Have you been using a bassinet for your baby since he or she came home from the hospital? Bassinets are wonderful for smaller babies but you may be wondering when is your baby too big for the bassinet and when should you be moving over to a crib.
Abassinet’scompact designs allow you to keep your baby close to you, in your own bedroom. They work well as long as your baby can still fit into them comfortably and isn’t sitting or standing up on her own.
It’s only natural to start asking when is the best time to move your baby out of their bassinet. Many parents will tell you babies are ready to move from the bassinet by the time they reach six months old. A number of factors, however, play a role in determining when your baby is too big for the bassinet.
Read on as I talk you through these different factors from a father’s point of view. I’ll touch on why parents opt for bassinets in their baby’s first few months (in case, you’re still deciding whether to buy a bassinet or not). I’ll share some tips for moving your baby from the bassinet to the crib. Plus, I’m going to give you some insights into using a pack ‘n play instead of moving straight to a crib.
How to Know When Baby is Too Big for Bassinet
While the general consensus appears to be that a six month old baby is ready to transition to a crib, there is no set rule here. Bassinets are meant for babies sleeping on their back only. They also have lower sides. When your baby is starting to roll over from her back this is an indication she’s getting too big for her bassinet.
If she’s pulling herself up by holding onto the sides then it’s no longer safe for her to stay in the bassinet. Another sign she’s getting too big for her bassinet is when you find her all bunched up in a tight corner of the bassinet.
Therefore there are certain factors, which will force you to start thinking about moving your baby out of their bassinet. These include the following:
- Size: If your baby’s head and feet are touching either ends of the bassinet then it’s time to move them. Your baby needs to fit comfortably in the bassinet without touching any of the sides. For a comfortable night’s sleep, your baby needs to be able to move freely without any restrictions from the bassinet’s sides.
- Maximum weight: Always check the maximum weight recommendations for the bassinet. Most bassinets accommodate babies up to 20 pounds with some only up to 10 or 12 pounds. Once your baby goes beyond the maximum weight recommendation, it’s time to move them to a crib. You can read my article about bassinets for small spaces to get an idea of different maximum weight recommendations for different products.
- Age: Most bassinets are designed to accommodate babies from newborn to five or six months old.
- Your baby is mobile: Manufacturers will tell you that if your baby is pushing up on their hands or knees before they reach the maximum weight or age recommendations, then it’s time to move them out of their bassinet.
SIDS and When is the Right Time to Leave the Bassinet
Every new parent’s nightmare has to be SIDS. This is often the reason parents opt for co-sleeping, bed-sharing or using a bassinet in their bedroom. Breastfeeding is another reason many parents prefer to keep their baby close by. Breastfeeding moms often end up, unintentionally, sleeping with their baby in the bed. This is understandable when exhaustion takes over!
UNICEF’s “The Baby Friendly Initiative” has compiled some of the latest research around bed-sharing. While up to date information around room-sharing and SIDs is scant, experts still agree that keeping your baby close to you in their first six months lowers the risk of SIDs.
Watch this video to find out more about co-sleeping.
So, this could be another answer to your question about how to know when your baby is too big for their bassinet. When your baby reaches six months old, you can feel more confident about moving them to a crib.
If you want to find out more about co-sleepers, read my article here.
Tips for Moving Your Baby From the Bassinet to the Crib
When you’ve decided your baby has outgrown their bassinet, the next step is preparing them for the crib. Not all babies embrace such a change with eager acceptance so if you rush the process, you may end up with a difficult baby on hand!
If you’re moving your baby out of your room into their own room, this is the time to invest in a high-quality baby monitor. Audio baby monitors are great but if you want to be able to see what your baby is up to, consider getting a video baby monitor. I’ve written extensively about some top video baby monitors on my site.
Here are some tips to help you move your baby to the crib with minimal upheavals both for you and your baby.
Tip 1: Make Use of Tummy Time
Start introducing your baby to her crib during tummy time. This can be done a few months before she actually transitions to her crib for sleeping. Place her in the crib for a few minutes every day while she’s doing tummy time.
Of course, you’ll need to be with your baby while she’s in the crib and it’s even more important when you’re giving her tummy time.
Tip 2: Use the Crib for Nap Times
Instead of putting your baby into the bassinet for daytime naps, use the crib. Your baby may initially reject this idea so some patience will be required. You may also need to stay with your baby when she’s in the crib. Here’s an article I wrote on daytime naps for children.
If the crib is in the nursery, you may want to consider purchasing a comfy glider or rocking chair. This will come in use too when your baby transitions to night time sleeping in her own crib. Read my article about gliders for tall parents (it’s also useful for “short” parents!) and check out some of the great gliders you can buy.
Tip 3: Invest in a Sleep Sack or Swaddling Blankets
Moving your baby from the snug, cozy environment of her bassinet to the vastness of her crib can be overwhelming for her. You can help her to adjust by using a sleep sack. The Nested Bean Zen Sack is designed to fit babies from 0 to 24 months old. A sleep sack creates an environment similar to being held in parents’ arms and your baby will feel secure in one of these.
Another option is to use a swaddle blanket. I’ve covered these nifty baby items in my article about baby blankets. Both sleep sacks and swaddling blankets are safer and more comfortable for babies transitioning to cribs.
Tip 4: Create a Calm Environment
To help your baby transition to a crib especially in her own room, you would benefit from creating a calm environment. Consider putting in a night light such as the Nesteast Light for Kids which will create a subtle, dim lighting (with pretty stars reflecting onto their ceiling).
Soothing white noise is also comforting for babies and the Homedics White Noise Sound Machine is a good option here. You can select from a range of six different “natural” sounds to lull your baby to sleep. Here’s an article I wrote also on other models.
Tip 5: Use a Pack ‘n Play
Here are some benefits of using a pack ‘n play before transitioning straight to the crib.
|Bigger than the bassinet||- Your baby will have more space to stretch out and sleep comfortably.|
|Ease of use||- Baby can stay in the room with you at night time.|
- You can close up the pack ‘n play and store it out of the way during the day while you’re using the crib in your baby’s room for daytime naps.
|Portable||- You can take the pack ‘n play on trips or on visits to friends and family.|
- You can move the pack ‘n play into other rooms of the house.
Knowing when your baby is too big for the bassinet is vital for her safety and for ensuring she sleeps well. The signs I’ve mentioned in this article will give you an indication of when your baby is outgrowing its bassinet. You can also refer to the information supplied by manufacturers of bassinets. They’ll advise on the maximum weight and age for bassinets.
Prepare yourself for the fact your baby will outgrow her bassinet. When you do, transitioning to a crib will be hassle-free and a breeze.