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How Do I Successfully Transition My Baby From a Bassinet to a Cot?

author image Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson has been a writer since 2006. She has contributed to Ohio-based publications such as "CityScene" and "Dublin Life" magazines, as well as Columbus' top alternative weekly, "The Other Paper." Thompson has also written for several online outlets, including Smashing Magazine and Web Designer Depot. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, sexuality studies and visual communication design from Ohio State University.
How Do I Successfully Transition My Baby From a Bassinet to a Cot?
When your baby outgrows his bassinet, the transition to a cot is a must. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Bassinets provide many benefits for you and your baby. For instance, your infant may feel cozier in the small confines of the bassinet rather than in an expansive crib or cot (as they are known in England). In addition, the bassinet’s small size allows it to fit in limited spaces, which may make it easier to have your baby in the same room, says the Baby Center site. However, bassinets can only be used for a short time and a transition to a crib will soon be needed. Understanding this milestone can help you and your baby successfully make the transition from bassinet to cot.

Time Frame for Transitions

Babies can use bassinets safely until they reach three to four months old, or until they have exceeded the weight limit indicated on the bassinet. If there is no weight limit listed, assume the reasonable weight limit of 20 pounds. A baby may also need to transition from bassinet to cot when he is able to move around or sit up, as this means the bassinet has now become too small and too shallow for him. This new movement also increases his chance of falling out of the bassinet. In addition, if your baby is waking up multiple times during the night, it may be because the bassinet is too small for him.

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How to Transition

You may need to help your baby in her transition to a new bed. You can help her get used to the new situation by initiating cot-time during the day. For instance, place her in her cot so that she can see you while you clean the room, says the Baby Center site. You can also play with her while she sits in the cot. This allows her to become accustomed to the new surroundings and to view the cot as a fun place.


If your baby has problems falling asleep in his cot, do not assume the source of the problem is the cot itself. Often, transitions like these precipitate transitions in how your baby falls asleep. For instance, if the transition to a new cot meant a transition to a new bedroom, he may not be comfortable or trusting of his new surroundings and thusly may have problems falling asleep. To remedy this, invest in a dim night-light. This allows him to see his environment and register its familiarity if he happens to wake up. In addition, if bed swaps required a change in night-time routine, like no more rocking to sleep, his sleep problems may be a response to the lack of this disturbance. To fix this, stay loyal to his routine. This will keep your baby feeling relaxed and able to settle down even in new surroundings, according to the Baby Center site.


The cot is new and larger than your baby’s bassinet, so you may have the urge to fill the cot with his favorite stuffed toys, pillows and bumpers. While it’s acceptable to provide her with a blanket, don’t put too many items or thick blankets in the cot, as it increases her risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In addition, be sure you place her on her back when she sleeps, as this also reduces the risk of SIDS.

Insight for Parents

This transition may mean that your baby will cry after being placed in the cot. This may be upsetting to you, but do not return to soothe him for a few minutes. This allows him the possibility of falling asleep on his own. However, if he doesn’t fall asleep, return to the room and comfort him without picking him up. You may have to continue doing this until your baby realizes that his cries are not effective in removing him from the cot, says the Kids Health site.

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