Bassinets vs. Cribs

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In the parenting community, there are few battles that are more widely talked about than the bassinets vs. cribs debate.  While some parents sweat by the portability and the comfort of bassinets, other parents refuse to accept anything other than a sturdy traditional baby crib.  So which is best?  It all depends on what will work best for you and you little one.  While there are a lot of advantages to buying both, that isn’t an option for everyone.  So if you have a strict budget and are totally lost about which direction you should take your child’s sleep into, stay tuned!

The first thing you have to know when breaking down the battle of bassinets vs. cribs is that while they both serve the same purpose, they are indeed very different.  Not only are they different in size and style but there is a huge difference in price when may help to sway your decision.  While each style and variety of each of these baby beds offers something a little bit different, the idea behind it is exactly the same.  Here is a breakdown of each so you know what to expect and can choose for yourself which one is superior. 

Advantages of having a crib

There are many reasons why parents are die hard crib fans.  Not only cribs are the most commonly used baby bed, it also has been trusted to care for babies for generations.  Here are some of the top advantages to having a crib which might help to settle the great bassinets vs. cribs debate.

  • Size

The number one advantage to a crib that you won’t have in a bassinet is the large size.  A large crib means that there is plenty of space for your little one to grow and move.  While the size isn’t very important when it comes to newborns, because they dimple are not as mobile, older kids really need that space to stretch out.  While there is a standard crib size, that doesn’t mean that that is the only option you have.  There have been many newer versions on the cribs to hit the market that offer a smaller more compact size that is very popular in European countries.

While the size does have it pros, it isn’t good for everyone.  This is especially true if you have a small living space without too much room for a big bulky crib.  Even the smaller more compact cribs may not suit your lifestyle either.  If you have the space to spare, a crib is a great option for your ever growing child.

  • Structure

Along with the size of a crib, structure also plays a part in the bassinets vs. cribs battle.  Structure means that there is some substance behind the crib.  Meaning that you have a quality piece of furniture that can handle all of the bumps and jumps your growing child will throw its way.  The structure of the crib is directly related to the quality of the materials the crib is made with.  Most cribs will be made out of high quality treated wood that not only offers an amazing amount of structure but also a very traditional styling.

While quality and structure is important to the safety of your child, it can have its downfalls.  The main complaint about the structure of the crib is that it is nearly impossible to move.  Yes, most cribs come with wheels built into the bottom on the legs, but that does not make it travel friendly.  Basically, once you have a crib in place it should stay there.  The only real way to move a crib is to take apart which brings us to the send downfall.  Cribs are often times pretty difficult to put together so the thought of having to take one apart just to put it back together again can be enough to drive any parent crazy.

  • Long lasting

One of the biggest advantages to having a crib is that they are built to last.  This means that you can safely use this crib for most of your child’s young life until they are ready for a big kid bed.  Unlike bassinets that have very limited space, cribs can support your child for much longer.  Even better, most cribs are convertible cribs which gives you options.  Convertible cribs mean that the crib can transform from a standard sized crib to a toddler bed with just a few simple adjustments.  Convertible cribs are not only a budget friendly option; they work to ensure that this is the only bed you will need to buy your child for years to come.

Many parents even find that the crib they bought is so long lasting that they even reuse them again for their next child.  This is a great option for parents who love to recycle and live a more green life.  The best way to know if you can use the crib again is to check to make sure that there isn’t any structure damage like a broken frame or support system.  The one downfall to having a long lasting crib is that they are harder to get rid of once you are done using it.  Most bassinets are easier to sell or give away because of their compact size which is a big factor in the bassinets vs. cribs debate.

  • Customizable

While bassinets comes in different colors and patterns, cribs can be just as easily be customized to your style preference.  This is because many cribs come untreated which means that you have endless options when it comes to staining and painting the cribs.  Brightly painted cribs have become very popular among the DIY parenting community because it is a great way to showcase style and creativity.  You are no longer bound by the restrictions of a clunky wood crib.  So get your painting on, the possibilities are endless.

Advantages of having a bassinet

On the other side of the bassinets vs. cribs war is the popular bassinet option.  While bassinets have been around for generations, starting as simple baskets, newer bassinets have so many options and features that lead to parents choosing this trendy and space saving option time and time again.  Here are some of the main reasons why bassinets are becoming more and more popular:

  • Travel friendly

If you are a family who likes to hit the road often and explore the world around you, bassinets are the best way to go.  This is because they are far lighter and smaller than cribs.  Some even fold down to an easy to carry size which means that you can easily throw it in your trunk and take it with you wherever you go.  Just because bassinets are easier to travel with doesn’t mean that they are any less reliable than cribs are either!  Many people find that their bassinets hold up just as well as cribs even thought they move around a lot more. 

While having a baby bed that is easy to travel with is a major plus, it does have its downfalls.  One being that with all that travel, these bassinets is sure to get dirty along the way.  While cribs stay nice and pristine sitting in your little one’s room, bassinets will pick up plenty of stains and dents along the way.  Some people even choose to buy two separate bassinets, one for travel and one for their home.  This, however, isn’t an option for everyone especially if you are on a strict budget.

  • Great for co-sleeping

At the very early stages of a newborn’s life, parents prefer to co-sleep with their child.  This is because there has been some great information out there that shows the amazing benefits that can come from an attached style of parenting.  Attachment parenting means that at almost all times there is at least one parent or adult having skin to skin contact with the child.  Whether it is while breastfeeding or just carrying around your little one in a sling while you do the dishes, attachment parenting is becoming very popular.  The only time that attachment parenting can be difficult is when it comes to bed time.  This is because there hasn’t been a way to safely do this, until now!

Bassinets are a great alternative for parents who are trying attachment parenting.  This is because some bassinets resemble small wicker style beds that were used years ago.  This little bed can lay perfectly flat on your bed and helps to create a barrier between you and your child.  This means that you don’t have to worry about rolling over and hurting your child in the middle of the night.  While these have been proven to be safe, you still need to exercise certain precautions.   This is especially true if you are a single parent.  Having a bassinet nested between two people helps to keep it in place but if you are sleeping in the bed alone you want to make sure that the bassinet is positioned just right to keep from falling off the edge.

  • Comfort without blankets

A crib is the bare basics of what you need for your sleeping child.  To add that extra bit of comfort you might be tempted to add some plush blankets into your child’s crib, but this is a big mistake!  Blankets, pillows and even stuffed animals must be cleared from your baby’s bed to avoid a dangerous situation like suffocation.  Any sheets or mattress protectors that are used in cribs must be tightly secured to the mattress to avoid bundling and twisting.  The great thing about bassinets is that some styles come with their own comfort built in.

This means that not only do bassinets have plush padding; some even have slight headrests that give your child just that extra bit of comfort. The owe downfall to having a bassinet with some extra padding is that they can be difficult to clean.  Face it, children are messy.  Between the constant diaper leaks and spit ups, it can be nearly impossible to keep everything clean.  The way to combat this problem is to make sure that the bassinet you have purchased comes with removable padding.  For extra measure, make sure that this padding is machine washable.

  • Late night feeding friendly

The struggle of late night newborn feedings is real.  Constantly waking up every few hours to feed a baby can be hard on anyone and is sure to take a physical and emotional toll over time.  This is only exasperated but having to stumble your way through the dark to your child’s room time after time again.  This is where bassinets come in handy!  Because they are so lightweight you can easily move the bassinet from room to room.  This means that in the very early stages of your child’s life when the feedings are more frequent some parents choose to leave the bassinet right by the side of the bed.  This is a great alternative for a parent who doesn’t want to co-sleep but still wants to keep their baby close by.

While this may seem like a trivial thing, having your baby close by for feedings is a huge deal.  There is nothing easier than waking up to a hungry baby just to roll over and find them right there ready to eat.  Spending a night on the couch in hopes of giving your partner a break for the night?  No problem!  Because bassinets move with ease from room to room, you can simply just move the bassinet to any area in the house which even makes multitasking so much easier.

  • Space saver

Unlike traditional cribs that are bulky and sometimes clunky, bassinets take up very little room depending on what style you get.  This is a huge win in the bassinets vs. cribs battle.  If you live in a popular city, you know how space can be very limited and the thought of having to fill more than half of a room with a large crib can be daunting.  Even the more streamlined and sleeker cribs can sometimes be too big for living spaces.  That is where a bassinet comes into play.  Bassinets come in all shapes and sizes so you are sure to find the one that will not only prevent clutter, but will actually be a high functioning piece of furniture. 

Bassinets vs. Cribs: How to choose

Now that you not what each sleeping style has to offer, it is time to choose which one is right for you.  The winner of this battle is simple.  It is whichever one you prefer.  Like most things in life, everyone has different opinions and that doesn’t mean that one person is right and one person is wrong.  It is possible for each opinion to be right in its own way.  To find a winner for you, you have to know what features are going to work for you and your family.  Here are some things to keep in mind before you make the choice:

  • How much space do you need?

If you find yourself low on space, you might want to consider using a bassinet as your child’s main form of sleeping.  Bassinets can snuggly fit into any tiny space or corner in a room and can even be used in the bed with you.  If you find that you have room to spare, try giving a traditional crib a try.  Cribs are made to last and while the size may be intimidating, this means that there will be plenty of room for your little one to grow.

  • Cost

Budget is a huge part of any decision you make, especially when it comes to baby gear items.  It should be known that while high quality bassinets will run you a pretty penny, often times a crib come with a much high price tag.  This is especially true if you are looking to get a convertible crib, so plan ahead.

  • Lifestyle

One of the last things to consider when choosing in the bassinets vs. cribs battle is what kind of lifestyle you live.  If you are trying your hand at attachment parenting or co-sleeping, a bassinet will fit perfectly into your life.  If you are looking for a more traditional way of parenting which can also help your child to learn how to self sooth, a crib might work best in your life. 

Final Thoughts

While there may not always be a clear choice, one thing is clear.  When it comes to bassinets vs. cribs, not all features and advantages are created equal.  It all comes down to personal preference and style.  If you can swing it, you may want to consider getting both.  A bassinet is perfect for newborns because of how portable they are and because they give you so many different sleeping options.  A crib is a great thing to have on hand for when your little one gets a little bigger and you are in desperate need of a little bit of space.  Good luck!

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