After nine months of carrying your little baby, all you want to do is snuggle him close. But you’ll have to put him down at some point, even if it’s just to eat lunch or do the dishes! That’s when you’ll call on your trusty baby cradle to provide your baby with a safe place to relax and play. Take a seat and relax: here’s your comprehensive guide to cradle basics.

Buying a Baby Cradle – More Than Just A Baby Bed

You may feel like purchasing a baby cradle is nearly as difficult as purchasing a new laptop or a new car, maybe. After all, there are numerous specifications and features to consider, including various colours, shapes, and sizes, and, of course, safety precautions.

Furthermore, many parents think that buying a baby’s cradle will give them huge relief from the constant rocking and lullaby-singing at night time. If that describes you, there’s no need to be concerned about the countless cradle bed options available out there.

We’re here to assist you. In this article, we’ve outlined all you need to know about an infant cradle so you can make an informed decision about whether or not they’re good for you and your family. We’ll go over everything you need to know about buying a cradle, including what it is, why you might want one, what safety features to look at and which ones we suggest.

Should You Buy a Baby Cradle Bed?

First and foremost, do you truly require an infant cradle for your tiny tot? Well, no! No baby furniture is more essential than a baby crib – and the rest is all a matter of choice, requirements and preferences. So, it’s entirely up to you whether or not to include a cradle for newborn on your baby registry.

However, need and want are two different things, and many parents discover that their cradle bed becomes a vital tool for surviving their child’s first few months. After all, newborns dislike being sat down, especially in environments that don’t precisely resemble the sensation of being snuggled up against a parent’s heartbeat or rocked back and forth in their arms.

While a baby cradle can’t replace your arms, it might keep your newborn happy enough for you to free up your hands.

Difference Between A Cradle For Newborn, Bassinet & Crib

If you’re not sure what’s what when it comes to this category of baby gear, here’s a quick rundown:

Bassinet: Bassinets are often made of cane or wicker and resemble baskets with a hood and legs. They are especially beneficial for newborns and very young babies because they are small and may be kept in the same room as you. Bassinets are compact and light, making them an excellent choice for those who need something portable. However, because they are designed for young babies, your baby will quickly outgrow them.

Crib: Cribs are the most spacious of all baby beds and are also the most durable. They have high railings and will keep your baby very safe. They will endure a long time because they are large enough to hold your little one for several years rather than just a few months. When your child is old enough, some convertible models can even be opened out to become a bed.

However, because of the crib’s long-lasting and strong qualities, it is on the more expensive side of baby beds. Also, if you live in a small place and want to share a room with your baby, a crib may be too big for your little space.

Cradle: Cradles can be thought to be in between bassinets and cribs. They’re more durable than bassinets but smaller than cribs, and they’re usually always made of wood. Their gliding and rocking mechanism makes them very unique and soothing for babies to sleep. Moreover, they’re built to last considerably longer than bassinets.

However, cradles do not come with any bedding, so you’ll have to buy it individually, which will be another added expense. And since they are heavier than bassinets, they’re more uncomfortable during the first few months when you want to move around and keep your tiny tot close.

Cradle For Newborn, Bassinet & Crib

Essential Factors and Safety Considerations While Choosing a Baby Cradle

Deciding which cradle will get a slot on your baby registry list is a difficult task if you don’t have the right guidance. Here are some essential things to consider helping you decide:

1. Choose A Cradle Based On Your Baby’s Age

Cradles and cribs are built with the baby’s age in mind. When purchasing a bed for your infant, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Until the age of 6-8 months: Cradles are generally safe for babies up to the age of 6-8 months.
  • Until 3 years old: It is advised that the baby be moved to a crib after the age of eight months.
  • 3 years and up: Many parents transition their children to a toddler bed at this age, though this varies for each child.

2. Purchase a New Baby Cradle

To ensure that your child has a top-notch cradle that has been tested to the highest safety standards, it’s always better to purchase the most recent version available. Even if you’re using a hands-me-down cradle, make sure to check whether it satisfies the ASTM and CPSC-certified safety criteria or not. Some models may have been phased out due to new safety regulations.

3. Check for Safety Standards Compliance

This is the most critical factor to consider when it comes to cradle safety. Ascertain that the product meets recognised cradle safety requirements in terms of design, structure, and usage. Choose a brand that is fully approved to meet newborn safety standards stipulated by European standards and offers a wide choice of baby gear goods.

4. Make Sure The Cradle Frame Is Sturdy

Make sure the cradle you purchase is sturdy enough to stay upright even if you accidentally bump into it in the middle of the night. The cradle should also be durable enough to endure your baby’s weight until the age of 6 to 8 months.

5. Carefully Look At The Swing Option

While baby cradles have evolved over time, one trick that all mothers know will never go out of style is swinging! Scientists have discovered that gently swaying babies (much like in a hammock) can help them fall asleep. Look for a rocking cradle that allows you to safely swing the infant. If your budget allows, it is best to go for a cradle that includes both automated and manual swing mechanisms.

6. Never Opt For a Cradle with Sleep Positioners

Some cradles come with sleep positioners that claim to help the infant sleep on their back all night long. To reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), it’s best to have your baby sleep on their back. Sleep positioners, however, can cause suffocation hazards. Hence, it is a safe choice to avoid them and instead check on the baby regularly to ensure that they are sleeping in the correct position.

7. Get a Cradle with Lockable Wheels or No Wheels

It’s tempting to get a cradle for babies with wheels so you can move it around more easily. However, when your baby learns to stand up, a cradle with wheels can become perilous. If you want a cradle with wheels, ensure they can be locked while they are not in use.

8. Choose a Durable & Snug Fit Baby Cradle Mattress

Look for a cradle with plenty of mattress support. The cradle mattress should be firm and stable. Furthermore, there should be no loose ends, and it should fit snugly into the cradle.

While the mattress shouldn’t have to be stuffed into the cradle to fit, there shouldn’t be much of a space between the inside of the cradle and the mattress. You should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the mattress and the cradle frame when it is inside the cradle.

9. Make Sure the Cradle Is Breathable

Make sure the cradle mattress, as well as the sides of the cradle, are both breathable. Most cradles feature wooden slats on the sides, thereby allowing for optimum airflow around the infant.

10. Choose a Cradle With a Comfortable Height

Even if your baby appears to be resting soundly in the cradle and the nap appears to be lasting a long time, you can never be sure! When a baby is hungry, needs a diaper change, or misses mommy, he/she tends to wake up frequently. So, you’ll have to pick up your baby multiple times, and this is why it is important to buy a cradle that is at a comfortable height for you.

11. Ensure Portability and Travel Convenience

The cradle you choose should be versatile enough to transport if necessary. During the first few months, you may need to travel with your infant, which necessitates the use of a portable cradle.

Baby Cradle Dimensions and Mattress

Cradles, unlike cribs, can be found in a variety of designs, sizes, and materials. They are much smaller than full-size cribs and are more akin to a little cribs in size. They usually have a wooden frame with narrow slats. However, you can expect a cradle’s sleeping surface to be around 3 feet long by 1.5 feet wide. For your reference, the Dream On Me Cradle Mattress measures 36L x 18W x 2H.

Precautions While Using The Baby Cradle

Sleep and rest are critical for a child’s overall development, and the right cradle will help to ensure this. So, when shopping for a baby cradle for your little one, keep the following factors in mind to ensure his safety and comfort.

  • Make sure there are no broken or loose screws, sharp edges, or hardware in the cradle or mattress.
  • Pillows, soft toys, and other items should not be used in the cradle since they can cause suffocation. If your infant enjoys playing with them at night time, remove the toys from the cradle immediately after your baby sleeps.
  • Remove any ribbons, strings, streamers, or other decorations that came with the cradle in its packaging. Cradle accessories should be avoided at all costs, especially during sleeping. Babies are naturally curious and may injure themselves by tugging at or swallowing these decorations.
  • Rocking your lovely baby to sleep in their cradle may be incredibly relaxing! However, if your child rolls to the side of their cradle, the rocking action can become a safety issue. As a result, never leave your infant alone in the cradle while it is still rocking!
  • Place the cradle away from windows, cables, and blinds or else they could strangle or injure babies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Purchasing A Baby Cradle

Still, have some questions about choosing the right baby cradle bed? Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about baby cradle dimensions, safety, etc.

Which type of cradle is best for a baby?

Automatic baby cradles, though expensive, are one of the best types of cradles to purchase.

When should I start using the cradle?

From birth until the age of 6-8 months, it is normally safe for babies to use cradles.

Are cradles safe for newborns?

If you are wondering are cradles safe, they are. However, it is important to make sure the cradle is made out of sturdy wood and is certified to comply with the safety standards set forth by the CPSC, ASTM, etc.

Finding The Best Cradle For Babies – The Bottom Line

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that a cradle is like a rocking crib for the baby. It allows you to keep your newborn nearby while rocking them to sleep at night. Some parents swear by a baby’s cradle to help comfort their infant during the first few months of life.

However, with countless styles and features, getting a baby cradle seems intimidating, right? Furthermore, your young one is extremely delicate and requires only the gentlest treatment. So, the cradle that you purchase must adhere to all applicable safety and comfort standards for it to suit your little prince or princess.