*This article was updated in February 2023*
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—like Evenflo, Uppababy, Graco, and Nuna—now offer bassinet attachments to provide safe sleep on the go. This bassinet 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 I need a bassinet? Do I need a bassinet stroller, or a bassinet attachment? These are questions expecting parents often ask. When you’re determining if a stroller bassinet is right for you and your family, it’s helpful to understand the safety, comfort, and development features that bassinets provide.
A bassinet stroller is a type of baby stroller that has a flat, cozy sleeping area for newborns and younger infants. The bassinet is typically detachable from the stroller frame and can be used as a portable sleeping space for the baby, making it a convenient option for parents who are often on-the-go.
Bassinet stroller attachments are designed to be lightweight, compact, and easy to maneuver. They often have a canopy to provide shade and protect the baby from the elements and mesh pockets on the side of the bassinet for additional storage. Some bassinet strollers can also be converted into regular strollers as the baby grows, making it a versatile and cost-effective option for parents.
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.
As we know, a bassinet stroller is a type of stroller that has a flat, cozy sleeping area for newborns and younger infants. Here are the top 5 benefits of a bassinet stroller:
According to experts, laying flat is the most comfortable and safest position for your newborn.
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 Pediatric 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 able to pull any objects over their faces or cover their mouths.
Some stroller bassinets are also rated safe for overnight sleep, making them an excellent addition to your newborn essentials. They come in handy for naps at the grandparent’s house, a snooze while you enjoy some me time at a dinner party or a mobile crib during a weekend getaway.
Can you use stroller bassinet for sleeping? While some are designed with attachments for safe sleep, it's important to note that not all stroller bassinet attachments are approved for overnight sleeping. Parents should always check the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines for their specific stroller model to ensure that it is safe for overnight use. Here are the Poppylist suggestions for stroller bassinets that are approved for overnight sleeping:
It's important to remember that even if a bassinet attachment is approved for overnight sleeping, parents should always follow safe sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related incidents. This includes placing the baby on their back to sleep, using a firm and flat sleep surface, and ensuring that the baby's face is uncovered and they are not overheated.
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. As soon as the baby can sit up on their own, it's time to stop using the stroller bassinet.
The appropriate time to stop using a bassinet stroller for your baby depends on several factors, including your baby's age, weight, and development.
In general, bassinet strollers are designed for newborns and younger babies who cannot sit on their own. As babies grow and develop, they typically outgrow the bassinet and need a stroller to accommodate their changing needs.
Most manufacturers of bassinet strollers recommend that parents stop using the bassinet once the baby can sit up on their own, usually around six months. However, some babies may be able to sit up earlier or later than this, so it's essential to observe your baby's development and adjust accordingly.
If your baby is getting close to the weight limit specified by the manufacturer for the bassinet stroller, it's also time to stop using it. Exceeding the weight limit can compromise the safety and stability of the stroller.
By Anne Hunger, founder of Glüxkind