It’s one of the cutest images most of us have of little girls – playing with their dolls, having doll tea parties, and putting their dolls to bed in their own little bassinet. I had a bassinet for my dolls when I was little too, and got countless hours of enjoyment out of playing with it – although I was a bit keener on teddy bears than dolls! Eventually, I grew older, the bassinet fell apart and got thrown away, but the memories remained.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was fortunate to discover that my eldest sister had kept a lot of her baby stuff, stacked up in her shed, for over 10 years. We pulled it all out, cleaned it up, and set up the nursery for my own baby. At first, I wasn’t really sure about the bassinet, I thought it was a bit unnecessary – after all, my sister had given me a perfectly good crib. But she told me I’d find it more helpful than I realized, so I set it up anyway.

My baby’s arrival was early and dramatic, and he was kept at the hospital for almost a month. It was an extremely difficult time, and when he came home, although he was very healthy, he was also still very tiny. So I worried endlessly about him. Being a mother for the first time is scary enough, but it’s even scarier when your baby is small enough to be mistaken for a doll.

So when it came to putting baby to sleep, I admit it – I didn’t like him being in another room. Yes, I had a baby monitor, and during the day I used that when he had a nap, but at night I was always worried that something might go wrong and I might lose him. I also found it frustrating to go through the whole process of slippers, dressing gown, going up to his room, and so on. Being so small he didn’t have a lot of strength and his feeds took ages. By the time we were done, I was always wide-awake. So propping myself up in bed to feed him was a lot warmer, more comfortable, and I could still manage to stay half asleep while he fed!

It didn’t take long for me to realize that having a bassinet with wheels on it meant that I could wheel it into our room at night, and have my baby right beside the bed. I had considered co-sleeping, but with him being so small I really wasn’t keen on the idea. The bassinet really was the perfect solution. Whenever he woke up, I could lift him straight into bed for a feed, or do a quick diaper change on the bed before hopping back in for a feed. There was something very peaceful about curling up in bed feeding my baby, and I found it much easier to go back to sleep when he was finished and tucked back up in the bassinet again.

I gained enormous peace of mind, having a baby so close, but at the same time, he was cozy and safe in his own little sleeping place. Gradually, as he slept longer and needed less attention, I moved the bassinet to the end of the bed, and eventually back into his room. He slept in it right up to the point where he started discovering how to sit up, and I moved him into his crib.

There were some other really helpful things about the bassinet. I’d had a cesarean, so bending was difficult for a while. The bassinet was much higher than the crib, and so it was much easier for me to lift the baby in and out because I didn’t have to bend over at all. I could also release the brake and then rock the bassinet gently back and forth – very useful if he was having a bit of trouble settling down for a nap. Some of the modern ones even have a light vibration feature, so the soothing work is done for you!

When my daughter came along, she also started her life sleeping in the bassinet, and it was just as useful for her too. Nowadays I find it extra special when I watch her playing with her own dolls and bassinet. Life can get so busy in the modern world, that there’s something almost magical in watching such a timeless activity.

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