19 October, 2023
When to move from bassinet to pram seat - a chiropractor’s perspective
Newborns should start in a flat basinet for best spinal alignment as well as for breathing dynamics.
With tummy time and play in different positions, baby’s head and body control will improve and get stronger. Generally around 4-6 months, babies are pretty strong through their neck and back so that they won’t flop to the side.
Ideally your child can sit without support before they move to the seat.
If your child is moved too early, when they don’t have good head and core control, the tilting can contribute to an uncomfortable neck and cause a side preference - we call this torticollis. When baby’s favour a side, they can get a flat spot on the back of their head (plagiocephaly).
Too big for the basinet
Some babies are bigger than others. When the bassinet is too small, it’s not comfortable, safe or practical to be in the basinet anymore.
If too long, babies will be forced to tilt and twist to fit into the basinet which can cause wry neck (torticollis) and flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly).
Big babies can also find it harder and heavier to move. It’s important to supplement moving to the seat with lots of active play to build up the neck and core strength to support a seated position. Yes tummy time is a great way to do this but varying play and cuddle positions is also important. Aim for some floor time between every nap.
Each basinet has a weight limit as well. It’s generally around 8-9kg. Check with your basinet's manufacturer for specifics.
Fit into seat
Sounds obvious I know! Your baby should fit comfortably in the seat before they are moved. This means that the straps fit them and that they don’t need extra padding to hold them in place.
What happens if my baby isn’t ready to move but they hate the basinet?
It can be hard when your bubs just HATES the basinet.
It maybe because they are keen to see the outside world. Rather than swapping too early, try a cover that they can see out of. Most prams will have “add ons” and interchangeable covers will be one option. Check for second hand ones first on marketplace, gumtree and local baby markets.
Your bubs could be uncomfortable in the basinet. They may have tight muscles or stiff joints making it unpleasant for them. Getting appropriate treatment can make all the difference.
If you have to swap before your child is ready developmentally, then ensure you limit the time in the pram, that can always see them in the pram and that it’s offset with plenty of floor time. Ask your paediatric chiropractor for exercises to help strengthen bubs’ neck and trunk muscles to ease the transition.
Need help with your bubs?
We are here for you and your precious baby.
Baby chiropractic uses the same pressure as you'd use on your eye -- very gentle. Many babies sleep through chiropractic sessions. Others poop and fart feeling free and comfortable. Your paediatric-trained chiropractor will talk you through what's happening and how to best address that.
- Move from the basinet to a pram seat around 6 months of age when your child can sit unassisted
- If your child is too heavy or long for the basinet, move to the seat but use in short spurts of time only
About the Author
Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton - Chiropractor, Sleep Coach, Postpartum Doula (in-training), Perinatal Yoga & Pilates Instructor
There's a lot of change that happens for both parents and babies in the first few months after birth. There's tremendous growth and development for the bubba. Parents need to learn new (or remember and relearn with subsequent kids) how to look after a child. Mother's bodies are healing from pregnancy & birth and the new challenges of breastfeeding.
This is a passion area for Cassie. She helps support her clients through this transition with Chiropractic, Yoga & Pilates, Sleep Coaching and Doula support services.