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Once you newborn baby appears on the scene they’ll spend the day sleeping…a lot. That’s why it’s essential you have your room set up correctly so it encourages your baby to sleep properly and makes things easier for you to do night feedings and diaper changes. So where should your baby sleep to begin with?
Many parents opt for co-sleeping, but others want their baby to sleep in their own bed right from the start. So what option should you choose; a bassinet or a Moses basket? Let’s take a look at both options in more detail.
Is a Moses basket the same as a bassinet?
Both Moses baskets and bassinets are designed for newborns up until around your baby reaches 4 months old. Moses baskets are generally more portable as they have handles so you easily transport it from one room to another. You can also place a Moses basket on any firm and flat surface, but not anywhere elevated (unless it comes with its own stand). In general, bassinets are fixed to a stand so they are not quite as portable as Moses baskets. Bassinets also come in a wider range of materials, where as Moses baskets tend to be made from wicker, palm and more environmentally friendly materials.
What is a bassinet?
A bassinet is a bed for young babies and newborns. It is attached to a fixed set of legs, which may or may not have wheels. You can usually rock a bassinet back and forward which can help soothe your baby. Bassinets can be made from different materials such as timber, fabric, plastic, wicker, or metal.
How long can a baby use a bassinet?
Your baby can use a bassinet until they are around 4-5 months old (or a weight limit of around 15-20lbs). Obviously all babies are different shapes and sizes so you just need to monitor exactly when your infant has outgrown a bassinet and needs to move to a crib. Another sign that your baby needs to move to something bigger is if they can push up onto their hands and knees, roll over or crawl.
Can newborn babies use one?
Yes, a bassinet is fine to use straight away for newborn babies.
What size are bassinets?
The size can vary a lot depending on the manufacturer. Some are smaller, designed to go right next to your bed as a co-sleeper, where as others can convert into a crib, and even a toddler bed. The product below does just that.
What to consider when buying a bassinet?
Here are some essential features to consider if you’re buying a bassinet:
Ensure the bassinet passes all the necessary safety standards. Furthermore, make sure your baby lies on their back when they’re sleeping, there are no gaps between the bassinet sides and the mattress, and don’t add any extra bedding, pillows, bumper pads or toys.
Make sure you measure the area next to your bed so there’s clearly enough room for a bassinet and the stand.
Easy to clean
Your baby is going to bring up regurgitated milk and cause other little accidents in the bassinet at some point. Make sure the mattress and bassinet are easy to clean and wipe down.
Most bassinets are only suitable for the first few months, but other models, as well as convertible cribs can be used for newborns, to bigger babies, toddlers and even older children. If you have the space, you might want to spend more now on a product which will last longer.
Mattress and bedding
Make sure the bassinet mattress is thin and you choose appropriate bedding and sheets.
Pros and cons of bassinets
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of bassinets.
- Convenience. For many bassinets, you can unzip one side which makes it easier to put your baby in and out of the bed. This is very useful for all the feeds you have to do during the night
- You’re close to your baby, which minimizes the risk of SIDS. You can also see your baby easily as many bassinets have a mesh you can look through.
- Don’t take up space. Bassinets are small which means they can easily fit into most bedrooms next to where mum and dad are sleeping.
- Portability. Although some bassinets have casters, many are fixed to the stand which makes things a little fiddly if you want to move the bed into a different room.
- Longevity. For the smaller bassinets, which function as co-sleepers, you’re only going to get a few months use out of them, before they move to a larger crib. You have to weigh up convenience and cost, as a crib is not as practical in the beginning with all the picking up and putting down for feeds, especially during the night. But a good quality bassinet can cost quite a lot.
What is a Moses basket?
A Moses basket is a small bed for newborn babies to sleep in. It really is a type of bassinet in essence, but they’re famous for their traditional appearance with the woven wicker material. You can use them with a stand or have your baby sleep in one on any flat surface on the ground.
Can newborns sleep in a Moses basket?
Yes, babies can sleep in a Moses basket from day one.
Can you put it on the floor?
One of the advantages of a Moses basket over a bassinet is that you can place them on the floor, which can be handy for moving your baby from one room to another for a daytime nap. Just make sure you don’t have your baby in the basket when you’re lifting it!
What size are Moses baskets?
Unlike bassinets, Moses baskets are more of a standard size. Dimensions will vary depending on the manufacturer but on average, a Moses basket will be 32’ long x 15.5’ wide x 12’ high (83cm long x 40cm wide x 30cm high).
Are they safe for overnight sleep?
Yes, Moses baskets are perfect for newborn babies to sleep in during the night, and for daytime naps.
How long can a baby use a Moses basket?
Moses baskets tend to be fine for newborns and younger babies until they reach about 4 months. You should move your baby to a crib once they reach a weight limit of around 15lbs, or if they can push themselves, or roll over (whichever comes first).
What to consider when buying a Moses basket?
If you’re going to buy a Moses basket, make sure you consider the following features:
Although they don’t take up much room, measure the area next to your bed to see if there’s a sufficient amount of space. You might also want to consider where you’ll place the Moses basket for daytime naps if this will be in a different room.
Easy to clean
Make sure the mattress is easy to clean as well as the fitted sheet.
Make sure your baby will sleep on their back with no additional bedding, soft toys or other items inside. Look at the handles closely and make sure they look strong and won’t break easily over time.
Check you measure the dimensions of the stand correctly so you know the Moses basket will fit properly. Pick one with a sturdy frame.
Pros and cons of moses baskets
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Moses baskets:
- Lightweight and easy to move. Moses baskets are made from light materials, which makes it really easy to move them from one room to another.
- Convenience. You can keep your baby close by when they’re sleeping.
- Snug and comfortable. The snug feeling of a Moses basket helps your baby feel more comfortable as it replicates the warm and cosy feeling of being in the womb.
- Classic and traditional. Moses baskets have been used for many years by parents all round the world. If you value tradition, then who doesn’t love the sight of a baby sleeping soundly in a Moses basket?
- Made from natural materials. Moses baskets are usually made from palm or wicker, which are natural materials. If using natural and environmentally friendly products are important to you, this is a big plus.
- Longevity. Like most bassinets, you can only uses a Moses basket for about 4 months and then you’ll have to pack it away if you’re planning a second child, or sell it. A good quality Moses basket can be expensive.
- No convertible options. While you can only use most bassinets for a few months, there are convertible options on the market so you can use them for years rather months. For Moses baskets, you only get 4 months and that’s it.
- Buy stand separately. You will need a stand for your Moses basket, unless you want your baby sleeping on the floor all the time, which isn’t a practical solution really with all the night feeds you’ll be doing. In most cases, you have to buy a stand separately.
Should I get a Moses basket or bassinet?
For our first daughter, my wife and I used a Moses basket, and then a Snuzpod, which is like a larger bassinet that you can use until your baby is around 6-7 months, before moving to a larger crib. For my son, we skipped the Moses basket completely and just used a Snuzpod, and he’s just recently moved into his crib.
Choosing one over the other is a difficult decision. If you’re thinking purely from a financial point of view, then you’re best not buying either, and getting a convertible crib instead which might cost more initially, but you’ll be able to use it for many years. However, all those night time feeds and diaper changes when you’re exhausted can be a real drag as you’ll be getting out of bed, bending over to pick up your infant from the crib many times. That being said, there are convertible bassinets, like the Stokke Sleepi, which you can convert and use as a crib and toddler bed. For Moses baskets, you’re limited by their design so you can only use them for a few months.
If you like the idea of using sustainable and natural materials, a Moses basket is a better option than a bassinet. Furthermore, the look of a baby sleeping in a Moses basket looking snug and comfortable is a sight to behold! You have to weigh everything up in terms of cost and practicality and decide what’s right for you.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.