Usually made from palm, maize or wicker, a Moses basket is a cosy, comfortable place for your new baby to sleep at night and for daytime naps. It is not, however, an essential item because babies can sleep in their big cots from their first day home.
You can pick up a new Moses basket complete with mattress for around £30 to £60. The mattress should ideally have a non-removable waterproof cover that is easy to wipe clean, or an outer removable washable cover with a waterproof wipe clean inner cover. It is perfectly fine to buy a cheaper secondhand Moses basket, but for hygiene reasons you should buy a new mattress if possible.
If you buy a secondhand basket, make sure the carrying handles are strong and secure and meet in the middle so that you can hold them both in one hand. This is important because if you are carrying the basket with an infant in it, you need to have one hand underneath the basket for support and safety.
The following information will help you decide whether to invest in a Moses basket.
Sleeping in a cosy Moses basket can give your baby a sense of security and comfort – you may think your newborn looks a little lost in his big cot!
If you want your baby to sleep in your room with you at night and you don't have room to fit a cot in your bedroom, a Moses basket is a handy alternative. Small, light and portable, the basket can be carried easily from room to room and the baby can be with you wherever you are in the house.
You can lay the Moses basket on the floor, but you can also put it on a Moses basket stand. Placing it on a stand means less bending down to tend to your baby, which is particularly useful if you are recovering from a caesarean section, and the basket can be at a convenient height next to your bed. Some stands are foldable for easy storage, while others can gently rock your baby to sleep. If you have a stand, make sure it is sturdy and that the Moses basket fits securely on it.
Your baby will outgrow his Moses basket at around three to four months (or even as early as six weeks), so you won't get that much use out of it. Considering a new Moses basket and stand could cost you at least £50 with the additional cost of appropriately-sized sheets and blankets, you may decide it isn't a worthwhile investment.
Some infants may feel restricted in a Moses basket because they don't have enough room to stretch their arms out fully. If they fling their arms out during their sleep, they can hit the sides of the basket and keep waking themselves up. In this case a big cot may be the better option, or you could try swaddling your baby to restrict his arm movements, but not all babies like to be swaddled.
When your baby outgrows his Moses basket you may encounter problems getting him settled in his big cot in his own room. If you put him in his big cot from day one you won't have to deal with this transition, although you can help things along by putting the Moses basket in the big cot to get him used to his new view!
Moses basket bedding can be fairly expensive, but you don't need to buy that much if you are trying to keep costs down (however you do need to make sure you have enough to fit in with your laundry schedule)!
To make up the basket you will need a cotton sheet to put over the mattress. You can buy fitted sheets in Moses basket size, but you can also use small flat sheets or even pillow cases for the mattress. You will also need a flat cotton sheet with one or two cellular blankets to put over your baby depending on the temperature (remember if you have to fold the blanket in half to make it fit, it counts as two blankets).
Your Moses basket may come with a cute quilted coverlet, but this isn't necessary. It is more important that baby is tucked in securely with sheets and blankets. Place the sheet and blankets no higher than baby's shoulders and tuck them under the sides of the mattress to prevent them riding up. Alternatively you can swaddle your baby or put him in a suitably-sized sleeping bag with an appropriate tog rating for the time of year.
Newborns can sleep in a carrycot instead of a Moses basket, which is a more cost effective option if you have bought a travel system that includes a carrycot. If you already have a carrycot there is no point in spending extra money on a Moses basket, unless of course you really want to!
You can leave the cot on the pushchair frame or take it off and place it on the floor. Make sure the cot has a suitable mattress, if not you may have to buy a new one. (If in doubt check with the manufacturer that the carrycot is suitable for nighttime sleeps.)
A Moses basket may look a bit prettier than a carrycot, but your baby certainly won't be able to tell the difference!