Both parents and newborn babies have one common concern: sleep.
Newborn babies struggle a bit in their early stages to adapt to life at home out of the womb. Similarly, new parents tend to have a fitful night’s sleep, worrying about their newborn baby’s well-being and sleep cycle.
Today, you won’t have to miss out on your sleep since the solution to both situations is quite simple: bassinet sleeping. In this guide, I’ll introduce you to bassinet sleeping, a paramount aspect of early parenthood that you must be acquainted with.
And as you proceed in the article, you’ll have your questions answered one by one, including how long your baby should sleep in a bassinet.
What is a Bassinet and Why is it Important?
A bassinet is a basket-like sleeping space made exclusively for newborn babies. After leaving the hospital, a newborn baby will eventually be taken to a cozy, welcoming bassinet. These oval-shaped beds are where your newborn will be lying for their early sleeping life.
It’s undoubtedly a must that your baby should be within reach. Even while sleeping, parents always hate to let their baby out of their sight. Still, sharing the same bed is strongly discouraged due to potential accidents. This is where bassinets come into play as the safest sleeping space for newborn babies.
The fair majority of bassinets are portable, in case you want to take a nap while you have your baby beside you. Keeping the bassinet in the same sleeping space as yours guarantees you peace of mind, knowing that your baby is cooing gently inside.
Bassinets also can be positioned to the height of your bed so that your baby is within hand’s reach for night feeding. Additionally, they’re a lifesaver for new moms recovering from delivery. With your baby lying nearby, you can pick them up without leaving your bed’s warmth or bending over to reach them.
For your newborn, bassinets are also ideal because of their womb-like shape. Some are even able to rock from side to side and play music so that you can soothe or sing your fussy baby to sleep.
Who are Bassinets For
Bassinets are typically intended for 4 to 6-month-old babies. This period may vary depending on some key factors that you should put into consideration.
Fortunately, today’s bassinets come with instructions telling you the ideal size that the bassinet can accommodate.
If your baby is petite in height, it’s okay for them to rest in the bassinet for a little longer. However, if your baby is a big hero, moving them to a crib would be a wise decision.
Generally, larger babies are more likely to graduate to cribs than petite ones in this 4 to 6 months time frame.
On average, bassinets have a weight limit ranging from 15 to 20 lbs. Similar to the size factor, the instructions with the bassinet state the maximum weight it can withstand. As your baby grows in terms of weight, they’ll outgrow the bassinet sooner or later, making it collapse.
To avoid that, I recommend weighing your baby on a weekly basis to check if they exceeded the weight limit. You can do that by standing on the scale alone, then with the baby so you can obtain their weight. When they exceed the limit, they’re good to go to a crib.
Some cases involve a petite baby exceeding the bassinet’s weight limit. In that case, move them to a crib to avoid injuries just in case the bassinet collapses.
The Baby’s Hints to You
Bassinets are designed to hold babies still in one position, meaning that they don’t have corners that babies can move into while they’re resting.
As you keep an eye on your baby during the 4-6 month period, they give you signs conveying either discomfort or their readiness to switch to a crib.
Does your baby look restricted in movement? Do their head and legs bump into the far ends of the bassinet? If it’s a yes, a bassinet isn’t adequate for your baby, even if they haven’t surpassed the weight limit.
If your baby starts to roll over or sit up in a bassinet, count it as an indicator that they crave a larger space, a crib if you will.
Transitioning to a Crib
For a baby sleeping in a bassinet, resting in a crib may resemble lying in a football field. However, once your baby outgrows bassinets, you must introduce them to cribs for their safety.
Since transitioning from bassinets to cribs may seem daunting, I’ll walk you through some tips to make sure you achieve the smoothest transition.
1. Prepare the Crib
Make sure that the baby’s crib is comfortable. Keep blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows entirely out of the crib to avoid suffocation. If you’re obsessed about bedclothes, then the only bedding your baby needs is a fitted sheet with a waterproof cover.
2. Make it Gradual
Don’t rush; this shift won’t happen overnight. An excellent approach to transitioning from bassinets to cribs is to let your baby nap during the day at first until they doze warmly to the crib. Then, expect them to get used to cribs at night instead of bassinets. This approach will also condition your baby to think that cribs are for sleeping, not for playing.
3. Be Consistent
The time has come for you to develop a bedtime routine. Be informed that babies observe what’s happening around. Creating a night routine, like reading a book or watching a movie, should trigger your baby into thinking that bedtime is drawing closer.
4. Be There at First
I recommend moving the crib into your bedroom at first. It’s a win-win since it’s less worrying for you and the baby. Once you notice your baby drifting off after a few nights, consider moving the crib back. A pro tip here is to sleep on the crib’s sheets until it catches your smell. This creates the illusion of being beside the baby, so that they can nod off in peace.
We’ve all been there. We know that early parenthood, with its responsibilities, comes with its ups and downs. Now that you’ve become particularly familiar with how long your baby should sleep in a bassinet, the time has come to practice.
Care, observe, and decide the best for your little one. Enjoy seeing your baby achieving milestones as you both get a worry-free, good night’s sleep.