Researching the big purchases for the arrival of your baby can be a minefield – while the cost of baby’s first bed isn’t quite as scary as your pram system and car seat, the amount of choice and overwhelming information out there can make it quite a daunting task.
Here at Shnuggle HQ, as combined parents of 7 young children, we have put together this guide to try and help you make the right choice for you.
Where should baby sleep
It is recommended that baby sleeps in the same room as you until around 6 months of age. It is during those first 6 months that the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is greatest and you will want to keep a watchful eye on them. Also, as baby will feed regularly during the night, having them close by will make night feeds a little bit easier.
Why type of bed is suitable?
When deciding on baby’s first bed its important to think about where they will sleep during the day. You will likely want to keep them close by for daytime naps and therefore being able to move their bed around will be important if you don’t want the expense of purchasing a second sleep space for daytime.
For the first 6 months, most people choose to buy a crib or moses basket rather than a cot or cot bed. Whilst a cot is perfectly suitable for baby, most prefer a moses basket or crib as they are much more compact and cosier for a newborn.
Moses baskets are lightweight and portable making them a popular choice for baby’s first bed. This helps in the first few months when you want to keep baby close by day and night. They can be easily moved from your bedroom to the living spaces or even packed in the car to visit family and friends. A stand allows you to raise the basket to a more convenient height and helps to easily reach your baby during the night for feeding.
The more traditional moses baskets are made from wicker and usually lasts until baby is about 4 months old. A more modern version of the moses basket such as the Shnuggle Dreami Moses Basket has a slightly larger base and will last up until baby is about 6 months old (or until they start rolling over, pulling themselves up or simply outgrow it) which is about the time you will be thinking about moving baby into their own room and to a bigger sleep space such as a cot.
If you do choose an alternative such as a bedside crib or cot you will need to think about where your baby will sleep during the day and whether you then need to purchase a second sleep space for downstairs.
Cribs are usually made from wood and are smaller than a cot. Quite often they have a rocking or gliding option to help soothe baby. Cribs can be used up until around 6 months, but they generally cost more to buy than moses baskets and are not as easy to move around for daytime naps.
A bedside crib or a co-sleeper as they are also sometimes known, are a relatively recent option for baby’s first bed, compared to moses baskets or more traditional wooden rocking cribs. Their biggest benefit is that they allow you and baby to be really close at night but without the risks associated with sharing the same bed. You can enjoy lying next to your baby but assured that they are in their own sleep space. They are designed to be attached to your bed, height adjustable and with a drop-down side making night feeding and comforting easier as you don’t have to get out of bed to lift baby. Like larger moses baskets, baby will typically sleep in a bedside crib up until they are approx. 6 months old (or until they start rolling over, pulling themselves up or simply outgrow it). One thing to consider is that most cribs are not portable and cannot easily be moved around the home. Therefore, you need to consider where baby will sleep during the day.
Cot or Cotbed
Typically, once baby reaches 6 months, they are ready to move into their own nursery and have likely outgrown their crib or moses basket. There are lots of options on the style and design to fit with your chosen nursery décor but there are some features which you may want to consider that will make things a little easier such as a drop down side and adjustable base height. These features will make it easier to lift baby in and out of the cot as they grow. When they are old enough to pull themselves up, simply lower the base so they can’t climb out.
You may also want to consider a cot bed which is slightly bigger than a cot but can also be converted to a junior bed. Once your baby reaches around 18 – 24 months you will probably be considering moving them out of the cot to a bed. Being able to convert a cot bed into a junior bed can help with the transition to a full-sized bed and allows you to get considerably longer out of the cot bed than you would a cot.
All these options are great first beds for baby, but you need to decide which option is going to be best for your family.
Baby nests or sleep positioners
Sleep positioners are great for somewhere else for your baby to lay during the day. However, they are not recommended for unsupervised sleeping and should never be used inside a moses basket or crib due to an increased risk of overheating and suffocation.
Bedding & Mattress
Its always best to buy a new mattress for your baby’s bed whether you are borrowing a crib or cot, or if it has been used for one of your other children. Make sure the mattress is firm, flat and fits the cot with no gaps. Ensure fitted sheets are the correct size and that there is no loose bedding. Cot bumpers are not recommended as babies can overheat and get caught in the loose ties.
Sleeping bags are a great way of making sure bedding stays secure and by selecting the ideal tog for the room temperature, can help keep baby at the right temperature for a safer sleep.
For more helpful advice on safe sleeping check out our Guide to baby safe sleeping