How long can you use a bassinet? Is it even worth it?

How long can you use a bassinet for?

Bassinets give your baby a cozy place to sleep during the critical first weeks and months of his life but bassinets do have a relatively short shelf life. How long your baby can use the bassinet will depend on many factors but generally you will need to upgrade to a larger sleeping space somewhere between 3 and 6 months.

There are many factors that come into play in order to know when it’s time to move out of the bassinet and into the crib. Some of these are related to your baby’s development and others with your choice of bassinet. Making sure you choose the right bassinet for your lifestyle is important so make sure to look at all of the important factors that come into play.

Why you should get a bassinet

When you bring your newborn home for the first time, you will need a safe and convenient place to put him down to nap and sleep. Newborns can sleep up to 14 or 16 hours per day between naps and night sleep, this means parents need a safe place to put baby down many times per day. Having a bassinet nearby can make this important task much easier.

The bassinet provides parents with the convenience of having baby close by and it offers baby a cozy and safe place to sleep right near mom and dad.

Safe sleep guidelines from the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) indicate that newborns and infants should be placed on their backs on a firm sleep surface such as a bassinet or a crib. No other accessories, blankets or toys are allowed in the sleeping area.

Additionally, the AAP instructs parents to share the bedroom (but not the bed) with their baby from at least 6 month and even up to 12 months.

This means that your baby will need a place to sleep in the same room as you, and a bassinet is the perfect solution. Not only is it small enough to fit almost any room, but it also provides your newborn the coziest sleep solution.

Important Features

Bassinets can be as simple as a basket with a mattress or as complex as a smart miniature crib that detects your baby’s movement or crying and soothes him with automatic sounds and rocking. The options are endless.

Choosing the right features for you can help make your bassinet phase better and longer lasting.

Some key features to look for when choosing your bassinet are:

  • Height adjustable
  • Mesh/breathable side walls
  • Collapsible wall for easy access to baby
  • Built-in vibration and soothing sounds
  • Night light
  • Storage
  • Rocking (manual or automated)
  • Washable and breathable mattress

Bassinet Types

Some of the most common types of bassinets are stand alone and bedside bassinets.

Stand alone are the classic basket kind that usually sit on a stand or platform. These types of bassinets can be used in the parent’s bedroom and they can also be moved around the house as needed. If you choose a small, light weight version, you could even bring it to your main room and use it for daytime naps as well.

One great example of a stand alone bassinet is the UPPAbaby bassinet and stand combo. We love the UPPAbaby bassinet because of its convenience. It folds down flat, it’s easy to move from room to room and it even attaches to your UPPAbaby stroller so you can have a bassinet on the go.

The bedside bassinets are usually designed to be used right by the parent’s bed and sometimes even attach to it. They are more of a fixed piece of furniture to be kept in the bedroom. Many times, the bedside bassinets have very useful functions that allow parents to reach their babies from the comfort of their own bed.

Our favorite bedside bassinet is the Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer. This model is stylish, easy to fold and move around but it also attaches to your bed for a secure fit in the bedroom.

Size and weight Limits

Most bassinets have a weight limit somewhere between 20lbs and 25lbs and a baby size limit of about 25” to 30”. If you are looking to extend your baby’s stay in your bedroom and in the bassinet, you should look for models with higher limits to allow for more growth and therefore more time of use.

The reason for these limits is actually safety. It’s not that manufacturers can’t make bassinets to hold larger babies, it’s that these numbers coincide with some major milestones in your baby’s development.

Milestones

When babies grow to around 20lbs (or somewhere between 4 and 6 months), they start reaching some major milestones. They start moving a lot more and are now likely able to or learning how to roll over, sit up and sometimes even stand up.

Bassinets are designed for babies to sleep on their backs and they are usually not large enough or high enough for babies that want to roll over or stand up.

So, when you notice that your baby can either roll over on his own, sit up or pull himself up from sitting to standing, it is time to transition from the bassinet to a larger and more secure sleeping area such as a mini crib or a full-size crib.

Safety

If you follow the guidelines for safe sleep from the AAP as well as the weight, size and milestone restrictions on the model you choose, bassinets are the safest place for your baby to sleep or nap.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is in most parent’s minds as it should be. However, if you take the appropriate precautions you can reduce the risk of SIDS by significant amounts.

Having you baby sleep in a safe environment free of accessories, blankets and other hazards is the first thing. Secondly, studies have shown that when babies sleep in their parents room up to 6 months of age, the risk of SIDS is reduced by 50%. The safest place for you baby to be in your room is in their own sleeping space; in a bassinet.

Conclusion – Is it even worth it?

Bassinets can normally be used for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months. Even though this doesn’t sound like much time, it is a critical time of development for your newborn baby. A bassinet is the best and safest place for a baby to sleep in so make sure to choose the right one for your lifestyle.