Many parents today are faced with the daunting task of deciding whether or not to purchase a crib for their baby. The need for a crib ultimately depends on individual parenting styles and can be a difficult decision to make.
For some parents, a crib is an essential part of their baby’s sleep routine and is a necessity for their child to get the rest they need. However, for others, a baby crib may not be necessary, and other options such as co-sleeping, can be used as an effective crib alternative.
In this blog, I will discuss the pros and cons of using a crib and explore the experts’ opinions when making this important parenting decision by keeping in mind safe sleep guidelines.
- The AAP recommends that babies sleep on their backs in a crib or bassinet. Not only is this the safest sleeping position and environment for babies, but also it’s the best way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Experts say that putting a baby in an adult bed can be hazardous as they can easily become tangled in the sheets and blankets and can accidentally suffocate.
- A crib can easily be converted into a toddler bed or full-sized bed, so if you have more space in the house, a crib can be your best friend for years to come.
- Cribs provide a space that is comfortable and secure, which helps babies relax and promotes better sleeping patterns.
- The safety recommendations provided by the AAP suggest that babies sleep on their backs for the first year of life, and a crib will help them become accustomed to this sleeping arrangement.
Whether Babies Need Cribs or Not?
It's one of the questions every new parent has asked: do babies need a crib? There is no clear-cut answer to this question. Everyone chooses what is best suited for their children. And when I became a mom around a decade ago, I was asking the same thing whether I needed a mini crib, toddler bed or directly a big kid bed.
I started seeking advice from experienced moms, and they all seemed to have varying opinions on this seemingly simple question regarding baby bed. The advice ranged from "absolutely," since a safe place to sleep is a must, to "not necessarily," if you are comfortable co-sleeping and do not require a traditional crib or your family has other arrangements. However, the AAP recommends that babies sleep on their backs in a crib or bassinet. Not only is this the safest sleeping position and environment for babies, but also it’s the best way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The Debate: Cribs or Not
It is important to know the pros and cons of a baby's crib before reaching a final decision.
Pros of Cribs
- One of the pros is that a crib mattress provides a safe sleeping area for your baby. Experts say that putting a baby in an adult bed can be hazardous as they can easily become tangled in the sheets and blankets and can accidentally suffocate.Even if you use a co-sleeper in your adult bed, babies may still roll against the sides (which can cause suffocation). In contrast, a crib has a prevention bar at the top to protect the baby from rolling out or against the sides. Hence, a baby crib reduces risk factors and ensures safety for the baby.
- Another one is that using a crib sets the stage for a good night’s sleep for your little one. Creating a consistent bedtime routine that includes putting your baby in traditional cribs helps him/her establish a natural sleeping pattern in his own sleeping space. This helps them stay in a deep sleep for longer periods, thereby improving the quality of their sleep overall.
- Moreover, a crib can easily be converted into a toddler bed or full-sized bed, so if you have more space in the house, a crib can be your best friend for years to come. However, keep in mind not all cribs are designed the same way.
- Lastly, using a crib also offers some great developmental benefits for babies. Babies need their own space to explore as they learn and grow. A crib safety gives them a secure place to explore and play without being put in an unsafe situation or at risk of harm. It also provides them with their sanctuary, allowing them to relax and escape when they need a break or need extra comfort.
Cons of Cribs
- First, when your baby moves to the active phase of development, where he or she learns how to roll, sit, start to crawl and stand, you will see what I mean. Whether it's in the middle of the night or the middle of the afternoon, your baby will be able to climb up and over the side of the crib. This could result in injury, and it can be dangerous if you haven't positioned your crib away from any unsafe objects.
- Second, you may remember crawling into bed when you were afraid or just wanted some extra comfort. Your baby will soon develop that same need and it may become difficult to separate him or her from you during naps or before bedtime.
- Third, when your baby becomes active and is standing and climbing, the sides of the crib won't be able to contain him or her for long. This could lead to repeatedly waking up during the night as your baby may wander around or explore the house.
- Finally, as your baby outgrows the crib, you may not want to store it in your home. Most cribs aren't easy to disassemble, so you may either have to give it away or find a place to store it in the attic or look for crib alternatives.
Experts’ Opinion Regarding Babies Need for Cribs
When it comes to your little one’s everyday needs, it’s important to seek the experts’ opinions to keep your baby safe. Experts agree that a crib is vital for your baby’s security and well-being as it has numerous benefits.
For one, your baby's cribs are designed to be a safe space, giving them the liberty of having different sleeping arrangements.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends either a freestanding crib or a crib design that has a firm crib mattress without soft bedding until they reach the age of 1 year. This helps create a safe sleeping environment for your baby, as soft bedding or adding stuffed animals to your baby's crib can be hazardous for children this age.
Furthermore, cribs can provide privacy and a sense of security for children. Humans need to be able to find refuge from the stresses of life, and babies are no exception. Cribs provide a space that is comfortable and secure, which helps babies relax and promotes better sleeping patterns.
Plus, the size of the crib will help babies move around without having the baby's head or body stuck between the crib's bars. Moreover, having their own crib (private space) can help them practice their new motor skills without any danger.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a baby sleep without a crib?
Yes and no, it depends on your personal preference. Some parents choose to use a piece of nursery furniture, which attaches to the side of the bed and allows the baby to be close to them but in their own separate space. Others choose to have their baby sleep in a bassinet, freestanding crib or even toddler beds!
At what age does a baby need a crib?
It varies among babies. Some babies transition into the crib between 4 months to 6 months, others may take a few months. It also depends on preferences as some people prefer to have their infants in the same bed and the same room.
Should I get a crib or bed for a baby?
Yes. You should get a crib for your baby as cribs generally provide a more secure sleep environment for babies, with rails that can be adjusted to meet the needs of your growing infant. They also give parents greater peace of mind about the safety of their baby during sleep, since it's much easier to know that a baby is secure in a crib than in a bed.
Should you put a newborn in a crib?
Yes, it is safe to put a newborn in a crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in a crib, bassinet, or portable crib that meets current safety standards and has a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
It is also important to keep the crib clear of soft objects, loose bedding, or anything else that could potentially suffocate the baby.
Should a newborn sleep in a crib or bassinet?
Both a crib and a bassinet can be safe sleep options for a newborn, but there are some key differences between the two that may make one a better choice for your infant.
A crib is typically larger and can be used for a longer period, as it can accommodate a growing baby. Whereas, a bassinet is typically smaller and more portable, which can make it a convenient option for parents who are looking for a bedside sleeper or who want to be able to move their infant around the house.
Ultimately, the choice between a crib or a bassinet will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
Both a bassinet and a crib have pros and cons. It is important to make sure that whichever option you choose meets current crib safety regulations.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to invest in a crib or not, ultimately depends on your dual parenting style. If you are the type of parent who likes to keep a close eye on their baby, then a crib may be the perfect solution.
More importantly, having a crib can bring you peace of mind that your baby is safe and secure as it also limits your baby's movement, making it easier for you to monitor them throughout the night.