Cot or Bassinet?
There is an ongoing argument that usually happens in your head as to what sleep actually looks like when you have a new born. You know that sleep is important to you and that you are going to want to get a lot of it but you’re told that it’s near impossible to get sleep when you have a newborn baby. Well, I’m hear to tell you that some of this it true but not all of it. You will need to adjust to a little less sleep but there are ways of getting around the sleep deprivation thing that occurs after baby arrives. I can tell you more about that later and I often post things on my social media accounts to help educate parents about sleep and how to get more so you can check those out if you wish…Today I want to have the conversation about purchasing a cot, bassinet or the type of bassinet that goes with a pram.
You’re making a big decision when purchasing this item, but you won’t really know that or understand it until you weigh up the pros and cons to each of these and some of you won’t understand this until you put it into practice.
It’s not exactly a life changing decision, but it may be an important one given you’re just about to have your first baby and you look at the big picture.
Let me explain….
There are many ways of parenting and many ways to get sleep. There is no right or wrong…there is just sleep, however this looks very different for each person and what they are use to.
There are parents that co-sleep but I defiantly wasn’t one of those. I know that once you start co sleeping you will probably have a hard time getting the child out of your bed. I have done a lot of sleep training over the years and I don’t find it fun. I also know me, and I love my sleep and space, so I wasn’t really looking to co-sleep with my baby in the first place although I admire those that can. My major concern was that I would somehow smother my baby and not wake. That thought scared me more than the idea of co-sleeping.
I personally loved the idea of having a bassinet beside me.
It made me feel secure and I could check on my baby, quickly and efficiently, when I woke or when he woke in the middle of the night. Thus meaning we could both get back to sleep quicker and there was less fussing.
If it helps you to understand my reasoning for a bassinet by the side of the bed, it is actually a security thing for both you and baby in the first few months as you both adjust to your new life. Yours - without baby inside you and the lack of sleep thing, and theirs, just being alive and outside of you. They know your smell and are sensitive to it so they are more secure and settled while they are beside you.
I know that everyone is different (like I said) and it certainly isn’t my intention for you to do what I have done. I feel that by explaining all of this, it may help you figure out what might suit you, your partner and baby.
I will continue… So I had all the good intentions of having my baby next to me for a few months before moving him into his room, be it in cot or bassinet. I soon found out that once we had both adjusted to our new lives, I was unfortunately waking to every noise that he made and I wasn't getting the sleep that I needed to heal and simply be the best parent I could be. He was perfect and was now a great sleeper. It was Week 6 that he graduated to sleeping in his own room, still in the bassinet because it was familiar to him and he was settled and secure within that now (I didn’t want to change that) but he didn’t necessarily need to smell me or have my scent at this point to feel secure.
Now this info may or may not help you. You know yourself well and probably have a good idea of what you would like to do, what your nursery looks like and you probably have a vision of what will happen in your household. This is great - roll with that and I will give you more info about the equipment so you can make an educated decision about what to purchase.
I personally put a lot of importance on products that are designed for safety. The three main things that I put a lot of thought into before purchase are a Car Seat, Stroller and a Cot. ‘Why?’ you may ask. It is because these three products, for the first two to three years (even longer if you have a second child), are used nearly every single day and for long periods of time. They have to be sturdy, solid and sound, usually making them a little more expensive. It is my opinion that if you put a little more into it, you will get more out of it. I’m not suggesting that you buy the most expensive item you can find, but I personally prefer to spend a little more and have a product last for years than purchase something cheaper and have it not live up to my expectations, which are high, I admit. Very few times have I purchased something that wasn’t ‘worth the money.’
This is fairly simple. They all do the same thing to some degree, Sleep your child in it from birth. You will probably use it until they are two or two and a half years of age and you may even have another baby, potentially use the same cot, so quality may be a little more important if this is the situation for you.
If you are deciding on this option then you may need to look into purchasing a ‘bubsnest’ (google search) or something similar. This is a small insert (that is portable - great for travel and going to visit friends and family) and provides the security of a smaller place for your baby to sleep. Your newborn will like the idea of smaller surroundings as they adjust to life on the outside, otherwise your baby may seem a little unsettled for the first few nights or weeks until they get used to larger spaces. This is why some choose to use a bassinet for the first few months or until they are approximately 6 months of age. Either way, your baby will get use to what you put in place.
The only real process of elimination that you can make before you go shopping is, would you like the cot to turn into a bassinet (very few on the market do this but you could try Stokke), a toddler bed, potentially extending its use until the age of five years or in some cases turn into a double bed allowing it to last much longer. All you will need to purchase later is a double bed mattress if this is the case.
This is the most debated piece of furniture you will think about buying, well this and a baby swing…
The bassinet will be used for approximately 6 months. So it is a piece of furniture that is never going to be used for long.
The pros to it…
It is portable and so it can be moved around the house. This makes it user friendly and great for keeping baby close by. This is important for a few reasons and I try to focus on the first two because the third is out of my control to some degree:
By moving the bassinet around the house you can teach your baby the difference between day and night. The light source is an important factor when aiding sleep. They will learn that it is bright throughout the day and everything is dark (and quiet) in the evening and throughout the night. You can teach this to your baby, in their room if they have a cot, however there is one more added bonus to the bassinet in this case. Your baby will hear noises of every day happenings. If they get use to noise while they sleep, you will find it easier to go out and about and put baby to sleep wherever you are. They won’t need complete silence to get to sleep. This will help you as they get older too.
By having your baby close to you during the day, you can help them or teach them to sleep for longer periods. Their sleep pattens change at certain times during their first few months of life and usually not before three weeks, but early on. A baby usually begins to wake after 20 to 30 minutes and we need to teach them to go into a second sleep cycle so they learn to sleep….
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), something that I don’t like talking about but needs to be mentioned. We are still doing researching and don’t really know a whole lot about it or why it occurs. The Red Nose Foundation helps fund this research. What we do know is that it effects babies and can effect toddlers too. I’m not an expert on this topic. I know that a baby doesn’t breath while inside you, only when they come into the world and take their first breath. I am lead to believe that the brain has an auto respond unit (if I can call it that) and the brain is what makes this breathing occur. Like sleep apnea occurs is some adults while they sleep, the brain switches breathing back on like a switch, to make an adult breath again, pretty cool right. Unfortunately it seems that this auto response takes time to develop in some babies/toddlers and this may be the reason for SIDS. There is still so much research to figure all of this out and like I said , I am not an expert in this. There are tips given for parents to follow on their website. These will hopefully prevent SIDS from happening and I always believe is important, actually critical, to follow these instructions. They are there for a reason. I know that it isn’t exactly fool proof but I guess by having baby close we can help them in some circumstances but at night time, if it helps you, I just had to trust that everything was going to be ok. I was doing everything I could to prevent it and that was all I could do.
Now, moving on…You will find a lot of Bassinet options on the market and some even come as an added piece to a cot, transforming it into a smaller cot and making it more portable (Stokke). These are quite good as an added bonus to the cot concept. Another type of bassinet is the type that can become a side sleeper to your bed. The side will often come down making the co-sleeping idea possible, with little risk, yet again allowing easy night settling, yet still allowing it to be portable throughout the day.
And finally too add a bassinet or not?
Well, here is the thing… I find them to be a great idea, for many reasons. They can be used as a bed for the first four or five months after birth depending on how big your baby is, how long the bassinet is and when your baby starts to roll over (as soon as this happens - stop using this type of bassinet at night or when baby isn’t being supervised, it gets too dangerous). You can have it next to your bed or in your bedroom. You can use it as a bassinet in the nursery (some come with an accessory that allows the bassinet to have its own stand so that you don't have to use the wheels of the pram inside - Bugaboo is one of these brands). You can even put the top of the pram in the cot to help the baby adjust to larger spaces when he or she is almost ready to go into the crib. You can use it in and around the house as a daybed, and you don’t have to purchase a bassinet or cot before baby is born if you don’t want to. The added bonus is that it is part of your stroller, and your baby will already be used to sleeping in this type of bassinet, making it a little easier to settle baby to sleep.
If this sounds good to you, then look into prams that have a decent sized bassinet. To date Bugaboo (Cameleon, Fox - have the bigger bassinets and Donkey, Buffalo - narrower but the same length), Stokke and Joolz prams have the longest bassinets on the market, in Australia, and all have a breathable base meaning air can circulate, (Air circulation is an important factor to look at when purchasing any bassinet) making it safer for baby to sleep in for longer periods. I will only recommend these brands because of this safety feature. As I said, safety is important to me, especially when you’re putting you baby into it. I probably need to mention at some point that I don’t receive any royalties for recommending brands in my blogs but I recommend them because I trust them and have used all of them throughout my years of looking after newborns and their families.
If this type of bassinet isn’t important to you, then it is nice to have but isn’t necessary. If you just want a pram or stroller to get you from point A to point B, all you need to do is the process of elimination. I will write another blog addressing some of the pro and cons to prams/strollers too…
So know that I have written another long, lengthy, somewhat drawn out but hopefully educational blog you might be able to make the decision as to buy a bassinet, cot, pram bassinet or all three.
Happy shopping xx