When preparing for the arrival of a new baby, one of the many decisions parents need to make is where the baby will sleep. While some opt for a separate nursery right away, others keep the baby close by having them sleep in a bassinet next to the parent’s bed. This arrangement, known as co-sleeping, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many benefits to babies and sleep-deprived new parents.
What is a Bedside Bassinet?
A bedside bassinet is a compact, portable bassinet designed to attach securely to the side of an adult bed. The side facing the main bed folds down, allowing easy access to the baby during the night. The other three sides enclose the baby in their own safe sleep space. Bedside bassinets include handy storage compartments for diapers, wipes, and other essentials. Higher-end models even have nightlights, soothing sounds, and rocking motions to help lull the baby to sleep.
Compared to traditional free-standing bassinets, bedside bassinets take up very little floor space. They give parents easy access to tend to their baby’s needs at night, without fully getting out of bed. This convenience makes them especially popular during the newborn stage when parents frequently feed around the clock.
Benefits of Using a Bedside Bassinet
Keeping your newborn baby close by in a bedside bassinet offers several advantages over room-sharing or solitary sleep options. Here are some of the key benefits:
Mothers who plan to breastfeed will find that having the baby’s bassinet beside the bed makes middle-of-the-night nursing sessions a breeze. You can reach over, pull your baby into bed to feed, and then set them back in their own safe sleep space when finished. This means fewer disruptive trips down the hall to the nursery.
Faster Response Times
Newborns often have very irregular sleep patterns and may wake up frequently needing to be soothed, changed, or fed. With your baby within arm’s reach, you can attend to their needs faster. You don’t have to fully wake up, get out of bed, and go to another room. Reach over and tend to your baby quickly so you can go back to sleep sooner.
Reduced SIDS Risk
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is always a concern for new parents. Research shows that sharing a room with your baby substantially reduces the risk of SIDS compared to solo sleeping. Keeping them right next to you in a bedside bassinet optimizes this benefit. You can keep the baby very close while providing a separate, safe sleeping space.
Your newborn will sleep just inches away from you in a bedside bassinet. This physical closeness during sleep can help reinforce the maternal bond. Your motions, sounds, and even breathing patterns sync up as you sleep near each other. This proximity allows babies feel comforted and secure as they adjust to life outside the womb.
Peace of Mind for Parents
As a new parent, looking over or reaching out a hand to check on your peacefully sleeping baby can provide great peace of mind. You don’t have to get out of bed or go to another room to ensure they are okay. Knowing your baby is right there next to you allows you to relax and sleep better.
A bedside bassinet can be a “stepping stone” before moving your baby into their room. The close proximity allows you to be responsive to their needs, but they are still in their own space. Using a bedside bassinet eases the eventual transition to solitary sleeping when the time comes.
Bedside sleeper bassinets are designed to be portable and move from room to room. Having a lightweight sleeping option makes it easy to keep your baby close by as you move about your home. This allows you to go about your daily household activities while keeping a watchful eye on your sleeping babe.
When to Stop Using a Bedside Bassinet
While extremely useful in the first few months, there does come a time when your baby should transition out of a bedside bassinet. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies move to a crib or other separate infant sleep surface by age six months or when they show signs of attempting to climb out.
Some signs that your baby is ready for their own nursery crib include:
- Rolling over consistently
- Pushing up on hands and knees
- Height/weight limit exceeded
- Waking more frequently or having difficulty sleeping
- Increased mobility and wiggling near edges
If you notice these behaviors, it’s probably time to relocate your baby to a full-size crib for safety. Make the transition gradual. Place the cribs in your room first before moving them to their nursery so the adjustment is not too abrupt.
Choosing the Best Bedside Bassinet
Selecting the right bedside bassinet for your newborn is an important decision. This sleeping space will be your baby’s nighttime home for months, so you want to choose a quality model that optimizes safety, comfort, and convenience. Here are some key factors to consider when shopping for the best bedside bassinet:
A quality bassinet should have thick, reinforced legs and mounting brackets made of metal or wood. Avoid flimsy plastic components that could crack over time. The base and frame should feel solid when shaken or jostled. Examine the joinery and connection points to ensure there are no gaps or weak spots.
Breathable Meshed Sides
Mesh fabric sides allow for maximum airflow to prevent overheating and reduce SIDS risks. The tightly woven mesh should have no loose threads that could catch on tiny fingers or clothes. Steer clear of bassinets with padded sides or fabric panels, which can trap hazardous air pockets around a baby’s face.
Snug Mattress Fit
For safety, the mattress should fit flush with the sides of the bassinet, leaving no gaps larger than two fingers width. This prevents limbs from working into dangerous positions between the mattress and sides. Waterproof, non-toxic mattress covers also make messes easier to clean up.
Quality bassinets have adjustable height legs that allow you to bring the bassinet right up flush with your adult mattress, eliminating unsafe gaps. Height adjustment ranges of 22” to 30” usually accommodate most beds.
While not mandatory, convenient features like storage pockets, soothing vibrations, night lights, and lullaby sounds can be helpful for late-night care. Just avoid unnecessary padded linings or plush toys that pose a suffocation risk.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association puts bassinets through rigorous safety tests. JPMA certification indicates adherence to strict safety guidelines. This greatly reduces injury risks and gives peace of mind.
Budget $200 to $300
Expect to spend $200 to $300 for a bassinet meeting all the ideal safety and convenience features. While cheaper options exist, they often cut corners on quality. When it comes to your baby’s well-being, bassinet safety is worth the investment.
Doing your homework on construction, breathability, stability, certifications, and convenience features will lead you to the best bedside bassinet for your newborn. Investing in a quality model means both the baby and parents can sleep a little easier.