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Bassinet vs. Crib: Which is Better For Your Baby to Sleep Safely

As a new or expecting parent, there are so many important decisions to make including where your baby will sleep. Deciding to use a bassinet vs crib may affect your newborn's sleep experience during the first months of their life. 

Do your research in advance to determine whether you want a crib or bassinet for newborns. Make the right choice for this foundational time in your child’s life. This article covers everything you need to know to make an informed choice about a baby's bed.

Learn more about product safety regulations to feel confident in choosing what’s best for your family.

Bassinet vs. Crib: The Difference

Both bassinets and cribs are safe sleeping spaces for newborns when used correctly. All newborns can use a crib, but only some can use a bassinet. Before you can choose between a crib or bassinet, you need to understand the details, costs, and safety features of each.


A bassinet for babies is a small, elevated bed for newborns who are:

  • Under five months old
  • Under 20 pounds
  • Unable to roll over on their own yet 

As soon as your baby reaches any one of these milestones, they should no longer sleep in a bassinet. However, bassinets are usually smaller and oval-shaped making them an excellent option for small newborns and parents who want to be able to move the bed around depending on what room they are in during nap times. Their size and shape mean bassinets are often lighter and more portable.

Bassinets may have a stationary frame, wheels, or a rocking or swinging base. They are often made of mesh, cloth, or wood with a small mattress inside. They are usually oval or rectangle-shaped and designed to be mobile. 


A crib is a small bed for infants and young children. Infants of all sizes can use cribs as long as they are used according to product safety regulations. Cribs are generally rectangular and made of wood slates with one side that raises and lowers to make it easier to lay down and pick up your baby. Some cribs may be foldable, but they are usually designed to be stationary. Because of their materials and size, cribs are typically more expensive than bassinets.

Check out our tips for boosting your baby's brain which can improve baby’s sleep.

The Pros and Cons of a Bassinet vs. Crib

Parents want the best for their child, so you will likely want to thoroughly explore the pros and cons of different newborn baby bed options. You may want to consider size, cost, weight, safety, portability, and additional features when choosing a bassinet vs. a crib. 

Bassinets are typically smaller and more portable than cribs. It may also be easier to lay your baby down and pick them up in a bassinet than a crib, especially if you had a C-section. On the other hand, a crib is more sturdy and can be used longer. 

Bassinet Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to using a bassinet. Every family and child is different, so weigh each factor based on your specific needs. If you already have a crib, but your baby is having a hard time sleeping, they may sleep better in a smaller space such as a bassinet. Newly expecting parents who want their infant to sleep next to them may prefer a bassinet bedside.


  • More portable: Bassinets are much lighter weight than cribs and often are foldable or collapsible to make them easy to move around the house or bring with you on a family trip. 
  • Can use bedside: A by-the-bed bassinet means you can easily monitor your newborn without having to rely on baby monitors.This is a great option not only because it takes up minimal space, but also because the AAP recommends room sharing until your newborn is at least 6 months old.
  • Smaller size: A small or premature infant may prefer a smaller sleep space, and a bassinet’s size may also work better if your bedroom is on the smaller side.


  • Will likely need to purchase a crib soon: After an infant reaches 20 pounds, they should sleep in a crib, not a bassinet, so, you will need to buy both if you use a bassinet.
  • Less sturdy: Because they are lightweight, bassinets are more prone to unintended movement from family members or pets bumping them. To minimize these risks, look for features that keep the bassinet surface flat, like Boppy’s anti-tilt anchors.

Crib Pros and Cons

Some expecting parents may worry about their tiny newborn sleeping in a crib. The crib may seem giant in comparison to your infant. That’s one reason why it’s common for families to transition from bassinet to crib once their newborn is too large for the bassinet.

If your family is on a tight budget, you may want to skip the bassinet and start directly with a crib. While the crib may be more expensive, you can save money by only using a crib and not buying both. 


  • Longer use window: Cribs can be used from the beginning of a baby’s life until they are at least 2-3 years old. 
  • May be sturdier: Because cribs are made of wood and meant to be stationary, they will not easily tip over or move around. 


    • Large and heavy: Cribs are not easy to move around and may not up a lot of space in your bedroom.
    • Expensive: A good-quality crib can cost hundreds of dollars.

Meet the Boppy Bassinet and explore how it can bring your baby comfort.

Bassinet vs. Crib Sleep Safety

Modern bassinets and cribs are both safe options for newborns under 5 months old and 20 pounds. In a bassinet, newborns should be monitored while they are falling asleep. They can be left unattended once sleeping in a bassinet as long as there are no items in the bassinet beside the mattress. A baby in a crib with a locked gate can be safely monitored via a baby monitor.

There are many safety protocols for your baby’s sleeping area. 

They include: 

  • Keeping the sleeping area clear of toys, blankets, or other items until the baby is at least one year old
  • Never moving the crib or bassinet while your child is inside
  • Keeping the crib or bassinet in the same room as you are in until the baby is at least six months old
  • Always putting your baby to sleep on their back

These safety procedures should be followed by all families whether using bassinets or cribs for babies. For babies older than five months old, a crib is safer because it has high walls and is sturdy and stable. And remember, if you're struggling with a baby that won't sleep in their bassinet or crib, there are some ways to help.

Be cautious of used cribs handed down from friends or family as they may have outdated or nonworking safety features. Also, make sure to use the bassinet or crib as specified. If you need to replace the mattress or sleeping pad, get one with the same dimensions. 

What about co-sleepers? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a co-sleeper or bassinet that connects to a bed should not be used for infants. If you want to have your young newborn close to you at night, the safest option is a bassinet right next to your bed. 

How to Decide Between Bassinet vs. Crib

Will your child be a bassinet baby or a crib baby? Predicting which type of infant bed will be right for your baby before they are born is challenging. Since you will likely want to begin preparing early, you will probably purchase a bassinet or crib before your child is even born.

There are many factors to consider such as what material and size you want, your budget, and any special features you are interested in. Also, take time to imagine the future and notice – do you see your newborn sleeping in a bassinet or crib?

Learn how to use your baby products safely and correctly from The Boppy Pledge.

Child Size and Growth

Bassinets are usually smaller than cribs. While it’s hard to predict how quickly your newborn will grow, your doctor may be able to give you some general guidelines or even provide recommendations for beds, bassinets, and cribs.

No matter their size, you will only be able to use a newborn bassinet for up to five months. However, a very small newborn in a crib may not be the right fit. Some newborns may be uncomfortable in a large crib with lots of open space around them after just coming from the womb. These babies will sleep better in a small bassinet. 

Materials and Size

Think about the space in your home. How long do you plan to have the crib or bassinet in your bedroom? Where will you put it? Do you need to rearrange the room? Then, consider what material you want your baby’s first bed to be made of.

A bassinet should be breathable with mesh or cloth material and a lightweight frame. Most cribs on the other hand are made of wooden slats. Think about what type of material would match your bedroom decor and what size bed works for your space. Don’t forget to consider the height of the bed and its walls since you will need to bend over into the crib or bassinet often. Choose a height that feels comfortable for the parents and other caregivers. 


There are many different styles of cribs and bassinets. Because of the importance of crib mattresses fitting perfectly in the crib for safety, there are standardized sizes for each style of crib.

  • Traditional Crib: A traditional crib is rectangular with a mattress that is 28 inches by 52 inches. A traditional crib will be basic and simple without any extra features. This is a great option for new parents and those with a minimalist style.
  • Miniature Crib: A miniature crib is a smaller rectangle with a mattress size of 24 inches by 38 inches. This is a good choice for smaller babies and small living spaces.
  • Round Crib: This rare type of crib is circular with a circular mattress. It can bring a regal feel to your bedroom or nursery. 
  • Adjustable or Convertible Crib: With adjustable cribs, the height can be changed as your child grows. Some convertible cribs can even be made into small beds for toddlers. 

There are also different styles of bassinet newborns can use:

  • Traditional Bassinet: When you imagine a baby sleeping in a bassinet, it’s likely a traditional bassinet that is oval-shaped and stands on four legs. They may also be rectangular.
  • Co-Sleeper Bassinet: Some bassinets are designed to be used next to a bed. These bassinets often have a shorter side that makes it easy to pick up your newborn while in bed. With this style of bassinet, keep in mind the AAP recommendation for babies to sleep in the same room as their caregiver, but not in bed together until the baby is at least 6 months old. A co-sleeper bassinet keeps your baby close so you can easily access them for middle of the night needs like feedings.
  • Travel Bassinet: While most bassinets are portable, travel bassinets are specifically designed to keep your baby safe and sleeping soundly from anywhere. They often have mesh covers and handles for transport. 

Discover how baby wake windows change over time from infancy to toddlerhood.


The cost of cribs and bassinets varies greatly. On average, a crib costs between $150 and $800. A bassinet will usually cost anywhere between $50 and $500. Cribs may be a more cost-effective choice because they can be used longer than bassinets. However, there are other ways to save money such as buying a bassinet with a mattress and cover included.

You may also consider a crib bassinet combo that you can modify as your child grows. There are also some good options for cribs with bassinets on top. Lastly, if you don’t already have one, consider making a baby registry so that friends and family can support you and maybe buy you that bassinet on your wishlist. 

Convenience and Functionality

Bassinets are very convenient in a lot of ways. They are lightweight which means you can easily move them when needed. For families that plan to do a lot of traveling, bassinets are a great option.

They are also easier to store than cribs. If you plan on having multiple children, choose a bassinet that folds flat, so you can easily store it in the closet for the next baby. On the other hand, cribs offer some conveniences that bassinet do not. For example, it’s easy to put a changing table on top of a crib and store toys and other items on the side. 

Length of Use

Cribs have more longevity than bassinets. A crib can often be used for several years of a child’s life. Some cribs can even be converted into small beds for toddlers. Check the crib’s safety tags for specific information about weight and age limits as they vary slightly between products.

Furthermore, a crib that is kept in good condition can be used for up to ten years, so you can use it for your next child. A bassinet can only be used until a baby is about five months old but can also be stored and used for your next baby. 

Find Safe and Sound Sleep with the Boppy Bassinet

Whether you choose a bassinet or crib go with something new for the safest bed for your child. Make sure to follow all product directions and sleep environment safety guidelines carefully.

If you want a safe, portable option that you can keep next to your bed to easily attend to your newborn at night, go with a Boppy Bassinet. It's a lightweight and easy to move around bassinet for babies. It folds down and stores flat, which makes it easy to save for your next baby. The Boppy Bassinet also comes with an easy-to-clean mattress pad and two covers, so it’s ready to use right away.


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