Bedside cribs are the new way to enjoy closeness in safety during the first few months with your newborn, but which will work best for you?
A bedside crib fits alongside your bed, with one side that can be removed or dropped out of the way so you can easily lift your baby out for feeding, or soothe him back to sleep.
Official ‘safe sleeping’ guidance from the NHS advises that your newborn sleeps in the same room as you but not in your bed, due to the risk of suffocation and overheating, for his first six months. And so a bedside crib offers you the closeness and convenience of co-sleeping (letting your baby sleep in your bed with you), but the safety of him being in his own space. They’re usually suitable from birth to when your baby’s around six months old.
Do you need a bedside crib?
It’s fine to put your baby to sleep in a cot from the get-go, as long as you always position him with his feet at the foot of the cot. However, a smaller sleeping place is cosier and your baby is more likely to settle well in this more secure environment. And it takes up far less floor-space in your bedroom.
The main advantage of a bedside crib over a Moses basket or standard crib is the lack of barrier between you and your baby.
If you’d like to be able to see and reach your baby during the night, and for your baby to be able to see you, then a bedside crib is a good choice. And if you like the idea of co-sleeping, but are concerned about the risks of doing so, they’ll appeal too.
They make night-time feeds and soothing your baby back to sleep much less of a faff as you get to stay in bed. And, if you have restricted movement – perhaps after a C-section – then not getting in and out of bed and having to lift your baby in and out of a crib is a real help.
Will you want to use the bedside crib on its own too?
Some cribs are designed to be used as a standalone crib as well as a bedside crib. If you’d like the option of switching between modes, perhaps if you’d prefer your baby to nap downstairs during the day and don’t want to buy a separate Moses basket, then it pays to choose a crib that converts between modes easily. Some require a fair bit of re-assembly to use as a standalone crib and are less than portable. Or look for one with a detachable sleeping area which can easily be lifted into another room.
Measure the height of your bed
It’s important that there’s no gap between your baby’s mattress and yours, and that the crib can be securely attached to your bed. So do check that the crib’s mattress height will adjust to the same level as your own mattress, and triple-check what’s compatible: some cribs are designed to clip onto bedstead frames and therefore won’t work with a divan.
Is the bedside crib mattress a standard size and shape?
If it isn’t, you may be limited to buying bedding from the manufacturer, which could well be more expensive, so build this into your cost calculations. Check, too, whether the mattress is included or has to be bought separately at extra expense.
The best bedside cribs for co-sleeping: