For new parents, there’s always a big cradle vs bassinet debate in regard to which one lets the baby sleep more safely.
In the battle between a baby cradle vs bassinet, there isn’t a clear winner as both have their pros and their cons when it comes to being the superior baby’s bed.
Ultimately, it comes down to a few deciding factors, most of them relating to safety, price, space, and the period of usability.
For instance, bassinets fit more easily into nurseries and bedrooms, while cradles need a bit more space for rocking.
Bassinets are better for kids up to 6 months of age, as the smaller space poses a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) due to it being harder for the child to roll onto his side or stomach when sleeping.
On the other hand, cradles tend to give you more bang for your buck as your child can use it for a longer period of time and grow into it.
There’s a lot more to it than this, though, as these are all just surface details.
You will need to dig deeper to make your final decision.
As always, I’ve gone through the trouble of doing most of that for you with this article.
Hopefully the things I’ve discovered will help you figure out which of the two you and your partner end up with.
Cradle VS Bassinet: The Facts
Before we make a final decision, it’s important to understand the basic idea of what both a cradle and a bassinet are.
While some models appear to be almost the same, there are several clear differences between the two products.
Cradles work similarly to bassinets, although they’re normally more spacious than their counterparts.
There are two distinct types of cradle: traditional cradles and more modern ones.
Traditional cradles are the kind you often see in movies, and are built from wood, feature slats on the side, and have a curved bottom to enable the iconic rocking motion that cradles are known for, providing you an easy way to help get your new baby off to sleep.
They were designed to avoid the risk of waking your baby up when placing him in his bed after rocking him to sleep in your arms, the cradle does it for you instead.
It also makes it a lot easier for you to calm him down should he wake up in the middle of the night, when you might not be at your most coordinated.
You also have more modern cradles, which replace the wooden slats with a breathable mesh on the side, removing the risk of any of the baby’s body parts getting stuck in between them.
They also help provide a little bit of added sun protection when it peeks through the window, and gives access to safe sleep that will go uninterrupted all day and night.
On top of that, you’ll find cradles to be a lot sturdier than bassinets, and they will likely last you a lot longer for that same reason.
However, as wonderful and useful as cradles can be, they aren’t without their downsides.
When comparing them to bassinets, the biggest thing that sticks out is portability.
While they are similar in size, they are still bigger than a bassinet, and with the addition of the rocking legs, are a lot less portable, making them a real chore to move around.
Not only that, but cradles don’t generally come with their own bedding, which means you’ll more than likely have to buy your own, further increasing the cost.
• Iconic, and fit better in kids sleeping areas
• Higher weight limit than a bassinet
• Modern options made out of breathable material
• More expensive than bassinets
• Low portability
• Don’t come with their own bedding
• Are usually the more expensive option
What is the best cradle for a newborn?
A good one is the BABYBJORN Cradle because it has a sturdy base, while the sleeping area itself can be gently rocked.
On the other side of the cradle vs bassinet showdown, we have the infant bassinet, also known as a Moses basket.
They’re usually constructed in a basket-like shape, placed on legs, and feature a hood on top for added sun protection.
Most bassinet models are often woven out of wicker or cane, giving them a lovely, rustic appearance that fits well with any sleeping space.
You can find them made out of plastic for added durability, although you do lose that wonderful aesthetic.
Bassinets are ideal for moms who want to have their baby close to them at all times, as they’re a lot more portable (either the top half is detachable from the legs or the legs have wheels for easier maneuverability, and brakes to keep the bassinet secure) than a cradle is.
Kind of like a pseudo-stroller.
This also allows you to move it around easier, so you can place it next to a changing table or put your little one directly into bed once you’ve given him a fresh diaper to wear.
They’re ideal for babies who are under 6 months of age given their size and comfort.
They’re also cheaper than cradles.
That said, there are some disadvantages to bassinets that need to be taken into consideration.
The main issue is the actual size of the bassinet.
Although they’re cheaper than cradles, they won’t last as long and you’ll still likely have to buy either a cradle or a baby crib eventually anyway, meaning you won’t get as much for your money as with the other options.
Another downside is that, unlike a cradle, the bassinet doesn’t have a rocking feature.
• Greater portability
• The most affordable option
• A variety of wonderful designs
• Not as sturdy as the other options
• Only usable for up to 6 months as the baby grows out of it pretty quickly
• No option for rocking the baby, which might be a downside for some parents
What is the best bassinet for a newborn?
For this, I’d have to go with the Papablic 2-in-1 Bonni Baby Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper.
Sure it might not be as budget-friendly as some, but it comes with a mattress pad included in the purchase, not to mention the fact that you can fit it near your bed and watch your kiddo from the side.
The bed also adheres to all CPSC and ASTM safety standards and the bed has even earned a Mom’s Choice Award.
So, Which Is Better?
The differences are very small, but I would choose a cradle myself.
Although they’re a bit more expensive, they’ll last you longer than a bassinet and are therefore a much better investment.
However, my personal vote would have to go to an actual baby crib and I’ll explain why.
EXTRA: The Baby Crib
The surprise challenger in the cradle vs bassinet argument is a baby crib.
I mention cribs because despite the fact they’re generally a lot pricier than cradles and bassinets, a crib will last you a lot longer than either of them and they’re a lot sturdier too.
You’ll usually only need one crib at a time, which can be reused for a future child, while your baby transitions to a toddler bed or similar.
Baby cribs have a lot more options for them too.
They come in different shapes and sizes, from standard mini cribs all the way up to full-size cribs, each of which provides the ultimate in child safety and comfort.
You can even find convertible cribs which evolve along with your child, some of them can even upgrade all the way up to a full-blown toddler bed, saving you a lot of money in the process.
The options available aren’t just limited to the models themselves, but in the materials too, as many baby cribs come built either out of wood with slats, much like traditional cradles minus the rocking option, or a breathable material on the side for added safety and comfort.
Another great thing is that most baby crib models come with a crib mattress included, so you don’t have to worry about getting extra crib bedding, saving you even more money.
Cribs have their downsides too, though, as they aren’t portable.
They sacrifice this aspect for the added safety and sturdiness we discussed before.
The price is also a major factor, as some parents simply can’t afford to invest that much of their budget into one piece of baby gear when so much else is required for their baby.
Baby cribs will often end up needing a room of their own unless you have a particularly large bedroom, which can be either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it, but I’m sure every parent wants to be close to their child as much as possible.
• Will last a long time
• Very safe
• Come in a variety of different models
• Most come with a crib mattress/bedding of their own
• A lot pricier than the other two options
• Not nearly as mobile
• Take up a lot of space
What is the best baby crib for a newborn?
My go-to option for a good baby crib is the Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, specifically because of the “convertible” aspect and the fact that it includes a mattress in the purchase.
This means you won’t need to buy any extra beds after acquiring this fine piece of furniture.
What To Look For When Buying These Products
Although it’s interesting to look into all of the pros and cons of the cradle vs bassinet vs crib showdown, there are also some universal things to keep in mind when purchasing them.
Not every sleeping area is safe, you have to make sure they meet the appropriate safety standards issued out by the consumer product safety commission (CPSC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
If they have all 3 certifications, they’re likely to be your best option.
Why Are These Required?
The reason these are necessary is because if any of these products aren’t constructed to these standards, the potential risk of SIDS greatly increases.
SIDS, also known as sudden infant death syndrome, is something that, although uncommon, is a tragic fate that befalls a good number of unfortunate children every year.
While the exact reason hasn’t been determined yet, the risk factors that increase the danger to a baby’s life include added accessories inside the sleeping area like cushions, pillows, or other fluff.
These are likely to pose a greater risk of suffocation, which could be severely harmful or even fatal.
The importance of breathable fencing material has also become mandatory, as it prevents the baby from suffocating should he turn in his sleep.
A safety concern that’s exclusive to cradles is how extreme some of the rocking motions can be.
You want them to be as gentle as possible because if the cradle rocks in too wide an arc, you risk the baby flipping over and hurting himself or his sleeping position becoming compromised, leaving him in distress.
As well as those, there are several other things to be mindful of when trying to reduce the chances of SIDS that aren’t just related to the beds themselves.
One is that the crib, cradle, and bassinet should never have anything inside the sleeping area.
Keep stuffed animals and other toys in the child’s playpens and play yards, as all they’ll do in beds is increase the suffocation risk.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you should, under no circumstances, be co-sleeping with your baby, no matter how safe you think it is.
When you’re asleep, you’re unable to be aware of your surroundings, so you as the co-sleeper pose just as much of a risk to your child as those items inside his crib would, if not greater.
If you insist on being a bedside sleeper, make sure that the other parent, or another responsible adult, is nearby at all times so they can intervene in case the position becomes dangerous, though I still wouldn’t recommend ever putting your child at risk in this way.
This battle evolved into a three-way free-for all cradle vs bassinet vs crib battle, so there was a lot of information to process in the end.
The cradle’s rocking motion is the unique characteristic that carried it forward, the bassinets’ small size and portability allow it to be on-hand at any time, and the crib’s overall sturdiness and safety are an excellent feature.
Personally, I went with a crib because the other two options were only short term fixes, while I’d have to upgrade to a crib eventually anyway, so it was the most logical option of the three.
It’s the most expensive choice, but it paid off greatly in the end as I had the foresight to think about it in advance and use some of my savings to get it when I needed it.
However, that might not be an option for every household, or it could simply not be your preferred option.
I’m not here to make decisions for you as I don’t know your preferences, I’m just trying to make them easier for you.
Some mammas might want their child nearby at all times, while others might prefer to stand next to a crib and gently rock it by hand.
Some might be like me and prefer the practicality a baby crib offers.
As with many other debates, the choice depends on your preferences, and I’m sure you’re going to make the right choice in the end as long as you trust your maternal instincts.
READ NEXT: 12 Best Crib Alternatives
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