Introduction: Vibrating Bassinet to Calm Baby
A bit of work, and we have a vibrating bassinet, thanks to a very easy hack to the vibration unit from the bouncy seat which can now easily travel between the bassinet and the seat.
While one can buy a vibration unit for a crib, the Amazon reviews of it are mixed, and it's not designed for a bassinet. And there are vibrating bassinets but they are way more expensive, plus the one we bought didn't have that feature.
WARNING: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Do not leave the vibration on while baby is unattended or you're asleep. You don't want the motor to overheat and cause a fire. (In our bassinet, the vibration unit rests on netting, so heat dissipation should be not much worse than in the bouncy seat, and I haven't felt it get warm. But better be safe.) CONSULT WITH PEDIATRICIAN IN CASE OF HEALTH CONCERNS.
This works for our new play yard and our old model of bouncy seat. You will probably have to modify the hack a little for other models. It may be that on some models you will be unable to easily move the vibration unit back and forth. If so, then you might see if you can buy a cheap old bouncy seat on Craigslist to cannibalize for the vibration unit.
- Baby Trent Nursery Center Playyard with full-length bassinet
- Linkadoos Bouncy Seat. The current Fisher Price bouncy seats look like they have similar vibration units from the Amazon photos, but I can't tell how they are attached.
- Scrap Velcro or other hook-and-loop fastener
- Something foamy to cushion vibrations, like a mouse pad or foam drink holder (that's what we used)
- Adhesive for attaching hook-and-loop fastener to vibration unit
Step 1: Remove Vibration Unit From Bouncy Seat
On our bouncy seat, the vibration unit is encased in a plastic shell that has lips that go around the front of the metal frame of the bouncy seat. The plastic shell is screwed together with four ordinary screws.
Removing these screws to let you part the shell slightly (if you part it too much, you may have trouble putting it back together, or might break some wire inside), enough to come off the frame.
Then screw the shell back together.
On our bouncy seat, we can slide the vibration unit snugly back into position so that it attaches securely even without the shell's lips going around the frame. The only difference is that the unit sticks out slightly further--it makes no functional difference. So the vibration unit can be put back in the bouncer whenever you want to use the bouncer.
Step 2: Add Hook and Loop Fastener
Look on the underside of one of the ends of the bassinet mattress. In ours, there are hook-and-loop fastener pads in the corners that attach to the netting underneath. These should be left alone. But in the middle of one of the short sides of the mattress, underneath, there is a fabric handle as well as a piece of hook fastener and a piece of loop fastener, which are used when the mattress is put at the bottom of the play yard. These are not used in the play yard's bassinet mode. Fold up that end of the mattress.
Glue hook and loop fastener on the top of the vibration unit that allow it to attach to the hook and loop fasteners in the middle of the side. You can buy self-stick hook and loop fastener (most commonly under the Velcro brand), but I have a lot in a scrap basket. Whenever we throw out something that has hook and loop fasteners, I try to cut them off and save them for projects like this as they are so handy. I glued them onto the vibration unit with cheap super glue.
The point of the fastener is to keep the vibration unit from sliding further under the mattress where it's hard to keep in place.
Step 3: Add Extra Padding
In my original setup, I just had the vibration unit under the mattress. But this was too loud given the hard board at the bottom of the mattress, and the vibrations were too big for baby (the latter I handled by putting baby a little further from the unit).
To solve this problem, I put some scrap foam (foam holder for hot cups that we got as a promo; thick mouse pad should work well, too) between the vibration unit and the hard bottom of the mattress. On our mattress, we can simply tuck the foam pad under the mattress, where it is held in place by the fabric handle. You might have to glue it in place under the mattress (I'd use Shoe Goo or E-6000) or cut it and glue it onto the top of the vibration unit.
Step 4: Final Steps
Now attach the vibration unit in such a way that its switch faces the edge of the mattress and the padding is in place. Carefully lower the mattress, and make sure the untouched hook-and-loop fasteners in the corners engage with those in the netting.
You can now turn the vibrations on and off by slipping your hand under the mattress and flipping the switch.
If it's very loud, you need more padding between the unit and the mattress.
That end of the mattress will be slightly raised. Before I inserted the foam padding, I would put baby on the next segment of the mattress (the mattress is made of four rectangular segments) to reduce the vibrations.
DO NOT LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED WITH VIBRATIONS ON AND DO NOT SLEEP YOURSELF WITH THE VIBRATIONS ON. THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR LONG-TERM USE.
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. CONSULT WITH PEDIATRICIAN IN CASE OF HEALTH CONCERNS.
And when done, just pull it out, and slide it onto the bouncer.