It's a question many new parents and parents-to-be are asking themselves: Should I buy a bassinet, or jump straight to a crib? Which one is the best? What is the actual difference between the two, anyway? Read on, and you'll learn the answers to these questions, making the decision one you won't need to fret over.
The Difference between Cribs and Bassinets
The major difference between cribs and bassinets is in how long they can be used. Cribs are used through the toddler years; you can keep your child in one until it's time for them to graduate to a bed if you'd like. Bassinets, however, are designed to be used for only the first few months; three to five months, or until the baby starts climbing onto all fours, is generally the cutoff.
Another major difference is its footprint. Generally speaking, cribs are large; that's because they're made so that they can be used for toddlers, as well as infants. Bassinets are small, just large enough for an infant. Because of this, bassinets are the ideal choices for cramped quarters, such as your bedroom, while cribs are better suited in your baby's room.
This, however, also means that bassinets aren’t as sturdy as cribs, and won't last as long. If you're looking for an item to use for a long period of time without it acquiring debilitating damages, a crib is a better option. Likewise, bassinets travel better.
Should You Choose a Bassinet?
The reason most parents choose to use a bassinet is that it makes keeping a baby near them at the night so much easier. Unlike cribs, bassinets are small enough that you can keep them in your bedroom; you can even keep them right by your bed! This makes nursing much easier and can help you get through those sleepless nights.
Travel is also easier when you choose to buy a bassinet. A lot of bassinets are designed to be folded up for travel; others have removable baskets, so that baby always has a place to sleep. Because letting your infant nap on a bed, a sofa, or in their car seat isn't very safe, it's always best to carry your own safe sleep space.
The last reason to choose a bassinet over a crib is one of the most important ones: Your baby's comfort. Because new babies are still used to the close quarters inside of a belly, being left in a very open (at least, to them) crib can be uncomfortable and scary. Sleeping in a bassinet will help them feel more at ease.
...or Stick with a Crib?
The real reason to choose a crib over a bassinet is its usefulness. While bassinets can only be used for a few months, a good crib will take your baby through their toddler years. If you choose a convertible crib, it can even take them further, turning from a crib, into a toddler bed, and, eventually, into a twin or day bed. That's from infancy until college!
Bassinets certainly can't compete with that level; you have to stop using them when your baby is old enough to rise onto all fours.
Another perk to using a crib: It could actually make your sleep better! While being able to reach over and comfort the baby from bed works for some, other parents find that being able to hear every whimper and whine that their baby makes keeps them from any decent sleep that they might get. For parents like that, or who just prefer to keep their bedroom a sanctuary to themselves and their partner, then a crib is a better choice than a bassinet.
The choice of whether to go with a crib or a bassinet is one that relies on many variables. Those that want to keep their baby with them, whether for convenience or because of attachment parenting, are sure to find that a bassinet makes it a great deal easier.
But, if you'd prefer to buy one piece of furniture that will get your little one through their toddler years, then you're going to need a crib. These, and many other examples, are proof that only you can choose which is right for you.