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When to Transition Your Baby Out of a Bassinet

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There are countless first milestones in your baby’s first months of life. One big one that can sneak up on parents is outgrowing the bassinet. Bassinets are a wonderful first option for safe sleep during the newborn phase. They’re portable, safe, and just the right snug size for a brand new baby who’s getting used to their big new world. As the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies share a room with parents or caregivers for the first 6-12 months of life, bassinets are a great compact option. But during the blur of the newborn phase, babies grow by leaps and bounds. Before you know it, that bassinet is simply too small! For a smooth transition, it’s best to be prepared to move your baby’s naps and nighttime sleep to a crib. Read on to learn how to know when to transition your baby out of a bassinet to a crib. 

When should baby move to a crib? 

There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to when a baby is officially beyond the age for a bassinet. The answer will lie in your unique baby’s development, size, and your bassinet’s weight limit. And certainly, newborns can sleep in a crib from day one if you prefer! Let’s look at the different ways to tell your baby is outgrowing their bassinet:

Check your bassinet’s specifications

First off, it’s important to know your specific bassinet’s weight limit. Most bassinets can hold a 20+ pound infant, and in this case many parents find that their baby outgrows the bassinet in length before they reach the weight limit. But some bassinets have a weight limit as low as 10 pounds and will only be able to safely house your baby for a few weeks. Look into your bassinet’s safety requirements to know what you have to work with. 

Notice your baby’s growth

Next time you lay your baby down in her bassinet, take a good look at her. Does she look cramped? Babies grow so quickly, but since parents are seeing them day in and day out, outgrowing a bassinet can sneak up on you. If your baby’s feet or head are quite close to the edge of the bassinet, it’s time to think about transitioning to a crib. 

Notice how your baby is sleeping

If your baby is waking up often in her bassinet, it could be a sign that she’s getting cramped and uncomfortable. When you lay your baby down, there may still be an inch or two of headspace and foot space, but if he’s wiggling a lot in his sleep, he could inadvertently wake himself up when he bumps into the walls of the bassinet. 

Pay attention to milestones

Is your baby learning to roll? Then it’s time to transition to the crib. Modern bassinets comes with safety information that warns parents against placing a mobile baby into a bassinet. Babies who can roll from front to back or back to front can no longer be safely swaddled or placed in a bassinet. Pay attention to your baby’s development during playtime and begin to transition them to a crib when you see signs that rolling is on the horizon. Of course, if your baby can sit up or pull themselves up, bassinets are not a safe option. 

Signs your baby is outgrowing their bassinet 

To simply, here are the top signs your baby is outgrowing their bassinet. For most babies, at least one of these signs will occur by four months of age:

  • Your baby is too long, and their head and/or toes touch the edges of the bassinet
  • Your baby is too wiggly, and can wake themselves up by moving into the bassinet walls
  • Your baby has reached the weight limit of your specific bassinet 
  • Your baby can roll over or sit up on his own

When you notice any/all of these signs, that’s when it’s time to transition your baby out of a bassinet.

Where should the crib live?

Well, that depends on the age of your baby and your personal parenting choices. AAP guidelines are to keep your baby in your room until between 6-12 months as a SIDS reducer. However, we find that most parents make this change between 3-6 months of age. This is often because parents choose to switch to the crib in the nursery instead of trying to squeeze a crib into their bedroom.

How to transition from a bassinet to a crib 

Now that you know when to transition your baby out of a bassinet, what’s next? Many parents are daunted by the idea of moving their baby to a crib. They may feel like they finally got their baby sleeping well in their bassinet, and now it’s time to move on. Fear not! Many babies surprise their parents and do just fine moving to the crib. 

When transitioning out of the bassinet, keep the other aspects of your sleep routine the same. For best results, keep the room dark and cool (68-72°F) with white noise. Stay consistent with nap and bed times and your bedtime routine. Avoid letting your baby get overtired. If you have some time, you can transition slowly, such as moving naps to the crib but keeping nighttime sleep in the bassinet, or vice versa. If you’re transitioning to the crib at the same time that you’re transitioning out of the swaddle, try swaddling one arm in and one arm out during naps to help your baby adjust.

Most of all, stay consistent. Your baby might experience a few days of difficult sleep, but with healthy sleep routines they’ll adjust to sleeping well in their crib in due time. And if you want help with this milestone, read about our overnight newborn care and sleep training services. We can help!