A bassinet is a fully functioning piece of nursery furniture, but one that only lasts for about 4 or 6 months. Many parents prefer the size of a bassinet in those early months because the crib seems too large and intimidating for a tiny newborn. A baby bassinet will be a well used piece of nursery furniture, should you decide to use one. Their temporary nature prevents many parents from indulging in what is commonly viewed as a nursery luxury, not a necessity.

Bassinets and cradles are basically the same piece of furniture. Both are small and temporary, typically 33" L x 19" W x 40" H. Both are used only until your baby is about 4 to 6 months old. Both can easily be moved around your house, although a cradle is usually heavier than a bassinet making it a little harder to move around. The difference between a bassinet and a cradle is that cradles are designed to rock back and forth, where a bassinet is stationary.

Most bassinets are made of a woven wicker. Some are made of solid hardwood, in a spindled or slatted design similar to cribs. A typical bassinet includes a removable hood, casters with locks, a liner, and a mattress. Some have a valance or skirt that decorates the outside of the bassinet and hangs down to the floor. They may also include a blanket, pillow, fitted sheet, mobile, nightlight, or basket. Some are equipped with dual wheel rolling casters that rotate upward to convert the bassinette into a cradle allowing you to rock your baby. Some are even equipped with a remote control and a music box so you can set the snooze timer to stop after 5, 10, 15, or 25 minutes.

Bassinets should adhere to the same safety standards as cribs and the following guidelines:
  • Bassinets should be sturdy with a wide base. This will prevent the bassinet from tipping over when small children try to peer inside or a cat uses the edge as a launch pad.
  • If the bassinet has a hood, make sure it folds back and out of the way. If it doesn't fold back you may find that it gets in the way when you are putting your baby in the bassinet.
  • If your bassinet has casters, make sure the casters have locks and always lock the casters when your baby is in the bassinet.
  • Read the manufacturers guidelines regarding weight limits and how long you can use the bassinet. Most bassinets are only meant to be used for the first 4 to 6 months of your baby's life. They are not meant for long term use or older babies.
I thought I would be well-adjusted about my newborn and let her sleep in her bassinet alone – turns out I wasn't and the bassinet wasn't used very often. When I used it, I used the Glenna Jean Starry Nights Jumbo Bassinet 'n Cradle by Badger Basket, and I did like it when I used it. It was an easy purchase as well – the bassinet and bedding were one complete set! It is a nice size for babies who move around or kick their legs and fit nicely beside my bed. If I didn't have the fear of SIDS, I would have used it more, although hindsight tells me I should have looked at the co-sleepers.
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