One of the very first things that needs to be determined is the type of bedding to be used. A baby crib is often the natural choice, but there are other options available when it comes to your child's sleep. There are several factors involved in choosing how and where your baby where sleep, but the number one by far is safety.
If you are a new parent, you have probably heard of sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise know as SIDS. This is mostly caused when a baby is kept in very soft bedding in a sleeping arrangement, of if their mattress is extremely soft. If the baby's mouth and nose become covered by bedding (such as blankets or sheets), SIDS can come into play. Basically the baby can begin to breathe more carbon dioxide and less oxygen, thus creating a dangerous situation.
However there are plenty of baby bedding styles that are perfectly safe that parents can choose from. The most common options are a baby crib, a bassinet, and a cradle. Each has its own positives and negatives, and often parents will use more than one type of product for their baby.
A baby crib is a very popular option, and is simply a bed for infants that is surrounded by side bars that are high enough to keep your baby safe. Cribs are extremely useful and can be used for several years, thus making them an economical choice. Your baby can often sleep in a crib for up to 2 years.
A bassinet is usually a oval shaped, basket like bed that is made for infants. You will also find round bassinets. These are often smaller than cribs, and do not have high walls, thus are not safe for babies once they can stand and climb out. They are often more portable.
Finally, a cradle is a bed low to the ground or floor that is usually used to rock an infant. A cradle is often on rockers or some type of stand that allows movement. Sometimes you'll find a cradle that is on wheels, or has adapters to adjust the cradle from rocking, to rolling, to a stationary position.
The bedding associated with these types of baby sleeping products also varies. For example, bassinets are usually very ornate and decorated with lace. The bedding used for a bassinet must be specially made to fit properly. This is different from a crib, which is usually square, and thus requires more normal bedding, just in crib sizes. Cradles comes in so many sizes that it's hard to generalize, but again usually require bedding that matches the size of the specific crib.
If you are a new parent with a baby, choosing where it will sleep is likely one of the most important decisions you will make.