How Long Can a Baby Sleep in a Cradle?by Tiffany Silverberg
Cradles or bassinets are a great place for your baby to sleep, while keeping him nearby. You can place the cradle near your bed while you sleep or your office while you work. Since it is so convenient, the cradle would be nice to use forever, but the cradle is only safe and ideal when your child is a newborn.
Cradles are ideal for newborns. As infants start getting older, bigger and stronger, you will want to transition to another option. Consult with your cradle's manufacturer instructions to see what ages it was designed for. Also talk with your doctor about your child's milestones. He can help you predict what age you should transition to another option.
Your child's size is a critical factor in deciding when it's time to get out of the cradle. If your child is too heavy, he can cause the mattress to sag or fall. Always check the mattress and supportive elements of the cradle to make sure he is not getting too heavy. Check the manufacturer's instructions to find out the maximum weight load. Also, make sure your child is not getting too long for the cradle, since he will stop being comfortable.
Newborn infants are unable to move around much on their own, except for a few wiggles. As they grow and get stronger, babies gain the ability to lift their heads, to scoot around and to roll from side to side. Many cradles are shallow. Once infants become mobile, they run the risk of tipping or falling out of their cradles.
Many cradles have moving parts that make it easier to move them around or rock your baby to sleep. If your cradle has wheels, make sure they can lock and transition your baby out of the cradle once he can start moving it around. If your cradle has a rocking option, take the baby out once he can start rolling.
If you aren't ready to take your baby out of the cradle, only let him in there when you are next to him, rocking and watching. When he outgrows it, move him to his crib. Some cradles lower or transition into cribs for older kids. Make this transition before infants are strong or heavy enough to break it.
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