If you’re a new parent and want to help soothe your child to sleep, you might be considering a rocking bassinet. Rocking bassinets are like cradles – they gently rock your child to sleep with the comfort of their rhythmic swaying.
I know, I know. In addition to trying to find the right stroller, you have to think about a bassinet. More importantly, if you’re like me, you must be wondering whether you need a bassinet or just a crib.
But wait, what about rocking bassinets? And how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s dive into this ultimate guide to rocking bassinets to help you discover the answers.
- Why Do Babies Like To Be Rocked?
- Finding the Right Rocking Bassinet
- Rocking Methods
- Pros and Cons of Rocking Bassinets
- Is a Rocking Bassinet Safe?
- Our Recommendations For The Best Rocking Bassinets
Why Do Babies Like To Be Rocked?
Rocking your baby helps them feel comforted or soothed. Many babies become drowsy or tired when rocked, so parents will often make use of rocking chairs, cradles, or rocking bassinets to help their children fall asleep.
In some cases, babies prefer vibrations to help them relax, which is why putting your child in their car seat and driving them around can make them fall asleep.
But why is this? Well, it all comes down to your baby’s environment. They experience rocking, swaying, and vibrations before they are born. Then, as newborns, they begin to adapt to life outside the womb.
Being rocked mimics the movements they experience while carried by their mother. Vibrations will also mimic the feeling of their mother breathing, making them feel safe and secure.
Many parents prefer using a rocking bassinet because it comforts their child for them. Unlike a traditional cradle or rocking chair, parents don’t always need to operate a rocking bassinet themselves. This gives them a chance to get some rest at the same time as their baby.
Finding the Right Rocking Bassinet
If you decide to use a rocking bassinet, you may want to consider the different kinds and how they could benefit you and your child.
The best types of rocking bassinets include:
These rocking properties simulate movement from the parent, so your baby sleeps soundly. But, choosing a rocking bassinet is more than simply picking a rocking feature. You must also consider the design, safety features, convenience, price, and specifications.
If by the end of this guide you find the pros outweigh the cons, perhaps a rocking bassinet will suit you!
Choosing a good design for your rocking bassinet will help your baby sleep soundly and safely. There are several key design features to look for in any bassinet. But there are also a few that may pertain to your preference specifically.
Choose a bassinet with a firm mattress for your baby. A firm mattress will help keep your child in the same position as they sleep, meaning they will be safe from smothering risks.
A mattress with any amount of giving will not prove a safe choice. The proper firmness will be obvious, as the surface will not depress or change in any way once you lay your baby down.
A bassinet with mesh sides will ensure your child can breathe properly. Mesh allows airflow straight through the unit, whereas solid walls will limit the amount of air.
Though bassinets are large enough to lay your baby down in the middle with plenty of room surrounding, there is always a risk that they may wriggle as they sleep. If they wriggle too close to the bassinet walls, the mesh will ensure your baby can breathe safely, no matter how much they move in their sleep.
Any gaps between the mattress and the walls of the unit should be too small for a baby to get their face stuck. Similarly, any gap between wall slats should also be too small for this to occur. Typically, the space between wall slats should be less than two and a half inches.
You may find rocking bassinets that allow for an inclining mattress. Some parents like this feature as it can help a baby to avoid reflux during their sleep. By setting your infant’s feet lower than their head, you help their digestion move smoothly downwards, as it’s meant to.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t choose a bassinet that can incline more than ten degrees. Any more than this amount increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The rocking bassinet you choose must have a locking mechanism. Rocking bassinets can potentially get stuck in bad positions if they can’t lock. If your bassinet ends up tilted, your baby could roll into the corner of the wall and mattress, which is a potential suffocation risk.
So always make sure you can lock your unit into a still, safe position. You can also choose a motorized bassinet that will not allow the unit to halt in an unsafe way.
Bedside bassinets are convenient ways to keep your baby close while you rest. Most of them attach to your bed or mattress, but with rocking bassinets, they may also be free-standing.
Often these models will have feet that fit under your bed to keep them sturdy while holding your baby close to your side.
If you have mobility issues or have gone through a tough birth, you’ll want to make things easy for yourself. Having a bassinet with an adjustable height can help you get your baby in and out of it without bending down or doing many unnecessary movements.
Bassinets that open from the side are also great if you can’t lift your baby up and over the top. This feature is also more common with bedside bassinets, as it allows you to immediately tend to your baby without getting out of bed.
Though a rocking bassinet may cost you more than a typical cradle, it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. Many bassinets come with additions like adjustable legs or mobiles. If you don’t need extras, you can find a more reasonably priced model that still provides rocking or vibrations.
For instance, you may find two units by the same company, one which is a little more expensive. But, if the only difference is that the more expensive one includes a clip-on nightlight, then it may not be worth the extra money.
Old vs. New
It is always better to buy new, as the rocking mechanism will still be in good condition. A newer model won’t have the wear and tear that a second-hand one will.
Even if the previous owner took care of it, there is no guarantee a second-hand bassinet will work exactly as promised. It could develop issues without the previous owner knowing. It may also be beyond its warranty, meaning it may no longer be fit for use.
Buying a brand new bassinet will reduce the risk of these issues. And if you do end up having a problem, you’ll likely get reimbursed through the warranty. There is also a better chance that the rocking feature will work properly, so you won’t have to worry about your child’s safety.
You may want to move your child from room to room in your house or even take them with you on outings. In these cases, you should look for a portable bassinet.
Though you may be wary of purchasing a portable rocking bassinet, they can help accommodate your and your baby’s needs. If you work from home, you can keep your newborn near you at all times.
Portable rocking bassinets may come with different features that help them to be more maneuverable than other units. These features may include:
- Lightweight frames
- Collapsible legs
Portable bassinets tend to be minimalistic. Those with rocking capabilities are usually baby-generated because a motor would make the unit too heavy.
As with many bassinets, rocking bassinets typically have specifications for babies up to three months old. Check your child’s weight and age with the unit specifications to ensure you get the proper unit for them.
Most rocking bassinets are not for children over three months old. In particular, those who can sit up or pull themselves into a standing position.
Baby bassinets may come as is or with lots of extra features. You may find your child benefits from both a rocking motion and another soothing characteristic, such as white noise or light.
If this is the case, you can find rocking bassinets with add-ons like mobiles, nightlights, or speakers to play soft music.
With automatic rockers, you will likely find bassinets that operate through Bluetooth. These Bluetooth units may also play music or work with baby monitors.
There are several different rocking methods when it comes to bassinets. Bassinets can rock from side to side, head to toe, or vibrate. They can also rock automatically or use a switch.
Side to Side
The more common rocking method of a rocking bassinet is the side-to-side motion. This motion copies the rocking of a cradle. Some parents prefer this kind of rocking as it is more traditional.
Head to Toe
Head to Toe rocking simulates how a parent would rock an infant in their arms. These bassinets are helpful if your child likes to fall asleep to rocking or swaying motions.
A vibrating bassinet simulates the same kind of sensation that a car ride would. If your child often falls asleep on your chest or in a car seat, this type of bassinet may work for you.
A gliding bassinet may do a better job of copying your swaying motion than a head-to-toe rocking cradle might. With gentler movements than a side-to-side rocker, gliding bassinets can be very beneficial for infants who sense the slightest change in atmosphere.
An automatic or self-rocking bassinet can prove invaluable to parents with fussy babies. An automatic rocking bassinet will rock for you, so you can get some rest at the same time as your baby.
Some versions may also come on automatically if your baby stirs in the night. These versions will soothe your child for you, so you don’t have to get up every time they begin to wake up. That way, both you and your baby can get more rest.
If you prefer having more control over your bassinet, you can also choose one with a switch. Switches give you the choice of when to turn on or off the rocking feature. So, if you want to help your child sleep during specific hours, you might turn the feature on for a few minutes only.
These bassinets can also come in handy if you want to prevent your baby from relying on a sleeping mechanism.
Many babies need help to sleep at first, and rocking them is a great way to soothe them to sleep. But, as they grow, they need to learn to soothe themselves. Self-soothing is harder to do if they have an automatic rocking bassinet that rocks them every time they move.
So, although using a switch to manually turn on and off your rocking feature can be inconvenient, it may help your baby in the long run.
Plenty of bassinets also use baby-generated rocking, so you don’t have to listen to a noisy motor. These bassinets will begin to sway if the baby is moving, helping to lull them to sleep. A parent can also begin the rocking motion, which will gradually come to a halt as the baby drifts off.
Bassinets with baby-generated rocking are another great alternative for babies who often wake up in the middle of the night. They can soothe themselves back to sleep without any of the fancy hardware that can sense if they are awake.
These bassinet options often prove cheaper and more reliable, as there are fewer breakable components.
Pros and Cons of Rocking Bassinets
The pros and cons of using a rocking bassinet can help you decide whether they are right for you.
- They can help soothe your baby to sleep
- They can help you sleep at the same time as your baby
- They can cater to your baby’s needs
- They are usually more expensive
- They may not work as advertised
- They are only for newborns up to three months
Is a Rocking Bassinet Safe?
Trusting that a rocking bassinet will securely hold your newborn child can be hard. But, rocking bassinets with a safety approval rating are safe for your infants.
Bassinets that undergo testing and state as such on their tags will be a safer choice than those that don’t mention any testing. A safe rocking bassinet won’t hurt your child or provoke Shaken Baby Syndrome.
If the fine print on your bassinet tag warns you not to leave your child sleeping inside the unit unattended, it will not be safe for your baby. Bassinets that do not have these warnings or, better yet, have assurances that you can leave your child to sleep inside them will be a safer choice.
Even so, there is a risk of recall with proven tested bassinets.
So be diligent and do your own research by looking up reviews online. Parents who buy rocking bassinets can tell you immediately whether a particular brand or model is safe for your baby.
Try to find parent-reviewed brands that also have safety approval testing. Both these aspects combined will give you a better idea of how a particular bassinet will treat your child.
Can a Baby Sleep in a Rocking Bassinet?
Though safety-rated bassinets should not raise issues for your baby, you may still wonder about allowing them to sleep inside. So, can a baby sleep in a rocking bassinet?
The answer is yes. Bassinets that don’t have a rocking feature are popular sleeping containers for newborn infants. Rocking bassinets are the same.
As you can turn off the rocking feature for these bassinets, your child will sleep just as safely in them as they would in any other crib or cradle. But, even with the rocking motion, these products are safe for your baby to sleep inside.
Whether your bassinet rocks or vibrates, the movement will not be enough to jar your baby awake. Instead, they will soothe your infant and allow them to sleep. Neither the rocking nor vibrating features should keep your child awake or damage them while they sleep.
Our Recommendations For The Best Rocking Bassinets
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- Easy to assemble
- Can be folded away
- Has multiple modes – rocking and stationary
- Recommended to buy a separate mattress
Most baby stores will have bassinets for newborns. Many popular brands will also carry rocking bassinets, either in-store or online. If you’re doing your own research, looking online can also get you reviews for a specific unit.
Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to fold
- Reported problems with a mattress
Choosing a rocking bassinet can help soothe your child to sleep during their first months of life. There are many different types to choose from, but you can find one to suit your baby’s specific needs. Whether they need frequent soothing during the night or relax easier with a few minutes of vibration, you don’t need to struggle to find the perfect unit.
So, there you have it – the ultimate guide to rocking bassinets! I hope that this article has helped you make an informed decision about which type of bassinet is best for your baby. Keep in mind that all babies are different, so what works for one may not work for another. If you’re still unsure, ask around or read some more reviews until you find the perfect fit for your family. And finally, always remember to follow the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer to ensure your little one’s health and well-being. Thanks for reading!
Hi – I’m Alina and I am a soon to be mom going through the journey of becoming a parent. I am a writer at heart and I love sharing about pregnancy tips and other busy mom hacks.