As first-time parents, we were pretty clueless about what type of crib to get our baby. We had so many questions. Do we decide between a mini crib which is more convenient at home or a regular crib that lasts longer? What’s the difference between the two anyway?
Both mini cribs and regular cribs boast their own range of benefits, and what we learned is that each family will have different requirements when it comes to the type of crib they need.
In general, a mini crib (like the name suggests) is smaller in size compared to a regular crib. Many mini cribs come with wheels making it easy to move your newborn from the nursery to the living room (or anywhere you may be.) A lot of mini cribs can be folded allowing for easy storage and travel as well.
By law, a standard crib need to be 28 inches wide by 52 3/8 inches long (interior dimensions.) The top of the crib rail (measured from the mattress) must be 20 inches high and the bottom of the crib support must be 6 inches off the ground.
But these measurements are all semantics. When deciding which one would work best for you, you need to consider your family’s lifestyle, your home, and exactly what functions you want your crib to have!
Let’s dive deeper into the differences, pros, and cons of a mini crib and a regular crib…
The Differences Between Mini Cribs And Regular Cribs
The best place to start when deciding which crib would be best is obviously getting to know all about each and the pros and cons that either has.
All About Mini Cribs
Mini cribs, as the name suggests, are smaller than regular cribs. This usually means they are more affordable and are better suited for homes with limited space.
These cribs are often able to be folded down and transported, which makes them great for traveling too.
The average measurement of a mini crib mattress is 24x 38 inches, but this can vary. Unlike most other crib types, these aren’t standard sizes, and you will need to find out the measurements of the crib before buying the mattress and the bedding. We, unfortunately, learned this the hard way!
Mini cribs are also a great choice to use from newborn and onwards. Their small size allows them to be snug and comforting for newborns.
Mini cribs can also be moved around the house easily, so if you want to watch some television while your baby naps, you could move the crib to the living room so that your baby is still close by.
We chose to use a mini crib at first because we needed something that would fit into our room. We didn’t have a nursery for our baby yet, and a mini crib was the perfect size to fit into our smaller room constraints.
Pros Of A Mini Crib
- Great to use for newborns
- Smaller size better suited for smaller spaces
- Often foldable and portable
- Easy to move around the house
- More affordable than larger cribs.
Cons Of A Mini Crib
- You will have to buy a bigger crib later on as your baby outgrows a mini crib
- Only lasts for a few months
Our Favorite Mini Cribs
All About Regular Cribs
Regular cribs are larger than mini cribs and are supposed to be kept in one area of the home, as they are difficult to move around.
There are many different types of regular-sized cribs to choose from. They can be free-standing wooden cribs, or they can be built with drawers and compartments. Many regular cribs can eventually be turned into toddler beds.
Once our baby had outgrown her mini crib, we opted to choose something more long-term, and buy a wooden regular crib that eventually converted into a toddler bed. This was a great investment, and that crib was her bed from 6 months old to just over 4-years old.
Buying bedding and mattresses for regular cribs is easier, as most are a standard size, with maybe ½ an inch variation between the sizes. The average size is 28-inches by 52-inches for a regular crib mattress. These are usually around 5-inches thick.
Pros Of A Regular Crib
- Can feature storage compartments for extra space-saving
- Safer and more sturdy for growing babies.
- Can be used for years, as some convert to toddler beds
Cons Of A Regular Crib
- Not as affordable as a mini crib
- Not portable and cannot be moved around the house easily
- Takes up more space in a room
Our Favorite Regular Cribs
How Long Can Babies Stay In A Mini Crib?
Mini cribs can last your baby for a couple of years if it is large enough. If you use the mini crib right until your baby is too big to use it anymore, you will probably find that they will need to move onto a bigger crib just before their second birthday.
Most mini cribs are designed to accommodate for babies up to between 18 to 24 months, but that doesn’t mean they are safe to use for that long.
We decided to move our baby to a regular-size crib at the age of 6 months, which is when she was able to sit up and move around more on her own. A mini crib might not be so safe for them once they can pull up on the bars and possibly fall out of the crib.
You will have to judge this as they grow to decide how safe a mini crib would be. If the mattress can be moved down on the crib, it is best, as your baby won’t be able to climb over the top. If the mattress cannot be moved down, then you should consider moving your baby out of the mini crib once they can move around.
Is A Mini Crib The Same Size As A Pack n Play?
Mini cribs are not the same size as a pack n play. Pack n plays are larger than mini cribs but slightly smaller than regular cribs. The standard size of a pack n play is around 28-inches by 40-inches, which is a few inches smaller than a regular crib.
Pack n plays are mini cribs are both good options if you are looking for something portable, that you can fold away and travel with, or which you can move around the house so your baby can be close to you during the day.
Here are some features of pack n plays, and why they are a good option for your baby:
- Pack n plays have breathable mesh sides, which make them a safe space for your baby to sleep.
- Many pack n plays come with added accessories, such as a clip-on bassinet for newborns, or a clip-on changing table.
- Pack n plays can have the mattress at the lowest level, which makes them great for playtime too. They are safe spaces for your baby to sleep in, and to play in.
- They can be folded up and packed into a storage case or bag, which makes them ideal for travel.
- Can last for a few years, as the larger size and high walls accommodate for older babies and toddlers.
Pack n plays and mini cribs do have some similar features, but you get to enjoy the portable features of a mini crib in a pack n play, but with it lasting for longer, and it being easier to travel with.
How To Choose Between A Mini Crib And A Regular Crib
Even knowing the pros and cons of both mini cribs and regular cribs, you might still not be able to decide between the two. Here are some things to consider when choosing between the two:
One of the main factors to consider is affordability. A mini crib is more affordable than a regular crib, but as it won’t last as long, and you will have to make the switch to a regular crib in a few months. If you have space, a regular crib is a good first choice, as it will last for years.
However, if you can afford to buy a mini crib, and want to make use of its features and benefits for a few months before moving up to a regular crib, then it is certainly worth it.
We had to use a mini crib at first because we did not have enough space for a regular crib. I wanted my baby in the same room as me for the first few months, and a regular crib would not fit. So we choose a mini crib at first, and when we could move our little one to her own room, we opted for a larger crib which then eventually converted to a toddler bed.
If you are wanting to keep your baby close to you during the day, even while they nap, then a mini crib is a better option. You can easily carry the mini crib to different rooms in the house depending on where you are, even while your little one is sleeping.
A regular crib is more permanent and is definitely not something you want to be hauling around the house. If you have a regular crib, you could consider using a pack n play in other rooms in the house, which will be easier to move around.
Age Of Your Baby
If you are looking for a crib for your newborn, you could choose to go for a mini crib or a regular crib. When choosing a regular crib, make sure it complies with safety regulations to be used for a newborn.
However, if you are looking at a crib for your baby who is a little bit older, it would be more worthwhile to choose a regular crib that will last for longer.
The Difference Between A Mini Crib And A Regular Crib
We had both a mini crib and a regular crib for our baby, and the two, while providing a sleeping space for your baby, are very different. Choose a mini crib if you want a portable, smaller sleeping space for your baby, and go for a regular crib if you want a fixed-feature bed for your little one that will last for years!
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