For generations, parents have relied on all types of contraptions to give their newborns and themselves some sleep. Rocking cradles have stood the test of time and have been around for hundreds of years. Versions of rocking cradles have included wooden, metal, electronic, and current day bluetooth-enabled.
We’ve reviewed the best baby rocking cradles and bassinets on the market today including pros and cons so you can pick the perfect one for your family.
Best baby rocking cradles and bassinets reviewed
Dream On Me Luna/Haven Cradle
The Dream On Me Luna/Haven cradle is designed to create a cozy nest-like surrounding for your baby. The modern and chic design includes solid side panels, a mattress pad, and an x-cross base to gently rock your child.
The cradle is made for infants from 0 to 3 months of age or until the child can push up on hands and knees. Hidden stabilization bars can be used for greater support and stabilization. It is JPMA certified to meet all safety standards set by the CPSC and ASTM.
- Certified for safety
- Sturdy, yet easy to move
- Easy to assemble
- Thin mattress pad
- Only up to 3 months of age
Dream On Me Rocking Cradle
The Dream on me rocking cradle offers a more classic cradle design with arched head and footboards. Rocking to a steady pace, the cradle can also be made stationary using a support pin on one side of the cradle. The mattress is a thin, but firm slumber pad.
Recommended for use with newborns up to 20 pounds or when baby can roll from side to side or push up. The cradle is JPMA certified to meet CPSC and ASTM safety standards.
- Certified for safety
- Can be made stationary
- Non-toxic finish
- Thin mattress pad
Green Frog Rocking Cradle
Made from real pine and stained with non-toxic paint, the Green Frog rocking cradle makes for a stunning addition to your nursery. You can gently rock your baby to sleep or use the stabilizer for a stationary cradle. Includes a foam mattress and designed for newborns to six months old.
- Can be made stationary
- Non-toxic finish
- Made of real wood
- Heavy at 30 pounds
- Thin mattress
Angelbliss Baby Bassinet & Cradle
The Angelbliss baby bassinet and cradle can quickly be converted to a bedside sleeper, cradle, or crib. With 3 in 1 convenient swing modes, parents can easily change the parallel bar at the base to swing mode or a fixed mode. A 15-degree swing angle makes it easier for the baby to fall asleep.
Containing open mesh sides allowing for breathability and visibility, gives the baby a cool place to rest. The mattress is 100% cotton and washable with an outer zipper for easy assembly. This bassinet also has a side pouch to store baby wipes or whatever essentials you need.
The Angelbliss baby bassinet has ten kinds of height adjustment functions to accommodate multiple locations, such as the side of the bed or a sofa. Finally, with the ability to only raise one side, this bassinet allows for a slight incline if your baby tends to spit up or have acid reflux.
- Ability to create incline
- Ten height adjustments for perfect fit
- Multi-purpose: bedside sleeper, cradle, or crib
- Can be made stationary
- Wheels for easy movement between rooms
- Heavier at 23 pounds
- On the larger side for small spaces
Baby Castle Rocking Cradle Bassinet
The Baby Castle rocking cradle bassinet combines a chrome stand with a walnut wood base design. The handcrafted basket includes a foam mattress and soft, protective sides that can be removed for machine washing.
The cradle bassinet can be used up to 6 months of age. Once the baby outgrows the bassinet, the basket can be removed and the container used as storage if desired.
- Mattress and sides are washable
- Easy to assemble
- High-end fabric and materials
- Unable to stop rocking unless door stopper on each side of base
Baby Joy Rocking Bassinet/Cradle
With 2 in 1 rocking modes this cradle can easily convert into a stable crib or bassinet. It is sturdy and lightweight, weighing only 16 pounds. It is made of aluminum, covered by breathable mesh, and includes a mattress.
Detachable and washable cloth allows for easy cleaning. During warmer weather the cloth can be removed leaving an airy mesh for a gentle breeze.
This rocking bassinet/cradle is easy to set up and fold up. Allowing you to easily store in the house when not in use, or transport when visiting family and friends. An Oxford carry bag is also included for easy transportation.
- Can be used as a cradle or a stationary bassinet/crib
- Foldable for easy storage and travel
- Washable sides and mattress
- Not certified
- Mattress is two pieces instead of one and can cave with baby’s weight
Baby Delight Go With Me Slumber Deluxe Portable Rocking Bassinet
The go with me slumber rocking bassinet is perfect for small spaces and portability. The bassinet can be manually rocked or locked into a stationary position.
Features include removable and washable cover, removable canopy with netting, and has six adjustable height positions. This bassinet cradle folds easily for travel or storage. Recommended for ages 0 to 5 months or up to 20lbs.
- Great for small spaces
- Foldable for travel and storage
- Canopy with netting for pesky bugs
- Highest adjustment is only 17” off the ground
- Need to fully disassemble to put in carrying case
HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
The HALO bassinest swivel sleeper is perfect for nursing mothers and those recovering from c-sections. The bassinet rotates 360 degrees with a side wall that lowers or can be locked in place.
Ideal for small spaces, the HALO can easily tuck under beds and only requires a 32” clearance from the wall. Fits most beds from 24” to 34” tall.
Included is a polyester fitted sheet that wipes clean with a damp cloth and is machine washable. Storage pocket is available to keep essentials nearby. The HALO is JPMA certified.
- Swivels 360 degrees
- Side wall lowers
- Can store under bed
- To change batteries need to turn entire bassinet upside down
What is a baby rocking cradle?
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the earliest forms of rocking cradles appeared in the mid-1800s. A rocking cradle provides a gentle swinging motion often thought to mimic a mother’s womb to help a baby sleep. Unlike a swing, they rock at a steady pace. Rocking cradles can also be made stationary by locking them in place.
What is the difference between a cradle and bassinet?
Cradles and bassinets can almost be indistinguishable these days and many people use the words interchangeably. Cradles usually rock manually and traditionally rock side to side on a curved wooden arch. Traditional cradles also tend to be bigger than bassinets.
Modern cradles tend to use mesh sides instead of traditional wooden slats and have become similar to bassinets. Some people love the classic look of a traditional cradle, but these days a cradle and bassinet are pretty similar.
Benefits of baby rocking cradles and bassinets
There are many benefits when it comes to using a rocking cradle or bassinet for your baby. Recreating a safe, secure, and welcoming place for your child to sleep can potentially result in more sleep for the parents and the baby.
Recreating the womb
According to Dr. Harvey Karp, rhythms experienced inside the womb trigger a reflex that keeps babies relaxed known as the calming reflex. Newborn babies enjoy sleeping in a place that is warm, snug, filled with white noise, and gently moving. A parent’s arms creates the perfect combination of all these things, but physically mom and dad cannot hold a baby all day long. The baby rocking cradle helps to recreate the gently moving feel of the womb for your baby.
Newborn babies are experiencing open space for the first time. They are used to being confined tightly inside their mother’s womb. A cradle or bassinet offers a smaller space than a crib for the baby to sleep so they feel more secure.
It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents’ room and close to the parents’ bed, but on separate surfaces for at least six months but preferably a year (American Academy of Pediatrics). This makes the smaller size of a cradle very practical when you have to find space in your room for it and need to move it around.
More sleep for parents
Every baby is different, but for most of us sleep deprivation is very real during the newborn months. A cradle is perfect for making sure the baby has their own space to sleep while still being right next to you. With the cradle right next to you it is easy to comfort your baby or breastfeed without really having to get out of bed.
Features you should look for
We’ve outlined some key features for you to consider when picking the best baby rocking cradle for your child.
We all want baby gear that is safe. When considering baby gear that moves, such as a rocking cradle, parents might find themselves concerned about injury. Bassinets and cradles have to comply with very strict federal laws by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commision.
Some of these standards include making sure the cradle can sufficiently hold intended occupant, that it will not tip over if sibling grabs side to look inside, side height is tall enough to prevent falls, and the rock angle is such that it prevents entrapment.
The ideal mattress for your baby will be one that is thin and firm. Although you might think a soft mattress would be more comfortable, it is not advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A firm mattress reduces the risk of SIDS and suffocation. You will also want to make sure the mattress fits snug with no gap between it and the sides of the cradle.
Visibility and breathability are two very important safety features you will want to consider for your cradle. Some cradles are designed like cribs with slits in the sides for airflow. Others include mesh sides for breathability. To reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation, you will want to make sure your cradle allows your baby to breath in case they roll onto their side.
Convenience and Portability
Chances are you are going to want to move the rocking cradle at times. Or you may even want to transport it if you spend a few nights away from home. Finding a cradle that is lightweight and easy to move are features you may want to consider.
Our natural instinct is to rock a baby back and forth in our arms to comfort them. This rocking motion helps to calm and soothe your baby while they doze off. You will want to consider a few things when it comes to the rocking motion of your rocking cradle. Perhaps you will want to pick a rocking cradle that you manually have to rock so when your baby dozes off they get used to sleeping in a static position. Or maybe you will want a cradle that rocks by itself allowing you to be hands free.
Depending on the amount of space you have in your house you may want to consider a cradle that is easy to store when not in use. A variety of cradles on the market today can be folded up and stored in a closet, under a bed, or against a wall to free up room space.
How to use a baby rocking cradle and bassinet safely
You may be wondering if rocking cradles are safe. The short answer is yes, if used properly. Going back to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, there are some basic rules you must follow to ensure your baby’s safety.
- Infants should be placed on their back to sleep until the child reaches 1 year of age.
- Infants should be placed on a firm bed mattress, covered by a fitted sheet.
- Keep the cradle bare. Do not use loose fitted bedding, pillows, pillow-like toys, quilts, or blankets.
- Bumper pads attached to crib slats or sides are not recommended.
- Keep the cradle away from electrical cords, window cords, and the fireplace.
- Assemble according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not use cradles that have been modified, have broken pieces, or are more than 10 years old.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list if purchasing a cradle second hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I invest in a rocking cradle or bassinet?
There are many options when it comes to selecting a method for your baby to sleep. You’re going to want to pick a method that is best for your family. If you have the space available a rocking cradle is a great option. It provides a soothing rocking sensation to calm your baby and keeps them close to your bedside at night while providing a safe space for them to sleep. Many rocking cradles also offer an option to lock them in place allowing them to be stationary as well.
Are rocking cradles safe?
The short answer is yes, if you adhere to a few guidelines. Consumer Reports recommends buying certified and buying new. This adds a layer of protection that they meet the current standards.
To ensure child safety make sure you do not leave baby unattended in cradle, do not use a cradle with unlocked wheels around stairs or other children, use only the mattress provided to ensure a proper fit, don’t add stuffed animals or any bedding, do not allow cords or strings hang into the cradle, and always place your baby on its back for sleeping.
Are wooden cradles safe?
We all love the idea of vintage cradles that have been passed down for generations in our family. I mean, they have tremendous meaning to us. Why wouldn’t we want to use a vintage cradle?
Unfortunately antique wooden cradles to not adhere to current safety standards. Slats might be too far apart, decorative cut outs can trap a child’s head, and clothing could become caught on posts. Although a family heirloom might be sentimental to us, if it doesn’t adhere to current safety standards, it should not be used.
Can I build my own cradle?
Rocking cradles that fail to meet current standards can pose a risk for entrapment, strangulation, or suffocation. In today’s DIY world it might be appealing to build your own cradle. Unless the person building your cradle is a woodworker by trade and can adhere to the current strict safety guidelines, this is not advised.
What should I take into consideration when purchasing a used cradle?
Baby gear is expensive. Especially when you start adding everything up. You might be checking out your local marketplace or craigslist for a used cradle. The first thing you will want to do is make sure the cradle is not on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list. If it is not on the list, it’s a good idea to look up some reviews to see what other parent’s loved or hated about the cradle.
If everything checks out and you decide to purchase the used cradle, be sure to check for any missing or broken pieces and fully test out the cradle. Finally, search for the users manual online. This will enable you to ensure that the cradle was assembled correctly.
Picking the perfect rocking cradle or bassinet for your baby will be an individual choice based on your lifestyle. If you travel a lot or will be bringing your newborn to visit family you will want one that is foldable and easy to move. Or you may have a smaller space and be looking for something that doesn’t take up much room.
Keep in mind these cradles and bassinets are usually only used until the baby reaches 4-6 months old or once they start pushing up and rolling over. It will be a temporary use, but one that may be a great solution for nightly feedings and to keep your little one close by before they start sleeping in a crib.
Looking for more gear for your little one? Head over to our Gear Guides section to see more comparisons.
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