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Finding out you are pregnant is such an exciting time, but with that excitement comes to a whole host of questions and decisions to be made. One of these important questions is, ‘where is your baby going to sleep?’
Most parents decide on a crib, but you may prefer to skip the crib stage altogether like so many other parents. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternative options available.
Table of Contents
- 1 Consider These Factors
- 2 Best Alternatives To A Crib
Consider These Factors
Finding the right alternative to a crib will depend on many different factors, such as your baby’s age, the space available to you, does your baby have their own room and your personal preferences.
For the most part, parents who decide to skip the crib stage usually opt for co-sleeping or maybe a floor bed.
Age of your baby
As your baby grows, their sleeping needs and requirements change. They will quickly grow out of a bassinet, so this makes it a short term option.
In the same respect, a floor bed would not be suitable for a newborn or even a toddler who now realizes that they can come and go as they please. But this will also depend on the temperament and level of mobility of your baby.
Please note that some of our options are more suited to older babies, so your baby’s choice may well be determined by your baby’s age.
If your baby is sleeping in your room, which is recommended they do so for at least the first six months, you may be restricted by the amount of space you have available for a crib, floor bed, or whichever choice you make.
If your baby is older and has moved into their own room, then they may well have more space available so you won’t be restricted by the space available.
This presents you with plenty of options to choose from, like a floor bed to a pack n play with all the bells and whistles.
Of course, this is an important one. If you feel more comfortable with your baby co-sleeping and it is safe to do so, go ahead and do that. If you would rather your baby to sleep in their own room once they are old enough, it is your choice as their parent to do this.
Neither of these options is right or wrong. I have friends who are still co-sleeping with their children at the age of two, while I prefer for my children to have their own sleeping space in their own rooms. Sometimes mama needs some space!
Best Alternatives To A Crib
Here are our options for alternatives to a crib in 2020. Depending on your current situation, hopefully, one of these may provide you with the information in order for you to make an informed choice about your next bed option for your little one.
This is such a simple idea and can cost you as little or as much as you want. It really is just a fancy way of saying its a mattress on the floor with a sheet that your baby sleeps on.
It sounds easy but there are a few things you will need to ensure before letting your baby sleep alone on the floor bed. First, the entire room would need to be baby-proofed because they can get in and out of bed as often as they like.
You would need to check that there are no cables that they may get tangled in, that they couldn’t reach anything on shelves, and pull it over on them. For your own sanity, ensure that they can not get into draws or wardrobes as baby’s like to empty things.
It is recommended that there should be no blankets or pillows on the mattress until your baby is older. Also, check the depth of the mattress isn’t too thick as your baby could roll-off.
Be sure that there is a soft carpet or even a nice thick rug next to the mattress in case your baby rolls off.
The roll-up guest bed above is a really good option as it can be put away when not in use. It can be packed up and taken with you if your baby is staying at a relatives house.
It is only 3 inches thick so it’s not too deep if your baby did roll off the bed. It comes with a removable, washable cover and it can easily be rolled away for storage and comes with its own travel bag. This makes it easy to put away when not needed.
- If money is tight, this could be a good option if you have a suitable mattress.
- Can last until your baby is in their own bed.
- It can be easily moved from one room to another.
- It can grow with your baby. Once they are past the risk of SIDS, you can simply add pillows and bedding.
- There is the potential for the baby to roll off the mattress.
- The room the floor bed is in must be completely baby-proofed to ensure your baby’s safety.
- Once your baby realizes they can get out of their bed it may become a bit of a challenge to keep them in their own bed.
This is a practice that parents have used for generations, especially when we lived in much smaller housing with far more people. Co-sleeping can have huge benefits for you and your baby.
It promotes a really strong bond between mother and baby. Breastfeeding is much easier and causes less disruption than having to get a baby out of a crib to feed them and trying to place them back once they are sleeping.
While this may sound like an idyllic way to sleep with your baby, it can have some negative effects too. As your baby is always with you, they may develop a sleep crutch in that they can not go to sleep unless you are there with them.
The knock-on effect of this is that you will have to have the same bedtime as your baby. This leaves you with no time to be an adult. You and your partner may not sleep as well when there is a wriggling, squirming baby next to you.
- No extra equipment needed.
- Mom may feel better rested.
- Great for promoting breastfeeding and makes night feeds super easy.
- Your sleep quality may suffer.
- Your relationship may suffer.
- Your baby may be unable to self soothe and therefore may always need you to go to sleep.
- Potential safety hazard.
- Baby’s take up more space in bed than you think, ideally need a king-size bed or larger.
Travel cribs by design are lightweight, portable, and easily collapsed. They are a simpler fewer frills version of the pack n play. To be honest, babies don’t really need all the bells and whistles just to go to sleep. In fact the fewer distractions the better.
Travel cribs are great if you intend to travel around as they provide your baby with a familiar place to settle and go to sleep.
As we all know, babies can be very difficult to settle in new surroundings, so being able to provide their own bed from home will certainly help them.
Although this travel crib is not one I have used myself, it is in Amazon’s top ten travel cribs. This travel crib comes GreenGuard Gold certification meaning that it contains low VOC and no lead, no PVC, heavy metal, or phthalates.
It is ultra-portable, packing up into its own backpack carrying case and only weighs around 13 pounds. The Lotus crib has no assembly and can be set up in under a minute.
It has a full-side zipper that allows easy access for your baby to crawl in and out. It comes complete with a mattress that is approved for overnight sleep.
The only downside is that it does not come with sheets and is quite expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for in my experience. The plus side is that this travel crib should last you for many years as your baby grows.
- Portable which means they are great if your baby often sleeps at a relatives’ house.
- Easy to move around the house if needed.
- Greenguard Gold certification (on the particular one featured).
- They can be expensive.
- No sheets and or mattress cover are included so would need to be bought separately.
- Mattresses can be quite thin.
Pack and Plays
Pack n Plays are pretty standard in their design. They are very similar to a travel crib in that they are meant to be easily portable and quick to set up. They do tend to be a bit sturdier and often come with other features.
The most common features of the Pack n Play is that they often come with a bassinet, changing station, toy mobile, and storage. This is what makes them a great substitute for a crib, offering the same amount of sleep space but with the added compact features.
They tend to be around the same price as a crib but many choices are cheaper. A great feature that the Pack n Play shares with travel cribs is that they can all be taken apart and easily packed up for a little trip.
They are typically a little sturdier than a traditional travel crib. Most have metal frames with material covering. This material is made up of a large percentage of mesh so as to provide breathability.
This particular Pack n Play comes with many features and is an Amazon choice product. The Chicco comes with a newborn lounger, bassinet, toy mobile, and a changing station.
The newborn lounger can be used in the bassinet or on the floor and folds flat for easy storage. The changing station can be easily snapped on to the side of the playard for easy storage when not in use but still close enough for those quick changes.
The toy mobile with this particular model comes as a projector that can project starry skies onto the walls and ceilings. It also has a color-changing LED. The mobile can then be detached and used as a bedside nightlight as your baby grows.
- Most come with a bassinet which means they can be used from newborns.
- Come with some great features that are all compact.
- Portable but not as easy as the travel crib to move around.
- The closest in design and function to a traditional crib.
- Could be too heavy for a new mother to move around.
- Some do not come with removable liners for the mattress or changing station.
- Some Pack n Plays can be difficult to collapse by yourself.
Bassinets are a traditional sleep area used for newborns and very young babies. They are usually made with mesh sides which means you can see your baby and they can see you when you are laying in bed.
Most bassinets are oval-shaped and are designed to be easily moved around your home if needed.
This bassinet is typical of what the product tends to look like and what features it may have. This one comes with a mobile and also has a rocking feature that can be very soothing for a newborn as it almost mimics being rocked by mom or dad.
This bassinet also has the option of providing 30 minutes of calming vibrations or music.
One thing that you should note about bassinets is that you can only use them for a short period of time. Usually, it’s around 6 months or until your baby is old enough to roll over or push up.
The reason behind this is that it gives the possibility that they could climb out of the sleeping area. As bassinets are usually quite high off the floor, this could lead to a potentially serious injury if your baby was to fall from that height.
This is one of the greatest drawbacks with a bassinet that within a few months you would have to move on to a more age-appropriate alternative.
- Quite small in size.
- Great features such as mobile and vibration mode.
- Easy to get baby in and out of the bassinet.
- Short life span – 6 months at the most.
- The rocking motion can upset some babies.
Co-sleeping bedside cribs are becoming increasingly popular, as they give you the opportunity to keep your baby close but still adhere to the safety guidelines of having your baby in a separate crib or cot.
The side of these types of cribs can be put down temporarily. This enables you and your baby to feel the closeness of breastfeeding and comfort that you both feel from being in close proximity to each other.
At the same time, it allows you both to have your own space to minimize the risk of SIDS. This kind of crib can also be especially useful for moms who are recovering from a C-section and may find it difficult to get in and out of bed or bend to pick up a baby.
This bedside co-sleeper is a classic shape of the vast majority of these cribs. It is height adjustable with nine different positions meaning it should fit almost any bed.
It can also be used as a standalone bassinet which gives you another sleep option if you find you are not comfortable with the co-sleeping.
The base of this bedside co-sleeper is very sturdy and would not be knocked over during normal use. It also comes with two sheets, a music box, and a detachable toy.
- Sturdy base.
- Easy to get baby in and out of – especially great if you are recovering from a c-section.
- Its lifespan is limited as your baby will grow out of it by about 6 months of age.
- They can be expensive depending on the make and model you choose.
- They are not exactly light, making them difficult to move about.
I know that many of you will be having a laugh at this option but in many European countries, this is actually a thing.
For 75 years in Finland, expectant mothers have been given a box by the state called a maternity box. It’s like a starter pack for newborns.
It comes with bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, nappies, sheets, a small mattress, and toys. The idea behind this was that each child would be given the same start in life regardless of their background.
With the mattress in the bottom, it becomes the baby’s first bed. It would last around the same time as a bassinet or co-sleeper, so its time is limited. Many believe that this maternity box has helped Finland to achieve one of the lowest infant mortality rates.
This idea has now been brought to life in the UK by a company called British Baby Box. On their site, you can choose from various options that you would like to place in the box ranging from sleepsuits to bibs, to sleeping bags which are all packaged up in a beautiful cardboard box.
- Great for the environment.
- Helped to lower the infant mortality rate in Finland.
- Short lifespan, you could only use this for around the first 6 months of your baby’s life.
The Final Word
There are so many great options available to new parents in each and every stage and product that is needed, and cribs are no different.
My advice would be to choose the option that best suits your baby and your family circumstance as every singles person is unique.
If you want to co-sleep and it is safe to do so, go ahead and do it. It doesn’t matter what ‘Julie’ next door is doing with her baby, because as a parent, there will be choices you have to make for your baby that are personal to you.
You do not need to justify why you co-sleep or breastfeed fast 2 years old, it’s your baby and your choices to make. Good luck on your parenting journey!