The breathable mesh material provides superior airflow. The low height allows you to check on your baby with ease. The cradle fabric and waterproof mattress cover are removable and machine washable for easy cleaning. Slight transparency of the material allows you to see your baby even if you're not right there. Easy to set up.
A higher price point. Some have said the cradle gets too jumpy when the baby moves around.
A great price point compared to other cradles. It can be made stationary using the included support pin. Easy to assemble. Bigger than other cradles, which will give your baby plenty of room to grow.
The included mattress pad is a bit thin.
Hidden stabilizing bars add extra support and stability. A super-soft mattress is included. Spacious interior and smooth rocking motion. Coated with a non-toxic finish. Cradle is easy to assemble and will be a beautiful addition to your nursery.
This cradle is bulkier than other options.
Easy to assemble. Comes with a fitted mattress. Stoppers prevent it from rocking if desired. Sturdy. Perfect for a baby boy or girl. Constructed from cherry wood with beautiful curves and details, the Ga Ga Cradle is an elegant choice.
The mattress pad is very thin, and some have said that theirs had some marks in the wood when it arrived.
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Babies should sleep in the same room as a parent or caregiver for the first six months of their lives, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but fitting a full-sized crib in your room isn't always practical. A cradle is an excellent alternative for your little one. Halfway between a crib and a bassinet, a cradle takes up about half the space of a crib but is slightly larger than a bassinet and therefore lasts your baby a little longer before they need a larger bed. The other factor that sets cradles apart from bassinets is their gentle rocking motion, which can help soothe babies to sleep.
When purchasing a cradle, you need to decide between a classic cradle and a contemporary pod style. You also need to think about construction materials, the rocker, and the style and appearance of the cradle. We've put together this detailed guide to teach you more, plus we've listed our five favorite cradles on the market.
Classic cradles tend to look similar to wooden cribs, but on a smaller scale. They have wooden or wood-effect slats on two or four sides and stand on long legs with rockers at the bottom. Pod cradles look more like contemporary bassinets. The mattress sits within a fabric pod which is made from a mesh material or has mesh inserts, so you can easily peek in at your baby. The difference is mainly aesthetic, though pod cradles tend to be lighter and more portable.
Hopefully your chosen cradle has a mattress included. It's vital that the mattress fits the cradle exactly with no gaps in which your baby could get caught. Since there's no universal size for a cradle it can be hard to find a mattress that fits properly if one isn't included. Unlike bassinets, cradles don't usually include bedding as part of the package, so find a mattress sheet that fits correctly.
This contemporary pod-style cradle might not have that classic cradle look, but it's modern and highly practical. The basket rocks while the base stays still, making it a stable option. The breathable mesh sides allow ample airflow. Thanks to its lightweight design, it's easy to move between rooms so you can keep an eye on your baby while they nap wherever you are in the house.
The majority of cradles have traditional rockers at the bottom of the legs, but some feature an alternative mechanism near the basket, allowing it to be rocked or swayed gently. Some cradles rock back to front, while others rock side to side. Ultimately, any rocker type does the same job, so which one you choose isn't hugely important unless your baby has a preference for a particular direction of motion to lull them to sleep.
The color of your chosen cradle won't affect how it works, but it's nice to choose one that goes with your room's decor. If choosing a classic cradle, there are stained or painted wood or laminate/wood veneer options. If you like the look of stained wood, choose a shade that matches other wooden furniture in your room, otherwise it may look out of place. Pod cradles generally give you a handful of color options for both the frame and the fabric pod. Many people prefer to choose neutral colors, either to avoid buying a "gendered" color or to fit with a range of colors.
Would you prefer a contemporary looking cradle or one that wouldn't appear out of place in a nursery from 200 years ago? Whatever your style preferences, you should be able to find a cradle that fits the bill.
Consider what kinds of rocking options your chosen cradle offers. Does it simply rock back to front or side to side, can you change the direction of rocking, or switch between rocking and gliding? A greater number of rocking options gives you more ways to soothe a fussy baby, but you may find you only need one kind of rocking motion to get the job done. Check whether or not you're able to turn the rocking motion off, as you may find your baby doesn't enjoy the rocking, or you might want the option to disable it once your baby starts moving more independently.
Never put toys, pillows, or any other loose items in a cradle with your baby. Anything of this nature can pose a suffocation hazard.
Inexpensive: If you're happy with a basic cradle, you can find some simple yet solid options starting at $80 to $100. These are generally made from plywood and feature little embellishment or extra features.
Mid-range: Mid-range cradles cost between $100 and $200 and include some solid wood cradles and basic pod cradles.
Expensive: High-end cradles are priced between $200 and $400. For this price, expect to get a premium solid wood cradle which may be ornate, or a top-of-the-line pod cradle.
Some cradles include a hood or a canopy, but they're far less common on cradles than they are on bassinets.
If you need to buy a mattress for your cradle, make sure it fits exactly. Even a small gap could be unsafe for your baby.
Simple, classic, and affordable — the Dream On Me Rocking Cradle is a great choice if you want a basic cradle to last your baby the first few months of their life and don't want to spend too much on it. With five color choices, you should find something to fit all types of decor. A slumber pad is included, but we'd recommend purchasing a mattress, too.
You've seen our top five cradles, but there are plenty more great choices out there. Any of the following would make an excellent alternative for your infant. With its upholstered head and foot and solid wood construction, Orbelle Lola Cradle is a high-end choice with a traditional appearance. The anti-rock pin lets you stop the cradle from rocking when desired. Dream On Me Luna Cradle is a simple, contemporary-looking cradle available in three color choices. The reasonable price tag makes it an even more attractive option. Another excellent model is Now and Forever Baby Cradle, which is slightly larger and deeper than the majority of cradles. This increases the amount of time you can use it, but it is slightly more difficult to reach in and lift your baby out.
Q. How safe are cradles for babies to sleep in?
A. A modern baby cradle that meets JPMA and CPSC standards is just as safe for your infant to sleep in as a bassinet or a full-sized crib. However, you should still follow AAP safe sleep recommendations, including always laying your baby to sleep on their back, using a firm mattress with fitted sheet of the correct size, and avoiding putting your baby to sleep with any loose bedding or soft objects.
Q. Are cradles difficult to assemble?
A. If you feel relatively confident about assembling flat pack furniture, you shouldn't have any trouble putting together a cradle. Pod cradles tend to require far less assembly than traditional cradles, so they're ideal for the DIY-averse.
Q. How will I know when my baby has outgrown their cradle?
A. Your baby needs to move from a cradle to a crib once they’ve learned to roll over independently or once they’re physically too large to fit comfortably inside (but the former usually comes first).
Dream On Me
This beautiful cradle features cherry wood arched headboard and foot boards, and will rock your baby to sleep with a gentle swing. Select from three different colors to complement your nursery decor, and feel at ease knowing your baby is comfortable and safe in this cradle.
Lily Pod Cradle
The Lily Pod cradle is a superb choice for a comfortable cradle for your newborn. Your baby will be soothed by gentle rocking motions and it can be carried from room to room with ease. A modern yet cozy design, your baby will sleep peacefully in this grey or sand-colored cradle.
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