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Upon bringing your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, you may have begun to put your babe in a bassinet close to your bedside.
This is entirely common and provides more convenience if you’re choosing to breastfeed as well. However, it’s essential to consider how long a baby can sleep in a bassinet.
While bassinets aren’t necessarily tiny, they are not enormous either, and eventually, your newborn will grow out of this space and need to be transitioned to a crib.
With a sensitive child, it may feel as if there is no perfect time to make big changes, however, acclimating your munchkin to reasonable shifts will allow them to grow into confident, resilient young people.
Read on for our tips on how long a baby can sleep in a bassinet, and the best ways to make this transition smooth for your family.
The Importance Of A Bassinet For A Newborn
Utilizing a small bassinet can provide multiple benefits and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sleeping a baby in a bassinet provides multiple advantages compared to a crib.
Due to their smaller size, these sleepers are often more portable and can easily be moved from one room to another. Further, smaller than a crib, they’re easier to place next to a bed for comfortable room sharing when your tyke is young.
What’s great about bassinets as opposed to a crib is that some models can be rocked. Infants often enjoy this sensation because for the better part of a year, they were continually bouncing around inside the womb. Movement is familiar to them, which could explain why many tots enjoy being bounced.
Additionally, because your tot was wrapped up snug inside a belly for nine months, they typically appreciate a feeling of coziness, (hence why wrapping up your babe like a burrito is recommended), and with a bassinet being smaller, if could feel more comfortable.
When To Move Baby From Bassinet To A Crib
Eventually, your child will outgrow their bassinet, so it’s important to transition them to a crib at the right time so that your munchkin doesn’t have to endure too many shifts at once.
Is There A Bassinet Age Limit?
There is no hard guideline regarding a bassinet age limit, and it really depends on when it feels appropriate for your infant and your family. Some parents are anxious to get their tot into a crib and in their own room in search of better sleep. However, some caregivers are perfectly happy keeping their little snoozer nearby until they physically are unable to do so.
Check The Bassinet Weight Limit
Some bassinets are fairly sturdy and can accommodate up to 20 pounds, leaving you more flexibility around when to transition your infant to a crib. However, if the limit is 10 pounds, you might need to shift your munchkin earlier, depending on how quickly they grow. Each little one grows at their own pace, but if they grow quickly, your bassinet might not get much use.
If yours is a hand-me-down, it’s wise to be more cautious than optimistic, as it may only hold 10 pounds, and possibly less. Better safe than sorry is the M.O. in this situation, as you don’t want your baby crashing to the floor in the middle of the night.
Baby Is Too Big For Bassinet
Most bassinets are designed for munchkins up to around six months of age, as typically this is when they become too large to fit. If your infant is on the smaller side, it’s usually okay to let them enjoy this arrangement a bit longer until they’re bigger.
Once a tyke has learned to roll over, you don’t want them rolling into the walls of their basket, or feeling trapped. Additionally, you want your tot to avoid any serious injury. Once they’re mobile or getting a bit large, it’s time to transition them to a crib.
The Baby Starts To Sit Up Or Turn Over
As most caregivers do, we become excited when our little ones learn new milestone skills like sitting up or rolling over. It’s joyful and fascinating to watch them grow up and learn to use their bodies independently. However, the more mobile our babes become, the more suited to a crib they’ll be.
Compared to cribs, bassinet walls are frequently more shallow, which means that if your newborn is able to sit up or roll over, they could potentially flip themselves right over the edge. Additionally, sometimes the sides are made of wicker or pieces that can break off, presenting a choking hazard, so it’s critical to keep an eye on your baby’s mobility in regards to their sleeping arrangement.
How To Transition Baby From Bassinet To Crib?
Shifting your little snoozer to a crib can feel like a big transition. Your infant might adjust with ease, not knowing much of a difference, while some babies may feel confused in a new sleep setting and take some time to settle. Luckily, we’ve got a few tricks to make this transition smooth and some great options when you’re ready to make the switch.
Prepare The Crib
It’s critical to ensure the crib is safe for your child.
You’ll want to check that the bed is firm, as a soft mattress might be more difficult for them to roll around or sit up from, or they could get stuck in the sides if it’s particularly squishy. Additionally, make sure there are no unnecessary items tucked in with your tyke. This includes no loose blankets or toys that they can choke on.
If you’re concerned about the change of environment, you can sleep on the sheet you’ll cover the crib pad in, covering it in your scent and providing your baby with a familiar smell in their new digs.
Prepare The Baby
You’ll want to make sure your little snoozer is as prepared as possible before making the switch. Put off transitioning them to other new things (like new sleepwear or vacation) at the same time to avoid additional discomfort and help the swap go smoothly.
Before putting them to bed in their crib, you could let them take naps in their new crib to get them used to the idea slowly. Additionally, you can sit with them in a chair next to the crib to offer extra support at night, and night by night, slowly move it further away until they’re sleeping independently.
Putting our little munchkins to bed all on their own and walking out of the room can pull at any caregiver’s heartstrings—your babe is growing up! However, remember you’re letting them go so they can learn to face the world on their own. Letting your child practice independence is a critical skill for anyone, and you’re a great parent for taking time to research and prepare your family the best way possible.
Learn more: Parent's Guide to a Child's Sleep
Create A Routine Around Baby's Sleep Pattern
Routine is key. Keeping with a regular schedule not only helps them but allows us, as adults, to maintain our sanity as well. Chasing little munchkins around is a full-time job, and remembering what’s next isn’t always at the forefront of our minds, so maintaining a daily method for going about your day can be a big help.
Routine is also beneficial for your kiddo, letting them know through repetition what they can expect on a daily basis is enormously comforting for them mentally. It allows them to go about their daily activities with less stress, more joy, and fewer melt-downs for everyone.
Plus, routines help you plan out your day, knowing when the best time to go to the store or the park and when you should probably be home for a midday siesta. You and your little one will know what to expect from the day, making it go by a little bit more smoothly.
Use Sound Machines and Baby Monitors
A womb is a shockingly noisy place to live for nine months (it’s as loud as a vacuum!), so your babe probably got used to constant whirring sounds and motions. Due to this, a bit of white noise can often soothe our little snoozers and create a space that feels familiar and comfortable. A comfortable nighttime environment is crucial for adults and can be even more so for our tots.
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Seeing your little one grow up can spark a rainbow of emotions in any parent. Suddenly leaving your kiddo in a room all by themselves may feel like a huge step, and it is! Your baby will always need you in their lives, but keep in mind, sleeping alone grants our kids the practice to grow into strong, independent young people.
You’re wise for seeking resources; every parent needs help sometimes, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Keep up the good work, you’ve got this.