Bassinet or Cot: Which is best for my newborn baby?
When preparing to welcome your baby into the world, you might wonder if a bassinet or cot (also known as a crib) is best for their first bed. Both options have their own pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which works best in your space. We’ve explained all you need to know here to decide which is best for your lifestyle!
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends keeping your baby with you in your room for at least the first six months so that you’re able to respond quickly if they need anything, and you can track their breathing more closely. With that information in mind, here’s what you need to know about choosing between a bassinet and a cot when you bring home your new bundle of joy.
What’s the Difference Between a Bassinet and a Cot?
The difference between a bassinet and a cot is mainly the size - bassinets are typically smaller than standard cots and allow your baby to get closer to your bed, making breastfeeding and bonding time simpler. However, babies usually outgrow bassinets by the time they reach around four to six months old. Bassinets are also referred to as co-sleepers or bedside sleepers and are more portable than a cot.
Due to their smaller size relative to cots, bassinets are a shorter-term but more portable sleeping solution. For some parents, a cot is a better choice because it can be used for longer than a bassinet and in some cases can continue to be used well into the toddler years. Using a cot also makes it easier to transition your little one from sleeping next to you to sleeping in another room. Cots typically have a slatted or mesh-like bottom to promote air circulation which reduces the risk of SIDS.
In terms of creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby, there is a bit to consider when it comes to cots. Keeping your baby’s cot mattress clean is important, as it can collect dust mites and bacteria, making it an unhealthy sleeping space. You need to ensure the bed linen is washed regularly to reduce the risk of rashes or skin allergies developing in the future. It's also important to ensure the slats on your cot follow safety guidelines that recommend a gap no larger than about 6cm, so your baby’s head cannot fit through it. All Baby Mode products are compliant with safety guidelines.
Pros of Using a Bassinet
- Smaller than a cot: A bassinet can be easily moved around the house, which can be helpful if you want your baby to nap with you in a different room or to be closer to you at night.
- Safer: The slats in a cot mean your baby is more likely to stick its arms or legs out of it, posing a danger to your baby.
- Easier to breastfeed: If you want to breastfeed your baby, a bassinet can be easier to lift your baby out of, thanks to the lower sides. A cot, on the other hand, has higher sides which can be harder to maneuver around, particularly if you have had a traumatic birth or caesarean.
- Quick to set up: A bassinet is also typically simpler to set up, which is convenient if your baby comes unexpectedly early.
Cons of Using a Bassinet
- Short lifespan and safety concerns as baby grows: Bassinets are not as safe as a cot, as they don't have high barricades to ensure your baby can't get out on their own. Most bassinets are only good for about four to six months, and then your baby will outgrow them. Once your baby can push up on their hands and knees, it’s time to transfer to a cot!
- Too close to the ground: Because some bassinets are on the ground, as opposed to elevated in a cot, they can pose a greater risk of infection and bacteria, particularly if you’re living with pets.
- Added danger: Placing a bassinet near your bed can pose a risk for your baby. It's best to be cautious of how close your baby is to your bed to avoid accidentally covering them with any bedding.
Pros of Using a Cot
- Longer-lasting: While a crib won’t last forever, it will be needed from about the age of six months. Bassinets are not always needed as some parents go straight to using a cot from birth. Bassinets can only be used from newborns to about four to six months when the baby can sit and roll.
- Makes it easier to transition your baby to a separate room: You can move your baby to a cot when they are ready to sleep in their own room, making it easier to get them to sleep separately from you. This makes sleep training much smoother as your baby would be more used to their bed.
Cons of Using a Cot
- Floorspace considerations: A cot can be large, which is not always ideal for a smaller bedroom.
- Mobility concerns: Picking the baby up and putting them down after a feed could be trickier as you need to reach down further due to the higher sides.
- More difficult to set up: Cots are larger and are made up of more individual pieces, so they are somewhat trickier to set up.
- Less portable: Cots are heavy and hard to move around. This differs from bassinets as you can allow your baby to nap with you in other rooms of the house, and even take it with you on days out and trips away.
So Should You Buy a Cot or a Bassinet For Your Newborn?
If you have a smaller space or just want to keep your baby close to you during their first few months of life, it may make sense to use a bassinet. Bassinets are also more portable and make it easier to pick up your baby. If, however, you have the space and just want to buy one product, then you should go for a cot.
Cots are more versatile and can be used for a longer time due to their size, so you may prefer to use one as soon as you bring your baby home. It’s ideal to have your crib set up before you bring your baby home so you can get them used to sleeping there early on.
Which One Should You Use?
Cots and bassinets both have their pros and cons, and as with everything baby-related, you need to ensure you have eliminated any safety concerns. Both options are great for a newborn but it’s up to you to decide which one works best for your life.
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