You are standing serenely as you gaze lovingly at your little angel, sleeping peacefully in his mini crib. You can’t help marveling at how quickly he is growing, and how big he suddenly looks, all curled up with his teddy. You may start to wonder, how long can a baby stay in a mini crib?
It has not been easy to get this little Prince Charming used to go to sleep by himself in his mini crib. You remember only too well the nights of crying every time you put him down, the frustration at his refusal to settle unless you were holding him, the endless blog posts and articles you had to read to learn how to get him to sleep easily.
Now that he is at long last happy and content to be put down in his sweet little mini crib, understandably, you may be reluctant to ‘rock the boat’ and make any changes to his sleep routine.
What Is The Difference Between A Mini Crib And A Standard Crib?
To begin with, a mini crib is a lot smaller than a standard crib. As the name suggests, it is a ‘mini’ version of a regular crib. While there is no mandated single size for infant cribs, a standard size crib is usually about 52 inches long by 28 inches wide, give-or-take a few inches.
A mini crib is a lot smaller than this in length, at about 38 inches long, while the width is usually more-or-less the same as, or possibly slightly narrower than a standard crib.
The mattress in a mini crib is often slightly thinner than a standard crib mattress because it is designed for lighter babies who don’t need as much padding.
A mini crib is sometimes on wheels, making it easy and convenient to move from room to room. This is especially useful if you sometimes like to have a baby in your room with you, or if he has to share a room with older siblings who may sometimes need their own space.
Some models of mini cribs are foldable and can be stored flat. This can be particularly helpful if you need to get it out of the way, and can simply fold it up and store it under a bed. It is also useful to keep one stored away at Grandma’s house, and only bring it out when needed.
Is A Mini Crib The Same As a Bassinet?
A bassinet and a mini crib are two different items. A bassinet is smaller than a mini crib and more portable. A bassinet is designed for newborns, and can only be used up to about 3-4 months of age.
Baby will outgrow a bassinet very quickly, so you might want to consider using a mini crib in those early months, rather than a bassinet.
Can A Newborn Sleep In A Mini Crib?
A newborn baby will like the cozy feeling of sleeping in a mini crib. Because it is smaller than a standard crib, he will feel more contained and less ‘lost’ in a mini crib than in a standard crib. It is also easier to position close to Mum’s bed, making him feel safe and secure knowing that Mummy is near.
How Long Can Baby Stay In A Mini Crib?
There is no hard and fast rule about this. How long your little munchkin can stay in his mini crib is dependent upon two factors.
1. How heavy is your baby?
The ASTM, or the American Association of Testing materials, conducts safety and quality control tests on all products made for use by babies. When testing mini cribs, they test with weights up to 45 pounds, to see if the mini crib can withstand the weight. They recommend only using a mini crib for babies up to about 35 pounds.
While weights of babies obviously vary, a rough guide would be that an average 2-year-old weighs between 25-32 pounds. However, an agile 2-year-old may well be able to climb out of a mini crib.
This leads us to the next factor.
2. How tall is your baby?
The CPSC, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission, recommends that mini cribs should be used only until the baby reaches 35 inches in height. Our little ‘Master Average’ is probably somewhere between 32-38 inches at 2 years old.
Different models of mini cribs have different height and weight restrictions. Ultimately, the best advice would be to follow the guidelines of the manufacturer. They will give you a good indication of when you need to move the baby into a standard size crib, but it is usually at about 2 years old.
Is A Mini Crib A Good Idea?
A mini crib can be a very good idea, but it depends on your needs. If you have a very small home, and the baby’s nursery is small, a mini crib will be useful to start off with. It is also useful if the baby has to share a room with older siblings, or if you want to keep him in your room with you.
There are, however, numerous disadvantages to a mini crib. If you are on a limited budget, a mini crib may not be a sensible purchase. It is small, so the baby will probably outgrow it by his second birthday, whereas he could most likely remain in a standard crib until he is almost 3.
While standard cribs are basically all a regular size, mini cribs are not. There are not too many companies that make mini cribs, and they all tend to follow their own designs. Therefore,if you ever need to replace the mattress you may have a bit of trouble finding the perfect fit.
For the same reason, you could find it difficult to get linen to fit your mini crib. Because the size of the crib and mattress varies so much, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to sheets.
As a consequence of this, you may find that sheets for the mini crib are more expensive than those for a regular crib because they are not mass-produced.
Should You Use A Bumper In A Mini Crib?
Crib bumpers, in theory, sound like a good idea, because they are meant to protect the baby from bumping his head. But whether your little one is sleeping in a mini crib or a standard crib, you should never use a crib bumper. These are not safe and pose a risk of strangulation and/or suffocation.
Statistics have shown that a baby who sleeps with a crib bumper is at a higher risk of succumbing to SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The same rule of thumb applies to crib blankets and duvets. Baby’s face is at risk of being covered, putting him in danger of suffocation. It is preferable to dress him warmly, and if necessary swaddle him or put him in a sleeping bag to keep warm, rather than covering him with blankets.
How Do You Transition Baby From A Mini Crib To A Regular Crib?
You might have already found that the transition from a bassinet to a mini crib was not entirely plain sailing. It possibly took a few nights before your little cherub was content and happy to sleep in his mini crib.
If you have now realized that there is a limit to how long a baby can stay in a mini crib, you will have also realized that you need to repeat that process. However, it should be a lot easier this time around.
Start off by putting the baby down in his new crib for a few minutes, two or three times a day, when you are nearby and he can see and hear you. Give him his favorite toy to hold or play with while he sits in the crib. Talk to him and explain to him that he is now becoming a big boy and he is getting a new, big boy’s (or girl’s) crib.
The idea is that he should become completely familiar with the new crib before you leave him alone to go to sleep in it. Put his favorite soft toy or lovey in his new big crib, and, if he has a pacifier, make sure that he has one or two (I always like to make sure that there is a spare in the crib) within easy reach.
The mini crib might feel cozier and warmer than the standard crib, so it is important to make sure that the room temperature is not too cold. The ideal temperature should be between 68°-72° Fahrenheit. If the baby is neither too warm nor too cold, he will be more likely to settle easily, making the transition easier.
If you have been wondering how long a baby can stay in a mini crib, that is probably an indication that he is ready to be moved to a bigger crib. Follow your instincts as a Mom, and do what you think is best for your baby.