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Bassinets and safe sleep

Safe infant sleep shares a great analogy about room sharing as a protective factorRoom sharing is a protective factor. We don’t know the exact mechanism, but the evidence does show a correlation. Since it is a protective factor, not room sharing does not increase the risk of SIDS, it only returns the risk back to baseline.

Babies tend to be noisy so if you think you and/or baby will sleep better in a different room it is OK to move them to the nursery” If you’re not a part of this group I highly recommend checking it out! You can read more about risk factors, protective factors and current safe sleep recommendations in this review.

Of utmost importance when selecting a bassinet is that you need to make sure it follows the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Guidelines, and make sure that you are following the most recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on safe sleep. Most bassinets/sleepers will accommodate babies up to 5 months or 20lbs, but you should always refer to the instruction manual for your individual product to ensure their guidelines are not more stringent.

Bassinets are often the preferred choice for parents of newborns because they are easy to move from room to room, some are portable so you can pack them for a trip out of the house and they place your newborn at a height that is easy to reach (especially in the middle of the night), or if you had a c-section that can make bending, lifting and extending/reaching difficult and painful. Drop side bassinets are not safe. Most parents who decide to have their baby sleep in their room for the first several months will opt for a bassinet due to its size, portability and because many come with soothing sound or movements that can help parents maintain a semblance of sanity in those early days, by lulling that sweet baby to sleep.

There is a misconception I’ve heard floating around that automatic rocking (or similar) bassinets interfere with the ability to self soothe, but the reality is quite the opposite. Instead of your baby crying out for you every time they need help getting back to sleep (hunger or dirty diaper aside), the gentle swaying, rocking, or gliding encourages them to relax and learn how to put themselves back to sleep without your intervention. What to look for in a bassinet

1. Meets CPSC Standards

2. JPMA Seal/stamp

3. Ensure your bassinet has a sturdy bottom and a wide base

4. Make sure the mattress or pad is firm and fits snug (do not be put off by hard mattresses, fluffy pillowtop like surfaces are counterintuitive to safe sleep)

5. If you opt for a bassinet with wheels, ensure they have a locking mechanism

The Juno Bassinet is a natural, simple, go-anywhere infant sleep solution for parents seeking safe sleep and peace of mind - whether deskside or bedside. It comes complete with a Bundle of Dreams Mattress, organic cotton zippered sheet, and a travel box. All made in the USA.

Fisher-Price soothing motions bassinet- Many parents (and babies!) love the swaying motions that are responsive to baby’s natural movements. This bassinet comes in several color/pattern selections and has colorful lights, a night light, music, other sounds, and vibration. Many parents have reviewed this product and express how well it seems to sooth their little one. It comes with a removable, machine-washable sheet and you can buy more here (which I highly recommend)!

Baby Bjorn Cradle- This cradle (bassinet) boasts a modern, simple yet sleek look with earthy tones and soothing warm white materials. This bassinet is JPMA certified and has transparent mesh fabrics that allow you to see your baby easily. Many reviews on the product praise the ease and functionality of moving it from room to room, or even floor to floor with very little effort. In the event you ever need to take it apart to wash (it’s surprising how far that spit up or poo can go!), it’s quite simple!

HALO BassiNest Glide Sleeper- One of the favorite features of this product is that the base adjusts from 24” to 34” to accommodate some of the taller beds out there, which is something we struggled with when we had our previous tall bed frame. One of the other favorite features is that this particular bassinet/sleeper is ideal for small spaces because it requires only 32” of wall clearance. The one downside to this product is the assembly, it requires some time and you do not want to misplace the instructions on this one!

Snoo Smart sleeper Bassinet- the Snoo currently is being tested as a medical device but nothing is decided yet. Unfortunately, until all testing on this product is complete and the FDA and AAP release their positions, I cannot in good conscience recommend the sleep positioning/swaddle part of this device. You can read more as to why, in this release by the FDA. Until the guidelines are changed by the FDA and AAP, the sleep sack with wings attached is considered a positioner or a restraint and should not be used. That being said, many parents are still purchasing and using this product to use as a bassinet as it passes all other required standards. (Speaking of sleep sacks with and without wings).

4moms® MamaRoo Sleep™ Bassinet- I’ve never met a 4moms® that my kids don’t like, and therefore of course I love this brand personally! This bassinet differs a bit from others in that the construction is of thicker plastic and it is a bit more robust than some of the other recommended bassinets above. There are five unique motions, with five speed options and build in white noise sounds. This product is Bluetooth compatible so you can adjust motion, speed and even set a timer right from the bed or chair you might have just plopped yourself in for the first time today. The mattress is water resistant and there are two height adjustments available for use.

Graco Pack and play on the go playard- This was one of my favorite baby products! We used this for travel, camping and in the basement because yes, I got too lazy to move our other baby sleeping products around. It features a removable, full size bassinet and just like any other playard, it is easy to fold and put away. It doesn’t have the rocking, gliding and vibrating features of the other products mentioned, but for many parents out there it can be just as effective. This did not work for my fourth child, that boy needed all the rocking and soothing and comfort, but baby number six would sleep anywhere and without much intervention. The playard worked great for him with the bassinet function as an infant, and then we got a good 18 months use out of the playard itself once the bassinet is removed.

A few things worth mentioning: Supplemental mattresses for pack and play/playards are a no go. Why? Because it creates gaps which can lead to entrapment and suffocation. Many parents worry and want to make their baby’s sleep space more comfortable, but babies do not need comfortable fluffy sleep spaces, they need a firm, flats surface to protect their fragile airways. CSPC provides some further details and insight if you’d like to read more. Products like arms-reach cosleepers are safe only when used in bassinet mode with all 4 sides up. It can be so tempting to lower that side and scoot it closer to the bed for easier access to your baby. But, bedside sleepers (3 sides, with the 4th attaching to the bed) present an entrapment and suffocation risk. Additionally, adult bedding can end up in the sleep space and lose bedding is a known suffocation risk. Consider alternatives such as the ones listed above, a crib, a mini crib or a pack and play/playard.

Whatever option you decide on, remember that it is never safe to add products to the sleep space that don’t come from the manufacturer to be used for that specific item, and the ABC’s of safe infant sleep are Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib (or other safe sleep space).

-Julie P. (Mother of 6)

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