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Tips & Guides
Do you know that a baby spends more than 16 hours a day sleeping?
Yes, a baby crib is essentially where your baby will be spending most of his time in, especially in their first year or so.
Which is why it is so vital that you choose a safe and comfortable baby crib for your little one. But wait, that's not just that.
Rather, and perhaps what's more important, is about choosing the right baby crib mattress because hey, that will be where your baby will be lying on top of!
It may seem like it's just a simple piece of baby crib mattress, but there's actually many things to look out for. What are they? What’s the best cot mattress to buy?
What Is A Crib Mattress
First of all, what is a crib mattress?
There's no rocket science behind this. A crib mattress is exactly just that - a mini mattress that is designed to fit snugly inside your baby crib.
But there's exactly where the difficulty lies - how do you determine what is a "snug fit"?
You see (and you will be shocked by this), there are actually many cases that link SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) to crib mattresses. And many of that, is related to the question of "fit" as well as 5 other elements as follows.
Top 6 Elements To Look Out For
The picture below is a good summary of the important features to look at. Of course, we will break it down for you below.
A crib mattress needs to fit comfortably and just right in the crib.
"It cannot be too big to the point you need to squish it in, nor can it be too small."
You see, most crib mattresses are designed to be slightly smaller than the standard crib dimensions. This is so that it doesn't have to be squished into most cribs in the market.
They will not be too small either, because that will post a real safety hazard. Baby may get trap in the extra space and suffocate - one of the most common SIDS cause.
To get the best fit, a good rule of thumb is to check if you can fit two fingers of space between the side of the mattress and the crib frame.
If there’s more space than that, it means that your mattress is too small and this automatically raises the risk of suffocation and entrapment hazard.
Another easy way to ensure a good fit is to check whether the labelled size adheres to the standard legal size regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
That is, at least 27 1/4 x 51 1/4 inches and no more than 6 inches thick.
Most crib mattresses will be the right fit if anything today, but to be on the safe side, we recommend you to first measure the inside dimensions of your crib first before choosing the crib mattress to ensure it meets standards.
Next is to look at the firmness of the mattress.
"The firmer, the better" is the philosophy we believe in when it comes to choosing the best crib mattress for baby.
As the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development recommends:
"Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib."
This is because a soft sleeping surface can also be a suffocation hazard and raise the risk of SIDS. How so, you may ask?
You see, if a mattress is not firm enough, the soft surface can actually conform to the shape of your baby’s head or face.
You can think of it this way - your baby's head/face will 'sink' into the mattress if it is too soft and since s/he is still incapable of turning himself, it increases the risk of suffocation if s/he is 'wrapped' around by a soft mattress.
So even if it may feel a tad too stiff and uncomfortable for you, know that a firm crib mattress is the best for your baby.
They need a firm, flat, even sleeping surface to maximize their development, strengthen their muscles, and ensure breathability in the crib. Babies need resistance and a firm surface to push up, turn and eventually stand up on.
Generally, there are two types of materials that go into crib mattresses – foam or innerspring.
One is not necessarily better than the others, rather, it is more about choosing a top quality one in whichever type you decide to go for.
At a glance, here are the differences between the two:
More popular because cheaper and lighter
Generally, the same type of mattress as the one you use yourself
Things to note:
Things to note:
As mentioned above, a high quality foam mattress is as good as a top quality innerspring mattress so there is no reason of choosing one over the other.
Our top rated mattress is a foam mattress and we think it serves its purpose well. It is an Amazon's Choice and is one of the most popular crib mattresses in the market.
Also, know that there is always the option of going organic if you wish to go 100% natural.
Waterproof and Machine-washable
The best baby bed mattress should be waterproof and has a machine-washable cover.
Trust us, you will want one that is as easy to clean as possible because let's face it - you can't avoid the accidental leaks/spills from your baby.
A waterproof mattress cover will ensure these irritants do not seep into the mattress itself, thus preventing bacteria and other nasty stuffs from manifesting in your baby's sleeping environment.
In terms of machine-washability, that's a no-brainer. Anything to save you the cleaning effort, isn't it?
Hypoallergenic & Flammability
For obvious reasons, you will want a hypoallergenic baby crib mattress that is free of any flame retardants.
We're talking about flame irritants like polyurethane foam or questionable materials such as vinyl, PVC, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), formaldehyde, and more.
A simple, fool-proof tip to ensure you get a safe, non-toxic and chemical free baby crib mattress is to see if it there is the CertiPUR-US foam label.
CertiPUR-US certified foams are:
- Made without ozone deplenters
- Made without PDEs, TDCPP or TCEP ("Tris") flame retardants
- Made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals
- Made without formaldehyde
- Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)
Or, if you see the "Greenguard Gold" certification on the packaging, it means the mattress is safe and toxic/chemical free as well.
Rest assured that all these recommended crib mattresses bear either one or both of these certifications so there is no need to worry about getting an inferior product.
While the price doesn't differ much between different brands (if we may say so ourselves), it is always a good idea to set how much your budget is as this will help ease your choosing process.
There are top rated baby mattresses at different price points listed in our crib mattress review so we are sure there is definitely one that suits your budget.
Do I Need To Buy A Specific Baby Crib Mattress?
Yes, you should definitely get a baby crib mattress, mainly for safety reasons.
As mentioned above, crib mattresses have a standard size to follow, which means they will mostly fit well in most baby cribs.
If you think you can use other mattresses i.e. folding the sides to make it fit your crib, you're actually increasing the risk of suffocation (if baby’s head is caught between the folds) or risk baby’s head falling into gaps if the mattress is too small.
Either way, this is a serious safety hazard for babies and trust us, you do not want to put your baby through that.
Also, you do not know if your makeshift mattress is of the right firmness. Should it be otherwise, the results can be very dire for reasons mentioned above.
So yes, our very firm (pun unintended) answer to this question is that you should only buy a mattress specifically designed for infant/crib as mattresses designed for older children/adults may not be suitable or safe.
Can I Get A Second-Hand Crib Mattress?
ALWAYS, and we cannot stress enough, ALWAYS buy a new baby crib mattress.
NEVER buy used or accept hand-me-down mattress, or any other baby products in fact as there have been studies that found the use of old crib mattresses links to an increased risk of SIDS.
Apart from this, we also do not recommend using an old mattress for the following reasons:
- Non-hygienic. You just never know how an old baby mattress is maintained by its previous owner.
- Poop and pee are common occurrences on a crib mattress, so if one is not cleaned and maintained well, such germs will remain inside the mattress.
- Trust us, you do not want to put your baby in such an environment.
- Dust-mite / bedbugs. As with the point above, you will not know if dust mites or worse, bed bugs exist in an old, used crib mattress.
- You also risk infecting your other furniture with these nasty bugs.
- Safety hazard. An old crib mattress will more or less lose its life as it has been used before.
- It will not be as firm as a brand new mattress and you may not know if it has became too soft that it now poses a safety hazard to your baby.
It is simply not worth it to put your baby through the risks of using an old hand-me-down mattress from someone else.
On the other hand, if you have a well maintained, well-cleaned crib mattress from your firstborn which you now wish to use for your second child, you can certainly do so - at least you know it has been on good hands and is well preserved.
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So, the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is regarded by many to be one of the very best newborn sleeper bassinet in the market.
That is quite a big claim to make, given there are so many excellent baby bassinets available in the market. We have had a thorough review regarding that which you can head over here to read if you'd like to know what the fuss is all about.
Today instead, we are going to give you a thorough review on all the HALO BassiNest models, breaking down their differences and comparing each of them because yes, there are ... quite a few of them.
A Little Background
HALO was founded by a couple who lost their child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) back in 1991.
For those that do not know, this is the sudden, unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant up to an age of one year.
After their tragic loss, the couple began an exhaustive review in the latest medical research and health recommendations to create a safe sleep environment for babies so that other families do not have to endure the same misfortune.
Contrary to many's belief, HALO's first creation is not the BassiNest.
Instead, it is the SleepSack Wearable Blanket which has, since its launch, became the nation's bestselling wearable blanket for babies and is to date, still widely used by hospitals nationwide. (You can read more about that here.)
Created on the understanding that suffocation is one sleep environment risks, which are primarily centered around loose bedding that can accidentally cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing, the SleepSack is designed to eliminate such risk.
But that's a story for another day.
On the same note, the BassiNests were invented.
This revolutionary bassinet is made to allow parents sleep close to their baby, while still maintaining a safe sleep environment for their child so that the risks associated with bed-sharing / co-sleeping can be thoroughly eliminated.
As you can see from the picture above, the BassiNest can be placed right next to you, with more than half of it on your bed so baby can sleep as close to you as you want.
So much so that it can even feel like you are sharing the same bed, yet baby still have his/her own separate space to sleep safely in.
But wait, there's more - the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper is the only infant bassinet that moves to bring the baby closer to you. More about that later.
For now, let's explore the different BassiNest models the brand offers.
(A) ESSENTIA SERIES
The Essentia Series is the brand's very first HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper. It is the entry level for a HALO BassiNest, and it forms the basis of subsequent models that follows.
We wouldn't elaborate too much on each feature as we have already done a thorough review here, but if we are to sum up the Essentia Series in just a few words, it will be basically what's listed below:
The 360-degree swivel is a must-mention, given it is a HALO BassiNest signature that propels it to the top rated bassinets category since its launch to date.
Being the first and only bassinet that allows the bed component to rotate independently from its frame (yes, the legs/base stay stationary when you swivel the bassinet about), it changes the bassinet scene forever especially for nursing mothers, with many deem it the best bassinet for c section recovering mothers.
Not just that, but it is also regarded as the solution for parents who are short of space.
You see, the base design has low profile legs so you can tuck them under the bed and the updated improved design now requires only 32" clearance from the wall, making it ideal for small spaces.
Another distinctive feature is its patented sidewall - it can be lowered so that you can tend to baby from your bed. You do not have to get out from your bed, you do not even have to sit yourself up if you'd like to continue lying comfortably on your bed.
It will return back to its upright position automatically to ensure baby always sleeps safely, so you don't need to fret out each time wondering if you have pulled it back up. If you'd prefer to keep it upright all the time, you can lock it to your desire.
Other core features include:
- Breathable mesh walls ensure optimal airflow for a safe, comfortable sleep space.
- Stable 4-point base adjust from 24"-34" tall to fit most beds.
- Storage pockets to keep baby's essentials close by.
- 100% polyester coordinated fitted sheet that wipes clean with damp cloth and is machine washable.
- Waterproof mattress contains no toxic flame retardants.
HALO has subsequently released 3 other series. They are also called "HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper" (just different series) and they look pretty much the same at a glance so it can be confusing as to what their difference is. But know this:
All of them have the same features as the Essentia Series, plus a variety of different additional features and add-ons.
(B) PREMIERE SERIES
The Premiere Series is probably the second most popular series out of all, next to the Essentia.
It is not hard to see why, given the price difference between the two is not big, but you get 2 other features that prove to be essential for some.
One of it being the inclusion of a built-in soothing center.
What this means is that you get a nightlight, 2 levels of vibration, 3 soothing sounds and 3 lullabies with volume control.
All that, with a 30-minute auto shutoff.
Plus, a Back-to-Bed Reminder that will alert you to put baby back to bed after feeding.
And these are all in addition to the features of the Essentia Series, which this top baby bassinet is equipped with as well.
Parents found that the nightlight helps navigating to baby easier at midnight, as there's no need to switch on the bedroom lights and wake your partner up.
The nursing timer, on the other hand, helps to regulate baby's feeding sessions and this in turn keeps breastfeeding mothers' supply steady.
In terms of features like vibration and soothing sounds, parents have found them to be effective in calming their fussy baby and soothe them into a deep sleep faster.
We particularly like how the slight vibration and womb sound work together to mimic the environment your newborn is familiar with for the past 9 months in your tummy.
(C) LUXE SERIES
Next up we have the Luxe Series. You guess it right, this is a luxurious upgrade from the Premiere Series, with the addition of floor light, storage caddy and for certain finishes - removable bed.
You might be most intrigued by the latter - what does it mean by "removable bed"?
You see, the bassinet - the sleeping part of it, can actually be removed completely and be used on and off its base.
This means you can also lay it completely flat on the floor, besides standing on its base.
Not convertible ones like this.
That's perhaps the biggest distinction between the Luxe and its predecessors. Other than that, it has floor lights and a removable storage caddy, both of which may be more useful than you'd think.
The light is shone directly towards the floor and away from your baby, so it helps you to see and navigate better without tripping all the while not disturbing baby.
The storage caddy that hangs at the back provides extra storage for baby's essentials because for some, just the pockets at the side may not be enough. It is an item sold separately otherwise so if you really add everything up, the Luxe Series is actually pretty reasonably priced.
(D) LUXE PLUS SERIES
The Luxe Plus Series is probably the most confusing one out of all.
In fact, the one question that we were often asked is: halo bassinest luxe vs luxe plus, what are their differences? It doesn't help that its name is so similar to the Luxe Series.
It's actually not that complex, just remember this - the Luxe Plus is everything its predecessors have, PLUS the inclusion of a newborn insert.
Yup, that's it, that's the difference between the Luxe and Luxe Plus. It isn't that complicated when put that way, is it?
So, what is this newborn insert and does it make the Luxe Plus worth its money?
It is basically a basket-like compartment which you can 'insert' into the bassinet. Made of breathable and soft padded mesh fabric, this is how it looks like:
The purpose of it is to create a snug sleeping surface to help your baby feel more secure.
You see, for newborns who are adjusting to the world, a snug sleeping space is more comforting for them because they get the same sense of security as they get in the mother's womb.
Do we think it is worth the extra money paid? Absolutely, when you have a preemie, or if your baby is smaller in size.
The normal-size bassinet may otherwise feel a bit too big and baby may get anxious in it so considering it is so much more cheaper than buying the newborn insert separately, we think the Luxe Plus is worth the money paid.
Which HALO BassiNest is The Best
Now comes the question: which among the different series is the best HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper?
In particular, and we always get asked this a lot, halo bassinests essentia vs premiere - what's the verdict?
The answer - it really depends.
The Essentia Series has all the basic features a HALO BassiNest is well-known for so if you are not fussed about fancy accessories and add-ons, this shall suffice in doing the magic.
If it helps to know, the Essentia is also the brand's bestselling model and it is the cheapest model out of all.
On the other hand, if you have a particularly fussy baby, then perhaps a soothing center will be helpful in which the Premiere, Luxe or Luxe Plus Series will then be a better choice for you.
To some, floor light or storage caddy may be a necessity, while for others, they may prefer the flexibility of a detachable bassinet bed. It all depends on what you need, and perhaps also on your budget.
Just an observation though, with the small price difference between the Essentia and Premiere, we do find parents lean more towards the latter in most cases.
If you are still unsure, perhaps the following comparison chart may help you decide.
360 degree swivel & lowering sidewall
4-point adjustable base
Coordinating Polyester Fitted Sheet included
Dove Grey Tweed Only
Ivory Linen Only
Ivory Linen Only
Go through each criterion and ask yourself: is that necessary? Do I need this feature?
Move down the list one by one. By the time you get till the end, you will already know which HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is the best co sleeper bassinet for you. Go on, try it!
What Makes the HALO BassiNests So Special
There are many reasons as to why the HALO BassiNests are regarded some of the best baby bedside sleepers in the market.
If we are to round it up though, it has to be, hands down, its innovative design.
For one, it creates this safe co-sleeping arrangement that otherwise may not be available for parents.
Safe Co-Sleeping Arrangement
You see, the issue of "Co-Sleeping" — parents and infants sharing beds has long been a polarizing topic in the U.S., laced with strongly held views about family bonds, psychological development and, of course, safety.
Parents are NOT recommended to share the same bed with baby without appropriate measures, because that may pose hazardous SIDS risks.
Yet experts have found that co-sleeping provides so many benefits to a baby's development. It's safe to say that this is a controversial subject.
The HALO BassiNests bring the safety of a bassinet into an adult bed in a way that is comfortable for both babies and parents. To put it simply, it allows baby to share the same bed as parents (hence achieving the goal of co-sleeping) but s/he has his own confined sleeping space.
Again, this picture will explain better than words:
Different from bedside sleepers like this or this that just sit right next to your bed, the HALO BassiNest has its upper portion (the bassinet basket holding baby) reach over and lay on top of your bed.
To do so, HALO underwent immense amount of research to achieve the right balance in creating a base that is wide enough to provide balance so that the upper portion does not tip, yet at the same time maintain a low profile so that it can fit under beds and reduce the risk of tripping.
The end result is phenomenal though. The HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is probably the only bassinet in the market that is able to give parents the co-sleeping method that it did (on the same bed).
360-degree Swivel & Rotation
Of course, when it comes to the specialty of HALO BassiNests, how can we not mention its 360-degree swivel-bility? (yes, we just made up that word but you get the drift).
So what it does is pretty self-explanatory - the bassinet basket can be rotated and swivelled 360 degrees independently of the frame. This means the base stays stationary while the upper portion rotates.
This is such an iconic and revolutionary innovation, safe to say, it changes the scene forever for baby bassinets.
Many know of the ease it brings for parents, that is they can get out of their bed normally without being blocked by a bedside sleeper because the Swivel Sleeper can be rotated sideways to 'get it out of the way'.
In fact, that is probably the very first thing you'd read in many HALO Bassinest reviews.
What many may not know though, is that the purpose the bassinet is made to rotate is to make it easier and safer for parents to lift their baby from the bassinet.
You see, the safest position to lift a baby is actually when his/her feet are pointing towards you. By being able to rotate the bassinet, parents can easily and safely do so even when they are lying down on their bed.
C-Section & Childbirth Recovery
The HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is widely known to be the best bassinet for c section recovering mothers in the industry.
In fact, for all mother recovering from childbirth. Your body has just went through a lot so you need to get all the rest you can. For c-section mothers, we're talking about at least 6 weeks of maximum rest.
During this time, baby will still need to be taken care of and that is where the BassiNest plays its role.
The patented lowering bed sidewalls allows you to scoop baby up for cuddles or nursing without the need to get out of bed and the mesh material lets you keep an eye on him constantly.
Having baby on the same eye level as such also calms and soothes him/her as s/he can feel your presence. So even though you're just lying down getting your own rest, baby gets to feel the closeness and bond.
Thanks to the 360-degree swivel feature, when you need to get out of bed, you do not have to scoot over to the other side or bend yourself in a weird angle, risk hurting your wounds in the process to get out of the bed because you can just rotate the BassiNest to get it out of the way.
Small Space Solution
It may not look like it, but the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is actually the best co sleeper bassinet for small spaces.
Even though it has a wide base (to provide balance for the upper portion), the improved base design now includes low profile legs that can be tucked under the bed to reduce its footprint.
And with the updated design now requiring only 32" clearance from the wall, it makes the Swivel Sleeper ideal for small spaces.
It is height adjustable too so it can fit most beds from 24" to 34" tall.
Recommended as one of the safest alternatives to bed sharing by the CJ foundation for SIDS, it is truly the best bassinet you can get for your little one.
Detachable Bed Feature
Last but not least, it is that the bed component can be detached from its base frame that sets the HALO BassiNest apart from its competitors.
Mind you though, not every series have this feature, in fact, only the Luxe and Luxe Plus Series have them in Dove Grey Tweed and Ivory Linen finishes respectively only.
Nevertheless, this means that the bed is removable and can be used on and off the base so your baby can nap safely and comfortably throughout your home.
If you think about it, there really isn't many (if any) bassinets that is able to do so. At the very most, they allow you to adjust their height to level with your bed but none actually lets you detach the bed completely from the base to form something like this.
So there you have it - our halo bassinest swivel sleeper reviews, examining the very top reasons that make the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper the best newborn sleeper bassinet in the market, one that so many parents swear by throughout the years.
When Should You Stop Using The HALO BassiNest
The recommended age of usage is up to five months, however, as you should with any other bassinet, once baby shows signs of pulling up, rolling over or pushing up to kneeling position, it's time to make the switch to - a baby crib.