Whether you’re a first-time parent or a veteran, having a place for your baby to sleep is important, but it can be overwhelming to decide what to choose. From playards to swings, two of the most popular options are bassinets and cribs.
There are pros and cons to each, but we’re here to help you decide in the debate of bassinet vs crib.
In this article we’ll be going through the various features of cribs and bassinets, and talking about their pros and cons. We’re also going to let you know what our favorite solution is.
We’ll help you decide if you’re asking yourself “Do I need a bassinet, or do I need a crib?”
Safety is an important feature for any baby bedding, and both bassinets and cribs are a good, safe option for any parent. Babies sleep a lot, and they’ll be spending a lot of time in their beds, so the features of each may be important to you, depending on your situation and your baby’s needs.
Bassinets are designed for younger babies, aged newborn to about four months. They are usually oval-shaped with mesh or cloth on the sides, and are lightweight and easy to move.
Most bassinets are taller, about the height of an adult’s waist. This makes it easier to lay the baby down as you don’t have to bend over as far. This can be helpful if you’ve experienced a C-section.
You can find bassinets in many different colors with a variety of decorations such as ruffles, hoods, and handy things like storage underneath. Some bassinets even come with lights and sounds, or are able to rock.
Further reading: Best Self-Rocking Bassinet
When your baby is big enough to roll over on its own, a bassinet is no longer a safe option, as the size restrictions and possibly cloth sides can cause suffocation. At that point baby should be transitioned to a crib.
A crib is a bed for small children that has high sides to keep the baby from getting out of bed. The sides of a crib are usually slatted, and often made out of wood, but some are mesh or cloth. You can find cribs in a variety of shapes and sizes, but there are four types of cribs.
Standard or traditional cribs are what you think of most often when you picture a crib. They are rectangular and simple in design and easy to set up. They usually take up a lot of room, with the mattresses measuring 28×52 inches.
Mini cribs are similar to standard cribs in shape and style, but they take up less space. They’re like a bassinet and crib in one. A mini crib’s mattress is 24×38 inches. Mini crib mattress from NewtonBaby is one of the best in the market.
Convertible cribs look a lot like regular cribs, but they have the added feature of being able to convert into a toddler bed when your child is too big for a crib. Some can even be converted into a full-sized twin bed. They are usually pricier, but may be worth it in the long run as you will not have to purchase a separate toddler bed.
A portable crib is great for travelling as it is lightweight and folds up compactly for carrying. These cribs usually have mesh sides, and removable mattresses. Some are large like a pack ‘n play, while some are small enough for travel that you can pop it open in an airport when it’s baby’s nap time.
When you are deciding whether to choose a crib or a bassinet, it’s good to have all of the facts in front of you. You’ll need to know what fits your space, the age of your baby, and your comfort levels with space and setup.
- Bassinet size varies, but they usually are not bigger than 20×36 inches.
- Cribs usually measure at least 28×52 inches, which is the size of a standard crib mattress, and can be bulky.
- Bassinets are only suitable for newborns up to four months, and can only hold one baby at a time. The recommended weight limit for bassinets is 15 to 20 pounds.
- Cribs can be used for a longer period of time, from newborn to toddler, as they can hold more weight and do not pose a suffocation hazard once babies start to roll over. Cribs can even be used for twins. The recommended weight limit for cribs is between 35 and 50 pounds.
- One of the concerns with bassinets is the safety factor. If the sides of the bassinet are not made of mesh, there is a chance the baby’s face can become trapped against cloth sides and suffocate. This is mostly a concern for babies who are old enough to roll over; before that it’s not much of a concern.
- Cribs are generally pretty safe, but there are a couple of things that could be a safety concern. If your mattress doesn’t fit properly then your baby could get trapped between the mattress and the wall of the crib. A similar concern is the width of the bars. Babies can get limbs trapped in between the slats.
Whether a bassinet or crib is easy to set up and dismantle really depends on the brand and type. Most are probably not hard to set up and take down. If you purchase a portable crib it’s designed to be very easy to fold up or down.
- Bassinets are fairly portable. Many come with wheels or can be carried, so you can bring it around the house with you to keep an eye on your baby.
- Cribs are generally not very portable. Standard and convertible cribs are meant to be stationary. Mini cribs are similar to bassinets in that they may come with wheels and can be moved around your house. Portable cribs are excellent for travel as they can be packed up and carried around.
- Bassinets are generally more affordable than cribs since they are used for a shorter period of time. You can find a good bassinet for $60 – $135. If you don’t have much money to spend, a bassinet is a good option.
- Cribs are definitely a more pricey option, but for some parents it’s worth it in the long run as it can be used longer. Convertible cribs are the priciest option, but again can be worth it as you get four beds in one. Cribs usually cost anywhere from $150 to $450, and you will also have to purchase a mattress, which can cost between $30 and $150.
The design and aesthetics of either a bassinet or a crib are really up to individual taste. Here are some of the things you might find on each:
- Bassinets: locking wheels, lights, sounds, awnings, pretty decorations such as ruffles, prints
- Cribs: a variety of different materials and colors, decorations such as carvings or painted pictures
Bassinet vs Crib: Features at a Glance
|Age suitability||Newborn – 4 months||Newborn – toddler|
|Size||Up to 20×36”||Around 28×52” or more|
|Safety concerns||Heavy weight, cloth sides||Ill-fitting mattress, slats|
|Portability||Fairly portable||Not portable (except for travel cribs)|
|Cost||Can cost between $60 – $135||Can cost between $150 to $450; need to factor in crib mattress: $30 and $150|
Want more tips before you settle on choosing between a bassinet vs crib? Here are some good reminders:-
- Look for a seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA) to ensure that your crib or bassinet meets safety standards.
- Look for a wide, stable base and a sturdy bottom with no sharp edges or small parts that can come off easily.
- Make sure that if your crib or bassinet folds that the legs lock into place.
- When choosing a bassinet, check that the sides are mesh to avoid suffocation.
- When choosing a crib, check that the slats are no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart to avoid baby getting stuck in them.
- Choose a bassinet or crib that will fit in a space that is away from windows and other hanging hazards.
- Mini Crib vs Bassinet: If you’re tight on space, a mini crib might be a great option for you. Mini cribs have all of the advantages of bassinets, but they are sturdier and last longer.
If you want to buy a used crib or bassinet, proceed with caution.
- Don’t buy anything made before 1974, when safety standards were put in place. Older cribs can contain lead paint and can be unstable.
- Avoid cribs with drop-down sides which have been illegal to sell since 2011.
- Look it over carefully for any damage or repairs. Give it a good shake to see if it’s still solid and check all attachments.
- Find a manual if you don’t get one with your purchase.
- Clean it well before using.
Once your baby is ready to transition from the newborn baby bed to a crib, follow these tips to make the transition easy.
- Make sure you have a safe space free from toys, bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals, etc. The more boring, the better!
- Create a good sleep environment with things like blackout curtains, a sound machine, and a cooler room – but make sure to dress baby comfortably!
- Swaddle baby so they feel snug and safe, as the crib is a bigger space than they are used to.
- If you’re putting the crib in a separate room, make sure to spend plenty of time in that room with your baby so they get familiar with it and associate it with comfort.
There are advantages to having a bassinet, such as taking up less space, but on the whole a crib is more economical and a bit safer than a bassinet.
Newborns don’t need both a bassinet and a crib. While they are convenient, bassinets are not required for newborns.
A crib for newborn babies is totally fine. The only thing to remember is that newborn babies wake up a lot to nurse during the night, and it may be easier to have a smaller bed near yours than having your baby sleep in a crib.
The best time to buy a bassinet, crib, or whatever type of baby bed you want, is before baby is born! You don’t want to be scrambling for a bed when you bring baby home.
Here are some great bassinets to consider:
- Best Value for Money Bassinet: Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Bassinet
- Best Minimalist Rocking Bassinet: BABYBJORN Cradle
- Easy Setup: Graco My View 4 in Baby Bassinet
Here are some great cribs to consider:
- Best Design: babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib
- Great 4-in-1 Convertible Crib: DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
- Best Mini Crib: Bloom Alma Mini Crib
Some parents like co-sleeping, though it is not recommended because of the chance of SIDS. A better option if you would like to try co-sleeping is a bedside co-sleeper bassinet. It’s like a regular bassinet except that one side is open, and it attaches to the side of your bed so baby is on the same level as you.
Pack ‘n plays are a similar option to the travel crib, but they usually have a few more features and a sturdier design. Some pack ‘n plays come with built-in bassinets, changing tables, storage, and more.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what you should use for your baby. Whether you want to use a bassinet or a crib is really up to your personal preference, though you have to remember that bassinets are not suitable for older babies.
Our personal choice would have to fall to the crib. Though they may cost more upfront, cribs are more worth it because of their durability and the age range they can hold. If you need something cheaper for the short-term, get a bassinet, or invest more long-term in a crib.
In a nutshell, use a Bassinet if:
- you want to spend less money
- you don’t have a lot of room
- you need more portability
Alternativey, use a crib if:
- you want an option that will last till your child is a toddler
- you have more space
- your baby is older than 4 months
Which option would you go for? Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.