As new parents, we want the best for our children and choosing their very first bed can feel a bit overwhelming.
From the traditional Moses basket to bedside cribs, bassinets, co-sleepers and even convertible cots that transform into changing tables and toddler beds (yes, seriously), designs and costs can vary hugely, and a newborn bed could end up being a rather tricky purchase if you don’t know what to look for.
Thankfully, whether it’s finding a product small enough to fit into a small bedroom – and cheap enough not to tug too hard at those purse strings – or investing in a bed that will last for years to come, there’s a product out there to suit everyone.
Newborn bed options
1. Moses basket
A small, lightweight and portable bed for your baby to sleep in during their first weeks and months. Usually made from wicker, palm, maize or corn husk.
- Light, easy to store and comes with strong handles that meet in the middle allowing your baby to be moved around easily
- Fits into small spaces and can be put on the floor or raised on a compatible free-folding or rocking stand
- Gives your baby a feeling of security and allows air to flow freely
- Many come with a foam mattress, fitted sheet and sometimes even a hood – if you’re buying a separate mattress, though, it must be supportive and fit the basket well
- Some cost as little as £20
- Can be placed next to your bed so that you are close to your baby during the night
- Not very big and only lasts until your newborn is about four months old, so another bed will need to be purchased fairly quickly
- Can be quite noisy when moved around so may disturb your baby if they're asleep
2. Bassinet or cradle
Similar to a Moses basket, but set up like a crib. It stands on free-standing legs that sometimes have small wheels attached.
- Portable and small in size, but also sturdy
- Sides are low for easy access to your child
- Can’t be used for longer than three or four months
A small stand-alone bed with high barred sides, typically made from wood, and may also have wheels.
- Smaller than a standard-sized cot, so it fits into tighter spaces
- Some are portable, although not as easy to move around as a bassinet
- May rock to help calm and settle babies
- Has a longer lifespan and is larger than a Moses basket – can be used up to 12 months, sometimes even longer
- Can be more expensive than Moses baskets, costing around £50 to £350
4. Co-sleeper or bedside crib
A crib that attaches to the side of your bed.
- Offers the comfort of co-sleeping while giving your baby the safety of their own bed
- One side can be lowered to help you lift your baby in and out or comfort them during the night without leaving your bed
- Can be used as a stand-alone crib and some come with a detachable bassinet
- Many can be tilted to help babies with reflux and when they have a cold
- Some can be used as a travel cot
- Tend to last up to six months
- Many co-sleeper cribs cannot be moved around the house
- The crib attaches to your bed and some aren't compatible with certain types of bed frames, such as Divan
My co-sleeper was really useful as it could attach to the bed but also be used separately as a standalone cot and a travel cot. When we went away for a night we took it with us and baby slept as if we were at home.
A newborn bed with fixed panels on all sides, some of which drop down.
- Has a reasonable lifespan – typically used until around two years of age before the transition into a junior bed
- Smaller than cot beds (see below) and available in a variety of sizes to suit the amount of space you have
- Multiple bedding options
- Made to last
- Some are convertible, ie they work as changing stations as well as a newborn bed
- Twins can sleep in the same cot for the first few months, which may help to regulate sleep cycles and body temperatures – but it must be a cot as a Moses basket or bassinet may cause them to overheat. Alternatively, twin cots are available in a variety of designs
- Doesn’t last as long as a larger cot bed
- Isn’t portable, unless it’s a travel cot – travel cots are usually smaller, lightweight and compact when folded
6. Cot bed
Looks similar to a cot, but has removable sides and end panels so that it can be converted to a small toddler bed.
- Is convertible and therefore versatile – four- or five-in-one designs can even act as a bassinet, cot, day bed, and single and/or toddler bed
- Grows with your child
- Offers a smooth transition from cot to junior bed
- Limited bedding options – mattress and bedding usually come separately, too
- Larger than a cot so more of a space-hogger
- More expensive than a standard cot
- Not suitable for travel
How to choose the right newborn bed
We’ve compiled some tips to help you choose the product that’s right for you – and ensure your little one sleeps safely.
1. Safety first
No matter how basic or luxury the bed is, the first and most important thing to consider is how safe it is. The Lullaby Trust strongly advise that any newborn bed complies with British Safety Standards and that parents take special note of this when buying anything over the internet.
But while complying with British Standards covers a lot of things, such as making sure a product won't fall apart or easily set on fire, this unfortunately doesn't cover safety surrounding SIDS.
The Lullaby Trust safer sleep advice
The Lullaby Trust helps to de-fog any confusion by encouraging mums and dads to ask themselves these questions so that they achieve the safest possible sleep conditions for their baby:
- Is it firm? Your baby’s head should not sink in by more than a few millimetres
- Is it entirely flat with no raised or cushioned areas?
- Does it have a waterproof cover? This will ensure that the mattress is kept clean and dry
It is advised that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months and that you always put them to sleep on their back (never on their front or side) with their feet at the end of the bed.
Any bedding and clothing covering them should also not rest above shoulder height or cover their face or head. Pods, nests, pillows, duvets, thick or bulky bedding, cot bumpers, hammocks or sleep positioners aren't recommended and the bed should also be free of loose bedding and soft toys.
If the bed and mattress are second-hand, check that they are in good condition and haven’t experienced any wear and tear.
Think durability whether new or hand-me-down – has it been made from breathable materials? Can it be knocked over easily? Is it well made? If it’s a bedside crib, can it be safely secured to your bed? Is the stand sturdy? And does it keep your baby safe and secure?
2. Consider which kind of sleep solution appeals to you
Does the idea of co-sleeping suit you best (when your baby sleeps with you), or would you prefer your baby to sleep separately?
Do you need a co-sleeper or bedside crib with a drop-down side that will assist you when breastfeeding or comforting your child, or even to make it easier for you to pick up your baby after having a c-section?
Or maybe you’d prefer something more versatile, such as a convertible cot or a Moses basket that can be moved around the house without too much fuss?
When DS was born I bought a bedside crib. It was absolutely brilliant. It felt great to be so close, but to have enough room at the same time.
A newborn bed is the right buy for you if…
- You’re looking for a separate bed for your baby
Some parents like to co-sleep and share a bed with their baby, but if you’d prefer yours to have their own safe space, you will definitely need a crib or basket.
- You have room for one in your bedroom or downstairs for daytime naps
Some products are definitely bulkier than others, and so you'll need to make sure you have space in your home. A crib with a removable bassinet, for example, is a great option so you can pop your baby down wherever you are.
A newborn bed is not for you if…
- You would prefer to share your bed with your baby and co-sleep
If this is the case, do always make sure that you follow the guidelines for safe co-sleeping.
- You have a limited budget and would rather spend money on a cot bed that will last longer than a crib or Moses basket.
3. How much do you want to spend?
With so many things to buy for a newborn baby, costs can quickly add up. Some of the latest newborn bed designs (think stylish five-in-one contraptions and the like) can be quite costly.
Prices range from £20 to well over £400 so it’s important to consider your budget.
If your baby isn’t sleeping well (and neither are you), it might be tempting to splash out on products that promise a better or longer night’s sleep, but the reality is that babies wake up even in the most expensive of beds. Plus, it’s completely normal for babies who are less than a year old to wake during the night, especially if they are breastfed.
Whether you go for a cheaper, more basic option or invest in a product that will last longer and offer more bang for your buck, remember that if the bed is in good condition when you are finished with it, you’ll likely be able to resell it and recover around a third or half of its value.
Popular top-of-the-range models like the Chicco Next2Me Magic can be snapped up in a heartbeat.
4. Future-proof your choice
When investing in any kind of bed for your little one, it’s helpful to think about longevity.
Do you want a product that will grow with your child? The Knuma 4-in-1, for example, can be converted into a child’s seat and desk after use. Or perhaps you’d like bedside crib, like the Tutti Bambini CoZee, that can be used again if you have more children?
Space is also key, especially if you don’t have much of it and are looking to eventually grow your family. You don’t want your newborn bed hogging any more of those precious inches than necessary, especially if you live in a small flat, so consider what size you'd need it to be.
Do you have room for a bedside or stand-alone crib or do you need something smaller and more portable to be used in multiple rooms in your house?
I found it really useful to have DD in a Moses basket, so I could be in the same room as her when she slept in the day. If you only have a cot bed, you might want to put your DC down to sleep on a blanket or something in the daytime. There's no way I would have been comfortable with DD in her own room while I pottered about doing housework.
Above all, what really matters is that the bed is a safe space for your baby.
As long as you ensure that your chosen bed is sturdy and well made with no gaps or loose parts, has a flat, firm mattress, has passed safety tests and your baby is secure and has room to grow, that is all you really need to know that your baby will sleep safely at night.
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All prices correct at time of publication
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