There are plenty of difficult and confusing choices you need to make when preparing for the arrival of your new baby. This is because of the wealth of available information about all imaginable safety hazards and the potential pros and cons of different sleeping arrangements.
But one thing is for sure, all parents and babies are unique and different, and what matters the most is to ensure that your child is safe and sound while sleeping. Learning the differences between cradles and bassinets is the first step to determining which one is most suitable for your baby.
What is a Cradle?
Cradles are like basket beds that look like a crib but are smaller in size. A cradle has a manual side-to-side gliding or rocking mechanism. Cradles are made up of wood for additional sturdiness and safety.
These days, however, there are already cradles that are made from breathable and heavy polyester mesh hanging from a heavy metallic structure for rocking back and forth.
Advantages of a Cradle
Below are some of the benefits that cradles have to offer:
- A cradle can make it easier for babies to switch to a crib since a crib is the bigger version of a cradle.
- Cradles have enough room to accommodate babies weighing up to 25 pounds. This means that parents don’t have to worry about the need to change the bedding after just a few months.
- A cradle can calm babies to have a comfortable and deep sleep thanks to its gliding or rocking motion.
- Cradles let you have your little one close to you during his first few months.
- A cradle is often portable and can be brought from room to room.
- Since these are often made out of wood, cradles are very safe and sturdy.
Disadvantages of a Cradle
Just like other sleeping arrangements, cradles also have their own set of disadvantages.
- Cradles are not motorized and require manual gliding or rocking.
- Despite being portable, cradles are also heavier and don’t come with wheels that can make it a bit harder to move them around.
- A cradle doesn’t feature a mattress that you need to buy separately.
- Cradles also tend to be more expensive than bassinets.
How Long Can Babies Use a Cradle?
Modern cradles or infant playpens are amazing transitioning tools from an infant sleeping device or bassinet to a bigger bed. Cradles are good options for kids aged 1 to 2 years old.
However, a cradle is not recommended for kids who weigh 40 pounds or more. Your child’s activity level and strength will also affect how long he can use a cradle.
Are Cradles Safe for Newborns?
Cradles are perfectly safe for newborns provided that you follow the normal sleeping safety considerations for babies. The sleeping surface must be firm, the sheets must be properly sized and tight, and no soft toys, blankets, or pillows should be used. The only downside to using a larger playpen or crib for newborns is that they might move out of your easy reach.
What is a Bassinet?
A bassinet, also called a cosleeper, is a portable and small piece of sleeping furniture for babies that comes with several useful features. Bassinets are often meant to attach to the side of the bed for grownups for guaranteed closeness and security throughout the night.
There are also times when bassinets come with wheels a handle across the top, and a stand, although some may not have these features. But bassinets are all configured making them a great sleeping arrangement to move your little one around, keep him close, and watch over him easily while sleeping at any time of the day or night.
Advantages of a Bassinet
Here are the pros of bassinets:
- Bassinets are affordable.
- A bassinet is versatile.
- Bassinets are small, portable, and light.
- A bassinet comes with mobility-oriented features.
- Bassinets attach to your bed for guaranteed closeness without the risks of co-sleeping.
Disadvantages of a Bassinet
- Babies will outgrow bassinets fairly quickly.
- Bassinets are not safe for kids more than 40 pounds.
- When placed on the floor, a bassinet may become a stepping hazard.
How Long Can Babies Use a Bassinet?
Bassinets don’t come standardized for strength and size, unlike full-sized cribs. This means that the limits of the usefulness of a bassinet will depend mainly on close observation and monitoring of your baby’s activity, strength, and weight.
In general, bassinets are best for newborns weighing less than 25 to 30 pounds. But if you have a very active baby, one with a penchant for climbing, or one who is unusually strong, a bassinet might not be a good option at all. Most of the time, bassinets are more ideal for kids less than 6 months old.
Are Bassinets Safe for Newborns?
Yes, bassinets are safe and ideal for a newborn. The safety considerations of bassinets are similar for other baby sleeping devices when used for newborns. This means that the mattress must be comfortable but firm. You also need to use blankets and sheets that are thin and breathable but not fluffy.
To test the breathability of a sheet or blanket, you can try to place it over your mouth and breathe into it. When air moves through it easily, this can be considered safe for babies. There must be no excessive soft toys or bedding inside the bassinet.
If you are using a bassinet that features a detachable stand, make sure that you check for sturdiness. You should always attach the bassinet to the stand before you place your little one in it. Make sure that all securement mechanisms or locks are solidly and fully engaged.
Cradles and bassinets basically serve the same purpose, and your final choice mainly depends on the particular features you are searching for.
If you prefer a classic look that lets you manually rock your baby back and forth, a cradle is a good choice.
If you need something that can be easily wheeled or carried anywhere around the house, a bassinet is your best option.
At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with any of these two!