It is a delightful moment for parents to purchase the furniture, clothes, toys, and all the other necessary baby gears to keep their babies comfortable, happy, and safe in this new world.
Designing a nursery and selecting the right pieces of furniture can be pretty stressful for new parents. They don't only have to consider the budget, space, and design of the baby nursery, but also the safety and comfort of their babies.
The essential furniture piece for babies is a crib, cradle, or bassinet. Newborns sleep for 14-17 hours a day. Since babies spend a good number of hours sleeping, their beds should be comfortable yet safe for them.
The majority of the new parents face the dilemma of 'what type of a baby bed to buy?'
Crib, bassinet, or a cradle?
Read the following guide to understand each type of baby's bed differences, pros and cons.
The most common type of baby bed used in a nursery is a crib. They are wide and have wooden or plastic slats on the sides. Cribs are not only bigger than a bassinet and cradle, but quite heavy too.
Advantages Of A Baby Crib
Unlike other baby beds, cribs are a long term investment. A baby can comfortably sleep in his cribs for a good number of years. There are many convertible cribs available in the market. These cribs are also called lifetime-cribs or 3-in-1 cribs. You can change the crib into a bed as your baby grows.
2. Provides Safety
Cribs are the safest choice for babies who sleep alone in their nurseries. They have high walls that prevent the babies from coming out of it and pets from entering it.
Baby cribs are pretty heavy; therefore, they are the most sturdy baby bed. They will stay at their places during the rock and roll session of babies inside them.
Disadvantages Of A Baby Crib
1. Heavy On Pocket
Since cribs are the safest and accommodate the baby to toddlerhood, they tend to be expensive. If you are on a tight budget, then buying a crib can be a problem for you.
2. Occupies Much Space
Cribs are not tiny like cradles and bassinets. They take up a good amount of space. If you have a small nursery or plan to make your baby sleep in your bedroom, then a crib is not the right choice for you. It will occupy the space and make it difficult for you to move around.
3. Not Portable
Shifting the baby cribs can be tiresome as they are pretty heavy. If you frequently change your house, or want to change the baby's nursery, then moving a crib will not be an easy task.
These are small baby cribs and look like small baskets. These are super light and soft, making them a perfect choice to keep in the parent's bedroom.
Advantages Of A Bassinet
1. Easy On Pocket
The price of a bassinet is relatively low as compared to a crib. You can easily purchase one even if you have a limited budget.
Since they are light and easy to carry, they can be moved around easily and even taken out of the home.
3. Occupies Less Space
You can easily make a bassinet fit in your room. It will not occupy much floor space of the room.
Disadvantages Of A Bassinet
1. Can Be Used For A Limited Time
Bassinets are quite small and can accommodate the baby till he turns 3-4 months old. Parents have to invest in a new crib once their babies outgrow the bassinets.
2. Unsafe For Growing Babies
Bassinets are not safe if the babies roll over on their sides. They can quickly come out of their crib and hurt themselves.
These baby beds have the perfect blend of the characteristics of cribs and bassinets. They are relatively smaller than a crib but bigger than a bassinet. Their weight is also between that of a crib and bassinet. Moreover, they are sturdier yet easy to move.
Advantages Of A Baby Cradle
Baby cradles are lighter than the cribs and can be easily moved around without exerting much force.
2. Soothes The Baby
Cradles rock the babies; this rhythmic movement reminds them of their first home. It also helps them to sleep faster.
Unlike cribs, cradles do not occupy much floor space, hence giving you the freedom to move around easily.
Disadvantages Of A Baby Cradle
1. Added Expense Of Bedding
Baby cradles do not come with beddings. You have to spend extra on buying the mattress and other bedding for the baby.
2. Unsafe For Growing Babies
Once the baby learns how to roll on their sides, cradles become extremely unsafe and pose the risk of injury. Since cradles can rock, they will become unstable if your baby moves or tries to sit up.
3. Limited Use
Like bassinets, cradles are also used for a limited time, i.e. till 4-5 months. Once the babies outgrow it, parents have to invest in a new bed for their babies.
Cribs, Bassinets, Or Cradles?
It is one of the most common questions that new parents face when they set out to purchase the perfect bed for their babies.
Bassinets and cradles are less expensive than cribs, but they can only be used for a few months. That means when your baby turns five months old, you have to switch to a crib.
On the other hand, if you do not have much space in the nursery or your bedroom, buying a crib can limit the space for you and the baby to move around. Moreover, cribs are pretty heavy to carry. If you move a lot, then invest in a crib with wheels or the one that can be easily disassembled to shift them to a new place.
Consider the pros and cons of all three types of baby bed, and then select the one you find perfect for your little angel.
However, if you choose to buy a baby cradle, we suggest you read the following safety guidelines to prepare your cradle safety checklist.
Eight Baby Cradle Safety Standards You Must Look For
1. Say No To Old Baby Cradles
Buying a second-hand cradle or receiving a family heirloom can save you a good amount of money that you can later use for other babies' items. But considering the safety of your baby, you should invest in a new cradle for your baby.
Do not accept the cradles that are more than ten years old. They may seem perfectly fine from the outside but might not be fit for the comfort and safety of your baby.
Always try to get a new bed for your baby. If you want to use a preloved cradle, then make sure to get it checked by its manufacturer to ensure if it's fit for use or not.
2. Purchase The Right Mattress
If the baby cradle comes with a fitted mattress, do not change it if it fits perfectly inside the cradle.
However, if the cradle doesn't come with a mattress, make sure you select the perfect one.
The mattress that you purchase must fit snugly inside the cradle. Insert your two fingers between the mattress and the side of the cradle. If your fingers fit perfectly, then the mattress is the right fit. If you can insert more than two fingers, then the mattress is not the right fit for the cradle.
Similarly, the mattress should not be soft; it should be firm. Soft beds pose the risk of SIDS. To check the mattress's firmness, place your hand on the surface of the mattress and press it lightly. If the handprint appears on the mattress or doesn't spring right back, then do not purchase that mattress.
3. Firmly Secured
The cradle you are using for your baby should be checked frequently to ensure that its hardware is firmly secure. The screws, bolts, nuts, and other such items, should be tightly secured.
Also, check if the cradle has any sharp or rough edges, especially if it's a wooden one. Sharp edges and splinters can harm your baby's sensitive skin if you spot any rough edges or chipped paint, polish or repaint the crib to smooth the rough edges.
If the original screws, bolt, or other parts get misplaced, do not replace them with the hardware store. You should contact the manufacturer of the cradle and get the original hardware.
4. Avoid Soft Toys And Beddings
It might seem like a good idea to decorate cradle with stuffed toys and extra pillows. But it can prove to be risky for your little one.
If your baby likes to play with certain toys, then place them in the cradle only when he is awake. It is one of the most important safety tips to remove all the toys and extra pillows when the baby is sleeping. If the baby rolls over, the toys and extra stuff inside the cradle might suffocate him. Avoid using a blanket for the same reason. If your baby feels cold, then swaddle him in a soft blanket, but never keep a loose blanket inside the cradle.
A cradle is not spacious like a crib; therefore, try to keep it free from extra stuff.
5. Paint Should Be Non-Toxic
The majority of the parents select the coloured furniture to make them go with the baby's nursery. There is nothing wrong with buying a coloured cradle for your baby. However, make sure that the paint used for the baby cradle is lead-free.
There are many paints available in the market that are lead-based. Lead is harmful to your baby's health. Always ask your manufacturer about the colour of the cradle. If you buy an old second-hand crib, then strip the old paint and repaint it with non-toxic paint with zero VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound).
6. Keep The Cradle Away From Windows
Do not keep the cradle near the windows that receive direct sunlight. As it can quickly heat the cradle's metallic and plastic parts and increase its temperature, making it uncomfortable for the baby to sleep.
Keep the cradle away from the places that receive rich sunlight during hotter weather. The increased temperature of the cradle might raise the baby's body temperature and irritate his skin.
7. Lockable Wheels
Many baby beds in the market come with wheels attached to them. Cribs and cradles can be moved easily with the help of the wheels.
No wonder wheels offer great convenience, but they can also be unsafe for your growing baby if not appropriately locked.
If you are buying a cradle with wheels attached to it, ask the manufacturer about its locking features. It will keep the cradle in its place even if your baby tries to roll or sit up.
8. Right Height
Your baby will wake up in the middle of the night and want you to attend to him. You will have to pick up your baby and put him back in the cradle; hence, select the cradle's right height so that you don't have to bend lower and stress your back.
9. Remove The Decorations
Ribbons, balloons, bows, and other decorative items, may look fabulous on the cradle, but they are incredibly unsafe for the baby. If the long strings and cords reach the sleeping space of the baby, it might irritate him. Moreover, they also pose the risk of strangulation.
Also, never put small items inside the baby's crib, such as pins, beads, rubber bands, and other things. If the baby swallows them, it might choke him.
Keep the cradle away from where your baby can quickly get hold of any loose cords or cables for the same reason.
10. Choose A Sturdy Baby Cradle
Cradles are great to rock the baby. However, if the cradle is not sturdy and tilts farther, it can be hazardous for your baby.
The cradle should be sturdy enough not to tilt if somebody bumps into it by mistake. If the cradle is rocked to one side, then your baby might roll over and hurt himself.
11. Do Not Leave Your Baby Alone When The Cradle Is Rocking
If you are rocking your baby when he is inside the cradle, do not leave unless the rocking has stopped entirely. If your baby rolls to one side, then the cradle might rock on its own and tilt to a dangerous level.
Before you leave the room, make sure that the cradle is not rocking and is still in its place. Moreover, do not let a child or pet near the cradle. They might rock the cradle vigorously, and consequently, your baby will be hurt.
12. Clean The Cradle
Do not forget to clean the cradle just as you clean the rest of the essential baby items. Your baby stays inside the cradle for numerous hours; therefore, you must clean it to make it safe and germ-free for your baby.
Change the sheets frequently and wash them with a mild detergent. Also, clean and sanitize the cradle from outside with the help of a damp cloth.
Pulling The Plug...
Selecting the correct type of baby bed is an important decision by the parents for their babies. Before finalizing your purchase, make sure to consider your budget, space, and the pros and cons of each type of bed.
If you have finalized purchasing the cradle for your baby as their bed, don't forget to check the above-listed items in your cradle safety checklist.
Bear in mind that the safety of your baby should be weighed more than the comfort and looks.
Do you have any other points to add to the above list? Please share it in the comments below.