baby proof: baby in a basket.

August 20, 2014

basket2306 Twelve weeks. That’s all folks. I’m not a sleep expert or a baby whisperer or any of the other people who might actually want to consult to learn the secrets to sleep. But! I am a mom to a 12-week-old living in a one-bedroom apartment and a bunch of you have asked about where and how we put Faye to sleep, so here’s an answer.

Before Faye was born, one of the very few baby supplies that we purchased was a Moses basket. Because I try to keep things as affordable and simple as possible, we opted for a no-frills, organic basket that didn’t come with a mattress or liner. To cozy it up a bit, we purchased an organic cotton futon. (Note: Check dimensions when ordering a futon and request a custom size if need be.) The futon is a nice base, but actually quite thin, so for the first few weeks we folded up a wool blanket and put the mattress down on top of that. When Faye received a sheepskin as a gift, we began to use that on top of the futon instead.*
basket2329 Faye sleeps in her basket in our bedroom at night.** When she was very tiny and waking up multiple times each night to feed, we slept with her in the bed between us to make middle-of-the-night feedings more tolerable, but we moved her into the basket fairly quickly. Our tiny bedroom means there’s only room for a double bed, so there’s not a ton of extra space for another human between the sheets, snuggly though she is. Maybe more importantly, Faye seems to be cozy and comfortable in her basket, so for now we’re sticking to that. (In the name of simplicity and space-saving, we opted not to get a stand for the basket, but it wasn’t for a lack of options.)

During the day, we take the sheepskin out of the basket so she can loll on the floor and coo at various things on ground level. When I take a shower, I pop her back into the basket. You know, because she might suddenly learn to roll over and scoot about while I’m shampooing. No matter the logic, the basket feels like a safe spot for her to hang out in by herself. When she’s ready for her mid-morning nap (this should probably read if she takes a mid-morning nap) we put her back into her basket and into our bedroom. She tends to sleep more peacefully with the curtain drawn and in the relative quiet of that room (jackhammers, screaming children, and impatient cabbies loitering outside our apartment, please take note.)

As Faye grows, we’ll likely transfer her to a crib, but like most things, we’re taking this bed stuff slowly, so that conversation will have to come later.

I think that about covers it.

*My sister’s mother-in-law gave Faye her sheepie. She’s mother to six, grandmother to ten (soon-to-be 11!) and something of a sheepie connoiseur. She recommends always opting for the shorn sheepskin and ordering from a reliable source that doesn’t overly process the skins in tanning. Ours is made by Kaiser and imported from Germany.

 **Can we all agree that talking about a baby’s sleep patterns has to be one of the more insufferable topics of conversation out there? You feel like a jerk if your baby sleeps more than someone elses’s baby and you feel like a jerk if your baby sleeps less than someone else’s. No winning.
See more Baby Proof posts RIGHT THIS WAY.
PS. The links in this post were updated after the birth of Erin’s second child (January 2017).

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  • Reply Abigail Black August 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I love this post! My husband and I don't plan to have children just yet, but I have wondered about Moses baskets…especially now that one of my closest friends is expecting. I gather from this post that your baby sleeps on the sheep skin all night? Does it hold up okay/ wash well after any night time accidents?

    • Reply Erin August 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Yes! She sleeps on the sheepskin all night. Faye isn't prone (so far at least) to nighttime accidents and she very rarely spits up, so we actually haven't had to wash the sheepskin yet, but, yes! They wash easily (and repel "water") which makes potential accidents all the easier to clean up!

      • Reply Rachel November 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

        What do you use to wash the Sheepskin?

        • Reply Erin Boyle November 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

          We just use the same eco-friendly detergent that we use to wash our regular loads!

          • Sarah March 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

            Hi Erin,

            Did you end up washing the sheepskin in the washing machine or by hand? How much of a fuss was the washing process and how terribly long did it take to dry? I am contemplating between the regular Kaiser sheepskin (which is machine washable) and the mimosa-tanned version which has no chemicals but is only hand washable…


          • Erin Boyle March 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm

            We machine wash it. I never even think twice about it and the air drying is quick! I’d hazard the guess that you could probably get away with machine washing any sheepskin with a gentle detergent and gentle cycle (and air drying!), but totally your call of course! The

  • Reply Anonymous August 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Love your blog but have never commented before! Just wondering where you place the moses basket during the night as you don't have a stand. Is it on the floor? If so is it difficult to get her out during night-time feeds?

    I'm curious as I too am trying to avoid buying a stand to save space in our small apartment when our first is born this December 🙂

  • Reply Jana || One Drawing A Day August 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I love moses baskets! And I love how you keep things so simple. I think we make parenting so complicated.

  • Reply sweet harvest moon August 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    love moses baskets! simple and practical.

  • Reply monique August 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Erin! I am de-lurking after a long while of reading your lovely blog to say hello (finally!) and congratulations on the birth of sweet baby Faye. I am your cousin-in-law Mary's old roommie from university and sat with you and your sisters at Eric & Mary's wedding in Toronto! Seems like forever ago now.

    My husband and I are expecting early next year and we share your minimalist approach to life. 🙂 (While we're not quite as accomplished at it as you, we're getting there!). I am thrilled to find a safe haven on your blog for not Buying All The Things one "needs" for a baby and wanted to get your thoughts on forgoing a change table/dresser with change pad. We have the room for it but I'm wondering whether changes really happen on the dresser vs. the floor, table, etc.

    You have also given me serious food for thought on waiting to buy a crib. We have the good fortune to become potential recipients of a hand-me down Stokke crib set from dear friends, which was my plan. I am now wondering about whether the Moses basket for the first few months, and then crib sometime in the future, makes more sense… would you have gotten a (small?) crib right off the top do you think if you had the space?

    I'll stop now before this comment becomes a novella! Happy 12 weeks Faye!

    • Reply Erin August 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Hi Monique!! So glad to hear from you and so, so glad to know you've been reading! For us, we had the opportunity to use an old changing table from my mom and dad. It serves as Faye's dresser where we keep her swaddles, clothes, and diapers, so it's been really useful to have for that alone. My mom made a simple woolen cushion with removeable cotton liners for the top and so far so good. I'm the last person to say you *need* a changing table…but I definitely prefer chaning Faye on the dresser as opposed to the bed or floor!

      As far as the crib goes, it's been nice to have a few more months of square footage before getting squeezed out! My sister Cait also opted to wait for a crib, but ended up getting one at about month 6 (I think…it was month 6!). Buuut, that being said, if you have the option of borrowing/getting a crib for free…sounds pretty ideal! Okay, hope there's at least a half answer in that rambling!

  • Reply Julie August 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    What a beautiful basket and beautiful baby! I know you have a very minimalist approach (which is such a wonderful change from other baby posts floating around) but I still have to recommend a white noise machine. Oh my goodness, it was such a lifesaver for us living in the city (and with one very noisy cat). I even prefer sleeping with it myself. A fan works well too but in the winter months, I found it just too chilly.

    • Reply Erin August 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Ah, yes! We've got a fan for now, but we're planning to get a white noise machine eventually! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Reply Julia August 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    thanks for this. we didn't use a moses basket with our now 12 month old (not really sure why). but i'm thinking i would like to try it next time around (whenever that happens). i will say, that your last footnote could not be more spot on. sleep (like breast/bottle feeding, or pretty much anything parenting/baby related) is so touchy. i felt guilty early on when our little one was seemingly a good sleeper and now i'm becoming more and more sleep deprived, i can't deny that i have a very strong longing for a full, uninterrupted night's sleep. i really appreciate your parenting posts so far.

    • Reply Erin August 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Oh man, it's a tough thing to navigate, all this baby talk! Glad you appreciate the posts! (Wishing you a good night's sleep and soon!)

  • Reply Colleen August 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I love your environmental, thoughtful, caring and simple parenting approach! This is not meant with any judgement. You definitely seem to parent in a thoughtful and loving way. Just curious, have you read much about SIDs risk and Moses baskets? If so, any thoughts or recommendations? I love the idea of a Moses basket, but there is so much out there as far as guidelines and suggestions, it is hard to know what to think or worry about!

    • Reply Erin August 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Colleen,

      Thanks so much for your note! My thoughts about parenthood in general—and new parenthood especially—is that there's an awful lot to be fearful of. Each of us has to make our own carefully weighed decisions about our own children. That being said, I am not concerned about Faye's safety in the Moses basket. She sleeps swaddled and is too young to roll over, so her sleeping on a closely shorn sheepskin doesn't get me worried, just the opposite! I feel like she's in a clean, safe space! Hope that helps!

    • Reply Taylor Yves August 22, 2014 at 2:13 am

      Where are there published stats on SIDS and Moses baskets? I can't find any.

    • Reply Anonymous September 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

      I think the SIDS stats refer to Moses baskets with padding on the side, this Moses vbasket is unpadded, so it should be completely safe.

      • Reply Christina February 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm

        No, actually a sheepskin and co-sleeping are both potentially dangerous. I understand we make our own decisions as parents, but encouraging risky sleep options is irresponsible. It really isn’t any different than if a smoking parent claimed they were not increasing an infants risk of SIDS. Because a sheepskin is beautiful, it does not make it safe. If there’s ANY question, why take the risk? Babies can sleep just as sweetly and simply in a safe environment and can be exposed to the beneficial properties of a sheepskin at other times, like when awake in a stroller. I respect personal decisions, but not a post propagating a questionable, however charming practice.

        • Reply Erin Boyle February 21, 2016 at 8:31 pm

          Christina, I do disagree with you on this point. Many babies the world over sleep safely with their parents. Many babies the world over sleep safely on sheepskins. A baby who does either of these things is not being put at a risk equivalent of living with secondhand cigarette smoke. I would never suggest that this is the route for all parents or all babies, but it was my choice, relative charm or beauty unrelated.

  • Reply Inge August 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I love that basket! I shall remember its existence for when or if I have a little babe myself.

  • Reply Maja August 20, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I love the simplicity of this all, and the basket. Somehow it makes having a baby (someday, maybe) less daunting and overwhelming by taking away most of the "stuff"…

  • Reply Sydney Eyrich August 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I love love love the idea of a Moses basket. I so admire the simplicity with which you have been approaching baby accessories!

  • Reply Kari August 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Just a tip. I read somewhere that some white noise machines are so loud that they are harmful to a baby's ears. So you might want to make sure, when you purchase one, that it isn't one of the noisier ones.

    Loving all your posts. Thanks for the simplicity and the sanity.

    • Reply Erin August 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I read an article about that, too! If it's not one thing, it's another, hunh? Will be careful!

  • Reply Julia August 22, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Thank you for your lovely parenthood posts. I feel compelled to comment for the *first* time ever as that last footnote rang so true to me- the topic of baby sleep has got to be both the most discussed AND intolerable topic there is! Ahh! Our little nugget is 7 months old and has been giving us a run for our money. Lucky for them they are cute!

  • Reply Lindsey & Josiah August 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Love this! We did not even think about using a Moses basket for our first baby, but somehow stumbled upon its brilliance for our second. I loved moving him from room to room with me and keeping the basket on the cedar chest at the foot of our bed. Sadly, he's 8 months now and outgrew the basket a few months ago when he started rolling over (and out!). We managed with both children to not have to get a traditional crib and only use a portable crib until they can handle a twin bed (about 2 years). Obviously, portable cribs are mostly plastic and unattractive, but the easy packing for trips and easy storage between babies has made it worth it for this family. Best of luck in maneuvering your future baby sleep decisions!

  • Reply Lolita Blahnik August 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Faye looks so confortable in her basket 🙂 I love this sheepskin
    My daughter (6 months) never wanted sleeping in her Moses or crib, so we have been sleeping together since her first night and for us it´s great.
    Love your parenthood posts, actually all your posts!

  • Reply Fatehpal K August 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Precious! We too live in a small space and are going the moses basket route. We've ordered the one pictured above. Question: Did you have to custom order the futon mattress size or did the standard size available fit? Thank you so much! PS I love your blog, as a former Brooklynite, now continuing to live in a tiny space out in the Desert.

    • Reply Erin May 31, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Oh dear! Sorry I never saw this! Yes: we ordered a futon made to fit (no extra cost!)

  • Reply Clare Davis May 31, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Hi Erin, love the blog! Keep up the simple parenting posts – I find them so so helpful. I'm purchasing the same moses basket off Amazon that you got. Wondering what size you purchased in the etsy organic cotton futon – not sure what size is the best fit??? Thanks, Clare

    • Reply Erin May 31, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Clare! Thank you for your kind words! We ordered a custom futon—made to fit at no extra cost!

      • Reply Mariel October 16, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        Wish I had known this last year! I purchased these two items on your recommendation and was so disappointed to find that the futon in her shop is much smaller than the basket. I ended up rolling up some blankets to fill the gaps but it’s not ideal. Thinking about it again since now we are expecting baby #2 in the spring! Love your blog, though, Erin!

        • Reply Erin Boyle October 17, 2015 at 7:54 am

          Sorry you didn’t notice the size discrepency when you ordered! Although we ordered a mattress sized to fit, we also ended up using an extra blanket and really preferred to use the sheepie once we had that! If I did it over again I would have just used the sheepie!

  • Reply Kate March 13, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Hi Erin, I love this Moses basket and would like to order it for our October babe. But I’m wondering if you found the handles were sturdy enough to carry the baby when you moved her? Just reading Amazon reviews and curious about your experience. Thanks!

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 13, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      We loved our basket. Since Faye slept in it, it’s gotten a bit beat up (lots of pushing it around upside down when she was learning how to walk) and the handles have frayed a bit. I might reinforce them before using it with another infant, but I wasn’t worried about when it was new and Faye was sleeping in it!

  • Reply Carrie March 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Hi Erin!!
    Love this post. We’re looking into that mattress for our Moses basket but I wondered if you thought it was firm enough. It looks pretty soft and I know that can be a problem for newborns. Just curious your experience. Congratulations on dear Silas!!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 17, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Totally personal preference here! We were happy with our mattress, which is why I wrote about it here, but if it doesn’t look firm enough for your preferences, I’d definitely check out other sources!

      • Reply Carrie March 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        Thanks Erin!

  • Reply Rachel Anne Manning April 17, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Erin,

    What specific size did you all end up getting to fit the Moses basket? Not finding a conclusive size on amazon. Thank you in advance for your feedback. Your blog has been a go-to source when planing for our baby on the way.


    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      Hey there! I can’t say I remember specifics! I measured the inside the best I could and had the mat custom sized to fit! Good luck!

  • Reply t March 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    this went straight on your bed at night? we don’t have room for a sidecar thing in our place and would love to do the same. are you using this for the new baby too?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 16, 2020 at 11:35 am

      we didn’t use the basket in our bed! just next to it! we still own the basket but it’s seen a lot of use over the past six years and we use it to keep throw blankets now. this time around we got a mini crib from our buy nothing group that we keep by our bed.

      • Reply R March 16, 2021 at 8:14 pm

        I know this is an old post so not sure if you’ll see this, but did you just have the moses basket on the floor next to your bed? I just got our basket and am expecting our first (long time reader excited to finally put all your baby and parenting advice to use) and am also trying to avoid buying an expensive stand for it, but wondering what to do instead.


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