Baby bassinets are a must-have item for parents, especially when your little bundle of joy is a newborn. A good bassinet can give you a safe place to put your baby down so you can manage housework, grab a bite to eat, or even take a nap.
But what do you look for in a bassinet, and what are the best options out there today?
When do you need a bassinet?
Baby bassinets are essential items that you can use as soon as you bring your babe home from the hospital. While they might not be ready to sleep by themselves in a crib, a bassinet is usually a portable solution that you can move between the rooms in your home.
This can be very important in the early days when your child is waking frequently — especially overnight. A bassinet can keep your child close at hand in your bedroom, while still providing a safe space for them that isn’t your bed.
Another pro: A baby bassinet is also easier for you to maneuver a baby in and out of than a crib. This is an important factor to keep in mind when you’re still healing from childbirth and managing everything from sore muscles to uncomfortable stitches.
However, bassinets have weight limits and are outgrown once baby can roll over on their own, so most will transition to a crib within a handful of months — in this respect, some people might feel that a bassinet isn’t a good investment.
But based on the families we’ve polled — including informal conversations with our Healthline family — we have found that more parents advocate for bassinets than those who don’t!
How we chose
Bassinets are such an essential tool for baby’s first few months, and we put a lot of thought into making our recommendations. First and foremost, safety matters. If you’re buying a new bassinet from a reputable vendor, you can rest assured that your purchase meets current safety standards.
But if you’re inheriting an older or preowned bassinet, it’s always a good idea to check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure that your preowned pick isn’t on a recall list and still meets current safety recommendations. It’s also not wise to use a bassinet that’s been hanging out in a family member’s attic or basement for years.
Safety aside, we also focused on the following features:
- additional features such as music and vibrations
- positive ratings and reviews
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $101–$200
- $$$ = over $200
Best multifunctional bassinet
Best travel bassinet
Weight limit: up to 20 lbs.
If you’re planning on hitting the road with your newest family member ASAP, this option from Fisher-Price is ideal. The small size is fully collapsible, making it perfect for air travel or road trips. It also doubles as a safe (supervised) play area for newborns up to 5 months.
Parents like the included toys and sun canopy that make this great for outdoor use. But you may find that the lack of wheels doesn’t make this suitable for use around the house.
Best co-sleeper bassinet
Best rocking bassinet
Best gliding bassinet
Best for small spaces
Age limit: up to 5 months
This option from HALO gets space-saving points for its minimalistic frame and bassinet that swivels 360 degrees. The base is slender enough to slide underneath a bed frame, allowing you to bring baby close without having to attach the bassinet itself to the bed.
Other highlights of this bassinet are the breathable mesh walls, a side panel that lowers for easy access to baby, and a side pocket for storing essentials. It is on the pricier side, but the reviews (including from our Editorial Director!) are mostly great. However, one reviewer notes that the base is extremely heavy, so it’s not easy to move from room to room.
What to look for
Shopping for a baby bassinet is a very personal decision and the features that matter to one set of parents may be different for another. Here are some of the core features you need to keep in mind whether you’re buying the bassinet or putting it on your baby registry.
As we mentioned earlier, safety is a top priority. If you’re buying (or receiving) a new bassinet, you won’t have to worry about your choice being on a recall list. But if you’re inheriting or buying a preowned bassinet, always check the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure that your bassinet isn’t listed for recall.
Also, remember that little ones outgrow their bassinets when they hit the product’s weight limit or are able to roll over or push up on their own (whichever occurs first).
Look for bassinets that are easy to move between rooms, as opposed to one that’s clunky or difficult to maneuver. For the best portability, opt for bassinets that are on wheels — just make sure that you can lock the wheels to prevent the bassinet from moving once in place.
And if you’re looking for a bassinet that can travel, focus on models that fold flat. These are going to be ideal for road trips or even just shifting your bassinet from indoors to outdoors.
As you saw in our recommendations, many of the bassinets in our guide do more than simply hold your baby securely in one place. Key features like vibrations, music, and mobiles can help to keep your baby soothed and give you a break while you try to catch a nap or get a bite to eat.
And in some cases, you can also find bassinets that double as changing tables, or safely support co-sleeping. It just depends on which activities are priorities for you.
This is especially important if you plan on sharing a bedroom with baby. Not all beds are the same height. So, a good co-sleeping bassinet should feature height adjustment so that when positioned over your bed, the bassinet is flush with your mattress.
While this isn’t a “must have” it’s certainly a nice feature to consider. Especially if you’re picking a bassinet with wheels, look for additional storage. Having diapers, bibs, or even your baby’s favorite lovie close at hand can make life a lot easier in the early days.
Of course, budget matters. Whether you’re buying this item yourself or are adding it to your baby registry, the price is important. As you saw in our guide, it’s possible to find bassinets in a range of price points from extremely affordable to extravagant splurges.
Keep in mind, it’s not necessary to buy a bassinet with all the bells and whistles on it. However, if you prefer a model that includes helpful features like vibrations, night-lights, or music, you should expect to spend within the mid-range price points. (Although, our Best Budget pick above did offer those nice additional features at a modest price.)
Don’t let people tell you otherwise, a bassinet can be a lifesaver as you try to adjust to life with a newborn — even if this isn’t your first time at the parenting rodeo.
As long as you ensure your preferred bassinet is safe and not on any recall lists, it’s a great way to keep your little one content and give you a much-needed break in those first months.