If a crib is the most important piece of nursery gear you can buy for your newborn, a baby sleeper, bassinet, or baby co-sleeper is a close second. Bassinets are specifically designed for newborns up to roughly 25 pounds (whenever they can push up on their hands) and, thanks to their size, are easy to move from one room to another. Co-sleepers either live right next to or attach to your bed, to simplify midnight feedings and diaper changes.
- With either of these, essentially, you’re shopping for a miniature crib, so make sure it has a flat surface. Some bassinets rock or glide. Others don’t. That’s up to you. But a flat surface is absolutely non-negotiable, because it’s unsafe for babies to sleep in an elevated position, per the American Academy of Pediatrics. Choose one with a sturdy bottom and a wide, stable base, for extra safety. If you want to take the bassinet from room to room, get one that’s portable and lightweight.
- When choosing a co-sleeper, if possible opt for one that attaches to a bed; that lets you be close by for feedings, but eliminates any concerns about you rolling over in your sleep. You want the co-sleeper to last more than one day, so get one that accommodates bigger babies, and if you’re going to be visiting family, portability is a plus.
- The mattress needs to be thin, firm, and flat. Mesh walls let you see your baby, so that’s a bonus. And of course, you want something that’s easy to clean because, well, babies.
Bear in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on a firm, flat surface, covered with a tight fitted sheet. The organization urges room-sharing for at least the first 6 months your baby is home. Bed-sharing, however, is a no-no, regardless of the insert you see that promises it’s safe. And shop smart: While some sleepers claim to reduce the risk of SIDS, there’s absolutely no proof that they actually do so.
The Best Bassinets and Bedside Cribs
You can call it a cradle. You can call it a bassinet. But we call it perfection. This sleeper is great for babies from the newborn stage up to 17 pounds. The mesh fabric lets you see your baby, plus it increases airflow. This has a natural rocking motion that doesn't need any batteries. Because it only weighs 13 pounds, you can easily carry it from room to room.
Like the SNOO, but much more affordable, this smart bassinet has five motions (car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing and rock-a-bye) and five speed options, as well as four white noise options (rain, ocean, fan and shh). Everything is controlled via the easy-to-use app. It's height-adjustable, has a mesh exterior for visibility, and a weight limit of 25 pounds.
Yes, the price is, well, impressive. But new parents swear by this responsive smart bassinet, for very good reason. It combines rocking with soothing white noise and swaddling to help your child get some damn sleep. And it fits babies weighing up to 25 pounds, so you do get some bang for the admittedly many bucks you spend on it. You can control it from your phone, and get a daily sleep report. Which is a win-win, given that this was created by sleep expert Dr. Harvey Karp. It weighs 38 pounds.
There's no escaping the advent of baby tech, it seems. This bassinet, with a weight limit of 20 pounds, had a built-in microphone that detects when your baby is crying and responds with soothing settings to help the infant go back to sleep. It has three different motion speeds and two vibrations. Plus, there are various soothing sounds. The dimmable lighting on the parental controls makes this easy to use during the middle of the night.
The Best Bedside Bassinets and Baby Co-Sleepers
Halo's infant sleeper rotates and swivels 360 degrees, so your baby is always close to you and easily accessible. It has a lowering sidewall that can be locked into place, to simplify midnight feeds and diaper changes. This thing is also tricked out: It has a nightlight, multiple levels of vibration plus lullabies and sleep sounds, as well as a 30-minute auto shutoff. The base tucks under your bed and needs only a 32 inch wall clearance. You can use it until your baby is 20 pounds, or can pull him- or herself up. This thing is 47 pounds, so portable, it's not.
This bedside co-sleeper is no design marvel, but it does the job and does it well. It has a six-position heigh adjustment, so it works with the majority of adult beds. You simply unzip the side panel closest to your bed and your baby is right there. You can glide the co-sleeper from side to side to help your baby fall asleep after feedings. It's suitable for babies weighing up to 20 pounds. At 19 pounds, it's portable.
We like that this co-sleeper has seven height positions, so it works with any type of bed. You can use this until your baby is 33 pounds, but if he or she can pull up sooner, discontinue use. The side panel rolls down, so you have easy access to your baby for feeds and changes.
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