By Anne Hunger, founder of Glüxkind
You’re probably planning to use a bassinet at home with your baby during the first few months of her life. The bassinet is a mini crib that many parents use to provide a safe and cozy sleep environment for their newborns. To keep pace with our busy lives, many stroller brands now offer bassinet attachments to provide safe sleep on the go. This stroller attachment offers parents of newborns peace of mind as they go for a stroll in the park, relax at a cafe or visit grandparents while their new baby has a place to rest and nap.
Do you really need the bassinet attachment for the stroller? It’s a question expecting parents often ask. When you’re determining if the bassinet attachment is right for you and your family, it’s helpful to understand the safety, comfort, and development features that bassinets provide.
Bassinets allow your baby to lie flat with room to move instead of being propped up on an incline, as is typical when they are in a car seat. Experts have long recommended that laying a newborn on a flat, firm surface is the best ergonomic position for the baby to sleep in. It’s crucial for your baby’s growth and brain development that they can move and stretch their growing arms and legs.
Even more importantly, in a lie-flat position, babies can get all the oxygen they need, and their head, spine and hips will be in the best position for a healthy development.
Researchers at the Bristol University found that putting a baby in a 40-degree inclined position (typical of a car seat) “leads to significantly increased heart and respiratory rates, and decreased oxygen saturation”. In a lie-flat position, no similar negative effects were noticeable.
A lie-flat position helps the spine develop in the correct way, says Hannah Spink, Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapist.
“For a baby’s spine to develop naturally in the way it’s supposed to, [parents] should aim for a lie-flat position. In [this] position, the hips will naturally turn into external rotation and abduction, which is the point where the hips are contained within the socket. If you force a baby to sit up [in a stroller or car seat], then you could potentially compromise that position.” says Hannah Spink.
A newborn’s spine is in C shape as they have been curled up in the womb up until this point. As they develop, the curves of their spine slowly grow from this C shape into an S shape. Now, when your baby is in a car seat for extended periods of time, they are restricted to the C curve position due to the nature of the seats. Spending time on a flat surface is the best way to counterbalance time spent in a car seat and support a healthy spinal development.
Yes, absolutely! As long as you monitor your baby, and follow the same safe sleep practices recommended for home sleep, it is safe for your baby to sleep in a stroller bassinet. While your baby sleeps, don’t put loose blankets, pillows, or plush toys in the bassinet. Babies should never be in a position where they can pull any of those objects over their face or cover their mouth.
Some stroller bassinets are also rated safe for overnight sleep, making them an excellent addition to your newborn essentials. They definitely come in handy for naps at the grandparent’s house, a snooze while you enjoy some me time at a dinner party or as a mobile crib during a weekend getaway.
Similarly to the bassinet you use at home, most bassinet attachments are designed to be used until the baby is 3 to 6 months of age. It will depend on the size and individual development of your baby, but babies can transition to using the standard stroller seat once they can support their head on their own. For most babies this is around 3 months.
If you are often on the go, plan to have your newborn snooze while you take long walks or run errands with the stroller, or need to regularly put your newborn down for a nap outside of the home, the bassinet attachment will be helpful. They’re often included with many of the popular travel systems, and as more brands now offer this option at different price points, many families are opting to purchase and use a stroller bassinet so they have a safe and comfortable place for their baby to sleep while out.
The bassinet attachment is used for a brief yet crucial time during your baby’s life, and many families are deciding to add it to their repertoire of baby gear. If this is your choice, enjoy your bassinet and the peace of mind it gives you during those first months of your life as the parent of a newborn.