Bassinets are quite popular and there are many good reasons for it! Parents use them before they feel comfortable enough to trust their babies sleeping in cribs. But how long should a bassinet be used and why is this timeframe so important for your baby? While the answer to this question can be somewhat subjective, there are also general rules to follow.
[alert type=”info” close=”false” heading=”Answer”]Typically, your baby should stop sleeping in a bassinet between 4 and 6 months old[/alert]
First of all, having a bassinet is not a must but it definitely comes with its advantages. Bassinets come in a multitude of styles and shapes in order to accommodate as many preferences as possible. But in general, they are made of a large basket attached to a frame that can be on wheels or not. Inside the basket, there should be a thin and comfortable mattress for your baby to sleep on. Also, some bassinets come with a generous storage space underneath the basket where you can keep the baby accessories that you need. You can find them at all prices and choose the one that suits your baby’s needs best!
Why should you use a bassinet, to begin with?
Bassinets give you the advantage to keep your baby close to your bed at night or while you do your daily chores. This can be very important in those unexpected situations in which you need to supervise your child but also take care of other things simultaneously. Babies tend to be extremely curious and this curiosity can get them in danger at times!
The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends keeping your baby nearby especially during the night for safety reasons. Besides its main purpose to create a relaxing sleeping space for the baby, a bassinet can be used for diaper changing as well. You can simply let them play in their bassinet next to your desk while you are working just to be able to keep an eye on them. This will bring you a priceless peace of mind and make your baby feel more connected with you as well.
As for the baby’s comfort, the bassinet definitely does a better job in this area as well. Your newborn is used to being in a tight and cozy place like your womb. If you put them in a crib as soon as they get home, it might take a while for them to get used to all that space. That will also mean many sleepless nights for you since they will make sure you know just how uncomfortable they are!
A bassinet gives your newborn the illusion of having the same comfort the used to have in the womb. And this will put their mind at ease a lot so it can be quite a difference for them and you as well!
How can you tell if your baby should stop sleeping in a bassinet?
Bassinets should be used as precursors to cribs but they are not a long-term investment. Children usually outgrow their bassinet fast enough and they need to switch to a crib. As stated at the beginning of this article, this will happen between 4 and 6 months old. However, it also depends on your child size and the size of bassinet that you are using.
The size of a bassinet is based on the weight it can support. Most of the bassinets that can be found on the market support around 15 or 20 lbs. if your baby is a little bit smaller than the average child of same age, you will most likely be able to use the bassinet longer. However, if they are bigger, they will need to be moved into a crib much faster. Babies that are too big to sleep in a bassinet, often wake themselves up during the night by bumping into the sides of it.
If the weight rule doesn’t seem like enough for you to decide about the right time to move your baby out of the bassinet, there are other considerations. For instance, if your baby can roll over, sit or move freely in different directions, it is probably time to stop putting them in a bassinet. This aspect is generally considered for safety reasons. Babies that can roll over and sit are most likely to practice those skills often and they can harm themselves easily in such a narrow space. This can be very dangerous so, no risks should be taken!
Safety tips to consider while using a bassinet for your baby
Even if bassinets are very cozy for the baby and can bring you some well-deserved peace of mind, there are safety rules you need to apply. If you use the bassinet wrong, it can bring more damage to your baby and more sleepless night to you. Not to mention that neglecting the following safety aspects can actually lead to serious consequences and even tragedies!
Use the best mattress
The mattress you use inside the bassinet is essential for your baby’s comfort and health. You want a mattress that is firm enough for them and also stay away from adding other bedding. This is not the time to get creative so you need to stick with the main needs for your baby’s well-being.
Do not use the bassinet if your baby is too big or too old for it
The reasons for this rule are strongly related to safety aspects and even vital ones for your little one. If you use a bassinet for a toddler that is older than 6 months you creating a lot of hazards. Babies that are older than 6 months are usually able to sit and move around. This means they can easily fall out of the bassinet and that can be tragic in more than one way. Also, if your child is weighing more than 20 lbs, they will not feel comfortable at all in a bassinet. They will cry and even develop health problems because of it.
Try using a sleeping bag instead of a regular blanket
Nowadays you can find sleeping bags made especially for babies. These sleeping bags are great to use when your baby sleeps in a bassinet because they protect them. At the same time, they are much more comfortable than regular blankets. And you will not have to check to see if your baby is covered all the time either!
How to get your baby to sleep in a crib after sleeping in a bassinet
If your baby is ready to change their bassinet for a crib, there some tips you need to consider as well. And these are for both yours and your baby’s peace of mind!
Keep the crib in the same room with you
Just because your baby is big enough to trade a bassinet for a crib, it doesn’t mean that they can have their own room. You will still need to keep an eye on them during the night so try to place the crib as close to your bedroom as possible. Remember that this is a transition phase and each child reacts differently to it!
Add some extra pillows and sleep-proof toys in the crib.
Babies love toys and they love pillows too! When you first move your toddler into a crib, they might not know what to do with all the space. To keep them entertained you can add some appropriate toys inside the crib. Also, extra pillows placed especially on the sides of the crib will give your baby the illusion of a tighter space. This will make them feel more comfortable and sleep better.
Don’t make the change along with other major changes.
If you want to obtain best results from this transition, don’t mix it with other ones like getting a new caregiver or going on vacation. If you change too many things at the same time, your baby will get stressed and develop all types of problems. The first consequence you will have to face if you fall into this trap is sleeping problems. Every change in your baby’s life is important. And you should introduce them by taking one step at a time. Ideally, they should not realize that they are losing their comfort zone at all.
If you are using a bassinet right, you will make life easier for both you and your baby. But no matter how comfortable you both get to the idea of having one, time comes to upgrade to a crib sooner or later. Remember that compromising on this aspect is not a good idea. It can bring a lot of health problems for your baby and sleepless nights for you!
The best thing is to use a bassinet for as long as your baby is safe in it and start preparing for the transition to a crib as soon as you need to. It is up to you as a parent to know and decide what is best for your baby! By doing this right, your baby will have a more peaceful and enjoyable time during the day but especially during the night.
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