Of the many items on a “new baby shopping list,” the cot is one of the biggest purchases. Not only is a crib one of the more expensive bits of kit (with prices ranging up to around £1,000, on par with a buggy), but also because it takes up a lot of space in your home.
Your newborn will spend a lot of time in their first bed, so the most basic requirement is that it will provide a safe place to sleep. You can check if it meets British safety standards by looking for one of the following codes marked on the instructions or on the cot itself: BSEN716 for cots and cot beds; BSEN1466 for Moses baskets; or BSEN1130 for bedside cribs. If a baby’s bed has bars, they should be smooth, secure, and no further than 6.5 centimeters apart, according to the NHS. Whatever cot you choose, the most important thing is that your baby sleeps in a “clear cot,” free from any items other than a firm, flat, waterproof mattress and some bedding, according to safer sleep charity the Lullaby Trust.
Next, you’ll need to decide whether you want a portable Moses basket or a space-saving bedside cot. These should only be used before a baby is able to pull themselves up, so they have a limited life span. The alternative is to go straight for a cot or cot bed, (as these are designed to last until your child is at least 2 years old), but doing so will limit where your baby can sleep, which may cause a problem if you don’t want to be trapped in their nursery, as the NHS advises the safest place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as a parent or caregiver for the first six months.
Once the safety checks are complete, you can get to the fun part: the design. To help uncover the most stylish options, we asked nine parents with particularly good taste (including an interior designer, an author, and a podcaster) for their recommendations. Here’s their pick of the best baby beds to buy.
The best Moses baskets
When Sydney Piercey, author of Sustainable Play, was pregnant with the first of her three children, she bought a traditional Moses basket and stand, but she found that she didn’t actually use it that much (preferring to co-sleep at night). Then, for her second child, she bought this one, which she says she “much prefers.” “This basket got a lot more use, as it worked as a daybed for naps that I could easily move around the house,” she explains. “I could also throw it in the back of the car if we were going away. It’s bigger than most Moses baskets, so it can fit babies for a longer time, and then afterward looks great filled with laundry or children’s toys.” [Editor’s note: This product is currently out of stock.]
Alison Coldridge, mum of one and head of Lifestyle at Yahoo U.K., knew she wanted a Moses basket that was “simple and sturdy,” but she spent quite some time searching for the ideal one, as she wanted one that could be “kept for decades to store toys in or other items.” As well as being stylish, this one also won Coldridge’s heart as its leather-wrapped handles are especially strong. She also mentioned that the basket fits standard Moses basket mattresses, so she didn’t have to spend loads on a specific brand.
The best Moses basket stand
Coldridge says this rocking stand “was the perfect accompaniment” to her Moses basket. “The basket fits snugly and securely in the stand, and I loved that all together the setup worked with my décor vibe while being a safe and comfortable place for my daughter to sleep,” she explains.
The best Scandi-style cots
Alex Stedman, mum of two and editor of the Frugality, bought this beech cot for her first baby. “I liked the no fuss minimalism of it and then the price really sealed the deal,” she explains. “Our youngest is now using it and it has served us so well. One thing to note is that the sides don’t come down and it doesn’t turn into a cot bed, but we have loved using it. The benefit of going for a more affordable cot is that, if you can afford to, you can splash out a bit on chicer bedding and sheets.”
“I loved the clean lines of the Oeuf Sparrow crib. The fact that there are no visible joins in the front makes it feel seamless and stylish,” says Emily Rickard, interior designer and mum of two. “It has a sleek, distinctive Scandi look.” Rickard also likes that this cot can be converted into a toddler bed when you purchase a separate kit, which she says “makes the investment worth it.”
The best classic cots
Mum of two Rebekah Killigrew, an editor who specialises in architecture and interiors, likes this cot so much she has actually bought it twice. Once, for her first baby in black and now in pine for her second. “It’s a great price point for the quality, and the size has been perfect for both nurseries,” she explains. “It’s a simple and classic design and feels sturdy. The mattress height can be adjusted as they grow and it has the all important teething rails.” Asda also stocks a larger cot-bed version and a compact version ideal for smaller rooms.
Shahlaa Tahira, mum of two and founder of the Badass Mums podcast, bought this cot in white for her first baby (she was keen to have a gender-neutral colour scheme). She found that the drawer underneath proved to be a major bonus. The space-saving design feature was “really handy” as it was large enough to contain lots of baby clothes and bibs. “We were also surprised that the cot was so sturdy as it’s such a good price, but it lasted my daughter two years until she grew out of it, even with us having to dismantle it when we moved,” she adds. Tahira now plans to buy another one for her son. “We’re going to go for grey because it’s nice to have a bit of a colour theme going on,” she says.
The best expandable cots
Naomi Wilson, mum of two and founder of Mama Sparrow blog, was happy to spend extra on the Silver Cross Canterbury cot bed as she wanted a cot that would last for more than one child — and which could possibly one day even be passed down to grandchildren. She’s happy to report that after two babies, it is still going strong. She also loves that as well as turning into a toddler bed, this design can be converted into a three-sided daybed. “You can put cushions round it, and that’s really nice to have as somewhere you can read stories or even just a nice place for all the teddies to be.” The Canterbury has been discontinued, but Silver Cross now stocks a Nostalgia Sleigh Cot Bed that can be converted into a similar daybed configuration.
This cot is unusual in that not only can it be expanded into a toddler bed, but it can actually be converted into a full-size adult bed. “The main reason we bought this one is because it will be able to be used for years to come,” says Ben Anderson, dad of four and blogger at the Diary of a Dad. “So even though it feels like it’s on the more expensive side for a cot, long term, I think it all evens out.”
The best bedside crib
Jo Wimble-Groves, mum of three and Guilty Mother blogger, was pleasantly surprised when she received this bedside crib as a PR sample. “It’s got really nice curved lines and a rocking stand,” she said. But one of the things she loves most is that it is portable: “The basket lifts off and the stand folds up, so I could pop it in the boot of my car, making it really handy for travelling.” The Snuzpod comes in multiple colours. Wimble-Groves has one in white, but it also comes in darker shades, including a navy and a dark-wood “espresso” shade which Strategist contributor Ellen Wallwork bought as she “wanted a crib that wouldn’t look out of place amid the vintage dark-wood furniture in my bedroom.” She also loved that this cot is narrower than a lot of other cribs, so it looks neater and takes up less room.
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