by Amy Jorgensen
New parents have to make a lot of decisions about everything from parenting style to baby furniture. One decision that you will need to make as a new parent is where you would like your child to sleep. Both bassinets and cribs are popular styles of baby furniture. Let us help you weigh the pros and cons of cribs and bassinets, so you can find the right solution for you and your family.
The basics: Bassinets are portable baby beds. They are generally small and lightweight. Popular bassinet choices include Moses baskets and round styles with curtains and valances. Cribs come in many different sizes, and while some are portable, most cribs are meant to stay in one location. Popular crib styles include sleigh cribs and convertible varieties that can change into a toddler bed or twin bed.
Parenting style: Your parenting style will likely be a major factor in choosing between a bassinet and a crib. Some parents like the idea of a separate nursery for their child and will prefer that their baby sleep in a crib in the nursery from day one. Other parents will appreciate the convenience of having a bassinet bedside and will feel that more bonding will occur with the child nearby during the night. If you like the idea of having your child nearby while you are sleeping, consider a bassinet style that side-cars onto your bed or one that fits right into the bed with you.
Length of use: Most bassinets are not intended to be a long-term sleeping solution for children because of their size. When your child reaches the weight limit for a bassinet, a new sleeping spot will be necessary, though some bassinets have higher weight limits than others. Cribs are intended to be used for a longer period of time. Your child will likely be able to use his crib for several years. For this reason, many parents choose to purchase a bassinet and a crib, so the child can graduate to the crib when he is ready.
Size: Bassinets and cribs vary greatly in size. Some bassinets are designed like small baskets and can be easily carried and placed nearly anywhere. Cribs are available in a wide range of sizes. Small cribs can be transported, but larger styles will be too heavy to move regularly. If you have limited space in your home, you might consider a bassinet or portable crib.
Cost: Bassinets and cribs both come in a range of prices. Cribs are generally more expensive than bassinets, but many parents consider them an investment because they plan to use them for several years. Bassinets have a wide price range. Simple bassinets can be very affordable, while more elaborate bassinets are meant to be an investment.
Safety: Cribs and bassinets can both be safe sleeping spots for babies if used correctly. When using a bassinet, always consider the weight limit and discontinue use once your child is too heavy for the bassinet. Portable hand-held bassinets, such as Moses baskets, should always be placed in a secure spot when your child is inside. Cribs need proper mattresses in order to be safe. Choose a crib mattress that fits the crib perfectly. It's also important to choose a crib mattress that is firm. Avoid drop-side cribs, which were banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission due to the high number of infant deaths they caused. You should also avoid placing any items in cribs and bassinets with your child, as this can pose a smothering risk.