The Newborn Bassinet


Time is flying by and before you know it...your little one will be here. Even before you design, furnish and decorate the baby’s bedroom you should be thinking of the newborn bassinet.

Simply put…a bassinet, in older times called a cradle, is a small bed for newborns until they are about 4 months old. They can then be transitioned to a crib.

Did you know…the word bassinet originated in France in the late 1500s and means “small basin”.

Using a newborn bassinet has important benefits:

  • It’s small. A newborn baby should feel like he’s still in your womb as much as possible as he slowly gets used to his new world. That’s why babies love to be swaddled.
  • You can easily move the bassinet to any room you are in during the day –  to your bedside at night…all  without waking him. For the crucial, difficult and taxing first months of life, you need your precious little one at arms length.
  • Hearing parents breathing as they sleep is comforting to a baby.
  • If you are breast feeding, your baby will be hungry every 2-3 hours. Having him next to you will help you respond quickly before the angry hungry cries begin.
  • Having your newborn sleeping in a bassinet within arms reach lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). More on this later.

Did you know…many factors effect a baby’s sleep such as his/her temperament, growth spurts, teething, sounds and noises in the house and even phases of the moon.

While babies spend half their time in REM sleep (the state in which we dream), due to their limited pool of experiences and their brains’ immaturity, neuroscientists think they are actually dreamless for the first few years of life.

In my experience, newborns sleep best when firmly attached to a parent, either in a snug baby carrier or swaddled and held against your chest where he can feel your heart beat as he drifts off to sleep.

Lowering the Risk of SIDS

To reduce infant mortality, parents must place sleeping newborn babies on their backs on a firm mattress in either a bassinet or crib…preferably a bassinet. No pillows. No blankets. No comforter. No stuffed animals and No side crib bumpers. During cold winter months, use a blanket sleeper over their pajamas to keep them warm and safe.

Have your baby sleep in your room but not in your bed with you. While asleep, you could very easily roll over on top of your newborn…just don’t do it. Have the bassinet next to your bed so you can check on him any time and listen to his breathing. However, check out the company Baby Delight where you can purchase bassinets called snuggle nests that are safe to use on your bed in between the two of you. The sides are high enough to prevent you from rolling over on top of your baby and they are great for travel.

As soon as your little one can roll over (3-4 months), it’s time to transition him to a crib. If you don’t, you run the risk of him tipping his bassinet over and when he starts pulling himself up…he’ll fall out. 

Do you know about this Finnish tradition?

All new parents in Finland are given a Baby Box from the government, complete with a snug-fitting firm mattress. Finland has been doing this for decades and they can proudly boast to having one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world – less than half that of the United States.

Think about this: Finland has approximately 55,000 births per year while the US has about 4,000,000! And… Finland has less than half infant moralities. Interesting, isn’t it?

So…what’s a Baby Box?

A Baby Box is decorative, lightweight, made of sturdy cardboard and used for the first 4-6 months of life, up to 52lbs. Even if the baby can roll over, the Baby Box will not tip over if placed on a sturdy surface.

Company mission statement… “A global initiative to equip parents with the vital education and resources needed to give babies a safe, healthy and equitable start in life.”

The baby Box comes with a certified non-toxic firm, snug-fitting mattress and contains

  • NO PBDE flame retardants
  • NO prohibited phtalates
  • NO ozone depleters (CFCs)
  • NO mercury, lead or heavy metals
  • NO formaldehyde

Read all about the Baby Box yourself at

No Baby Box in your future?  Then check this out…

You will fall in love with the Graco Pack ‘n Play Nearby Napper.

It’s actually 3 baby products in one: a full size, portable bassinet, attached changing table with storage for diapers and wipes, and play yard (we used to call this a play pen but I guess someone along the way wasn’t happy with the word “pen” with reference to a baby product).

This Pack ‘n Play comes with a night light (3 different settings), plays lullabies and nature sounds and has vibration settings to calm and sooth your little one.

In closing…

I hope you consider using a newborn bassinet for your precious baby and keep him within reach. This is no time for either parent to complain about lack of sleep and being woken up every 2-3 hours by a hungry and wet newborn. Take turns and switch off nights with one of you getting a good night’s sleep in the guest room. You’ll be less cranky and irritable the next day and  more in the mood to share your new responsibilities and remember how blessed you are to have created such a perfect, beautiful little baby. Time has a tendency to fly by and before you know it, your baby will be all grown up having a baby of his/her own so cherish and take advantage of every year…every month…every day and every sleepless night.

This is only the beginning of making memories with your child, for at the end of it all, it’s all we have…memories.



Please share your thoughts and comments below.

12 comments to The Newborn Bassinet

  • Richard

    Dear Karen

    You learn something every day. I had no idea what a bassinet meant until I read your interesting post.

    I bought a wooden cot when my first son was born and it was passed on to my other children until they were old enough to have their own beds.

    The bassinet reminds me of the carry cot and it’s very handy to take it with you when you go on holiday. The bassinet is the very same with a few additional features. The price I think is fairly reasonable. Your post was very informative.

    Thanks Richard

    • Karen

      Dear Richard… I find your response so interesting. You mention buying a wooden cot when your son was born. Can you describe exactly what a wooden cot is? In the States a cot is a military bed and basically just canvas stretched between wooden cross-beam brackets  to create a sleeping space above the floor.  Not made for cozy comfort.

  • Alice

    Thanks for this informative article.

    I actually first heard the word bassinet from my friend when she had her first baby. I was like, “What’s a bassinet?” And when she showed me what it was, I thought it was the perfect gift item for brand new moms

    By the way, what is a bassinet usually made of and how long can a baby use it?

    • Karen

      I don’t know  where you live in the world, but here in America a newborn baby’s bed is called a bassinet. A newborn prefers “closed quarters”  and the smaller his space…the more safe and comfortable he feels. So, years ago, the first bassinet was created. Placing the bassinet in the parents bedroom made it easy to monitor the baby.  Infants usually sleep in a bassinet until they can pull themselves up. It then becomes a bit dangerous as they could fall out.

      Thank you for visiting and leaving your thoughtful comments. I hope you come back again soon. Best wishes

  • Chris Wardman

    Thank you for sharing this very informed post. I have 4 daughters (14, 11, 3 & 1) and have put each one in a bassinet while newborn. They are great products but I didn’t notice the Graco 3 in 1 before. I will have to share this with my wife as she is currently seeking a new bassinet for our soon to be new addition (there will be no more afterwards haha).

    • Karen

      Congratulations, Chris! That’s what my dad said after the 5th baby…then there was a surprise – my little brother, Bruce. This 3 in 1 seems to have it all AND it’s so portable, you can take it with you to visit relatives. Again, congratulations…if you have another daughter you could have a sitcom. A house full of girls & you’re the odd man out.

      Wishing you & your wife the best and a healthy, happy newborn. 

  • SJ

    Hi Karen

    Thanks for your beautiful post.

    I wish I read this post when I was a brand new mom. It is just gold!

    I think we often expect newborns to just sleep in their own cots and be independent from day 1 and get very upset with them when they don’t.

    You are right, the key is to remember the blessing of the child and take turns because they do grow up so quickly!

    A baby box sounds like the exact thing I need when I have my next baby, will be looking into it when the time comes. Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen

      Dear SJ,  Thank you for visiting and leaving such lovely comments. We all learn and grow with our first baby and when baby #2 comes along…we’re pros. We know what works, what doesn’t, what we should have done and what we shouldn’t have.  Good luck with your next baby and I hope you come back again often.

      If you have any special tips for new moms that you’d like to share, please do. 

  • Emily


    Thanks for the info on the bassinet! Many new moms out there need this type of info and your opinion and expertise on the matter is certainly appreciated. When I was expecting, I definitely went in search of this type of info and ended up getting a bassinet because I thought it was an excellent sleeping choice (my baby never decided to sleep in it, but I digress!).

    • Karen

      Thanks for visiting, Emily. I think new moms can easily be overwhelmed. I wonder why your baby never decided to sleep in the bassinet. Did you ask him? (just kidding!)  Thank you for your thoughts and comments and I hope you come back often to read more blogs and baby product reviews.

  • DorcasW

    Karen Demers; How do we know how a newborn baby really feels?

    While the bassinet is safe and comfortable for baby. You will agree that mom and dad enjoy cuddling baby in their arms in doing so they strengthen the family tie?

    Karen; like myself I know you love your baby and will do everything possible to keep your baby safe. But do you really believe that a mother would roll over her baby while sleeping?

    • Karen

      Hello…thanks for visiting. Let me address your questions: first, a newborn feels comfortable and content when his diaper is dry, his tummy full and he is swaddled snuggled on the chest of his parent listening to the sounds of a heartbeat that he heard every day in the womb. 

      Second…as I mentioned in my blog, and in response to your second comment, it is my opinion that a newborn sleeps best when swaddled and held against a parent. This bonding is important and lasts a lifetime. With that being said, at night the newborn should be in a bassinet within arms reach. 

      Third question…my simple answer is YES. In a study conducted by Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of pediatrics (AAP) analyzed data of over 8,000 infant deaths that occurred between 2004 – 2012 and found that 74% of deaths in babies under 4 months of age were caused by bed sharing with a parent. In fact, bed sharing is the single greatest risk factor for SIDS caused by suffocation and strangulation.

      In North Carolina, a mother was sent to court and received probation for the death of her two babies after admitting to bed sharing with them. Think about this: a new mother is exhausted by lack of sleep being woken every 2-3 hours to tend to her new baby. So, yes…it’s extremely likely she could rollover in her sleep and accidentally suffocate her newborn. What a tragedy that would be!

      Do you want to take that gamble?

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