There are lots of reasons why parents may be interested in crib alternatives. Whether you are short on space, prefer to have your baby nearby, or want something portable, there are plenty of other crib options out there.
In this article, we’ll go over our top picks for an alternative to a crib. Spoiler alert; my personal favorite has to be the convertible Fawn Crib + Bassinet. Love the lifespan and design of this model! We will also review the basics of safe sleep and how you can decide if a bassinet alternative is right for your family!
Ready? Let’s get started!
- First Off, Do I Need A Crib for Baby Sleep?
- A Bit About Baby Safe Sleep Guidelines In Relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- 14 Best Crib Alternatives for A No Crib Nursery or Shared Room
- #1 Mini Cribs – Delta Mini Crib
- #2 Bassinets – TruBliss™ Sova Bassinet
- #3 Convertible Crib – Fawn Crib + Bassinet
- #4 Portable Infant Sleeper – Munchkin Brica Fold N' Go Travel Bassinet
- #5 Cradle – KUMI CRADLE
- #6 Travel Cribs – Silver Cross Slumber Travel Crib
- #7 Pack n’ Play – Graco My View 4-in-1
- #8 Bedside Sleeper – Mika Micky Bedside Sleeper
- #9 Co-sleepers – Snuggle Nest
- #10 Baby Swings – Graco Duet Glide Gliding Swing
- #11 Floor Bed or Montessori Bed
- #12 Moses Basket
- #13 Baby Hammocks and Baby Loungers
- #14 Baby Cardboard Box
- A Guide to Deciding Crib Alternatives for Your Child
- Frequently Asked Questions About Crib Alternatives
- Did You Enjoy These Creative Non-Crib Options?
First Off, Do I Need A Crib for Baby Sleep?
This is a tricky question to answer. While you may not need a crib, you do need a safe place for your child to sleep. We’re not saying that you can’t have a no crib nursery, but if you choose to forgo the crib, you still need a sleep-safe spot for your baby.
In other cases, parents might need or want their child to sleep in their room, in something like a co-sleeper or bassinet. We get it! But whatever you do, you need to ensure that it meets the guidelines of safe baby sleep.
Speaking of those baby sleep basics, let’s review them!
A Bit About Baby Safe Sleep Guidelines In Relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Regardless if you plan on using one of these baby crib alternatives, you should still follow the safe sleep guidelines laid out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 
Sleep related infant deaths and injuries occur every year.  The following considerations can help you make a safe sleep space for your baby, whether it be in a crib or one of the other appropriate baby sleeping options.
- Use a firm and flat surface for baby sleeps. Baby’s don’t need a soft mattress and should only use an approved, firm baby mattress such as the Newton crib mattress. The mattress shouldn’t be propped up, bolstered, or angled in any way. Don’t use a pillow or blanket as a makeshift crib. If you are unsure about choosing the right mattress for your child, here’s a handy guide.
- Keep the sleeping area clean and free of items. Your baby’s bed only needs a tight-fitting sheet. Don’t place toys, pillows, blankets, or other items in the sleep space.
- Place your baby on their back. For naps, bedtime, or anytime your baby may sleep, place them on their back.
- Dress baby appropriately. When baby sleeps, don’t cover their head, dress them in loose clothing that could cover their face or become tangled, don’t let your baby get too warm.
It’s vital to follow the guidelines recommended by the AAP in order to try and prevent sudden infant death syndrome or other sleeping injuries.
14 Best Crib Alternatives for A No Crib Nursery or Shared Room
It isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get a crib for your child! Here are 14 non-crib options for you to consider if you are looking for a good crib alternative.
#1 Mini Cribs – Delta Mini Crib
When looking for bed alternatives for small spaces, mini cribs frequently come up as a safe crib alternative. They’re just like a crib, but smaller sized. The Delta Mini Crib, for example, is a great option! It meets all safety specifications like a traditional crib, including the sturdy high sides and no-tip base.
Additionally, it comes with a water-resistant, firm mattress. It can grow with your little one, thanks to its two-position adjustable height. This means that you don’t have to worry about your child outgrowing their space anytime soon!
Made of wood and finished with a neutral paint color of either white or gray, this modern mini-crib is a stylish addition. We especially love the trendy mid-century wooden legs left natural!
- Adjustable mattress height
- Meets JAMA safety certifications
- Stylish design
- Includes water-resistant baby mattress
- Longer babies can outgrow short length quickly
- Not portable
- CONVERTIBLE CRIB: Converts from a baby crib to a twin size headboard (Bed Frame #0040, sold separately); Available in Grey, Bianca White and Dark Chocolate
- MATTRESS INCLUDED: Includes a 24 Inches W x 38 Inches L x 2.75 Inches H mattress
- GROWS WITH BABY: The 2 position mattress height adjustment on this crib allows you to lower the mattress as your baby begins to sit or stand
#2 Bassinets – TruBliss™ Sova Bassinet
If you are looking to have your infant room with you, a bedside bassinet is a solid choice. The TruBliss™ Sova Bassinet is a wonderful temporary baby bed. Its design is absolutely gorgeous, with a simple and modern appearance.
Wooden legs in a walnut finish have eye-catching gold-painted tips. The sides are made from high-quality woven fabrics, for a safe and cozy experience. They’re extra deep for added safety as your child grows.
You won’t have to worry about newborn baby messes thanks to the water-resistant padded mattress. This set even comes with machine washable sheets!
It’s sturdy but surprisingly easy to move around; so you can keep the baby close to your bed or across the room. Assembly is a breeze, so your little one can be snoozing comfortably in no time.
- Lightweight at just over 14 pounds
- Deep walls and sturdy legs for safety and comfort
- Includes mattress and two machine washable sheets
- Trendy mid-century modern design
- Can only be used with children under 5 months
- Fabric sides don’t allow for much ventilation
Bassinets – TruBliss™ Sova Bassinet
- Cozy sleep technology designed to protect your baby and encourage sleeping through the night
- Padded, vinyl-covered foam mattress pad for ultimate comfort
- Solid wooden legs in a walnut finish
- Premium woven fabrics that look great in your baby’s nursery
#3 Convertible Crib – Fawn Crib + Bassinet
Parents who don’t want a standard crib, and would prefer a pack and play alternative might want to check out convertible cribs. These beds, like the Fawn Crib + Bassinet, are very cool. This one can grow with your child and with your space.
It starts as a bassinet and a portable one at that thanks to its ingenious wheels. Then, as your child gets bigger and you want to move them out of your room, it converts to a standard crib. Finally, toddlers can sleep in the final day-bed style conversion.
All the while this bed maintains its safety and attractive look. Made of baltic birch, it fits with most nursery and room decor. Its small footprint allows you to easily fit it in nearly any space, including your own room. It’s both fashionable and very functional.
- Eco-friendly materials
- Small footprint is very space-saving
- Three-bed styles in one for kids 0-6yrs
- The bassinet is mobile with a wheel system
- Only slatted on two sides results in limited airflow
- Only one mattress position
Convertible Crib – Fawn Crib + Bassinet
- Smart space-saving design makes for easy assembly
- Starts as a bassinet but converts back to Fawn Crib with crib side panel
- Low overall height for parents to easily access baby
- Sustainably produced in Europe in an FSC certified facility
- Non-toxic finishes
#4 Portable Infant Sleeper – Munchkin Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet
If you want something short-term and portable for your babe, check out the Munchkin Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet. It works well with babies three months and younger, giving them their own space to sleep safely and comfortably.
The mesh sides, shady canopies, and firm mattress fold up completely flat for travel. Then, when you arrive, open it up, lock the sides, and your baby has a great area to snooze!
The full coverage mesh canopy is wonderful for when your baby needs to nap on the go, especially if you’re outdoors. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and a good choice for those who need something intermediary before getting a more permanent sleep option.
- Folds flat for travel
- A fully enclosed mesh canopy keeps out pests
- Locking sides for extra stability
- Extremely breathable
- Short lifespan
- The mattress isn’t very soft
- Safe, durable, lightweight travel pod for infants
- Breathable mesh panels, removable and locking steel frame provide comfort and security
- Folds flat for storage and weighs less than 3 lbs. for easy transport
#5 Cradle – KUMI CRADLE
Cradles make wonderful crib alternatives for small spaces if you have a newborn. The KUMI CRADLE is a brilliant example. This cozy little cocoon is excellent for keeping by your bedside or moving about the house with you.
You can even use it in a nursery without a crib. Like traditional cradles, it gently sways to help your baby fall asleep. However, its new and modern design makes it safe, durable, and very pretty.
Ventilated sides made of mesh are outlined with corded lines for a minimalist look, and they help to provide structure. The sleek wooden legs are sturdy and sophisticated. All the fabric is detachable and machine washable. This unique cradle is a beautiful sleeping space for your newborn.
- Cords are tied by parents in a beautiful representation of building a “nest” for their baby
- Meets all European safety standards
- Rocks back and forth
- Lightweight and easy to move about your home
- Only suitable for newborns ( < 4 months)
Cradle – KUMI CRADLE
- Hassle-free assembly using supplied Allen key
- Made with beech plywood frame, water-based varnish
- Detachable and machine washable fabric at 40°C
- Compliant with European standard EN1130:2019
#6 Travel Cribs – Silver Cross Slumber Travel Crib
Can an infant sleep in a playpen instead of a baby crib? Sure, especially if it’s a travel crib. Much like the Silver Cross Slumber Travel Crib. This portable crib option converts from a newborn bassinet to a crib, to a toddler playpen.
The removable easy-access bassinet is great for when you want your baby to sleep right by you so that you can pick them up in the night. Then, as they grow, they can move to the larger and lower space. It has mesh walls for breathability, a compact design, and folds up in a snap!
The portable crib even has a waterproof bag complete with a carry handle and shoulder strap for when you need to take it on the go. Everything is washable and made from baby-safe materials.
- Converts from bassinet, to crib, and toddler play yard
- Includes travel bag
- Suitable for children up to 50lbs
- Shake-up setup and easy fold design
- The base is wider than the top, making it a tough fit in some spaces
- No mid-level mattress option, only bassinet or lower level
Travel Cribs – Silver Cross Slumber Travel Crib
- Three-In-One Design comprising of bassinet, crib and toddler playard conversion
- Mesh sides for breathability
- Soft yet sturdy expandable mattress for comfortable sleep
- Stain-resistant fabric
- Easy setup perfect for home and travel
- Weatherproof carry bag included
#7 Pack n’ Play – Graco My View 4-in-1
Can I use a pack and play instead of a crib? Yep! Pack n’ Plays have always been a popular non-crib option and they likely will continue to be. Those like the Graco My View 4-in-1 have everything a parent and baby could ever want!
This great pack n’ play for sleeping has a plush and comfy bassinet, featuring a canopy to shade them from bright lights. Then, it can transition to a middle-level crib with its sturdy mattress and finally a lower-level toddler crib or playard.
All the while the mesh sides keep them cool and the plush mattress keeps them cozy. We also love the fact that the baby bassinet can be used as a standalone piece as it detaches and can be carried about your space.
- 3 conversions
- Bassinet can be detached and used on its own
- Compact footprint
- Includes travel bag and easy setup/takedown
- The mattress is a bit thin
- 4 different ways to use to grow with baby from newborn to toddler
- Stage 1: Raised bassinet for newborn positions baby at your eye level for check-ins throughout the night without having to get out of bed
- Stage 2: Crib-level bassinet for infant offers a cozy, elevated spot for baby to sleep, making it easy to get baby in and out
#8 Bedside Sleeper – Mika Micky Bedside Sleeper
Parents who like the idea of co-sleeping but don’t want an in-bed option will enjoy bedside sleepers. For example, the Mika Micky Bedside Sleeper lets you give your baby their own space while keeping them within arm’s reach.
One side folds down and stows away, allowing you to position them directly at your bedside with no barrier in between. You can just as easily zip up the side to form a four-wall well-ventilated bassinet.
The entire thing is on wheels for supreme mobility. Parents will also love that it is height adjustable, fitting a wide range of bed frames. The thoughtful side pocket helps you keep all your baby must-haves close at hand.
- Can be used as a bedside sleeper or standalone bassinet
- Height adjustable
- Includes storage pocket
- On wheels for portability
- Can only be used with infants <33lbs or until baby can push up on hands/knees
- Only compatible with specific sheets
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#9 Co-sleepers – Snuggle Nest
Parents who are on the hunt for co sleeper ideas might wonder, are there baby beds to put on your bed? The answer is yes, and they may help you co-sleep more safely.
Products like the Baby Delight Snuggle Nest are designed to give babies a safe place to sleep while also being extremely portable. It can be used on a bed, the floor, or any other stable surface from which it won’t roll or fall off. It has a firm water-proof mattress and stiff but ventilated sides, ideal for newborns.
The sides help to create a solid barrier between others and the baby. The Snuggle Nest co-sleeper folds in half for travel, securing with velcro. It even has a carry handle. The entire exterior shell can be removed and washed, as can the included removable mattress sheet.
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#10 Baby Swings – Graco Duet Glide Gliding Swing
Baby swings aren’t safe for overnight sleeping unlike the crib, but if you are looking for crib alternatives this is something to consider. A baby swing for sleeping like the Graco Duet Glide acts as a comfortable nap space that doesn’t take up a lot of room due to its compact design.
Some best baby swings have a combined function of a bouncer or rocker, and many modern baby swings allow you to put your baby to sleep with multiple swing or glide motions. For the Graco model, you can play songs and sounds and adjust vibration speeds to soothe your little one to dreamland.
- Portable and space-saving compared to a crib
- Multiple swinging, gliding, vibration modes
- Comes with songs and sounds to soothe baby
- Comfortable sleep space that usually comes with safety belt for enhanced security
- Quite expensive, especially with more functions
- Only good for smaller babies
- Unique swinging or gliding motions mean more options to choose from to soothe your little one
- Swing seat conveniently doubles as a portable rocker and has carry handles to keep baby close by throughout the home
- Choose from 4 soothing motions to comfort baby - swinging or gliding side-to-side or front-to-back.Do not use bleach or detergent
#11 Floor Bed or Montessori Bed
Not for newborns, but for older babies, a floor bed is a possibility. Common in playrooms or Montessori rooms, a floor bed is extremely versatile. Most, like the Montessori bed, consists of just a mattress either on the floor or on a base that lies on the floor. You could use just a crib mattress or normal mattress though.
Floor beds can have sides but not always. On some models, cushions can be affixed to the sides for an extra cozy feel, though this should only be done for older children.
They are similar to a daybed or toddler bed, just not raised off the ground. These multi-use pieces of furniture are excellent for when your baby outgrows the crib, though you might want to ensure the entire room is baby proofed enough for a safe sleeping space.
- Very comfortable
- No risk of a child rolling out
- Many different designs and styles are available
- Only suitable for older children
- Can have an expansive footprint
#12 Moses Basket
Moses Baskets are less widely used today but are still a suitable crib alternative. A good example is the Tadpoles Moses Bassinet. It looks very much like a typical basket, being woven from natural, handwoven fibers, consistent with most Moses baskets.
Some have handles while others don’t they always have a flat base as they are meant to be used on the floor. Some can attach to a rocking bassinet base that elevates them, so they are more like a cradle or bedside sleeper.
- Lightweight and portable
- No setup required
- Versatile if they attach to a cradle base
- Without the base, they can only be used on the floor for overnight sleep
- Suitable only for newborn babies
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#13 Baby Hammocks and Baby Loungers
Generally, you would never want to use a baby hammock or a baby lounger for overnight sleep. If you want somewhere to let your child nap that doesn’t require a crib, a baby hammock swing, or a product like the baby lounger are options.
However, you must supervise your child at all times when they are in these devices. Most baby loungers are very portable and designed to make your child feel cozy and secure.
They can be a great option for parents who have a sleep space for their baby in their room but want a nap spot for their child in the nursery or living room.
- Very comfortable
- Usually come with lots of features (electronic movement, toys, etc)
- Sometimes inexpensive
- Not for overnight sleep
- The child must be supervised continuously
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN-The traditional baby swing limits the baby's activity space. Gladswing baby hammock in a natural way inclined supporting up to 150 pounds, can be gently wrapped the baby, to protect their neck and spine.
- SAFETY FIRST-Safety is our top priority at Gladswing. Our products have passed many safety tests and certifications, and fully comply with the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The safety belt ensures that your baby always maintains a fixed sitting position. Suitable for baby 12 months- 4 years old. NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY or TODDLER UNWATCHED AND ALONE INSIDE THE SWING!
- TOP QUALITY MATERIALS - Our baby hammock is made from 100% cotton. The cartoon cotton pad is removable and easy to clean. When your child grows up, you can also remove it to increase seating space. Please rest assured that you have made a long-term wise investment. The natural high-quality beech wood is polished to protect the delicate skin of the baby.
#14 Baby Cardboard Box
Some countries, like Sweden, have been giving parents baby boxes made of cardboard in order to provide a safe sleep space for babies. While you can’t just grab any cardboard box for your child, you can obtain a baby box through various approved companies like Baby Box Co.
These crib alternatives are meant to be used in the short term and only for infants. The cardboard box offers parents a place to safely put their baby to bed while they find another crib alternative.
- Easy to use
- Not widely available
- Only meant to be used short-term
A Guide to Deciding Crib Alternatives for Your Child
How should you decide which of the alternatives to cribs is best for your family? Here is what to consider when browsing sleeping alternatives.
Your baby’s age.
While bassinets may be suitable for newborn babies, they do have height and weight recommendations. Similarly, things like bedside sleepers and co-sleepers can become dangerous when your child starts to roll or can climb over the side.
Take note of your child’s abilities, age, weight, and height and compare them closely against the manufacturer’s recommendations before making your baby crib alternative choice.
Available sleeping space.
One major reason why parents want something other than a crib is that they don’t have room for a standard crib. There are lots of baby bed options for small spaces but they vary in size and design.
Think about the room you are trying to fit the sleep option into; not just the size but also the shape of the opening where it will go. There are some unusual baby cribs for tiny spaces, but don’t overlook the safe sleep guidelines!
A small crib for the parents’ room? A co-sleeper? These are popular choices for parents who prefer to have their baby room with them. 
Maybe you want your child in their own room, or possibly sharing with a sibling. Think about your preference for where your child will sleep most of the time, then choose the non-crib option that works best for your family.
Finally, don’t forget to think about the lifespan of your bed choice. In some cases, the lifespan of the actual item isn’t very long, as is the case with baby boxes. 
Other times, the practical life span may be short because your child is on the verge of outgrowing it; like a bassinet for a five-month-old who could only fit in it for about one month more. It’s wise to purchase a bed that your little one can use for quite a while.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crib Alternatives
What would you recommend as the best crib alternatives for a 6-month-old?
The best crib alternative for any baby, 6 months or not, is one that is safe. A baby bed for a 6-month-old should be appropriate for their size. Most crib alternatives for 6 month a old like bassinets and infant sleepers might not fit their height, weight, and abilities any longer.
Generally, you want to transition your sleeping baby to a mini-crib, pack-n-play, or other more permanent and larger option when they are around 4 to 6 months old.
What about the best crib alternatives for a 1-year-old?
One-year-olds can usually climb, meaning that they need a stable and safe sleep space they can’t fall out of. Cribs with high sides are generally recommended, though a portable baby bed for 1-year-old or even a mattress on the floor are alternatives for your baby to sleep.
Floor beds are great crib alternatives for older babies and make suitable toddler bed alternatives too.
What are the best crib alternatives for small spaces?
Many parents enjoy mini-cribs! They’re small beds for babies specially designed to be safe like a traditional crib but for small spaces.
While your child is little, you could also use a bassinet or co-sleeper in baby’s nursery. However, as your baby grows, you may have a harder time accommodating a larger bed in your small space and will need to rethink your options in providing their own bed.
Can I use a playpen instead of a crib?
Playpens are generally safe as long as the manufacturer approves them for sleep. However, pay close attention to the height and weight recommendations. Remove all toys and use only sheets designed for your specific playpen.
What about putting a baby to sleep in a bassinet stroller overnight?
Bassinet strollers are not safe for overnight sleep or as crib substitutes. Very few models, like the UPPAbaby Vista or the Bugaboo Donkey3 stroller, have a removable bassinet that can be used for sleep when traveling.
A stroller, car seat, or another baby device not meant for sleep should never be used when putting your little one down for the night.
You may be interested in: Should Babies Sleep in The Dark
Did You Enjoy These Creative Non-Crib Options?
Are cribs necessary? Hopefully, we proved that no, they aren’t always necessary to put your baby to sleep! We would love to know your favorite from this list, or if you have any other ideas.
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Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API