or function as a nightlight. The product can also vibrate or produce calming sounds or music. With so many features to ensure your baby’s comfort, both of you should get a great night’s sleep night after night!
Ingenuity FoldAway Rocking Bassinet
For a portable, collapsible bassinet, consider the Ingenuity FoldAway. This rocking bassinet can be set up within seconds, and includes breathable mesh sides which maximize comfort, visibility, and safety.
What is a Bassinet?
A bassinet is a lot like a crib. It is a safe place for your newborn to sleep. It’s a lot smaller than a crib, however, and many models are portable. That way you can always have your baby near you. Bassinets can be made out of a wide range of materials, including metal, wood, wicker, or plastic tubing. Most models have a cover, and some include special features (more on that later).
Note that sometimes bassinets are referred to casually as “bedside sleepers” or “co-sleeper cribs.” Technically, those are different options than bassinets—something I will talk about more in just a bit. But it is useful to know that sometimes when someone says “bedside sleeper” or “crib,” they actually mean “bassinet.”
Do I Need a Bassinet?
Technically, no. Your baby can sleep in a crib right from the start. That being said, you are definitely going to want to get one. Why? Well, here are just a few reasons to consider:
- If your baby’s crib is set up in another room, it can be convenient to have the bassinet set up next to your bed. That way you can breastfeed in the middle of the night without having to get up and move around. This is extra important if you have mobility issues, whether from the strain of delivery or a permanent handicap.
- With the best portable bassinet, you can have your baby sleeping next to you throughout the day. Cleaning the living room? Wheel the bassinet in beside you. Making dinner? Set up your bassinet in the kitchen. You never have to be away from your baby.
- Bassinets save space. Eventually of course your baby is going to need a full-size crib. But if you are in a tiny apartment, a bassinet can offer a good temporary space-saving solution while you work on rearranging and making room.
So getting a bassinet for those first few months is going to make your life a lot easier, saving you time and energy. Best of all, you can keep an eye on your little one at all times. Believe me, that peace of mind is worth every penny!
Do I Need More Than One Bassinet?
Probably not, unless you want to buy both a travel bassinet and a regular bassinet. Most bassinets are versatile enough to fill all your needs, so you can just purchase one and then focus on buying a crib.
Are Bassinets Safe For Babies?
Bassinets are completely safe for babies—so long as you are buying a high-quality product.
The reason I emphasize this is because there are federal safety standards which cribs have to meet, but no such standards exist for bassinets, cradles, or bedside sleepers.
This means that there is less oversight when it comes to bassinet safety from a regulatory standpoint. A lot of bassinet manufacturers however choose to meet the standards of ASTM International.
Those which do typically package their products with a Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association seal. You should look for this seal while you’re shopping. This ensures that you are getting a safe bassinet.
Bassinets vs. Cribs and Other Options
As I’ve explained, a bassinet offers a major benefit over a crib in that it is portable. A crib can really only stay in one place; moving it is a hassle. A bassinet is easy to wheel from one room to another. But you may be wondering what the other differences are between bassinets and cribs. Let’s take a look.
- As there are federal safety standards for cribs, shopping for them is easier.
A crib can be used for years. Many models convert into beds for toddlers.
- Cribs tend to cost more than bassinets.
- A crib is larger than a bassinet and generally not portable.
- A bassinet is compact. This makes it easier to store and lean over.
- Because a bassinet is portable, you can take it with you to any room of the house or keep it by your bed.
- Bassinets are less expensive than cribs.
- A bassinet is not a long-term-use item. It can only be used for about four months, and there are weight restrictions. Of course, if you plan to have more children, they can use it too. A bassinet is also a great gift; four months is pretty light use, so you can pass it on to a friend or family member.
- A bassinet is an extra expense.
What about other alternatives like cradles? Bassinets are actually a lot safer. Traditional cradles pose a suffocation hazard should a baby roll to the side. Certain bedside sleepers (with one wall which is always lower) are also problematic, because a baby can fall between the sleeper and the bed and become injured or suffocate. Neither of these issues exist with high-quality bassinets.
Types of Bassinets
In order to get the best infant sleeper, you need to shop for the right type of bassinet for your needs. Some popular types of bassinets include:
- Bedside bassinets. These models are designed specifically with nighttime nursing in mind. They usually swivel 360 degrees and have side walls which can be lowered.
- Classic bassinets. This type of bassinet is usually a woven basket. As the name implies, it has a “classic” appearance, kind of like a miniature crib.
- Multi-purpose bassinets. These bassinets usually have an abundance of extra features, and may be able to be converted into playpens.
Features to Look for in a Bassinet
When shopping for the best newborn bassinet, look for the following features:
- Breathability. Bassinets with mesh siding maximize breathability as well as visibility, making for a safe choice.
- Safe, sturdy build. Again, look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association seal. Choose a bassinet which will not wobble or shift if it gets knocked from any side.
- Swiveling. The best co-sleepers can be swiveled to any angle. This is part of what makes it easy to reach over to your baby in the middle of the night without getting up out of bed. It also makes it possible to climb in or out of bed without wheeling the bassinet to a different location. That way you will not wake your infant if you need to get up in the night (that means more sleep for both of you!).
- Walls you can lower. This feature also helps with middle-of-the-night nursing sessions.
- Portability. Compact sizing and wheels are part of this, but there are other factors to consider too. You should think about how quickly it is possible to set the bassinet up or pack it up (anything more than five minutes is a bit much—a lot of units can be set up in just 15 seconds or so). Some models also come with carrying cases as well.
- Shelf. Some bassinets include a bottom shelf. This is an awesome feature, since you can use it to store bottles, diapers and so forth. That means a lot less running around grabbing what you need throughout the day.
- Soothing features. Some of the fancier bassinets include features like rocking or vibrating. They may also be able to play nature, womb or heartbeat sounds, soothing music, and so on.
- Bedding. Some bassinets come with bedding while others do not. Included bedding is always a big plus, since otherwise you need to go track down bedding to fit the particular bassinet model you bought.
Remember, a bassinet does not necessarily need to include all of these features to be considered a good buy. The best bedside sleeper bassinet includes the features you need to keep your baby safe, calm, and happy.
Conclusion: How to Pick the Best Bassinet For You
Now you are familiar with the important features to look for while shopping for the best baby sleepers. You also know the pros and cons of baby bassinets and how they compare with cribs and other options. Look for bassinets which voluntarily meet the safety standards set by ASTM International, and which offer you the features and benefits you need for your baby’s first few months of life. Ready to shop? Scroll back up to my chart at the top of this buying guide to discover the best bassinets for newborns!