Parents are often unsure when it’s time to leave the baby bassinet behind. If you are one of them and wonder how long your baby can sleep in a bassinet, read further. We have all the answers!
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Baby Bassinet Buying Guide
How long can my baby sleep in a bassinet?
Many parents do not realize that there is no single answer to this question!
First of all, baby bassinets come in various shapes and sizes. And secondly, the length of use depends on how fast an individual baby develops and grows. As a result, your baby might be unable to use the same bassinet as long as your friend’s baby.
How long a baby can sleep in a bassinet thus varies from model to model and the development rate of the individual baby.
However, you can find data for some bassinets telling you how long, on average, most babies can sleep safely and comfortably in them.
If there are available data for your bassinet, it should only serve as a guide to predict how long your baby will be able to use it. To accurately determine when it is time to transition from a bassinet to a crib, consider the three important indicators I will describe below.
How long can a baby sleep in a bassinet?
Bassinets are designed for infants to sleep in during the first few months of life.
Manufacturers typically limit the use of their bassinets by baby’s age, weight, and development stage.
Traditional bassinets are generally safe for use until your baby reaches 15 pounds or starts rolling over and pushing up, whichever comes first. Most babies reach these milestones around 4 or 5 months.
However, there are new baby bassinets with higher weight limits, some even up to 30 pounds. These bassinets are bigger and have features, like adjustable mattress position or higher sides, that prevent the baby from falling out of them.
When to stop using a baby bassinet?
Three indicators determine how long your baby can sleep in a bassinet. Stop using the bassinet when your baby reaches the first of these milestones.
Stop using a bassinet if your baby reaches:
1. The bassinet’s size and/or weight limit:
Although height is important, the baby’s weight is what most manufacturers set as the limit for their bassinets. Why? Because exceeding the weight limit affects the stability of the structure, while a taller baby who has not yet reached the maximum weight is only uncomfortable in the bassinet.
Manufacturers guarantee the construction of their bassinet is strong enough to support a weight they’ve specified! So, you should immediately stop using a bassinet when your baby reaches your bassinet’s maximum weight limit! (Most bassinets have a weight limit of between 15 and 20 pounds.)
However, if your baby is too tall, even if she hasn’t reached her bassinet’s weight limit, she is might not comfortable anymore. If your baby seems cramped in the bassinet and bumps into the sides or ends of the bassinet, it is time to give her a little more space.
2. One of the following milestones:
A baby’s weight is just one factor defining how long she can sleep in a bassinet.
When determining the time of the bassinet’s use, we must not neglect the individual baby’s developmental stage. The physical abilities of the individual baby are a crucial factor that tells how long the baby can safely sleep in the bassinet.
When the baby starts to show signs of them, that highly increases the chance of climbing or falling out of the bassinet! So manufacturers limit the use of their bassinet by weight and developmental stage.
This means you should stop using your bassinet when your baby reaches its weight limit or develop one or more skills listed below, whichever comes first!
Milestones that determine how long a baby can sleep in a bassinet:
- Baby starts to show signs of pushing up on hands and knees
- She/he can roll over
- Baby can pull herself up on the sides
- She/he can sit unassisted
3. Certain age:
Some manufacturers decide to set an age limit for the use of their bassinet. The limitation suggests your baby should stop sleeping in the bassinet when she reaches a certain age.
However, babies develop very differently. Some gain weight faster than others. Some are more skilled, etc. This means that this indicator is the least reliable, and the use of the bassinet should never be limited only by the baby’s age!
Which bassinets can be used the longest?
Several types of bassinets can be used for a longer period of time:
- Convertible bassinets: These bassinets can be converted into a small bed or playpen as the baby grows, allowing longer use than the average.
- Bassinets with adjustable heights: Some bassinets have adjustable heights that can be raised or lowered as the baby grows, which may extend its use.
- Cradles: Cradles are a type of bassinet that rocks back and forth. They are typically used for newborns and can be used for a few months, depending on the baby’s size. However, some are bigger and can be used for a more extended time.
- Co-sleepers: Co-sleepers are bassinets that attach to the side of the parent’s bed. They are typically bigger than traditional bassinets and can be used for several months, depending on the baby’s size and weight.
How long should a baby sleep in a bassinet in a parent’s room?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants should sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed, for at least the first six months of life, preferably for the first year.
This practice, known as “room-sharing,” has been shown to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%.
Bassinets are a good option for infants to sleep in during the first few months of life. They provide a safe and convenient place for the baby to sleep next to the parents. However, you may need to move your baby to a larger bed before she can sleep in her own room.ž
Where should a baby sleep when she outgrows the bassinet?
When an infant outgrows the bassinet, it is time to move her to a crib or Pack ‘n Play. They are larger and more spacious than bassinets, allowing the baby more room to move around and stretch as they grow. Also, they withstand a much higher weight than bassinets!
We will discuss the differences between bassinets, cribs, and Pack ‘n Play in the following parts of this guide.