Basics Sleep

Moses Baskets: Everything You Need To Know

As a new parent, one of your first decisions is selecting a comfortable, cozy and safe place for your baby to sleep in.

After all, your baby won’t really do much else other than sleep during those first few weeks and months

You probably already know that health experts including the AAP recommend that babies sleep in the same room – but not in the same bed – as their caregivers in order to reduce the risk of SIDS.

That means that your baby will need their own sleep surface to rest on, and typically you have three choices here – a crib, bassinet or Moses basket.

We’ve already covered the difference between a crib and bassinet, cribs and cradles, as well as whether you need a bassinet, so in this article we’re going to delve into Moses baskets in much more detail.

In particular what Moses baskets are and what they are used for, whether they are safe for babies or not, how long your baby can use one for, and ultimately if you should buy one.

What Is A Moses Basket?

In simple terms, a Moses basket is a bed (or more specifically a bassinet) for your newborn.

They are typically lightweight, portable, made out of natural ingredients such as wicker or palm leaf, and designed to be pleasing on the eye.

This last feature is a common reason why they are popular with parents, and it’s actually one of the main reasons we decided to buy one.

Moses baskets look chic and stylish (especially when compared to most other bassinets, a chunky looking crib or a pack n play), and I loved admiring my daughter’s Moses basket every time I put her down during those first few months!

Inside a Moses basket you’ll find a small, firm mattress that should fit the space perfectly, along with bed sheets which should ideally by fitted and made from organic cotton.

Moses baskets typically feature handles at the top for portability, allowing you to easily move your basket from room to room around the house (i.e. from the kitchen to your living room or bedroom) and between play, naps and other activities.

Most also come with a base or stand, allowing you to set the basket securely on top, and have a base that is either in a permanently fixed position or one that can be gently rocked.

What Is A Moses Basket Used For?

Quite simply, a Moses Baskets is a bed and a carrier for a baby.

As they are nowhere near as big as a crib, Moses baskets are only used for very young babies, from newborn to around 3 to 6 months of age depending on a baby’s size.

Moses baskets are fairly proportional in regards to the size of your child, and as such they provide a cozy sleeping space for your little one during their first few months.

This is unlike a larger crib or cotbed, in which your baby might look tiny and “lost”.

As mentioned, in the first few months of your baby’s life your little one will do a lot of sleeping, be it naps or night time sleep.

Moses baskets are designed with this in mind, providing your baby with a comfortable and safe space that is easily portable, both around your house and for when you are traveling.

Why Is It Called A Moses Basket?

Moses baskets get their name from the Old Testament Biblical story in which baby Moses was found floating along the river Nile in a basket.

Are Moses Baskets Safe?

Baby Lying Down

Moses baskets are classified as a bassinet, and as such they are indeed safe for babies and newborns.

That means a newborn baby and infant can safely sleep in a Moses basket overnight and for their naps.

However, the ultimate level of safety will come down to some important factors, some of which apply to wherever your baby sleeps, and some of which are specific to Moses baskets.

Here are some important safety precautions that you should follow in order to keep your baby safe while sleeping in their Moses basket:

  • Be aware that once your child reaches a certain weight and length, and has a certain level of mobility and strength, a Moses basket will no longer be a safe place for them to sleep in (more on this shortly).
  • Ensure the Moses basket has high sides to prevent falls.
  • Check the Moses basket is stable, structurally sound, and that the handles are strong enough to carry your baby’s weight.
  • Ensure it does not have have small parts or unintentional folding requirements.
  • When moving the Moses basket, hold the handles in one of your hands, and support the basket from underneath using your other hand.
  • Follow the ABC’s of safe sleep, which stands for:
                      • Alone: your baby should always sleep on their own sleep surface
                      • Back: put your baby down on their back for every sleep
                      • Crib: your baby’s crib or bassinet should be empty for at least the first year, which means strictly no pillows, blankets or soft toys (although pacifiers are allowed)

How Long Can A Baby Sleep In A Moses Basket?

If you’ve decided that you want your child to sleep in a Moses basket, then it’s very important you know when it’s time to stop using one.

The exact time as to when to stop using a Moses basket will vary from baby to baby, but typically babies outgrow their Moses basket between the ages of 3 to 6 months.

For what it’s worth, my daughter slept in hers for around the first 4 months.

The key considerations here are your baby’s size, weight and strength.

Here are some signs which indicate it’s time to transition out of a Moses basket:

  • Once your baby has the necessary strength and mobility to pull themselves upright, then using Moses basket will no longer be safe due to the risk of falling.
  • If your baby is able to roll over unassisted then it’s time to stop using a Moses basket.
  • If your baby’s torso length is nearing the length of the mattress inside the basket, it’s time to move them into another bed.
  • Notwithstanding the above, the majority of Moses baskets are suitable for babies who weigh up to 9kg or 20lbs, so once your baby nears this weight you should transition them into a crib.

Moses Basket vs Bassinet: What’s The Difference?

baby in green onesie lying on white wicker crib

A Moses basket is technically a type of bassinet, so it’s no wonder parents get confused when trying to figure out the difference between these two words.

The simple thing to remember is that a Moses basket is more lightweight and portable compared to a regular bassinet.

Moses baskets are easier to fold up and store away when not in use, and easier to move around your house or pack into your car when traveling or going on vacation.

Bassinets on the other hand are more typically more sturdy, more expensive and often a little bigger, but they are usually less mobile and take up more storage space.

Are Moses Baskets Worth It?

The ultimate decision as to whether it’s worth buying a Moses basket comes down to you, your budget and your individual circumstances.

There’s no denying that most Moses baskets are much more aesthetically pleasing than regular bassinets, cots or cribs, and as mentioned that’s actually one of the main reasons why my husband and I decided to buy one for our daughter.

However, keep in mind that just like a regular bassinet, your little one will typically outgrow their Moses basket within 3 or 6 months, and they will then need to move into a crib or cot bed.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Baby & Toddler Sleep

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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