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When Is a Baby Too Big for a Bassinet? (Transition Guide)

Finding the perfect choice for a newborn baby to sleep isn’t too hard, many choose a bassinet for a reason. It is safe, compact, and convenient. Knowing exactly when a baby is too big for a bassinet can be hard to pinpoint, but it’s necessary so that you can keep that bundle of joy safe.

When is Baby too big for Bassinet? The general consensus is that a baby most likely has outgrown their bassinet around the same time they leave the newborn stage, which is between four and six months. Some babies transition from a bassinet to a crib far sooner than others, but we’ll dig into that further on.

A bassinet sometimes referred to as a cradle, is a bed that is used specifically for babies from their day of birth to about six months, when they are between 10 and 20 lbs. They’re meant to be the safest and most convenient option to keep your little one as they sleep most of the day away.

There is more that goes into knowing about a bassinet and what is best for you and your baby than first appears. Preparing for the birth of a baby can be stressful and complicated, so digging deep into the information on this subject can help you feel more secure by the time they arrive. Sometimes babies benefit from being moved from their bassinet sooner rather than later.

Let’s look at a little more information so we can understand exactly why a bassinet is best for a baby until they’re six months.

When Do Babies Outgrow A Bassinet?

Each bassinet on the market most likely has its own instructions on this subject. There will be height limits, weight limits, and activity limits.

A bassinet is a perfect option for a newborn because they can’t lift their heads or their bodies let alone pull themselves up and over the bassinet sides.

Most bassinets have standards set specifically for the product stating at what physical size your baby is too large for the bassinet.

All babies grow at different rates, and sizes are not always comparable. Some babies are long, while others are short. Some baby’s weigh a lot while some babies are rather light. It all depends on the baby’s growth and how their body develops around these numbers. A heavy baby doesn’t mean a big baby and vice versa.

Usually, it is between 10 and 20 lbs that a baby will be outgrowing their bassinet. Some babies come out as a newborn weighing 10 lbs while others are significantly less. Age is not as important a factor as is size, but even if a baby still fits in the bassinet it may no longer be the appropriate choice.

Once a baby starts being able to sit up, at around six months or so, bassinets are no longer the ideal option. This is because they can start getting into all sorts of trouble.

You may wonder what kind of trouble exactly a non-mobile infant can get into, but you’d be surprised. They could sit up and lean too far into one side of the bassinet, potentially tipping it over.

They could reach out to curtains and tug them down. It’s possible that any number of things could happen, as babies are mischievous and curious by nature.

You’ll know when your baby has outgrown their bassinet because you won’t feel as secure leaving them alone in it.

If they grow too big prior to growing too skilled, that’s pretty easy to tell. The first thing that might happen is that a baby grows too long and placing them in the bassinet becomes difficult without bumping their head. If they have limited room inside of the bassinet it may be time to move them.

Another way to tell if the baby has become too big for the bassinet is whether or not the thin mattress still seems to be able to hold them.

If they are a heavy baby you may see the bottom of the bassinet bowing out when you place them inside of it. That’s a sign they need a bit sturdier of a bed to sleep in.

Overall, mothering instincts should kick in when the baby no longer fits in their bassinet, and you’ll know the best time for your baby to transition them.

What Types of Bassinets Are Out There?

When it comes to a bed for baby there are so many choices out there these days. With the addition of the internet, options can definitely seem endless.

Using a bassinet is an excellent option if you have a smaller house and less space to work with. This is because they just don’t take up the space a crib does.

Bassinets can come in a classic version of a little bed with a canopy. Some bassinets are completely circular, while others might be the kind of bassinet you can sit next to the bed for easy access. There are all shapes and sizes of bassinet out there.

People often enjoy using Pack and Plays that come with a bassinet and changing table attachment. That means you can use the bassinet attachment until the baby outgrows it and easily move to the larger space of a crib without needing to have a large piece of furniture taking up space.

All of these types also come with other options. You can choose small mattresses for the bassinet in addition to pads or slipcovers or sheets. There are also some that come with electrical options for music, sounds, vibrations, or even lights. Attachable mobiles are a fun choice for when baby starts enjoying watching the world move around him.

Why Are Bassinets So Popular Even Though They Don’t Last Long?

Most parents choose to have their newborns sleep in their rooms with them their first few months of life. This is proven to be safer and healthier overall for the baby. Often a master bedroom would not have space for a whole crib set up in the way a nursery might.

To have a safe place for a small infant to sleep, a bassinet is the best choice available. Doctors recommend having a newborn sleep in a clear space alone with you toys, blankets, or cushions. This is because such accessories can, in fact, become choking or suffocating risks.

Babies are more at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when sleeping in another room alone or if they have items in their bed with them.

This is also the case when it comes to co-sleeping as well, which is when they sleep in the bed with their parents. Co-sleeping causes many other risks that can include rolling over on the baby, suffocating the baby, falling from the bed, and more.

Price is another thing to consider. A lot of precious babies are unplanned surprises, and when that’s the case parents may not have the money needed for all the big expensive purchases right away.

A crib, car seat, clothes, toys, bottles; it can all add up quickly to a pretty penny. A bassinet is definitely the cheaper choice for safe sleeping space for your baby while you get your finances sorted out.

Aesthetically, bassinets look better in a crowded room as well. They add just that small little touch which helps you know there is a baby there without it taking everything over. There’s plenty of time for the baby’s things to slowly overcome your house, it doesn’t need to happen right away.

Another reason they work well is if you have a rambunctious toddler, bassinet’s can follow you room to room. Some bassinets have wheels just for this purpose. You don’t have to worry about running in to check on your sweet new little one because he can be by your side wherever you head during the day.

Newborns are notorious for sleeping through the end of the world too, so you don’t have to worry about him having trouble staying asleep as your other child plays loudly.

Bassinets are also easier to use than a crib, especially at first when your newborn is as small as a doll cradled in your arms. Most cribs have tall sides and deep bottoms.

Since that is the case, it can be quite a long ways to reach in and out to place and remove your baby. Newborns sleep around 18 hours a day at first, not getting much more time awake than when they were cooking in the womb.

Just after the baby is born mom might have trouble reaching in and out of a full sized crib. A bassinet gives her a far simpler option to use, since the sides are much shorter and the bed is raised up.

It can be placed right near the bed as well and not interfere with her ability getting in and out. Depending on many factors of the birth, she may be extraordinarily grateful for the ease of the bassinet in that first week or so.

How Should I Transition My Baby From A Bassinet To A Crib?

So, it’s happened. Your baby that was so small a few months ago is now growing up and no longer fits properly in his bassinet. This is a bittersweet moment.

He’s hitting all his milestones and you couldn’t be more proud, but gone are the days where he’d press his sweet head into your shoulder all day and sleep. Now he needs more attention and stimulation.

We mentioned earlier that some babies are more likely to be ready to transition from a bassinet to a crib sooner than others.  Again, this all depends on the parent, the baby, and the bassinet.

At first, your little one most likely cannot lift their head or roll over. These are milestones that occur as your baby develops. It’s crazy how quickly a baby can start developing, and you’ll be cheering on your child’s new skills every day, even as you mourn the simple little thing he used to be.

Some babies do come knowing how to instinctually lift their head, and that’s thrilling as well. That means that they have the muscles in their neck to do so and are very strong. Other babies start rolling within the first few months as well, though it’s no concern if they take a little longer. Every baby is different.

It does ultimately depend on your bassinet choice on whether you need to remove your baby once they start rolling from their back to stomach. This is because most babies learn to roll from back to stomach, but then get stuck there, unable to flip to their back.

This is totally normal, but if you swaddle your baby then that would be the time to start getting him to sleep without the swaddle. Swaddling is when you wrap your baby tightly in a blanket to keep their arms and legs in tight positions so they feel snug and safe.

If the baby is swaddled then they won’t be able to lift their head or move around and could suffocate into the bed of the bassinet.

Once you start putting your baby to sleep without a swaddle, they start kicking their legs and arms around. Suddenly the convenience of how compact a bassinet becomes irrelevant as your child needs more space to lie in.

If your child starts making a fuss and beating the sides of their bassinet, then it may be time to move them to a roomier abode. Trust in your parenting instincts; they’ll let you know when your baby has moved on and is ready to start sleeping in a crib.

At first, it can seem daunting, especially if your baby sleeps so well just as they are. You might be tentative to try out a new technique for fear of disturbing their amazing sleeping patterns. It’s okay, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Your baby will grow used to the crib soon enough as long as you take time to make it as easy an experience as possible. A good idea is to perhaps sleep with their crib sheet in your bed for a night or two and make sure it smells like you. This way, even though the crib will feel new, it will also smell familiar and comforting.

As tempting as it may seem to keep them in your room if you want to move baby to a nursery then now is the time to do it.

Don’t move them from the bassinet to the crib and keep them in your room, do both of you a favor and have him start his new sleeping regimen in his own room. It’s easier to make the transitions together, rather than step by step. There’s less stress to change it all at once.

Make sure that his new room has the perfect conditions to sleep. If you had a fan going in your bedroom to help you sleep, then have a fan going in his room as well. A baby monitor means you can respond to his needs just as quickly as before, but finally with a little more privacy and space.

Be sure to follow all of the common sleep safety standards. No loose pillows, toys, or blankets in baby’s crib. If you’re worried about him being cold then bundle him up. You want him to stay safe, which is why you’re transitioning him in the first place.

This doesn’t need to be a scary or stressful process at all. You guys will figure it out together, just as you always have.

Related Questions

My baby only seems to fall asleep in the swing, is it safe to let them sleep in his swing?

A swing is a great tool to have for your baby to be placed in when you are busy. Often the swinging and music are enough to get your little one to fall fast asleep for a nap, but you shouldn’t let them sleep there unsupervised. This is because the position of a swing is not guaranteed to be safe, and they aren’t meant for deep sleep.

My baby wakes up as soon as I put him in his bassinet, what do I do?

A common problem is that as soon as the baby leaves the comfort of mother’s arms he starts wailing. An easy fix to this is having a blanket pressed against you while you rock him to sleep and be sure to lay that under his head when you place him in the bassinet. Babies respond to warmth and scene, so it just might be that the bed’s temperature change startles him awake.

Can I let my baby sleep in his car seat if he falls asleep there?

Some babies are impossible to put to sleep, and a common remedy is to strap them into the car and go for a quick drive. This option is alright if for a nap if the baby is overtired, but you shouldn’t leave them in the car seat at home.

This is because the position of a car seat can cause their head to lean forward and make it harder for them to breathe. Always remove your baby in a timely manner.

Monica Lawrence

I’m Monica, a single mother who’s raising two beautiful angels. Here, I share helpful and creative articles and how-to’s for all the busy, multitasking moms.