When it comes to choosing where baby will sleep and what in, there’s quite a few different options. In this post we break down the pros and cons of the different options and as usual, recommend the most popular and positively reviewed products so you can tick one more thing off the list of things you need to buy and organize for baby.
Where should baby sleep the first few months?
The sleeping arrangement you choose for your little one’s first few months really comes down to personal preference – the two most common are having bub in your room in a bassinet or co-sleeper, or putting bub straight into the crib in the nursery. There’s plenty of debate out there that supports both decisions, here’s some of the main reasons for each decision:
Common reasons for having a baby in your room
- Easy to feed during the night without having to get up/go far
- Comfort for you of being able to keep an eye on your little one
- You feel like you need to be close to them all night
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep in the same room as the parents in a crib, bassinet, or cradle.
Common reasons for putting baby straight into the crib in the nursery
- Babies can be noisy sleepers which can keep you awake
- Feeding in the room during the night will have both parents awake, as opposed to just one parent going to the nursery to feed
- Don’t need to worry about a potentially difficult transition from sleeping near you in your room to alone in the crib a few weeks/months down the track
- Cribs are considered safer by some experts – read this Consumer Reports article for more information on that argument. This article does come across on a bit of the extreme side in the stance completely against bassinets, after all, babies have been sleeping in them for a loooong time – but there are some good facts in there.
No matter which option you choose, you’re going to need a crib at some point, and your little one will sleep in it up until anywhere from age 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 – so lets talk cribs first!
Choosing a crib
Safety requirements for a crib
If you’re buying a brand new crib, you’ll be happy to know that the government has a set of strict rules for the safety of cribs. If you’re buying an older second hand crib, make sure it meets all the current safety requirements which include:
- The gap in between the slats must be no more than 2 3/8 inches
- The corner posts can be no more than 1/16 of an inch above the frame
- There can be no cutouts in the footboard or headboard
- The top rails must be at least 26 inches above the mattress
Types of cribs
As with any furniture choice, as long as it meets the safety standards, the rest really comes down to finding one that suits your budget and style. Majority of cribs on the market are ‘convertible’. What they convert into depends on the particular crib, but they most commonly convert into a toddler bed, with some also converting to a day bed or full size bed. Some convertible cribs include all of the parts you need for the conversion, others you’ll need to buy the conversion kit separately.
To get started picking out your crib – there’s a heap of places to look online. For a huge range and good discounts, check out Amazon. If you’re after a gorgeous piece of furniture and have a higher budget to work with, check out The Land of Nod or Pottery barn kids.
Yep, just like when you buy a bed, when you buy a crib it doesn’t normally come with a mattress. The mattress needs to be firm and fit very well in the crib so that the space in between the mattress and the side of the crib is so small that less than two fingers will fit.
1. Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams White Crib Mattress
This mattress is the best bang for your buck – it has a waterproof cover, is light-weight, made in Canada and is firm yet comfortable.
2. Sealy Baby Firm Rest Crib Mattress
A great quality, waterproof mattress at an affordable price. A more traditional coil style mattress (as opposed to the also popular foam ones).
3. My First Mattress Memory Foam Crib Mattress with Waterproof Cover
If you’re a fan of memory foam mattresses and want the same sort of comfort for your little one, this is a great option. It’s firm enough for a baby, but soft enough to be comfortable.
4. Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Firmness All Foam Crib Mattress
This mattress has two sides – one is extra firm for infants, the other is firm (but slightly softer) for toddlers. It’s made from a high-quality medical grade foam and is PVC and vinyl free.
All you really need is a few fitted sheets and a waterproof mattress pad. Anything else in the crib can present a suffocation hazard and many of the soft items that you can have in the crib have also been strongly linked to SIDS. To keep baby warm, in the first few months they’ll be swaddled, after that, the safest option is a wearable blanket. Read our post on the best baby blankets, swaddles and wearable blankets for more.
Options for having baby in your room
If you decide to have baby sleep in your room, there’s a few options to choose from for them to sleep in.
Pack n Play
Choosing a Pack ‘n Play is really popular because they don’t just serve the purpose of being a place for baby to sleep in your room for the first few months. Graco offer a number of versions of the Pack n Play with different features. This model is a great buy, it has a newborn napper which is where baby can sleep up to 3 months, a changer, a bassinet for babies and of course, the play yard which is excellent for the toddler years.
Because it’s essentially a play yard with the additional features, the Pack N Play obviously takes up much more space than a stand alone bassinet, so if you don’t have alot of space in your room, this may not be the best option.
Bassinet / Cradle
Bassinets and cradles are much smaller, and therefore take up less space – lots of them can be easily wheeled/moved around the house too for a daytime nap option. And if you’re into gorgeous looking baby things, they’re nice looking pieces of furniture to have in your room 🙂
Check out this article for information about safety requirements and other things to look for in a bassinet.
Best rated and reviews bassinets and cradles
HALO describe this as “Safer for baby. Easier for you.” and it has lots of features to back that up. It rotates 360 degrees to make it really easy for you to reach baby while you’re in bed and keep them nice and close without having to bed-share. It’s not just about convenience, it also has some other nice features like a nightligh, music and vibration. There’s lots to love about this bassinet, so if you’ve got the budget definitely check it out.
A modern, simply designed bassinet made from real wood. Once your little one is past sleeping in the bassinet, it converts to a toy box so you can continue to use it for years to come.
It does come with a bassinet pad, however, it is a little flimsy and some parents opt to purchase a a separate, higher quality mattress.
A beautiful modern looking cradle that is easy for parents to rock your little one to sleep, and the baby’s movements will gently rock it as well. The mesh sides are excellent for you to keep your baby in view, and they are also breathable which provides more peace of mind if for some reason your little one ends up next to it. It’s also light weight and easy to move around the house.
This super cute bassinet has a few nice extra features including an adjustable canopy, musical melodies and nature sounds and a large storage basket underneath. It’s on wheels which makes it easy to move from room to room as well.
The ‘Arm’s Reach’ brand is one of the most popular for co-sleepers. They allow you to have your little one close to you next to the bed, without having them IN the bed. This makes late night feeds really easy when you can just reach over to pick up baby without having to get out of bed.
Many of the Arm’s reach co-sleepers are multi-functional – typically with the option to lower one side to attach it to your bed (for co-sleeping), along with the option to have all four sides up and use it as a traditional bassinet, and the ability to convert to a play yard as well. Check out the range of different Arm’s Reach co-sleepers here.