When it comes to infant sleeping arrangements there are lots of different options other than a crib. While some parents love cribs and couldn’t live without them, others may be looking for alternatives.
Every family is different and there could be many reasons you are looking for crib alternatives. Maybe your space is too small for a crib, or maybe your little one just doesn’t like the crib.
Whatever the reason, I’m here to support and provide safe alternatives for you! I’ve done the leg work and found crib alternatives for every sleeping style!
What are the safe sleeping options for infants?
Safe sleeping options for infants is so important. Having a safe sleeping space for your baby drastically reduces the risk of SIDS.
So, what exactly are safe sleeping options for infants?
Safe sleep options for infants must be:
- Firm mattress
- Tightly fitted sheet
- No blankets or pillows
Examples of spaces adhere to these guidelines would be:
- Mini Cribs
- Travel Cribs
- Pack N Play
- Bedside Sleeper
Why would parents need crib alternatives or a bassinet alternative?
Sometimes parents choose not to have a crib. Some of the reasons why include:
- Small space
- Wanting baby close at night
- Less expensive
- Personal preference
- Baby not liking the crib
I chose a crib alternative for my babies. I wanted my baby close at night, and really loved that the crib wasn’t taking up a ton of space.
My son actually despised the #criblife and would only sleep in a pack ‘n play! Cribs aren’t mandatory for your little ones, but a safe sleep space is!
Safe Sleep Guidelines for Infants
Let’s discuss more on the safe sleep guidelines for infants. Following these guidelines helps to ensure your infants safety while sleeping.
You may be familiar with the saying “back is best” in regards to sleeping infants. Back sleeping is best for infants because it reduces the risk of suffocation.
As we know infants have trouble lifting their heads due to neck strength, so tummy sleeping can be dangerous for babies that are not strong enough to roll forward and back.
To adults, firmer mattresses may seem stiff and uncomfortable, but for infants firm is best.
You may want your baby to be in the room with you, which I totally get. Room sharing done responsibly can be beneficial for parents and baby.
When room sharing make sure that your baby has their own safe sleeping space. Make sure that the room is well ventilated with moving air and not too hot.
Our Top Choices for Crib Alternatives & Basinet Alternative
Now that we know what to look for and that there are crib and basinet alternatives out there, let’s start comparing!
A mini crib is exactly what it sounds like, a crib that is smaller than a traditional crib. Mini cribs are great alternatives to regular sized cribs, but just like anything come with pros and cons.
Before we get into my favorite mini cribs, I will list out the pros and cons so you can make the best decision.
- Mini cribs come in various sizes
- Mini cribs have the same rail height as traditional cribs
- Great option for smaller a smaller nursery or shared room
- Great for multiples
- Less expensive than a traditional crib
- Mini cribs have a lower weight limit than traditional cribs
- Finding a quality mattress can be tricky
- Mini cribs do not last as long as traditional cribs
The compact dimensions mean the Dream on Me Mini Crib occupies a small amount of space externally, but internally it is very spacious! This mini crib is ideal for small nurseries, room sharing or multiples.
This mini crib is perfect for indoor use, where you’ll only be moving it from room to room. Non-marking 2-inch caster wheels with two locking make it an easily portable baby crib for short distances.
2 locking caster wheels keep the London Mini Crib stationary when it’s where you need it.
Delta Children’s Gio Mini Crib
This crib is JPMA certified to meet or exceed all safety standards set by the CPSC ASTM; chemicals have no place in your nursery, so they use a non-toxic, baby-safe painting process that are lead and phthalate safe.
I love that the adjustable height mattress support with 2 convenient positions to grow with your baby.
Bring the joy and versatility of a mini crib into a parent’s bedroom, shared nursery, or small space without compromising on style. It’s suitable for a newborn to beyond 18 months.
The Davinci Mini Crib has 4 adjustable mattress positions to grow with your baby. You can easily roll around the crib and then make it stationary when it is where you want it!
Bedside sleepers are appealing to many families that want baby close, but not in the bed. Bedside sleepers are like a bassinet, that has an opening on one side.
The open side allows the sleeper to be pulled up next to the bed.
- Safe alternative to co-sleeping
- Easy access to baby
- Great for moms that need to stay in bed
- Easily portable
- Some have incline settings
- More of a short-term sleeping arrangement
- Less alone time
- Can make transitioning to another sleeping space harder
- Baby can fall out of it if you aren’t careful
I love that this bassinet is easy to attach or remove from parent’s bed using the two fastening straps provided. 7 height positions to adjust to many bed heights.
Easy-open side panel for bedside mode and wo-side mesh makes a more breathable and cozy room. The stable bottom is a supported and comfortable mattress with a sleeping board.
This baby bedside sleeper combines a baby bed and rocking bassinet, meeting multiple needs of new parents in one. By pulling down the zippers, you can place it right next to your bed, convenient for breastfeeding moms to get back to sleep after feeding.
The crib can be adjusted to 5 heights, fitting parents’ beds of different heights. Also, the retractable feet allow you to move the crib closer to your bed. To make sure safety during sleeping, you can use the included straps to install the crib next to your bed.
AMKE Bedside Bassinet features a no-tool assembly and advanced quick-folding mechanism, allowing for easy setup in no time.
AMKE Bedside bassinets with breathable mesh sidewalls and zipper design makes it easier to care for a baby from bed, especially for breastfeeding and C-section moms, it is truly a sleep saver and improves the quality of life.
The Besrey bassinets bedside sleeper is sturdy! It is made with aviation-grade aluminum and steel alloy for durability.
I love that it is fully compliant with ASTM, CPSIA, and CCPSA standards, keeping your baby safe and promoting bedside parent-infant bonding with your little one.
The Elemara bedside sleeper can hold a Max weight: 33 lbs without tipping over. The sleeper has 3 extended steel tube supports, 3 layers of stitching, and 4 supports making it extra sturdy.
ELEMARA baby bassinet has 3 adjustable heights to choose from to help mom take care of her baby without having to stand up. No need to walk at night, baby is right next to you.
Travel cribs are great for those times when you are traveling far away or at the park and your babe needs to nap.
- Having a separate sleep space for baby while traveling
- Doubles as a play pin
- Great for naps where ever they are needed
- Expensive for the amount of use
- Not as sturdy or durable
- Can be challenging to haul around
The sides of this travel play yard are made from soft and airy mesh fabric, allowing you to see your baby. The zipper door design can be easily opened for gentle placement of the baby or to help the baby crawl in and out more easily.
With no assembly required, and a simple setup, the Pamo Babe Portable Crib sets up and packs quickly. Only to be propped the four legs need outward and pull the armrests, the assembly is complete when it clicks.
The Baby Bjorn Travel crib is amazing to have on hand. The mesh sides are a great thing to have and the crib is simple to put together.
All fabrics are removable and washable, which all parents can appreciate!
The KidCo Portable Travel crib allows your child sleep soundly just about anywhere adventure has taken you. It is designed with lightweight mesh, which allows for air flow and acts as an insect screen during outdoor use.
I love the UV protection and adjustable sun screens. It comes with anchor straps to provide security while in use.
Baskets are starting to make their way back around. I have seen more and more of the, and for good reason.
While the basket does have it’s fair share of pros and cons, I can see why they are appealing.
- Easy to take baby anywhere
- Made with natural materials
- Can find used
- Only safe until baby is 3-4 months
- Such a short life span may make the purchase harder to justify
- May be hard to transition out of
This basket is great to be used at bedside or around the home. It is super lightweight and portable, while still being suitable for babies up to 18 pounds.
Use this light-weight basket in any room at home, or fold it up and take it to grandma’s, the babysitter’s, camping, or traveling in the car. Your baby will be more comfortable with a little bit of home wherever you go – and a happy baby means less hassle!
This basket is fitted with sturdy handles, you can easily carry this changing basket for baby from the nursery to the living room. You’ll also get a carry bag, so you can bring this basket when traveling!
Montessori Inspired Crib Alternatives
Montessori crib alternatives can be great for babies. While it may seem a bit scary to put your baby on a mattress to sleep without bars to keep them in, it can actually be beneficial for their independence.
- Promotes independence
- Encourages self discipline
- Easier for your child to adapt to a change of sleeping space when traveling
- Easier transition to a big bed
- Can be scary for parents
- Must babyproof the room
- Children have free range, so that freedom can be a lot at first
Montessori Floor Bed
If you are wanting something simple yet fun to encourage independent sleeping this bed is it! The convenient, low-to-floor- design, makes it easy for your child to get in and out of bed.
This Montessori floor bed is crafted with premier quality in mind, the floor bed frame twin made of high-quality pine wood and MDF that can enhance stability and durability. It comes with wood slats for extra support and ensures air moves freely around your mattress to keep it fresh for years to come.
This house bed was carefully crafted with solid pine wood and MDF to make it durable and sturdy. This bed will grow with your baby. I would recommend this type of bed for older babies.
Co Sleeping or Bed Sharing Crib Alternatives
While co-sleeping or bed-sharing is not recommended, some parents may choose to. It is important to have a safe sleeping space for your baby.
I listed some above in the bedside sleeper section, but here are a few more of my favorite co-sleeping and bed-sharing crib alternatives.
- Baby is close and easy to get to
- Peace of mind by just looking over and not going into another room
- Can be difficult to transition out
- Not a long term sleeping arrangement
- Not having quality sleep
If having your baby close is important, you might consider the baby flex. It’s specially designed legs allow you to bring baby close on any surface, including carpet. Height adjustable to fit most beds heights.
Because it’s lightweight, the bassinet can be effortlessly moved around the house. It can be folded into the included carry bag for compact storage, carried around and then easily assembled for use.
The Snuggle Nest is an infant lounger that creates a comfortable spot for your baby to lay and relax. The tall walls are lined with a soft, comfort-mesh which helps provide ample air circulation and breathability.
The Graco Sense2Snooze Bassinet with Cry Detection Technology is the only baby-operated bassinet by Graco. The Cry Detection Technology uses a built-in microphone designed to hear baby’s cries and respond by automatically adjusting the bassinet’s settings to help soothe baby back to sleep.
With head-to-toe soothing motion, 3 different speeds, 2-speed vibration, white noise, 10 sleepy songs, and 10 soothing sounds, the bassinet can find the right combination of settings to help calm baby.
The sturdy & portable Niche is lightweight and folds down in seconds. Great for on the go or letting baby rest in bed.
It is important to know that hammocks are not advised to use unattended. This is because, like adult hammocks, they are intended for resting and relaxing.
I would not advise using a hammock as your baby’s sole sleeping space.
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Gives a swaddle like feel to babies
- Can be soothing to a fussy baby
- Not safe for unsupervised sleep
- Can increase the risk of SIDS
- Not a long term sleep solution
You can make our baby nap swing change into “Baby Cradle Mode” , “Baby Hammock Mode”, and “Toddler Chair Swing Mode” in 3 different modes by adjusting the rope knots. Multifunctional Baby hammock swing grow up with baby boys and girls up to 48 months.
Compared with the traditional hard plastic swing, canvas swing more soft and comfortable, we are also equipped with a removable one-piece cushion is very flexible and supportive.
The design mimics the feeling of being held to decrease pressure, increase airflow, and soothe. Great for baby relaxation and supervised nap time.
The inside of the cradle hammock is roomy, comfortable and has higher sides to help keep your baby safe. The rope and wood can hold up to 40lbs.
The mattress is breathable and is firm so that your baby will not get stuck and ensure the safety of the baby’s spine and head when lying down.
Play Yard or Pack n Play
Designed with a ventilating mesh walls and a nylon bottom for easy clean up. Simply hand wash and wipe down with a damp cloth and soap to keep it fresh and sanitary.
Made with an all-steel frame and reinforced stitching. Includes safety-lock feature and meets all safety standard. Perfect for children 6-24 months.
A full-size play yard, the nest is spacious, safe and loaded with convenient features. It’s portable, stylish, stores compactly and ideal for play or sleep.
Its lightweight aluminum frame allows easy mobility. Set-up is easy and takes seconds, thanks to a quick fold mechanism and no tool assembly. It folds and stores compactly in the tote bag provided making it the ideal travel accessory.
I love that this play yard grows with your baby from the time they are brand new up into toddler hood.
It comes with a detachable bassinet, shade, and the play yard portion can be dropped down to accommodate their growth.
Make sure your little one is comfortable no matter where you go with the Graco Pack ‘n Play Play Yard. It’s perfect for travel with folding feet and wheels, allowing a 20% more compact fold, plus a durable and sturdy frame that can stand up to lots of on-the-go use.
The playpen’s signature Graco push-button fold allows you to break it down quickly and without hassle, and it fits easily into a convenient carrying bag for no-fuss travel or storage. At home or away, baby will be kept comfy and cozy.
Each culture has different sleeping arrangements for babies. Interestingly enough, in Finland, new parents receive packages called motherhood packages.
The cardboard box is filled with the essentials to survive having a newborn. Then, the box itself can be used as a bed for the baby for several months.
Although this may sound weird, Benjamin Spock recommended boxes when writing the book Baby and Child Care.
There are other options that you can use in a pinch for babies as well!
Although it may sound crazy, people do actually put their infants in dresser drawers. While this is not something I would advocate for, it can definitely work in a pinch.
I would only try this if your baby is a newborn-4 months old. This will vary greatly based on mobility.
Make sure that the baby isn’t laying directly on the wood and has something soft they are sleeping on.
Frequently Asked Questions about Crib Alternatives
If you are new to the world of crib alternatives, you may have some burning questions and I want to help answer those!
Is it safe to co-sleep?
Co-sleeping is not recommended due to the risk of suffocation of the baby. If you do decide to co sleep, there are ways to make it more safe so here is what I recommend.
- Remove extra blankets
- Remove extra pillows
- Wear tighter fitting pajamas
- Do not go to bed intoxicated
- A firmer mattress is best
Remember, co-sleeping is not recommended, but following the guidelines listed above can make it safer.
What are the best crib alternatives for small spaces?
Mini cribs, pack n play and bedside sleepers are great alternatives for small spaces. If you have a small space, I would suggest measuring the space you have for your baby’s sleeping arrangement and then decide what is best based on those measurements.
What are the best crib alternatives for a six month old?
This really depends on your situation, but you have to remember that your baby is getting heavier and more mobile. Mini cribs aren’t always designed to hold the weight of a toddler.
You may consider looking at a pack n play or play yard.
What are the best crib alternatives for a 1 year old?
Pack ‘n play and Montessori floor beds are great options for 1 year olds. I like that the pack n play has mesh sides that make it harder for your little dare devil to climb out.
Montessori floor beds are great for allowing you child to learn to lay down on their own and stay in bed.
Your choice will probably depend on the type of toddler you have. Some toddlers are not as ornery and curious as others.
Can you use a playpen instead of a crib?
Yes, you can use a playpen instead of a crib. My son would only sleep in a playpen for so long.
Some kiddos prefer a play pen over a crib!
Safe sleep is the top priority when it comes to infants. There are lots of options out there that meet the qualifications for a safe sleep space that aren’t regular cribs.
I love that there are tons of options for each family’s unique sleep situation. What are your favorite crib alternatives? Share with me in the comments below!