If you’ve just had a C-Section, the last thing you’re going to want to do is to hoist your baby up into a tall crib. That’s going to be painful, to put it mildly.
And as a new mom, you might not feel comfortable with your baby sleeping so far away from you anyway. With a bassinet, your baby can sleep right in your bedroom with you, even if your room isn’t big.
If you’re not ready for your baby to have a full-size crib yet, this guide will help you pick out the perfect bassinet for your little bundle of joy.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Bassinet Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
Bassinets vs. Cribs
Bassinets are like a scaled-down version of a crib. They’re a place your baby can sleep, only lighter, more portable, and generally less expensive than cribs are. They’re also typically not as tall as cribs.
When my first baby was born, I hated letting her out of my sight for even a second. I became one of those compulsive moms who liked to watch her child breathe just to make sure they were still doing it. I worried all the time about my baby when she was out of sight — even if she was just across the hallway from my bedroom.
A bassinet was a lifesaver for me those first two or three months until I became more comfortable and saw she was thriving and growing stronger each day. When I felt comfortable, we began having her sleep in her own room in her crib.
But it also helped me in the daytime in the living room, so I could keep an eye on her during her naps while I paid bills or did some light housework.
Keep In Mind
They won’t work for most children by the time they reach four months old or so, depending on their development.
When Can a Bassinet Come in Handy?
They’re ideal for several situations, including:
- If you want your baby to sleep in your bedroom, but you don’t have enough space for a full-sized crib, a bassinet is a safer alternative than co-sleeping (source).
- When you can’t afford a crib yet, a bassinet is a safe, affordable option while you save up for a crib.
- If you need a safe place for your baby to sleep while they’re at a caregiver’s house.
- If you have lingering back issues from childbirth or stitches from a C-Section, making it difficult to lift your baby high enough to put them in a crib.
- When you have a large house, and you want to be closer to your baby when they sleep during the day.
- If you have a vacation coming up and your baby isn’t old enough to sleep in the bed with you.
The Types of Bassinets
This type is like a mini-crib that stands right up against your bed and typically opens on one side so that you have easy access to your little one throughout the night. You essentially get a baby-sized extension to your bed. This is an excellent choice for breastfeeding moms or those with babies who may need a little extra TLC.
Compact, lighter, and foldable, travel bassinets are ideal for storing away when not needed, and of course, can be taken on trips as required. Many come with a handy tote to lug them around in.
Traditional or Bedside Bassinets
These are usually static, free-standing units that can be placed alongside your bed or moved around to different rooms in your home. They can rock, often come with canopies, and many have wheels for added portability. These may be larger and sturdier than co-sleeper models, or you may find one that converts into a co-sleeper when necessary.
Pack ‘n play style bassinets have a removable portion on the top, and a mesh playpen down below, for true versatility. You can also use the top as a changing pad, and many models come with added extras to make a complete baby station that will serve your baby for longer than a traditional model will.
Bassinets with Extras
Some come with included features for convenience or to help soothe your baby, such as music, automated gentle rocking, mobiles or vibrations. These are great for fussy sleepers or colicky babies.
What Should I Look For?
Choosing a bassinet requires some thought ahead of time. You shouldn’t just base your decision off of appearance. The highest priority should be how safe it will be for your child to use.
Here are some of the features you’ll want to look for:
- Mesh walls: Bassinets aren’t as big as cribs — there isn’t as much room for your baby to spread out or roll around. If your baby does manage to roll on their side and you don’t have mesh walls, breathing is going to be much trickier. Mesh walls are also great in the summer as they allow airflow to keep your baby cool.
- A thin, hard mattress: Parents like to surround their newborns with softness, but when it comes to a bassinet mattress, harder is better. Firmer, thinner mattresses have been shown to cut down on the risk of SIDS (source). Don’t worry about babies not being comfortable while sleeping on thin mattresses — they’ll be just fine.
- The weight limit: Make sure your baby doesn’t exceed the weight limit. If you’re still pregnant, you may want to avoid a model that only allows for 15 pounds if you have a condition that might lead to a heavy baby, like gestational diabetes (source). If you have a 10-pound baby at delivery, it won’t be long before that baby exceeds the 15-pound weight limit.
- Portability: Bassinets are generally more portable than cribs, but there are some that are easier to move around than others. If yours has wheels, it’ll be easy to move from room to room. Wheel locks are necessary so it won’t roll away when you want it to stay put.
- Sheets: Many cribs used standard-sized sheets, but it can be harder to find a sheet that fits your bassinet properly, especially if it’s an odd shape. Make sure you have more than one sheet, just as you would with a crib, to deal with any accidental leaks or spit-up incidents.
- Non-toxic materials: Mattresses can be made of potentially harmful materials like toluene and formaldehyde. If you’re worried about what your baby’s surroundings could be doing to their health, look for non-toxic options.
- Optional extras: You can find models that play music, vibrate to soothe your baby or have an attached mobile to keep them amused. Not every option will have these extras, so you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to pay more for them.
- Rocking: Rocking bassinets can be handy because if you have a colicky baby, since the gentle motion can go a long way to soothing them. If you opt to get one that rocks, make sure it has a good lock, so it remains level when you want it to.
The Best Bassinets of 2019
When I was first pregnant, I couldn’t daydream about my new nursery without immediately thinking of that quintessential white baby bassinet. Though there’s something just so adorable about a baby sleeping peacefully in a bassinet, this is also one super functional item, so it pays to shop around for just the right one. These are our favorite brands currently on the market worth checking out.
1. Arm’s Reach Concepts Cambria
This handy sleeper will attach to your bed, which means your child will only be an arm’s length away. It uses an adjustable strap that will go under your mattress.
If you’re nursing your baby or you want to get to your child before their cries awaken the other people in your household, this may be the right pick for you.
The sides can be left down for when you want to use it as a co-sleeper, but you can also put them back up if you’re going to use it in another room during the daytime.
It has a bottom shelf that’s great for storing wet wipes, diapers and an extra change of clothes in case your child has an accident.
This also has wheels so you can easily cart it around from room to room, but it does have a brake so no older siblings will be able to push your baby around when you’ve turned your back.
- It has mesh sides for safe ventilation.
- The bottom storage shelf is great for all the things you’ll need in the middle of the night.
- Can be assembled in a couple of minutes.
- Good for tiny bedrooms.
- Sheets are hard to find and pricey because of the odd size.
2. Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play
With this Rock ‘N Play model from Fisher-Price, you get a gentle rocking motion to help get your baby to sleep — all you have to do is give it a little push. But if you don’t want the rocking option to be on, you can lock the feet, and it won’t budge.
You can fold it and take it with you in the car or around your house, which is perfect for moms who are frequently on the go or working outside the home.
It comes with a little rattle and mirror for your baby, and the pad can be cleaned in the washing machine and placed in the dryer in case of any diaper blowouts.
This can hold up to 25 pounds, so it’s a good option for parents who have chunkier babies at birth.
- It can fold almost completely flat when not in use.
- It’s quick and easy to fold up and unfold.
- Simple to put together.
- The mirror doesn’t detach, which some parents don’t like because their babies hit it accidentally.
- The pad that comes with it shrinks in the wash.
3. SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper
This bassinet has a modern, space-saving design that lets you pull it close to your bed. The legs even slide under your bed so that you won’t lose much room at all.
It has a two-position incline that you can adjust, depending upon your baby’s needs, and you can also adjust the height of the legs, too.
It also offers manual rocking to soothe upset babies or get them back to sleep quickly after a night feeding.
The all-around mesh sides let your baby breathe easy even when they roll to the side, and they allow you to see your baby at all times so you can check up on them with a glance.
This comes with a clip-on unit that has a nightlight, soothing sounds and offers two speeds of vibration, which might be all you need to soothe an upset baby late at night and get them back to sleep.
- It can be rocked.
- The all-around mesh sides are a good safety feature.
- The insert fabric can be cleaned in the washing machine.
- The pad is pretty loud anytime your baby moves around.
- It’s a tight fit for the baby.
4. Dream On Me Karley Bassinet
The Dream On Me model can support babies up to 25 pounds, so it’s a strong option. But it’s surprisingly lightweight, which makes it an excellent choice for newborns. Moms will be able to carry it to whatever room they need it in.
If you end up going on vacation with your baby toward the end of your maternity leave, you’ll be able to pack this up and bring it with you easily. Even if you plan on taking a camping trip, this product will work well because it has a double canopy that would keep the bugs away from your baby.
Since it only requires light assembly, you’ll be able to set it up in no time, which is nice for women who are late into their pregnancy or just getting home from having their babies.
- It’s affordable.
- Can be moved throughout your house or brought to a caregiver’s house quickly.
- It’s a cute option that will likely get some compliments from other moms.
- It’s hard to find sheets that fit.
- The canopies won’t detach.
5. Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper
This stylish unit offers a lot of versatility for new parents. The adjustable stand can rotate and swivel over 360 degrees, which means you’ll be able to find a position to get your baby right next to you when you sleep.
The side wall can come down, so you’ll be able to reach your baby while you’re still in bed when they need to be comforted or fed. But you’ll be able to put the wall back up when you need that added reassurance.
The Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper has a four-point base that is compatible with beds that range from 22 inches high to 34 inches high. The base legs will fit right underneath your bed, allowing your baby to sleep even closer to you.
The mattress pad is waterproof and doesn’t use any toxic flame retardants.
- The base is stable.
- It comes with a machine washable fitted sheet, so one less thing to buy.
- It’s compatible with a wide range of beds.
- It’s expensive.
- The base will take up a lot of room because it’s big.
6. Big Oshi Indoor and Outdoor Travel Bassinet
This modern dual canopy bassinet will give your baby mosquito protection when they’re in the great outdoors with you. Nothing can turn a great camping trip into a nightmare faster than a screaming baby covered in bug bites.
In case the weather is hot and sticky, they’ll still get excellent air circulation with the partial mesh sides.
It has a storage basket underneath, so you’ll get quick access to the essentials you’ll need for your baby during a short camping trip.
The weight limit is 18 pounds, and it folds up well and can easily fit in the trunk of your car along with your other camping gear.
When it comes to safety requirements, it exceeds all standards, including the amount of lead in the paint and the total phthalates content. This is definitely a safe choice.
- The canopy will protect your baby from bug bites and possible diseases from those bites.
- It’s easy to set up.
- The legs will be steady even on uneven ground.
- The zipper is hard to get to when the canopy is zipped.
- Zipping the canopy sides together will require an extra set of hands — it’s a two-person job.
7. Lamont Home Good Night
You’ll be amazed at the price of this bassinet. If money is tight, this could be a good option for you.
It has a four-point locking system that makes sure it’s stable while your baby is inside. With its wide base, it doesn’t feel as tippy as some other models do.
It does require some assembly, so you’ll have to be prepared to put in a little sweat equity before it’s ready to use. But the instructions are easy to follow and they have a video on their website in case you would rather see the real assembly in action rather than just a piece of paper.
It’s light if you need to carry it to different rooms throughout your house.
Plus, more traditional moms may like that this bassinet has a classic, lace-like appearance.
- It’s really affordable.
- Stable, sturdy construction.
- It’s a beautiful, old-school design.
- The hood can’t be removed.
- It doesn’t have wheels to move it around.
- It’s not as breathable as the other options on this list.
8. Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard
If you have twins, you’re going to be facing a lot of expenses. Instead of buying something they can only use for three months, you can buy a pack ‘n play that also can be used as a bassinet.
That way, you’ll get more bang for your buck because you’ll be able to use it longer than you would a more traditional unit.
The pack ‘n play has a removable bassinet you can use for the twins while they’re sleeping. When they’re awake, they can be side by side in the pack ‘n play, having fun and interacting.
This item has a squeeze latch you can use to easily fold it up when not in use or if you have to take it elsewhere to use. It has wheels so you can conveniently move it around your house.
- It comes with a carrying bag for traveling.
- It has mesh on all sides so you can monitor your babies, and they can get some air.
- The removable portion comes with canopies that will help your child fall asleep by blocking out the light.
- It only holds a total of 30 pounds, so each child can only weigh 15 pounds before they outgrow this.
- The canopies can’t be removed.
9. Babyletto Bowery
Made of sustainable New Zealand pine wood, this is a non-toxic option for parents who are worried about what their baby is touching and breathing in.
It has a non-toxic finish and is free from both lead and phthalate. It comes with a cradle pad and is easy to move from one room to another even though it doesn’t have wheels.
Another nice thing is that you’ll get to use it far beyond your baby’s first three months or so. It can be converted into a toy box once you’re done with using it as a bassinet.
You’ll have to do some assembling. And you’ll want to make sure it will fit in your bedroom if you plan to keep it there — it’s bigger than some of the others on this list.
- Roomy enough for your baby to grow into.
- You can use it to store your baby’s toys once they outgrow it.
- It gets a lot of air circulation.
- The slats are so wide that your baby’s arm will go through them and potentially get stuck.
- It’s a bit pricey.
10. Graco Pack ‘N Play
When you want a lot of room for your baby to grow into, consider getting something that will have a lot of space both right now and later.
This bassinet and pack ‘n play can be used for much longer than your baby’s first three months. It’s full-sized, so you don’t have to worry about your baby being too cramped.
If you need to take it on the road with you, it can easily fold up by pushing a button. It comes with a carrying bag that lets you transport it while keeping the fabric clean.
But if you want to move it from room to room, it has wheels that allow you to do that easily. The weight for the bassinet portion is up to 15 pounds.
- It’s affordable.
- You’ll get a lot of use out of the pack ‘n play.
- The wheels make it easier to move around in your house.
- The wheels don’t have locking mechanisms.
- Some parents have complained about this product having a musty odor.
When Should I Begin Using Bassinets?
Bassinets are perfect for newborns so you can start using them as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. I did with my second baby, and it worked out well. That way I was always close by.
If I was asleep, he was in my bedroom with me in his bassinet. When I was washing dishes, he was in the dining room next to my kitchen where I could keep my eye on him. I just felt better when he was in sight.
The Benefits Are Real
If you decide to use one, you need to pay close attention to when your baby has outgrown it. Remember that they’re only meant to be used for a limited time. Also, make sure you know the weight limits and note when your baby is getting close.
Weight guidelines are not the only way to tell if your baby is too big, though. If they can crawl when they’re on their bellies or prop themselves up on their arms, they’re too big for a bassinet.
I watched my babies like a hawk once I noticed their mobility starting to increase. When I started getting worried they’d tip over and that I wouldn’t be able to get to them before they fell — that’s when I kissed the bassinet goodbye and started using their crib.
Neither baby stayed in theirs past the three-month mark. But by then I had become a little more confident about letting them out of my sight at night. At that point, I bought a pack ‘n play for them to use while on vacation or when they were at a caregiver’s house.
How Many Do I Need?
If you’ve decided you want a bassinet instead of a crib for the first few months or you want one in addition to a crib, you’ll only need one for your house. Since they’re so portable, they can go from room to room with little effort.
But if your child will be spending a lot of time at a grandparents’ or caregiver’s house while you’re at work, you may want to purchase a second one to keep there. One of the best things about bassinets is that they can be quite affordable, so if you need to buy two because your situation requires it, it’s not an overwhelming expense.
I love the Arm’s Reach bassinet because of its appearance and performance. It’s a beautiful, classic-looking piece, but it is also highly functional with a large storage space under the sleeping area.
You can attach one to your bed or use it elsewhere in the house. If you want to use it as a true co-sleeper, the sides can come down if you want. It has wheels but also has a brake, so your baby won’t go on any unexpected rides.
Whether you plan to co-sleep or want one of the best bassinets for your living room for naps, those first few months of motherhood will go so quickly. Though you’ll be busy, try to treasure each moment.
Moms out there, what are your experiences with bassinets? As always, I’d love to hear all comments and questions!