How long can a baby use a mini crib?


When my first was born I had picked up mini crib (or bassinet / Moses basket) so that he could be in the bedroom with me, but in his own bed. It was really convenient for overnight feeds to have him nearby, and it fit with many recommendations for the first months of life, but as he got older I had to find another option.

On average, a male baby can use a standard mini crib (38 inches / 96.5 cm long) until they are around 10 months old, and a female baby can use a mini crib until they are around 11 months old, but also check any manufacturer stated weight limits. This is based on WHO (World Health Organisation) statistics for average baby (50th percentile) lengths, and allowing 9 inches (22.8 cm) of height clearance to allow baby to move comfortably during sleep.

How long a baby can use a mini crib for will ultimately depend on their size in both height/length, and weight – to create a safe sleeping environment there should be space between baby and each side of the crib, so you will need to take measurements into consideration. The average mattress length of a mini crib is 38 inches (96.5 cm) long and 23 inches (58.5 cm) wide, but they vary between 36 and 43 inches (91.4 – 109.2 cm) long and could be up to around 28 inches (71.1cm) wide.

Age50th percentile length for male babies50th percentile length for female babies
Birth19.75 in (49.9 cm)19.25 in (49.1 cm)
1 month21.5 in (54.7 cm)21.25 in (53.7 cm)
2 months23 in (58.4 cm)22.5 in (57.1 cm)
3 months24.25 in (61.4 cm)23.25 in (59.8 cm)
4 months25 in (63.9 cm)24.25 in (62.1 cm)
5 months26 in (65.9 cm)25.25 in (64 cm)
6 months26.5 in (67.6 cm)25.75 in (65.7 cm)
7 months27.25 in (69.2 cm)26.5 in (67.3 cm)
8 months27.75 in (70.6 cm)27 in (68.7 cm)
9 months28.25 in (72 cm)27.5 in (70.1 cm)
10 months28.75 in (73.3 cm)28.25 in (71.5 cm)
11 months29.25 in (74.5 cm)28.75 in (72.8 cm)
12 months29.75 in (75.7 cm)29.25 in (74 cm)
https://www.who.int/childgrowth/standards/height_for_age/en/

There are a few mini cribs that convert into a cot or other furniture, but you may also find that a standard size cot (which on average is 52 inches/132 cm long and 28 inches/71 cm wide) is your baby’s bed from birth through to the time they move into a standard bed.

What is the difference between a normal / standard crib, and a mini crib?

Size

A normal or standard crib is in many countries a regulated size. In the US a full-size crib has interior dimensions of 28 inches (71.1 centimeters) in width and 52 inches (133 centimeters) in length. Mini cribs on the other hand are not as tightly regulated, and come in a variety of sizes smaller than an up to the size of a standard crib.

Other regulations

Standard cribs may come with mattress depth requirements; in the US standard cribs must use a 6 inch (15.2 cm) deep mattress, where as many crib mattresses could be as thin as 1 inch. (2.54 cm)

Flexibility

Many full-size cribs can be later modified into a standard toddler bed, or even be converted into a full single bed for your child as they grow. A mini crib typically is one size only, and caters to the first months of your child’s life.

Pros and Cons of a Mini Crib

Considering a mini crib? Here are some key points to think about:

Pros

  • Size – A smaller size crib could make the difference between baby sleeping in the master bedroom with you, or having to sleep in their own bedroom at night; smaller furniture means there is more room to navigate. That smaller size might also mean more flexibility when trying to fit multiple groups in the same room (if you have been blessed with twins or more!) or co-locating your new baby in with an older child.
  • Price – Since many cribs aren’t used for quite as long as other baby beds, they tend to be priced accordingly, if only slightly cheaper. If you’re looking to enter the baby furniture market on a more affordable basis, the cheaper price might be attractive.
  • Portability – Because they are designed for the first years of your baby’s life, many cribs often come with features that enhance portability; it is likely that your favorite mini crib will come with wheels so that you can move baby into a living area for their daytime sleeps to be closer to you. There is also a good chance that the mini cripple way less than its standard sized counterpart.

Cons

  • Size – That smaller size limits how long your baby sleeps in the mini crib. If your baby is in a higher percentile (bigger then the average) then you may find that your baby spends less time in the mini crib than their peers.
  • Bedding – You might find that your favorite print is not available in sheets and bedding for a mini crib size, only full-size cribs. I also bumped into a situation where I couldn’t find extra sheets for my mini crib at the baby store is closest to me; I had to travel further to shop. Something to keep in mind if you live out of town, or in a more rural area.
  • Build quality / stability – Due to the nature of the materials used to construct it, in order to make it more portable, it is possible that your mini crib will be less heavy duty and prone to only lasting as long as it needs to. You might find you need to buy a new mini crib for every child.
  • Overall value – While they might be cheaper initially, if you consider the the value get out of the time spent using a mini crib versus a standard or full-sized crib you might find a slightly greater initial investment is a better deal.

There are so many options when it comes to how your baby will sleep. As long as the highest priority is always safe sleep, you have nothing to worry about. Sweet dreams!

Carly

Mother of two young boys (5 and 3!) and an avid "Googler", Carly is the kind to research something to the nth degree. Be it about products, hacks, or techniques, she shares what she finds out at her website - Fairy Good Mommy.

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