You may have designed the most Instagram-worthy nursery with an heirloom crib and organic mattress, but come on, Mama. That little sleep terrorist is going to be in your room for at least the first few months of life. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping baby in the same room — on a separate sleeping surface — for up to a year. This is where the bassinet or co-sleeper comes in.
KEY FEATURES: A bassinet or co-sleeper is usually much smaller than a crib, or even a travel crib. The small footprint provides a cozy space for baby — who’s used to, you know, your super-cozy womb — and unless you live in a typical New York City apartment, theoretically it should fit in your bedroom no problem. A bassinet is enclosed on four sides, while a co-sleeper generally has one convertible side so it can act as a semi-separate extension of your own bed. Unlike a crib, a bassinet usually comes with the mattress (unless it doesn’t need one at all — like the Rock-N-Play).
This portable bassinet won’t cramp your style. With multiple color options and a minimalist design, it will blend fairly seamlessly with just about any decor. Mesh panels on two sides provide extra breathability, and all the fabric is removable and machine washable. While it doesn’t fold up fully, the legs are easy to enough to remove and replace, and the whole thing fits nicely into a slim vinyl tote.
BUT… There are no wheels for rolling it from room to room (which is really fine since it’s super lightweight). The max weight is only 20 pounds, so your mileage may vary. It doesn’t come with a sheet, so you’ll need to buy that separately.
Even those painfully stylish Instagram moms who pose their babies in moses baskets with gently worn ivory linens have this ubiquitous Fisher-Price sleeper just out of frame. With its deep, cozy recline; battery-operated vibration; and easy-to-rock (with one hand, while you’re half asleep) frame, this thing will save your life your first few months at home with baby. Whether you’re putting baby down for a nap or just trying to sneak in a few minutes of Me Time, most babies will be content snuggling into this thing on the reg. And since it’s lightweight and easy to fold, moving it around the house is a breeze (yes, you sure can take it into the bathroom with you).
BUT… people do it, but technically you’re not supposed to let your baby sleep overnight in the Rock-N-Play, as the safest infant sleep is on a hard, flat surface. Be aware that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price warn consumers to stop using the product as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities or by three months old. Using the three-point harness restraint is also a must. The weight limit is 25 pounds, but as soon as baby is sitting up on his own, it’s time to move onto bigger and better (and safer) beds.
OUR SUGGESTION: Even if you end up with a separate bassinet, have one of these around, too.
This convertible co-sleeper can be used as a traditional bassinet, or you can roll it right up to your bed and take down one side for convenient night feedings. Adjustable legs make it easy to match the height of your own mattress, while casters allow you to roll it around the house. It comes with a sheet, and the basket down below is great for storing diapers, burp cloths, or anything else you may need quick access to in the middle of the night. You can use this for up to five months, or until your little yogi can push up on both his hands and knees at once.
BUT… This is not foldable, so it’s not meant for travel. It’s also not the most attractive option out there (but hey, the brown won’t show poop stains!).
This is the Rolls Royce of bassinets. Because the basket sits atop a sturdy pedestal base (as opposed to four legs) it rotates 360º and you can shimmy it right up over your own mattress. Plus, one side lowers when you push on it, so it’s easy to reach for baby in the middle of the night. It comes with one sheet, and has all the bells and whistles you didn’t even know you needed: a nightlight, “soothing sounds,” and vibration. The “nursing timer” may sound like a bit much, but is actually a good safety feature as it reminds you (er, wakes you up after you fall asleep — which you totally will) to put baby back into the bassinet for safe sleeping. It’s recommended for babies up to five months old, but as soon as he starts pushing up, rolling over, or pushing down on that convertible side, it may be time to graduate to the crib.
BUT… It’s pricey, especially for something you’ll only use for maybe five months. That said, if it helps baby sleep, it’s priceless, right? (Right!)