Woohoo! Congrats! You’re having a baby!
You’re understandably super excited, and possibly super overwhelmed by all of the choices that you suddenly have available to you. There are just so many decisions, like:
- Glass bottles or plastic?
- Formula or breastmilk?
- What the heck is an umbrella stroller?
- How will you decorate the nursery?
- And, what will your baby sleep in?
That last question seems to have an especially large number of options, so let’s take a look at two of the most common sleeping options for newborns: Mini-cribs and bassinets.
They can both be great options if you are looking for a smaller alternative. Perhaps you’re limited on space, or you plan to have your baby sleep in your room and need something that will fit near your bed.
In this article, I want to break down the differences between a mini-crib vs. a bassinet and help you decide which one is right for you; and it might be both!
The main difference between a mini-crib and a bassinet is that bassinets are smaller and meant to be temporary. Most babies will only be able to fit in a bassinet for about six months depending on their size. Mini-cribs are slightly larger and more durable and therefore can usually be used for a longer amount of time.
Mini-cribs are usually rectangular in shape with higher sides, like standard cribs. Bassinets, on the other hand, are usually oval or round in shape and have lower sides so that parents can more easily get their baby in and out of it.
Bassinets also usually come with some type of cover or fold down hood to shield your baby from light while he’s sleeping. Mini-cribs do not usually have a cover.
Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at this comparison.
Quite simply, a mini-crib is just a smaller version of a standard crib.
Full-size cribs have specifically mandated dimensions, whereas mini-cribs are usually about 36 to 43” long.
(They weigh less than a regular crib but more than a bassinet.)
Mini cribs can be rather portable (many models are on wheels) and therefore can be easily maneuvered around a space or moved from room to room.
The main uses of a mini-crib are:
- For use in small spaces where a standard crib will not fit
- A solution for parents working on a small budget
- An option when more than one crib is needed (multiples!)
- A good option for a sleeping space at a grandparent’s house
- A better fit if your baby will share a room with an older sibling
Mini-cribs are meant to be used in exactly the same way as a standard crib and pretty much look like exactly what you would expect based on their name, a “mini” or miniature, crib.
Some mini-cribs will even convert into toddler beds or twin beds like their standard counterparts, although this is a rare feature.
Pros and cons of mini cribs
- Less costly: Mini-cribs usually cost much less than a standard crib.
- Good for tight spaces: If you have a small nursery or other tiny space where you need to fit a crib, this is a great option.
- Portable: Can easily be moved, especially models that are on wheels.
- Easy assembly: Since they are smaller than standard cribs, mini-cribs are easier to put together, especially if you are assembling them by yourself.
- Bedding is a struggle: Unusual mattress size and thickness can make it hard to find the bedding that you want for your mini-crib. It can be frustrating to not have a lot of options.
- Less sturdy: Mini-cribs are not as sturdy and durable as regular cribs, especially if they are on wheels which can make them slightly wobbly, however, they are more durable and sturdy than a bassinet.
Looking for a great mini-crib? Try the DaVinci Emily 2-in-1 mini crib (Amazon link).
It has the stability of a full-sized crib and looks great. PLUS, it can eventually be converted to a twin bed with the use of a separate kit! Score!
A great option for a new baby is a bassinet.
Bassinets are generally smaller and lighter than mini-cribs, they are portable, and they are meant to be temporary.
A bassinet is usually elevated, either on a stand, legs, or possibly wheels, and usually has a sleeping surface between 1.5-2.5 feet long. Many bassinets are oval-shaped, although not always.
The main purpose of a bassinet is to keep your baby close to your bedside during those first few months at home.
Those first few months are full of ups and downs (in so many ways), especially you getting up and down out of bed!
You’ll be needing to get up with your baby often to feed her, change her, or just rock her back to sleep when she wakes up. Having your baby close by during this time can make a big difference!
You can probably plan on keeping your baby in a bassinet for the first six months, at which time she will most likely outgrow it and need to transition to something larger, either a crib or pack n’ play.
Since bassinets are temporary, they usually come with a slightly smaller price tag than a mini-crib, depending on how fancy a model you want to get.
The main uses of a bassinet are:
- To keep your baby close by during those first critical months
- To make it easier to get your baby in and out of her bed
- To make nighttime feedings and wakings more convenient
Many bassinets feature a cover of some type or a hood that can be pulled down over your baby while she sleeps.
Bassinets are also safe options for your baby to sleep bedside, just make sure they meet the standards set by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Pros and cons of bassinets
- Less expensive: Bassinets can be even less expensive than a mini-crib, making them a good starter option if you know you will eventually transition to a standard crib.
- Good for small spaces: A bassinet is designed to be bedside in your baby’s first few months, so it can easily fit into small spaces.
- Portable: Bassinets are very small and light, making them extremely easy to move around the house. There are some options that even fold up, usually found in mini pack n’ plays with a bassinet feature.
- Keeps baby close: This is the biggest pro of all! Bassinets enable you to keep your baby close by and make it easy to scoop her right up when she needs attention.
- Less sturdy: Bassinets are small and super light, so they are not as sturdy as a mini-crib or full crib.
- Temporary: Keep in mind the whole purpose of a bassinet is a temporary place for your baby to sleep, so don’t purchase one thinking it will be a permanent solution.
My favorite budget pick for a good bassinet is the Delta Children Sweet Beginnings on Amazon.
That about sums it up when it comes to a mini-crib vs. bassinet!
The biggest difference between the two is the size and duration of use; mini-cribs are slightly larger and more durable than bassinets and can, therefore, be used for a longer time, where bassinets are meant to be a temporary sleeping arrangement for your baby and are smaller and lighter.
Plus, bassinets usually have smaller sides, making them easier to get baby in and out of during those first few months.
Both are great options for small spaces, but your baby will outgrow them quickly, especially a bassinet. They are also both pretty easy to move around from place to place, especially if you have a mini-crib that is on wheels.
Bassinets are a lifesaver in those first few months though; being able to easily get to your baby when she wakes up ten times in the night makes a huge difference when it comes to your own peace of mind!
I hope this helps, parents, and good luck with your search!
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