Furnishing a nursery will entail choosing a bed for your baby.

Alternatives to a Bassinet

by Kathryn Hatter

When preparing for the birth of a baby, you'll need to consider sleeping accommodations. While you could opt for a conventional bassinet, there are other possibilities that can encourage your newborn to sleep for many blissful hours. Consider various alternatives to a baby bassinet to fit your baby's needs.

1. Playpen Sleeper

A playpen sleeper offers a variety of options for baby care and sleeping. Most playpens have a bassinet insert that fits inside the playpen to provide a smaller, elevated sleeping area for a newborn. Your playpen may also have a changing area for convenient diaper changes near the sleeping area. When your baby outgrows the weight and age recommendations for the bassinet insert, remove it and use the larger playpen area for playing -- not sleeping. A playpen is not a safe environment for sleeping due to reduced safety requirements, states Health Canada.

2. Cradle

For an old-fashioned appeal, a cradle can serve as a suitable bed for your baby. Typically constructed with wood, a cradle has a similar size to a bassinet. Cradles generally rock from side-to-side when you move them manually. A cradle may also feature storage beneath the sleeping area for baby supplies. The cradle design should not feature corner posts more than 1/8 inch in height, decorative wood cut-outs or spacing more than 2 3/8 inch between wood slats, according to the Health Canada website. Note weight and age recommendations for the cradle -- possibly between 15 and 18 pounds, according to ConsumerReports.org.

3. Crib

While a standard crib takes up more room than a bassinet, it presents a safer sleep environment for babies, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website. Place the crib in the room where you sleep and ensure that you do not place soft bedding, bumpers, blankets, pillows or toys in the bed. As of June 28, 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted mandatory crib safety standards for all new cribs. Before using a used crib, check CPSC guidelines for crib safety.

4. Beds Not Recommended

Three baby beds that have some popularity include Moses baskets, hammocks and bedside sleepers. A Moses basket is oblong, has handles for carrying and a padded bottom for the baby to sleep on. Professionals do not recommend using a Moses basket due to the lack of standards and possible suffocation hazards, according to ConsumerReports.org. A baby hammock may present strangulation risks for a baby due to the child shifting in the hammock. Hammocks are also unstable, which could cause falls, strangulation or suffocation. A bedside sleeper that sits snugly beside the edge of an adult bed may appeal to you if you wish to keep your baby near you during the night. Unfortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using a bedside sleeper, according to the March of Dimes website.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images