8 best baby nests to settle and soothe your baby into a peaceful sleep

8 best baby nests to settle and soothe your baby into a peaceful sleep
Give yourself a break and your baby a peaceful sleep with the best baby nests and pods from JoJo Maman Bébé, Scandiborn, Purflo, DockATot, Red Castle and more.

During the first few weeks, newborn babies are asleep more than they are awake – on average, a baby needs between 16 and 22 hours of rest per day. If you want to provide a comfy space for your baby to nap in that isn’t always your arms, but where you can still keep a watchful eye, then look no further than a baby nest.

In the parenting world, these products are still a relatively new concept, with Sleepyhead – now DockATot – pioneering the idea back in 2005. Since then, plenty more options have come to market. They’re essentially mattresses with padded sides that offer a narrow and cosy sleeping area for your baby.

It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of baby nests are not certified for overnight sleeping and must always be put on a flat, firm, stable surface – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They should be used to settle, soothe and generally comfort your baby. 

Read more: 13 best sleeping bags for babies that are lightweight and safety-conscious

We tested a range of baby nests (often also called pods) against some all-important criteria over the course of two weeks and with the help of a little eight-week-old reviewer. 

First and foremost, comfort is king; you’ll want a soft fabric which is delicate on your baby’s skin, such as cotton, but also breathable (look out for air permeability certification BS 4578:1970), with mesh being a strong contender. 

Washability is a big factor too, as your baby is likely to spend many hours in this product – removable covers that can be bunged in the wash win points for practicality.

While parents would give their right arm for a few more Zs, baby paraphernalia doesn’t come cheap, so finding one at the right price is key. It’s likely your baby nest will move around the house too, so that means portability comes into play, as does style. Fear not, for we’ve found some of the most stylish options on the market.

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Purflo sleep tight baby bed

To the naked eye this may look like just another baby nest, but there’s one huge difference and, quite frankly, it’s a gamechanger. The Purflo sleep tight baby bed is the first of its kind to be certified safe by the British Standards Institute for unsupervised, overnight sleeping (we can hope, right?).

There’s innovation at every turn with this product, but its firm sides are the top attraction. They stop baby from being able to roll out of bed, as they’re strong enough to keep your child inside the cocoon. Surprisingly, they don’t feel bulky or cumbersome due to the eco-friendly and breathable filling – a DuPont-patented fibre called sorona. It is made from 37 per cent plant-based ingredients and retains its shape and structure to ensure it doesn’t flatten with age. 

On first inspection we were concerned that the base felt too hard, but to keep baby safe a firm, flat base is essential for unsupervised sleep. While us adults are particular about the feel of our mattresses, newborn babies aren’t so pedantic.

The breathable mesh topping ensures comfort with the right amount of squish. In fact, breathability is a key feature all-round, as the base and sides are designed to allow air to circulate around baby, maintaining a safe temperature. We were also won over with how easy it is to wash, with even the base being removable for wiping clean. 

Usually, with such a practical product you’d pay the price in aesthetics, but this just isn’t the case – this nest is available in five styles including white, grey, pink and the “botanical” and “scandi spots” prints, with the latter being particularly gorgeous. It also feels the lightest out of all the nests we reviewed, and the integrated handle makes portability a doddle.

DockATot deluxe+ dock

There’s certainly a lot to love about the product, and it’s not just for the likes you’ll get on the adorable Insta snap you’ll post of it. A luxury cocoon, the plush padded sides make it a haven for your little one.

For baby’s first few months this offers the perfect spot for lounging, changing nappies (although stick to wet ones only), playing and the much-loved tummy time. You’re able to unclip the bottom to give extra kicking space, and there are handles on the sides for extra portability, plus it’s pretty lightweight. The whole cotton cover and side bumpers can be removed and washed, while you can handwash the mattress pad. The polyester filling has been certified to match Oeko-Tex’s standard 100 class 1, meaning it contains no harmful substances.

The best thing about the DockATot, for us, has to be the covers. You can choose from a huge range – from palm print to painted spots – so you’ll certainly find one to suit. The recommended use for this pod is eight months, and while parents would love for their baby to relax in their nest for this long, we see its usefulness as dwindling past six, particularly if you have a long baby. 

Babymoov doomoo cocoon

The doomoo is designed to comfort your baby through three stages; from newborn to three months with the sides attached at the bottom; from three to six months with the sides extended; and from six months with the bottom opened up for extra legroom. Coming in white and grey, the design is unfussy with a stylish origami-boat pattern. 

What really struck us about the babymoov is how breathable it is. At the head there’s a “micro-breathable 3D fabric” to help regulate baby’s temperature and offer ventilation, while the back and sides are made from a wonderfully soft organic cotton jersey, which is ideal next to your little one’s precious skin. You can remove the cover using the zip at the bottom of the mattress, so it’s easy to keep clean too.

Konges Sløjd baby nest

The Konges Sløjd design philosophy is to create items that bring joy to little ones while pleasing their parents, and this certainly rings true with this baby nest.

As a brand they’re big on sustainability, using high-quality and environmentally friendly materials, so it came as no surprise that the nest is made from 100 per cent organic cotton, with a global organic textile standard (GOTS) certification, and is filled with first-class recycled polyester. From just one stroke you’ll feel the quality, with the breathable fabric proving so soft that your baby will love snuggling up on it. You also get a perfectly sized matching quilted blanket.

The sides tie together at the bottom of the nest, and are covered by a tab of fabric with velcro at the base, making them safe without affecting the polished design. Once your baby is that bit bigger, you can untie the sides to give extra room. You can completely unzip the mattress from the sides too – while it’s not big enough to use as a play-mat, it could certainly make a changing mat and is the only nest we reviewed with this functionality.

While you can also take the padded sides off and cover the zip with the velcro tab, we’re yet to figure out what it could then be used as (other than a very attractive draft excluder), but it may offer some soft furnishings for your nursery. To keep up its good looks, simply remove the foam mattress and the whole thing can then be washed at 30 degrees.

Red Castle cooconababy

Red Castle’s cocoonababy is a totally different shape to the other nests we tested, and while it may not look quite as pretty, its claims are impressive. It’s designed to improve not only the quality but the length of your baby’s sleep, and while we can’t vouch for that, we applaud it for some fantastic features and can confirm our little tester found it comfortable.

Designed for the very early days – newborn to around three months, depending on how actively your baby wants to start changing position – the nest provides a reassuring surrounding. If your baby doesn’t like sleeping flat on their back, this product is perfect as it mimics the position of being in the womb, or being held in your arms. Babies who suffer from reflux will also appreciate the incline.

Your baby is also less likely to wake from the startle reflex – which tends to happen quite frequently during the first few months – because of the contact between their shoulders and arms and the cocoon. You’ll also find a moveable cushion wedge inside, accessible under the cover, which should be positioned up against baby’s bum and behind the knees, giving that foetal-like position that many of us still like to sleep in as adults. 

At first we thought the tummy band might be a little intrusive, but we needn’t have worried. It’s soft and gentle and doesn’t affect baby’s movements at all, while still keeping them in the right position. Along with the cotton cover, this can also be machine washed, making the care of this product simple.

Snuggle Me organic lounger

Out of all the nests we tested, the Snuggle Me organic lounger is the closest thing baby will get to a hug. When you place your little one in the middle, their weight pulls the sides in a little closer, mimicking a snuggling sensation and contouring the head and torso area, which works a treat for calming and comforting an unhappy baby. 

This is definitely a product geared towards the early months and it’s that bit smaller than many of the others we tested. As your baby grows you’re likely to find it’s not quite as useful – it’s suggested for use up to nine months, or before baby starts crawling. When baby is really small they fill the centre space perfectly, but as they grow their legs drape over the bottom, which still looks like a comfortable spot, but doesn’t give the same support. 

Made across the pond in the States, sustainability has been considered hugely. Made with GOTS-certified cotton, it’s breathable and hypoallergenic, with polyester-fibre-filled sides. Washing this model isn’t quite so straightforward as some of the others though, and we’d suggest you purchase a cover (it will cost you an extra £39.95), otherwise it needs to be washed in cold water with plenty of time allowed for drying.

Buddy & Hope grey cosy nest

From the Swedish brand Buddy & Hope, this cosy nest is a baby pod, XL style. Despite reminding us of your first paddling pool, it is a fantastic, cosy space for baby. We love the chic design with a gentle frill around the edge. The nest has two separate half-circle mattresses that make up the base, which are slotted in by undoing the zip. 

Play is certainly the order of the day, more so than sleep, as this nest is the perfect size for some serious tummy time, even with two babies in it. The material is a breathable, 100 per cent cotton, and can be completely unzipped and popped in the washing machine. Due to the size this is more suited as a comfy padded spot for older babies to chill out in, rather than for the snoozy newborn days, and we think it makes a wonderful addition to a nursery – or, equally, it is stylish enough to have in adult spaces too.

NapNap sleeping mat

While the NapNap might not quite fit the baby nest bill, there’s some seriously smart innovation here that could help to soothe your unhappy little one regardless. As there’s no padded sides, we wondered whether this would be able to create a calming environment, but it’s safe to say that the six vibrating modes do just that.

Emitting soothing, rhythmic motions alongside comforting white noise, the mat mimics the environment in the womb, which is said to ease the baby’s breathing, relaxing them and helping them drift off into deep sleep – happy baby, happy parents. You can flick through the vibration modes at the tap of the discreet button – NapNap suggests starting with the low vibration for the first two months before going up to the high vibration at six months.

As the mat is quite small, we believe it’s main use is for during those early months, but this product is also great for premature babies and, in fact, NapNap says special medical versions of its mats are used in neonatal units around the world.

Before use you’ll need to charge the NapNap using the provided USB cable, with two hours of charging lasting up to 15 days, because the product automatically shuts off after 20 minutes. Due to its size it’s also wonderfully portable, and you also receive a travel bag to keep things compact. The 100 per cent Egyptian organic cotton cover can easily be removed and popped in the washing machine – plus there are four cool designs to choose from.

The verdict: Baby nests

Purflo has taken baby nests to the next level with the sleep tight baby bed, which is not only certified for unsupervised overnight sleeping but looks stylish, offers superb breathability and has good sustainability credentials. We of course also fell in love with the DockATot, which is bursting with quality and style. 

Baby won’t be sleeping the whole time – we’ve also rounded up the best baby play mats and gyms that entertain and educate

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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