5 Crib Alternatives That Could Be Perfect for You

Last Updated: January 30, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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If you are a mama that is interested in crib alternatives then you have come to the right place! There are so many options out there, and today I’ll help you find a crib alternative that perfectly fits you and your lifestyle! 

Let’s get to it!

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Why you might want a crib alternative

There are several reasons why you might want to consider a crib alternative for your little one! A crib alternative is often used in place of, or in addition to, a crib. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. This is one safe sleep recommendation to help reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death (source). For this reason, many parents opt for some kind of crib alternative in their room for the first 6ish months! 

Some parents choose a crib alternative to optimize space in their home – even a mini crib can take up so much space. If space is a concern for you then a crib alternative might be exactly what you need!

What’s more, crib alternatives are typically far more portable than standard cribs. If you plan on traveling, having baby room share with a sibling, or if you just want something you can tuck away when needed, you should definitely explore a crib alternative.

Where to put crib alternatives

Going back to what the AAP recommends regarding safe sleep and room sharing, it’s no surprise that crib alternatives are commonly found in the parent’s bedroom. Though some parents choose a crib alternative for baby’s nursery.

Another place you might find a crib alternative is on the main level of a house that has multiple stories. Placing a crib alternative on the main floor can make life easier and more convenient for the caretaker. Babies, especially when they are really little, sleep all the time. Having a place where you can put baby down for a nap in a common place of your house can make life so much easier.

And of course, you can always use a crib alternative in place of a traditional crib in the nursery. This is especially true if space optimization is a priority for you. Do keep in mind that a lot of crib alternatives are smaller so your baby might grow out of it sooner than they would a standard crib.

Keeping safety in mind

It’s important to keep safety in the back of your mind when exploring crib alternatives. Cribs and any kind of alternatives, in theory, should experience rigorous testing and therefore be safe for your little one(s). 

To avoid making this assumption, do some research to be sure you aren’t sacrificing safety. Included in your research, I would review the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines to ensure whichever one you go with aligns with their recommendations. You can find their guidelines here.

5 Types of crib alternatives

There are so many alternatives to a traditional crib. To make life simple, I put together a list of some of the more common crib alternatives on the market.

I’ll get into all my favorites below, but if you want to check out the whole list in one spot, click the button below!

Travel cribs, Pack ‘n Plays, playards

Portable cribs are a great option for travel but they can also be used in place of a traditional crib as well! The biggest perk of using a travel crib, like a Pack ‘n Play, as a crib alternative is the portability feature. 


Because it is designed for travel, a Pack ‘n Play (or something comparable) is easy to set up and take down, easy to pack, and compact. You will also find that portable cribs tend to be less expensive than standard cribs. 

Portable cribs offer so many bonus features these days too! Most of them have a changing station or newborn sling that can be used in the early newborn days. One word of warning – make sure to carefully review your item before purchasing because a lot of these bonus features are upgrades and not available with every version of the product.


The biggest con associated with a portable crib is the comfort, or lack thereof. Pack ‘n Play mattresses aren’t known for their 5-star comfort ratings. In order to keep it compact, portable, and safe, a travel crib mattress unfortunately cannot be super thick or plush. As your baby gets older, it will eventually be safe to purchase and add a thicker mattress. 

In addition, a portable crib won’t offer the same weight and height limits that a standard crib would. You can expect your little one to grow out of their portable crib sooner than they would a traditional crib.

Below are my top 3 favorites from the travel crib world.

Graco Pack ‘n Play

The OG of travel cribs, if you will. Graco offers the Pack ‘n Play playard in numerous different versions to meet any and all of your portable crib needs. You can find them in their most basic form as well as ones that include a newborn bassinet and diaper changer area with storage.

Graco’s Pack ‘n Play is tried and true. You really can’t go wrong with this option!

Guava Lotus Travel Crib

This is one of the “Cadillacs” of portable cribs and is a really great option if you intend on also using it to travel. The Lotus is durable but lightweight, weighing almost 4 pounds less than the Pack n’ Play, and comes with a handy backpack carrying case.

If you anticipate doing a decent amount of travel with your little one (and your pocketbook allows it), I would highly recommend the Guava Lotus!

Dream On Me Zodiak Portable Playard

If you are looking for something safe, basic, and affordable, then this one’s for you! You won’t find many bells and whistles with this item but it certainly gets the job done. This playard is similar to the Graco Pack ‘n Play but without the newborn and changing station insert options.


A bassinet is another great alternative to a crib. Specifically designed for newborns and younger infants, a bedside bassinet is appealing to a lot of parents, especially for those first few months.


One of the biggest perks to a bedside bassinet is having easy access to your little one during the night. Another is that they typically require minimal, if any, set up. This means that you can easily relocate the bassinet throughout your house if you prefer to have baby nap in a different room. 


A big downside to a bassinet is that they don’t grow with baby. It varies some based on the bassinet but most of them max out around 15-20 pounds. If you go the bassinet route, just make sure you have something else lined up for baby after those first few months.

Bassinets also tend to be a bit pricier. Of course you can find them in a pretty large range of prices, but on the whole, bassinets are going to run the price tag up faster than some other crib alternatives. 

Here are my top 3 bassinet picks!

Halo BassiNest 3.0

With a swivel feature, accessing your baby for those middle of the night feeds is easier and more convenient than ever. The BassiNest also doubles as a portable lounger allowing you to take baby with you around the house. The height is adjustable to accommodate various different bed heights too.

Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer Bassinet

This bassinet can be adjusted to 6 different heights to fit most adult beds. In sleeper mode, the side panel can be unzipped for easy access to soothe, feed, or reach baby. And while we’re on the topic of soothing, you can gently glide this bassinet from side-to-side to calm your baby. 

Regalo Baby Basics Infant Bassinet

Another great option is the Regalo Baby Basics Bassinet. I like that this one folds flat, making it easy to store and portable for travel. This bassinet is lightweight and compact, making it a great option if you are limited on space.

Snoo Smart Sleeper Baby Bassinet


Okay, let me just begin by saying that I loved this thing! It seriously felt like we had an extra set of hands at night during those first few months. The Snoo is unlike most bassinets in that it has built-in features that mimic the environment inside the womb. 


There were several things I loved about the Snoo, but the my favorite feature is the app. It allows you to see how long baby has slept, number of wake-ups, and stretches of sleep. What’s more, you can control the speed of the Snoo and learn sleep tips and tricks as well.


Just like anything, there were also some drawbacks to the Snoo. I’ll start by saying it’s very pricey. There is an option to rent, which might save you a little bit and also give you the opportunity to try it out without fully committing to the hefty price tag.

Another drawback is how heavy and bulky it is. I’m speaking from experience when I say that it is less than ideal to transport this thing anywhere, even within the house! 

I have a lot more to say about the Snoo, which is why I put together a whole article on it, but the bottom line is that if it’s in your budget (to rent or purchase), I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Related Reading: SNOO Review from an L&D Nurse: Is the Smart Sleeper Worth It?

Click me

Mini crib

The mini crib is another great crib alternative. This is an especially good fit for families that are looking to optimize space in their home. A mini crib is exactly what it sounds like, a smaller version of a standard crib.


A standard crib is about 28 inches wide and 52 inches long. A mini crib, on the other hand, is around 24 inches wide and 38 inches long. Those 14 inches in length can make a big difference when you’re tight on space!

Mini cribs also tend to offer many of the same features that standard cribs do – things you likely wouldn’t get from a bassinet or portable/travel crib. What’s more, a mini crib won’t carry the same price tag that most traditional cribs do.


As with most crib alternatives, you can expect your little one to outgrow a mini crib sooner. I’m sure this comes as no surprise given it is over a foot shorter in length than a standard crib.

Now let’s review my top mini crib picks!

Dream On Me Aden 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib

Choose from one of seven colors with this convertible mini crib. It transforms from a crib, to a mini daybed, to a twin size bed to grow with your child. It meets and exceeds all safety standards made with non-toxic, water-based finishes. A great option for all!

Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Crib

One little bonus that sets this crib aside from other mini cribs is that it folds flat, making it super easy to store and more portable for travel.

Like most, this crib also meets government safety standards. A great option if your baby will be sharing a room with a sibling or you want something you can easily stow away.

Babyletto Gelato 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib

This mini crib is modern and stylish, and also converts into a toddler and twin bed. It is Greenguard Gold certified and has been tested for over 10,000 chemicals to ensure your baby’s safety. And even though it serves the same purpose as any other mini crib, the simple and sleek aesthetics of this one can’t be beat!

Floor bed

A floor bed as a crib alternative is a great option for my Montessori mamas! I think this is a wonderful option for some but doesn’t fit everyone’s needs or lifestyle. 

Simply put, a floor bed is a bed on the floor that is used in place of a traditional crib, bassinet, or portable crib. A floor bed can just be a crib or bed mattress on the floor or can be some other form of bedding or padding. If you choose something other than a mattress intended for babies, be sure you are following safe sleep guidelines!


The biggest reason families choose a floor bed is to promote independence in their child. The whole mindset surrounding Montessori parenting is centered on promoting freedom and independence. 

A floor bed can help decrease the chances of injury as your little one gets a bit older and begins exploring. You don’t have to worry about your baby climbing and falling out of a crib or getting a limb stuck in the crib slats. 

A floor bed can also be a more cost effective option. Purchasing a mattress as opposed to a mattress plus a crib or bassinet can make this a more affordable alternative to a crib. 


And while you might not have to worry about your child climbing or falling out of their crib, there might be other potential safety concerns. Without anything keeping them contained, they have the freedom to get out of bed and roam whenever they want.

Another potential con to a floor bed is the increased exposure to dust by being closer to the ground. You can find a hypoallergenic mattress (and even one that you can wash!), but with your child closer to the ground increased exposure to dust and allergens might be inevitable.

Below you will find some crib mattress and floor bed recommendations.

Newton Baby Crib Mattress

I love this mattress, and still use it with my 2 boys! It’s 100% breathable to reduce the risk of suffocation and the cover can be removed and washed.

Harper & Bright Designs Twin Floor Bed

With a house shaped headboard, this floor bed has a more contemporary feel to it. Available in several different colors and configurations, this would be a great option for a bed that will grow with your child.

Harper & Bright Designs Twin Floor Bed with Fence

If you want to give the floor bed concept a try but the thought of not having railings makes you nervous then this might be the one for you. This bed has railings on all sides with a small “door” opening on one side. Your child can still get in and out independently (once old enough) but the railings offer a little extra safety and protection.

Get more support with the baby gear you need!

If you are looking for more tips and information about other necessary baby gear, you are in the right place, mama!

My FREE Baby Registry Guide is info-packed, comprehensive, and certain to save you time when creating your baby registry. You can learn more about my registry guide and sign up to receive it by clicking the image below!

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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