The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Your precious baby is safely in your arms and home from the hospital, however, the Moses basket that you chose with such love and care is yet to be used as your little one just won’t sleep in there. Does this sound familiar? If so, read on. In this post, we will discuss some of the reasons why your baby might be struggling to settle and explain how to make baby sleep in Moses basket.
What are the benefits of Moses baskets?
According to NHS guidance, your baby should sleep in a cot in the same room as you for the first six months of their life.
One of the benefits of choosing a Moses basket for your baby’s first bed is their portability. Most Moses baskets have handles, allowing you to carry your baby into another room with you while they nap. Once your baby has gotten used to sleeping in their Moses basket, you can also take it with you if you go away for a night, meaning that you don’t need to worry about your baby having to adjust to sleeping in a new cot wherever you stay.
As Moses baskets are only used for the first three to four months of a baby’s life, they are unlikely to suffer much damage or wear and tear. This means that they can be used again for any future siblings, or even passed down through the generations as a treasured family heirloom.
Why won’t my baby sleep in their Moses basket?
After nine months cocooned in the warmth of your womb, it isn’t surprising that your baby is now struggling to sleep through the night in their Moses basket.
Like the young of other mammals, human babies are designed to be carried around by their parents. They feed and sleep on demand, unlike adults who have learned to follow a routine. A newborn baby will sleep anywhere between 8-18 hours in a 24-hour period, however, as their stomachs are still so tiny, they need to wake frequently in order to feed.
If your baby slept peacefully through their first night at home but now won’t settle, you may be reassured to hear that ‘second night syndrome’, as it’s sometimes called, is a normal part of your baby’s development and isn’t caused by anything you’re doing wrong. While some babies may fall into a regular sleep pattern around 3 months of age, this very much depends on the individual. For many parents there is also the four month sleep regression to look forward to.
You might have heard that formula fed babies sleep better than those who are breastfed, and there is some evidence to support this. A 2003 study tracking 253 newborns found that by three months of age 79% of the formula fed babies were sleeping through the night, compared to only 15% of the babies who were breastfed. As breastfeeding is beneficial in so many ways – reducing your baby’s risk of childhood illnesses and SIDS, as well as the mother’s chance of developing breast cancer – you shouldn’t stop breastfeeding purely to help your baby to sleep better. Breastfeeding parents should be aware, however, that it may require a little more perseverance to get a breastfed baby to sleep in a Moses basket.
How to make baby sleep in Moses basket?
Keep them cosy (but not too hot):
It is really important that your baby sleeps in an environment that is the right temperature. According to the Lullaby Trust, you should try to keep the temperature of the room where your baby sleeps between 16 -20°C. If you’re using a blanket, your baby should be placed with their feet at the end of the Moses basket and the bottom and sides of the blanket should be tucked in so that they aren’t able to wriggle down under it. Another snug yet safe bedding option is a baby sleeping bag.
These are safely fitted to your baby’s body and many come with advice on what your baby should wear under them to make sure they stay at the right temperature.
If your baby is breastfed and likes to nod off while feeding, you might be tempted to try transferring them into their Moses basket once they are asleep. This can be difficult due to the Moro, or ‘startle’ reflex. If you find that your baby is waking themself up by throwing out their arms whenever you place them down, one option that you might want to try is swaddling. A practice that has been going on since ancient times, it’s thought that swaddling helps to mimic the cosiness of the womb while preventing your baby from startling. While swaddling correctly can be an art form, you can now find ready-made sleeping bag style swaddles that simply require zipping up.
Consider soothing sounds:
In the womb, your baby was comforted by the rhythmic sound of your heartbeat. Your baby may therefore sleep more easily if they can hear a sound such as white noise. You could try placing a phone playing a recording of a heartbeat on a surface near to your baby’s Moses basket. You can also find soft toys that play sounds or music specially chosen to encourage your little one to drift off.
Your movements rocked your baby to sleep before they were born, so it’s not surprising that they still find motion soothing. You may notice that your baby sleeps soundly during car journeys or trips out in their pram. If your Moses basket is placed on a rocking stand, you can gently rock them to sleep. Don’t worry if your basket came with a stand that doesn’t rock – a selection of rocking stands that will fit most Moses baskets can be purchased here.
Look at the alternatives:
If your baby just wants to be close to you, a bedside crib might be a better option than a Moses basket. These are cribs that stand at the side of a parent’s bed and lie level with their mattress. The side closest to your bed can usually be unzipped so that your baby feels like they are sleeping next to you but has their own safe separate space. If your baby is breastfed it’s worth doing your research as some bedside cribs are designed to allow you to lie next to your baby and feed them.
Give it time:
Trying to get your baby to sleep by themselves can be exhausting. It may feel like it’s never going to happen but this isn’t the case – some babies will settle into a sleep routine quicker than others but all will get there in the end. Reassure yourself that this too shall pass and you will soon learn how to make baby sleep in Moses basket.