Is it time to get a sleeper for your newborn? Are you trying to decide which sleeper style is best?
You’re not alone! One of the many decisions new parents must face is choosing what to lay their newborn down in for the night.
There are many questions and factors surrounding this choice, and with so many differing opinions, it can be hard to decide without some insight.
What will help baby get the best sleep? Which sleeper is safest? With a little more information and some consideration, you can decide what’s best for you and your little one.
Deciding Factors For Your Sleeper
Every parent faces sleeping dilemmas. It’s one of the toughest challenges of raising a newborn baby. We’ve been there ourselves — after your little one is born, nighttime is temporarily turned upside down.
With middle-of-the-night feedings and cranky babies, it’s easy for your former resting time to become exhausting. One way to cut back on the stress of this time is choosing sleeping arrangements that suit you and your baby best.
There are a few key points to keep in mind in order to determine what will suit your needs.
- Price: Not every family can afford multiple sleepers, so if you’re on a limited budget, look for long-lasting options that last past the first year. A mobile sleeper option may also be a great option, so you can easily move the baby around the house with you.
- Space: If you’re limited on space, such as living in a small apartment, a smaller sleeper with storage or included features to improve function may be best for your family.
- Feeding method: While it’s true both bottle-fed and breastfed babies should share a room with mom, proximity to the bed may not be as essential for bottle-fed babies.
- The extras: Some sleepers, especially Rock ‘N Play models, may come with soothing lights, sounds, and vibrations.
We’re going look specifically at co-sleepers, bassinets, and Rock ‘N Play sleepers. These are the leading models for infant sleeper options — each one is different and proposes unique benefits for families.
Room Sharing For Baby’s Safety
Room sharing can be a major key to bedtime safety, especially for babies under the age of 1. Sleeping with your baby in close proximity drastically decreases their chances of suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — also known as SIDS.
However, many parents are concerned about potential downsides, like getting less quality sleep and having a harder time establishing healthy bedtimes (source).
Every family is different, but the benefits of sharing your room with your baby for at least the first 6 months of their life outweigh the potential complications. Choosing the best sleeper for your family can help make the experience a far more enjoyable one.
The Dangers Of Bed-Sharing
Some advocate co-sleeping as an amazing choice for hands-on parents who are following the Attachment Parenting method.
However, while your child should stay in your room for the first year of their life, it’s important they have their own secure sleeping space.
Without using a special sleeper designed for protecting your child in a co-sleeping situation, you greatly increase the risk of SIDS.
If you bring your infant into bed with you, you’re creating risks.
Some of the dangers of bed-sharing are (source):
- Suffocation: Anytime your baby is around sleeping accessories like pillows, blankets, toys, or even other people, the risk of suffocation increases.
- Being crushed: Exhaustion can put any parent into a deep sleep, and there is a possibility you may roll onto your baby.
- Falling: Even babies who can’t roll on their own are at risk for falling to the floor when bed-sharing. You may accidentally nudge them. A bed is also a soft surface, which may cause them to off the edge with the help of gravity.
- Sleeping trouble: Both you and your baby will suffer from less satisfying sleep if you bed-share. It also doesn’t help to establish healthy sleeping habits and makes it harder for you to stay asleep and get the rest you both need.
With the many dangers of bed-sharing, a sleeper is a great way to get the benefits of having baby close by without many of the risks.
The Pros And Cons Of Co-Sleepers
A co-sleeper is an extension for your bed that allows you to bed-share with your baby, in a safer, controlled way.
This is a great sleeper option for attachment parenting methods and may help you foster a closer bond with your baby. It’s especially wonderful for breastfeeding moms, who won’t have to travel far for feedings in the middle of the night.
There are two main types of co-sleepers. The first can be placed in your bed directly on your mattress. The more popular type is a bassinet-style you set directly beside your bed with a lower rail on the mattress-facing side for easy access.
There are a few key pros to using co-sleepers:
- Convenience: By eliminating the need to leave bed to comfort or feed your baby, your life is made easier. Breastfeeding moms may get the most out of these models.
- Closeness: Co-sleepers encourage bonding and togetherness with your baby because they keep mom and baby in such close proximity.
- Functionality: Unlike bassinets, many that co-sleepers sit at the side of the bed have height adjustments. You can also find some with storage in the lower section.
Co-sleepers also have their set of cons:
- Limited time use: Co-sleepers are a good option until your baby begins to move with some independence — around the age of 1. After that, it’s time to switch them to a crib.
- Not space efficient: Most beds aren’t big enough to accommodate an in-bed sleeper and two adults. Bedside co-sleepers can also be pretty big, and won’t let you get out of bed without moving to the end.
- Unhealthy sleep habits: Decreased sleep quality and a having a harder time teaching baby self-soothing techniques are common problems parents have when using a co-sleeper.
The Pros and Cons Of Bassinets
Bassinets are great for the multitasking moms — especially ones with limited space and a tight budget.
A bassinet is much smaller as a sleeping space, which babies prefer in the first 4 months of their life. There are many different models and tons of brands, but the ones that can go easily next to your bed are best.
Bassinets provide their own unique pros:
- Portability: It’s much easier to transport a bassinet from room to room in your house, keeping baby nearby. Bassinets also are also great options for traveling.
- Petite size: Newborn babies tend to like cozy space of a bassinet. Additionally, using one saves you plenty of room — they’re a lot less intrusive than having a whole crib near your bedside!
- More hours of sleep: Bassinets make reaching your baby easy without causing some of the problems a co-sleeper would. It’s also closer to your bed than a Rock ‘N Play, so you won’t have to move far to reach your baby.
Bassinets also come with their own unique list of drawbacks and cons:
- Limited use: Babies outgrow bassinets pretty quickly — once your baby can sit up, it’s time to upgrade. They’re a great short-term investment, but may be unnecessary if you already have a Rock ‘N Play or a crib.
- Takes up space: Bassinets can be a bit of an eyesore in the bedroom. Even though they are smaller, they’re still going to change up the floor plan.
The Pros and Cons Of Rock ‘N Plays
Between baby swings, jumpers, and cribs is the Rock ‘N Play option, a stationary baby seat that often features bells and whistles such as vibrations, lights, and sounds.
Rock ‘N Play sleepers are most often used for little ones who need some extra help drifting off. Babies with acid reflux or uneasy sleeping patterns get the most use out of Rock ‘N Play sleepers.
They are also great for daytime napping because they’re easily transported anywhere in the house.
Some pros of the Rock ‘N Play sleeper include:
- Automatic soothing features: These will vary, but you can almost count on having vibrations and automatic rocking motions in nearly every model.
- Small size: Babies love the feeling of being held, so these snug models are wonderful for recreating that feeling of security. Plus, they take up less space and are easily stored.
- Improved sleeping: Parents have noticed their infants sleeping for longer and sleeping very soundly in a Rock ‘N Play, especially if they previously struggled with sleep issues.
Some unique cons to the Rock ‘N Play include:
- Touger crib transition: If you don’t start with a crib or other flat surface like a bassinet, your baby may struggle when it’s time to make the change from Rock ‘N Player’s gentle slope.
- Less accessibility: Rock ‘N Play sleepers are closer to the ground and harder to reach from your bed. You’ll have to move more in the night to get to your baby, especially as a breastfeeding mom.
- Needs batteries: If you get a fancier Rock ‘N Play, plan to spend some money on batteries to enjoy the soothing features.
Resting Easy Yet?
Choosing the right sleeper for your newborn infant is key to ensuring they get a good night’s sleep — it can also help make sleeping easier for you!
Whether you decide on a co-sleeper, bassinet, or Rock ‘N Play, you’ll be sure to keep your little one comfortable, close, and safe until they’re ready to move into a crib — but that’s another article.
What’s your favorite sleeper style? What helped you make the final decision? Share your ideas and thoughts with us in the comments below!
If you know a mother struggling with which sleeper option to choose, share this article with them!