Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, in a bed of her own, for the first six months of her life. She can go straight into a cot or bedside crib but, if you haven’t got space in your bedroom, a cosy Moses basket makes a fab first bed.
They’re designed for use from birth until around six months, after which, your baby can move into a cot in a room of her own.
Do you need a Moses basket?
Some mums prefer their babies to sleep in a cot from day one, as it means not having to make the transition from bedside crib to a cot later on. Others think their tiny newborn might feel rather lost in the vastness of a cot, and prefer a cosier cocoon for the first few months. If that’s you, or if you can’t fit a cot in your bedroom, then a Moses basket is the answer.
Would you prefer a bedside crib?
The main advantage of a Moses Basket over a bedside crib is portability – a Moses basket has handles on either side of the bassinet, so you can easily carry it with you from room to room when your baby is napping. So, if you’d rather your baby always napped in your bedroom, then a bedside crib may be a better choice. Moses baskets are generally cheaper, too.
What features will you use?
Some Moses baskets (including one of the ones our testers tried out for this Big Test) have light and sound features that can help soothe or entertain your baby when she stirs. These can be useful if you can’t always pick your baby up the moment she wakes – for example, if you’ve got your hands full with an older toddler already – but don’t pay extra for these features if you don’t think you’ll use them.
Stand: This should be sturdy enough that the Moses basket feels really secure when placed on the stand. If there are older children in the house who might want to peek at the baby when she’s sleeping, make sure the stand isn’t easily toppled by an eager toddler.
Mattress: Most Moses baskets come with a mattress supplied. Some are thicker and more luxurious than others, so check it feels plush enough to offer a comfy sleep.
Handles: Sturdy handles make it easy to pick up and carry a Moses basket. Are they long enough for you to carry it with one hand at the time as holding your baby?
Materials: Choose a Moses basket that’s easy to clean after leakages – which will happen! Washable, hypoallergenic materials are more practical than a wicker bassinet, which can’t be wiped down. Bassinet linings should be machine-washable and easy to remove and reattach.
Bedding: Moses baskets don’t come supplied with bedding, so check the dimensions to make sure any bedding you buy will fit securely.
Size: It’s difficult to imagine when you first bring your newborn home, but a Moses basket is so quickly outgrown. To get the most bang for your buck, choose one with ample sleeping space so your baby won’t need something bigger before he’s six months old.
How much storage space have you got?
You won’t use a Moses basket for long, but this piece of baby kit will have huge sentimental value, so you might want to keep it, for another baby, or just because! Some designs fold neatly away for easy storage once outgrown.
Will you take it away overnight?
A Moses basket isn’t specifically designed for travel use but when you’re popping to visit the grandparents overnight, taking it with you is easier than packing a travel cot. Plus, your baby is likely to sleep better in the familiarity of her usual bed.
This month's testers:
Katy Markewardt: 32, from Reigate, Surrey, is mum to Oscar, one week. ‘I need a sturdy Moses basket that’s light enough to carry between rooms as I’m constantly following my toddler around!’
Verity White: 32, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, is mum to Edlyn, two months. ‘I am looking for a Moses basket that won’t take up too much space in our bedroom.’
Esther Kinnear: 34, from Bath, is mum to Ezra, 4 months. ‘I would like a stylish Moses basket that fits in with our Scandi-style decor.’
Six Moses baskets - tried & tested!
Score: M&B's winner! 14.5/15
A stylish contemporary twist on the classic Moses basket, this wowed our testers and almost scored full marks! Our mums loved the innovative design that makes assembly almost effortless. The bassinet is made from soft natural wool felt and available with a range of bold handle colours, so you can customise your little one’s nest to suit your style. It’s suitable for babies up to six months, who can’t yet sit up unaided or roll over.
- Katy: Innovative design makes assembly a breeze – it simply zips together. It’s beautiful – we had lots of compliments from visitors! The monochrome patterned liner on the inside keeps Oscar occupied, buying me another few minutes when he wakes up. The stand was difficult to assemble – it took my husband (an engineer!) more than 30 minutes to decipher the instructions! It takes up a fair amount of room but this is by far our favourite Moses basket.
- Verity: An absolute joy to assemble but the stand was a little less fun to put together! Lots of pieces to it – definitely not a five-minute job. I love the contrasting long straps – they don’t get in the way when laying Edlyn down, and I can carry the basket, which is super-light, from room to room with one hand. This has the largest sleeping area of all the baskets tested, so it’s excellent value.
- Esther: By far my favourite! It looks amazing and fits our Scandi-style decor well. It’s expensive but worth every penny – the quality is fantastic. The stand took 20 minutes to assemble though! I love that it’s made from eco-friendly materials and can be stored flat under a bed, ready for another baby! Once Ezra fell asleep it was easy to carry him upstairs in this and he continued sleeping soundly.
If natural, organic and chemical-free products appeal to you, we think you’ll love this Moses basket made with palm leaf. It comes with a chemical-free mattress, worth £40, as well an organic, breathable cable knit liner that’s machine-washable. The natural pine wood stand is sold separately (£24.95). An organic jersey fitted sheet (£11.95), organic cellular knitted baby blanket (£19.95) and a waterproof mattress protector (£12.95) can all be bought separately, too.
- Katy: By far the simplest to put together. The stand arrives fully assembled – a huge bonus when you’re time-poor and juggling a newborn! The long handles make this easy to pick up and although the stand isn’t as sturdy as others we tried, it’s light enough to move easily. The basket is a nice size and doesn't creak when moving around. It’s very reasonably-priced given the quality of the product and its eco credentials.
- Verity: This oozes quality. It’s beautifully made with palm leaf, which gives it a luxury feel. It’s 100% organic which is a big plus. That wasn’t on my list of requirements but makes me feel like I’m doing my bit for the environment. It’s soft and semi-flexible at the sides with long handles, so it’s easy to move. The mattress isn’t waterproof and they recommend buying their waterproof protector and sheets, which are pretty pricey.
- Esther: I was instantly won over by this. It looks wonderful! The basket is fairly slim so feels a little tight on space, but Ezra slept well and seemed comfortable. The knitted sides look lovely and make it feel snuggly as well as adding protection if Ezra rolls over. It’s super-lightweight – carrying it around is a breeze. It suits our decor and I like that the materials are eco-friendly and completely chemical free.
This modern, durable Moses basket is made from soft hypoallergenic and recyclable material that is BPA and phthalate free. It’s well-ventilated and really easy to clean. Strong integrated handles make it easy to lift and move from to room, and it’s ideal for overnight trips away from home as it’s so light. It comes supplied with a mattress and 100% pure cotton waffle liner. The Rocking Stand with curved based is sold separately (£45).
- Katy: The basket arrives ready assembled, which is a big perk, but this reminded me of a laundry basket! The handles are integrated, making it very secure for moving with you around the house. One benefit of the material used is that it would be incredibly easy to clean in the event of any little accidents! The stand took some time to assemble but the result is a nice strong frame with a useful rocking motion.
- Verity: This is similar in appearance to the Shnuggle, but even more futuristic. It has lots of similar features: it’s hypoallergenic, easy to clean and well-ventilated. There is plenty of room to grow lengthwise, and probably a few more months of use width-ways. The plastic is semi-flexible at the sides, which means the handles meet – very handy when you’re carrying the basket with one hand at the same time as holding your baby!
- Esther: I like the unobtrusive look of this. There’s no assembly required and it’s light to lift and fairly easy to carry with one hand – without baby in it, obviously! The liner is slightly thin and not as comfortable as I’d like. The stand rocks well on it’s own but once Ezra was inside it didn’t rock as smoothly as I’d hoped it would. I feel it is a little over-priced for what you get.
This breathable hypoallergenic Moses basket has mesh side panels to aid air circulation and prevent overheating. Its innovative design means you can easily remove the bassinet from the frame, and reattach it safely and securely. We love the storage basket – so handy for nappies and spare onesies, making night-time changes easier. It comes with three hanging toys and an entertainment centre that vibrates, plays soothing sounds and lullabies, and has a soft glow light.
- Katy: Very quick and simple to assemble. It’s packed with extra features including hanging toys and a 'soother centre’ – great idea in principle but disappointing in practice. The vibrations didn't have much effect and the only way to turn off the sound is to first turn it up – not ideal. The stand is heavy and awkward to handle, requiring both hands to lift due to the short handles.
- Verity: The frame positions the bassinet pretty high which is perfect for placing baby in from a standing position, but I had to get out of bed at night to see over the high sides of the bassinet – not ideal for snatching a last adoring peep at baby from my bed! Although a pricier option, this would last for longer than some baskets. I’d recommend it for daytime use because of the height and entertainment features.
- Esther: This does everything except tick my box in terms of interior design. It’s quite traditional-looking and a little old-fashioned. It’s large and tricky to move, although the basket is detachable. The storage basket underneath means nappies are on hand for night-changes, and it has some very cute toys which Ezra loved – buying me an extra few minutes. The mattress is lightweight and airy and seems very comfortable and breathable.
Made from hypo-allergenic polypropylene instead of wicker, this contemporary Moses basket is ventilated and easy to clean. It’s larger than traditional Moses baskets and comes with a luxury quilted mattress and 100% cotton liner included. A range of stands are available to buy separately – our testers tried out the Curve Stand (£39.95) which can be used in the fixed bed-height position at night or as a low-level rocking stand for daytime use.
- Katy: One of the more sophisticated Moses baskets we tried, which is reflected in the price and in the the fact that assembly requires a screwdriver (not included) and some elbow-grease. The base is reassuringly sturdy and can be used as a rocker – very handy. The liner is easy to pop off, making it easy to clean. The handles are very short, making it awkward to carry – not ideal when running around after my toddler.
- Verity: The frame didn't feel as sturdy as others and the plastic gives this a clinical appearance. I like the rocking functionality (although it’s too low to use when in bed) and the short handles as they don’t get in the way when you’re laying your baby down. You need two hands to carry the basket, meaning multiple trips to relocate from bedroom to living room. Both the stand and the basket are light to carry.
- Esther: A stylish, modern-looking Moses basket. It’s wide enough for Ezra to sleep with his arms above his head – his go-to position! It’s made of hypo-allergenic plastic and would be super-easy to clean. The stand looks lovely and is a distinctive design feature that makes me love this basket; the curve is appealing and I like the multi-purpose design – you can turn it upside-down and use it as a rocker.
Designed for use with the co-ordinating Mamas and Papas Rocking Stand which is sold separately (£49), this sturdy Moses basket comes with a luxury cotton liner, foam mattress and plush star-printed quilt, so it’s good value for money. The carry handles make it easy to lift but our testers think it’s best for static use in one room as the wicker basket creaks a little when moved, which might wake a light sleeper.
- Katy: There’s no assembly needed for this Moses basket so you can start using it straight out of the box. The wicker frame looks lovely but unfortunately it makes a sort of squeaking noise when you pick it up, which isn’t very practical for carrying a sleeping baby from room to room – I was worried the noise might wake Oscar. The mattress is quite thin and less padded than some of the others we tested.
- Verity: Edlyn literally filled this basket from head to toe, so either I have a giant 14-week-old baby or this basket is on the small side! It’s easy to see inside as it’s fairly shallow. She only slept in it for one night and was pretty restless, tossing her head from side to side. There are some rough, spiky bits where the wicker has been bent to create the shape of the basket, too.
- Esther: This looks lovely and required no setting up. It comes with a padded liner which ties onto the basket, and a stylish star-embroidered quilt that is soft and warm. The basket and additional features are really aesthetically pleasing – I love the neutral tones. The downside is it’s a little bit noisy to move about as the handles creak, which sometimes woke Ezra up. The mattress is thin, so I recommend replacing. Good value overall.