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How we test newborn beds

We put 12 cribs, co-sleepers and bassinets to the test to see which came out on top. Here’s how we tested them.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Aug 10, 2021

Baby lying in cot Mumsnet Best

There’s no certainty that finding the right newborn bed for your baby will give you or your little one a better night’s sleep (as disappointing as that may be), but making sure it is safe and simple to use will most certainly give you peace of mind – and hopefully make life that little bit easier, too.

With so many different newborn beds hitting the market, you’ll be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. So we’ve done the research for you.

We commissioned Gemma Wilcock, a journalist and parent, to research and write about newborn beds.

Gemma has 14 years of experience working for different magazines and with two young children – both who were bad sleepers and woke regularly in the night for feeds – she knows only too well the importance of providing a safe, comfortable space for your baby to rest, whether they want to sleep or not.

Which newborn beds did we test and how did we test them?

Before testing began, Gemma spoke to experts at The Lullaby Trust about safe sleeping, asked other mums on the Mumsnet Talk boards which beds they rated and spent 10 hours researching which cribs offered something for everyone.

We then ended up with 12 newborn beds to put to the test, including cribs, cots, co-sleepers, Moses baskets and bassinets. Here’s the full list:

  1. Tutti Bambini CoZee bedside crib
  2. Shnuggle Dreami Clever Baby Sleeper
  3. Chicco Next2Me Magic
  4. Mamas & Papas Petite Compact Cot
  5. Purflo Keep Me Close breathable bedside crib
  6. SnüzPod 3 bedside crib
  7. Jane Babyside crib
  8. Babybay Convertible bedside cot
  9. Stokke Sleepi Mini
  10. Chicco Zip & Go travel crib
  11. Mamas & Papas Welcome to the World Moses Basket

Which newborn bed is best?

After four months of parent-led research and testing, five newborn beds triumphed: the Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib (Best Overall Newborn Bed 2019), the Shnuggle Dreami Clever Baby Sleeper (Best Moses Basket 2019), the Chicco Next2Me Magic (Best Bedside Crib 2019), the Mamas & Papas Petite Cot (Best Newborn Bed for Small Spaces 2019) and the Mothercare Moses Basket (Best Budget Newborn Bed 2019).

The Tutti Bambini CoZee Bedside Crib impressed us most because it is both stylish and functional. Thanks to its breastfeeding-friendly drop side, quick open and fold mechanism and easy-to-use design, we think it’s the best newborn bed for most parents.

Who tested the products?

For continuity, we think it’s best to get one tester to use all the products. This not only reduces any potential variables during testing, but ensure that our reviews are based on like-for-like comparisons.

Each newborn bed was tested for at least a week by parent tester, Anna, a busy mum of three with a newborn (who reached four months old at the end of testing) and two four-year-old twins.

Used day and night, even though her baby often didn’t want to sleep, the beds were each reviewed following the same criteria:

  • Safety and stability
  • Assembly
  • Day-to-day use
  • Aesthetics
  • Cleanliness
  • Value for money

With energetic four-year-old twin girls and a newborn baby at home, the products were naturally put through their paces in everyday situations that most new parents are likely to face.

We made sure settings were tested and instructions followed to find out if the products were doing as they promised. We also assessed whether they were good value for money, easy to use and, most importantly, safe – things we know are vital to parents.

How did we test for safety and stability?

All aspects of the bed – including the mattress, handles, wheels and stands – were checked to ensure they provide a safe space for a baby to sleep day and night.

With the baby being just four weeks old when testing began, like any new parent our mum wanted to ensure each bed was safe before she let him sleep in there – that meant checking all the mattresses fitted the beds with no gaps around the sides, as recommended by safety experts, that all the zips and clips holding the side of the bedside cribs worked properly so there was no chance of him rolling out.

The cribs with different height settings were tested to ensure they were at a safe level when next to her own bed at night.

The twin girls also helped too by checking the sturdiness of some of the cribs as they found them to be the perfect place to clamber underneath and pretend they were in a den.

How did we test for assembly?

We looked at instruction manuals and timed assembly to see how simple the beds were to set up and take apart, so that we could make sure the products were doing as they promised.

Online videos and customer service details were also searched for in the event that extra help was needed.

Baby playing in co-sleeper cot

How did we test for day-to-day use?

We looked at how easy it was to get the baby in and out, how difficult each newborn bed was to move around and how much space it took up, mainly in the bedroom.

The side rail of the co-sleepers came in handy for a breastfeeding baby who liked to feed regularly through the night, and the Moses baskets were carried up and down the stairs of their four-bedroom semi to keep the baby close – or away from too much noise when napping.

The family also travelled away from home, but only took the beds they were using at those particular times with them – the Tutti Bambini CoZee and the Chicco Zip & Go. Nevertheless, they looked at how both beds fared during overnight stays, how easy they were to pack up and unpack and, most importantly, how they fit into an already packed full car.

What about aesthetics?

While we know that the most important thing is how safe the bed is, we also know that how it looks is a factor too.

The beds ranged from traditional and functional to stylish and luxury, and when giving them a score our tester considered everything from the colour, size and overall design of the cribs to how well it fitted in her home and what fabrics they were made from.

How did we test for cleanliness?

For busy parents, a bed that can be kept clean without much fuss is always going to make life easier. Some of the beds had removable, washable covers, which was very handy for our mum when her snotty, dribbly baby left his mark and she had to put them in the washing machine.

The wooden or metal parts of the beds were often easily wiped clean, while other covers and mattresses were a bit trickier and required hand-washing.

How did we test for value for money?

We tested products over a huge price bracket to see which offered the best value for most parents.

With many of them promising to be more than just somewhere for your baby to sleep – with some converting to a high chair, table or a bigger bed – and the costs varying from £20 to well over £400, we wanted to make sure that they offered good longevity and were well worth the money.

Check out our buyer's guide for more information on what to look out when buying a newborn bed.

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