Choosing Baby’s Bed: Crib, Cot or Moses Basket?

Crib? Cot? Moses basket? What should your little one be sleeping in? It can be hard to get your head around all the different sleeping options for your baby. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
Let us walk you through the different styles and factors to consider so you can make the best decision for you and your baby. From keeping baby close by in the early months to choosing the right bedding, there’s lots to think about. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Choosing between a crib or Moses basket for newborns

It’s recommended by the National Childbirth Trust that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for their first six months, either in a separate cot or crib, or in a Moses basket. Doing so means there’s a lower chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), sometimes known as cot death.

Your newborn will spend a lot of time sleeping during their first few months, so it’s important to ensure they have the right environment to support their sleep and development. Most parents will opt for either a crib or a Moses basket for their newborn. But what’s the difference? And which should you go for? It comes down to personal preference, but to help you make your choice, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each below.

Moses Baskets

First, let’s take a look at Moses baskets. If you’ve been browsing Pinterest for nursery ideas, you’re sure to have come across plenty of images featuring this sweet baby bedding option. They sure do look lovely, and can be cosy and comfortable to sleep in. But are they the best choice for your precious little one?

What is a Moses basket?

A Moses basket is a lightweight, portable version of a cot. Although they can easily be carried from room to room, they’re usually made from palm or wicker so they’re nice and sturdy. They usually come with strong handles so that you can keep your little one close by as they snooze, even if you’re pottering around different rooms of the house.

Benefits of Moses baskets

Moses baskets have plenty of benefits, which explains why they’re so popular with new parents! Some of the main benefits include:
• Lightweight: Having a lightweight Moses basket makes it that little bit easier to carry around with all the other bits and pieces you need for your new baby.
• Small: A Moses basket is particularly good if you’re tight on space. What’s more, the smaller size helps babies to feel more secure and comfortable as they’re drifting off to sleep.
• Portable: The beauty of a Moses basket is that you can place it in any room of the house, perfect during the early stages when you might want your baby to be close to you in your bedroom. It’s also great if you’re heading on holiday or for a trip to see the grandparents, as it’s so easy to take it with you.
• Comfortable: As most Moses baskets are made from wicker or palm, air can flow through the sides meaning your little one will stay at a comfortable temperature.

Moses Baskets FAQs

How long can a baby sleep in a Moses basket?

Moses baskets are suitable for newborns, and the relatively small size of this bedding option means that your baby will have a cosy, compact and comfortable place to sleep. However, it does also mean that they’ll soon outgrow it. They also shouldn’t be used when your baby is more mobile, and can pull themselves up. This means that most babies will only sleep in a Moses basket for three or four months before transitioning to a cot.

What bedding to use in a Moses basket?

Choosing baby bedding can be tricky for any new parent, and Moses basket bedding is no exception! Most Moses baskets will come with a foam mattress, but you should make sure that it’s firm and supportive, breathable, and fits the basket without any gaps. If you decide to buy a different mattress from the one that comes with the basket, ensure it’s the right size and fits well.

Clair de Lune 4pc Moses Bedding Set
Clair de Lune 4pc Moses Bedding Set

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The Lullaby Trust states that you only need to use a thin lining with a Moses basket. Any baby bedding you choose to use, like sheets or blankets, should be tucked in to keep your baby cosy and supported, and they shouldn’t come up any higher than baby’s shoulders.

What are the different types of Moses baskets?

Most Moses baskets are made from either palm or wicker. The main difference between the two materials is how flexible the sides are. A palm basket generally has softer sides, and wicker ones are a little firmer. They come in a range of colours, so you can find something that perfectly complements your colour scheme.

Other than the material and colour, there are some other options to consider. Some Moses baskets come with rocking bases, designed to gently soothe your baby to sleep, while others come with a free-standing base. Moses baskets should be placed on the floor, but you can choose to elevate your baby’s basket by using a stand. With both rocking bases and stands, it’s best to buy these at the same time as the basket, so you can ensure they match in style and fit safely together.

Clair de Lune Rocking Moses Basket Stand
Clair de Lune 4pc Moses Bedding Set

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Another option is the Noah pod, a slight variation on the Moses basket with higher sides and a modern shape.

How safe are Moses baskets?

Well-made Moses baskets are perfectly safe for your little one. It should come with sturdy handles which meet in the middle and a good, supportive mattress. When you’re carrying the basket, make sure that you have one hand underneath it, supporting your baby.

Choose a Moses basket with washable covers and dressings, and always look for the British Standard safety number BS EN 1466:2014.

Cribs

Instead of a Moses basket, some new parents opt for a crib as their little one’s first bed. If you’re considering this option, we’ve got everything you need to know about cribs below.

What is a crib?

A crib is essentially a smaller version of a cot, although most cribs come with a rocking base that’s perfect for lulling your little one to sleep. Just like Moses baskets, cribs can be used for newborns, so they’re the perfect choice if you find that your baby sleeps easier with motion.

Benefits of Cribs

Parents (and babies!) like cribs for a number of reasons:
• The rocking or gliding action may soothe your baby, helping them to get to sleep especially in the early weeks
• A longer and sturdier design means that cribs tend to have a longer lifespan than Moses baskets
• Cribs are smaller than cots, so they can create a sleeping environment that’s more comfortable, especially for newborn babies
• They’re more compact than cots, so may suit if you have have limited space
Cribs aren’t as portable as Moses baskets, though, so consider whether it’s important to you that you can move your baby’s bed from room to room.

Cribs FAQs

How long can a baby stay in a crib?

As cribs are slightly bigger and longer than Moses baskets, you should be able to get more use out of them. Most babies can happily sleep in a crib until they’re around six months old, after which they’re likely to be ready to transition to a cot, and maybe even sleeping in their own room.

What bedding do you need for a crib?

Similar to a Moses basket, you’ll need a firm, supportive mattress for your baby’s crib. Your chosen crib may not come supplied with one, though, so you’ll have to buy this separately.

Clair de Lune Rocking Crib Quilt & Bumper Set
Clair de Lune Rocking Crib Quilt & Bumper Set

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Make sure that it fits well, and leaves no gaps at the edge of the crib. You’ll also need a fitted sheet, and a light cover for your little one, which should be tucked in no higher than your baby’s shoulders.

Cots

The issue of choosing a bed for your baby is further complicated by the fact that some parents decide not to go for a Moses basket or a crib and instead their little one sleeps in a cot from the start. There are pros and cons to choosing a cot bed from the get-go, so let’s take a look!

What is a cot?

To complicate matters further, you might have heard both the terms ‘cot’ and ‘cot bed’ being used. Although they’re similar, there are some difference between cots and cot beds, as outlined below:

Cots

Cots are usually smaller than cot beds (although they’re bigger than Moses baskets and cribs), and generally come in around 50-60cm wide. They can be used from birth, and most are adjustable so that you can change the height of the cot as your baby grows. You can even buy cots with a removable side so that you can position it beside your bed for the feeling of co-sleeping without actually having baby in bed with you.

Cot Beds

Cot beds are simply cots with removable sides and a removable end panel, so that it can be converted into a toddler bed when your little one is big enough. That’s the big advantage of a cot bed over a cot, as you’ll get much more use out of it, as your little one could outgrow their cot by the time they’re one or two. Cot beds tend to be larger than cots, roughly 70cm wide, so baby has more room to move around at night.

Cots FAQs

What types of cots are there?

Whether you choose a cot or a cot bed, there are a few different styles to choose from, so you can pick the one that best suits you and your little one.

One option is a fixed side cot. With this style, you have to bend over the side of the cot to put baby in, and to take them out again.

If that doesn’t sound very appealing, you can also go for a drop-side cot. This simply means that one side of the cot can be lowered, making it easier for you to get your little one in and out for their naps.

East Coast Nebraska Sleigh Cot2Bed
East Coast Nebraska Sleigh Cot2Bed

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Most cots come with adjustable height positions, so you can drop the mattress height down as your little one grows. That means it’s easy to reach them when they’re little, and as they grow bigger and more mobile, you can drop the height down so that they can’t climb out of the cot.

Some cots even come with under-bed storage, like many adult beds! This can be a game-changer if you’re short on space, as can a cot with a built-in cot-top changer. This changing unit simply slots onto the top of your cot, and means you don’t need to have a separate changing unit and mat elsewhere in your house.

Of course, you can also buy travel cots, which are handy for holidays and nights away. These are lightweight and portable, and worth investing in if you have plans to spend time away visiting family or friends.

Are cots safe?

To make sure that your little one is as safe as possible in their cot, it’s important to check that it meets British Safety Standards BS EN 716:2008. Also check that the distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot is 50cm, and that the bars of the cot are no more than 6.5cm apart. Cot bars should always be vertical.

If the cot has designs cut into the headboard and footboard, make sure that your little one’s limbs can’t get stuck in them.

What is a cot bumper?

Cot bumpers are cotton pads that line the edges of a cot, designed to create a soft cushioning for babies around the edges of their cot to protect them from any minor bumps.

What bedding do you need for a cot?

As with cribs and Moses baskets, the mattress you choose for your baby’s cot should be firm and supportive, conforming to the British Safety standard 1877-10:1997.

Clair de Lune Cot 3pc Quilt & Bumper Set
Clair de Lune Cot 3pc Quilt & Bumper Set

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When it comes to bedding, choose a fitted sheet and a light blanket that can be tucked in below baby’s shoulders. They should be placed to sleep with their feet at the bottom of the cot so they can’t wriggle down as they snooze.

When should you consider moving your little one from a cot to a toddler bed?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to when you should move your baby from a cot to a bed, but most little ones make the move when they’re between 18 months and 3 years old.

You might consider moving them into a toddler bed if:
• They’ve outgrown their cot
• They’re trying to climb out of the cot
• They’ve started toilet training and need access to the toilet during the night
• You’re having another baby and need to use the cot for your new arrival
It’s a big change to move from a cot to a big bed, so help to make the switch as easy as possible for them. You might want to place the bed in the same position as the cot was, or let them sleep with their favourite toy or comfort blanket. If they’re old enough, they could help to choose the bed or bedding – who knows, they might get so excited that they can’t wait to move to their new, grown up bed.

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About the author: Pam

Pam is a 36 year old events manager from Cambridge. Married to her husband, David, for 7 years, they have 2 beautiful children (Max - 3 and Abigail - 18 months) with one more bundle on the way! With such a busy life, Pam likes to keep herself grounded by attending weekly yoga classes and getting out of town whether it be to the countryside or abroad.

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