The best sleeping pods and nests for babies and toddlers

We've found the best baby sleeping pods and nests for newborns to toddlers, and include the latest safe sleeping advice

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Baby nests, or baby pods as they’re also known, are essentially mattresses with padded sides that offer a narrow and cosy sleeping area for your baby or toddler.

They are becoming an increasingly popular choice over the traditional Moses basket as a portable sleeping space for daytime naps.

Are baby sleeping nests and pods safe?

You may have seen the warning from The Lullaby Trust that baby sleeping pods and nests do not meet the safe sleeping guidelines that it promotes.

“The evidence shows that the safest way to sleep a baby is on a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in a cot or moses basket and we would not recommend any sleep surface that does not conform to these guidelines,” The Lullaby Trust told us.

According to the Trust, pods and nests don’t meet the guidelines. This warning only applies to babies under the age of 1.

We’ve investigated all of the scientific evidence that the Trust has based its warning on. Perhaps because pods and nests are fairly recent products, we couldn’t find any specific research or recorded SIDS cases relating to them, but there is evidence that raises concerns around the padded sides and some pods that have soft padded mattresses..

Therefore, although the risk is very small, we recommend:

  • Choose a pod or nest with a firm mattress. Soft mattresses have been linked to an increase risk of SIDS. A firm mattress shouldn’t sink more than a few millimetres when your baby is placed on it. Avoid memory foam mattresses
  • Never leave a baby in a pod or nest unsupervised. That means they’re not recommended for overnight sleeping until your baby has reached the age of 1
  • Regularly check that your sleeping baby is not overheating or has moved their face into the side padding. Both have been linked to an increased risk of SIDS and the latter may lead to accidental suffocation

When using a baby nest, they must always be put on a flat, firm, stable surface and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

These are the best baby sleeping nests and pods on the market…

Sleepyhead-deluxe+

1. Sleepyhead Deluxe+, from £130

Suitable for: Birth – 6-8 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended

Suitable for tummy time: Yes

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019, Baby Sleeping Aid – Gold, Nursery Accessory – Gold

The award-winning Sleepyhead Deluxe+ was the original pod design and as a portable napping space for supervised daytime sleeping and tummy time, is an absolute favourite among mums.

MFM judge Anna says: “The Sleepyhead is brilliant – a wonderful way to soothe baby and help them sleep. It is a gentle little cocoon to keep them secure.”

It can be used from birth until around eight months old (sooner though if you have a long/big baby) and also doubles up as a play gym when you buy the additional toy arch and mobile.

The bumpers are 100% breathable and you’ll find the pod is easy to clean – the covers and bumpers go in the washing machine and you handwash the mattress pad.

Being feather light, it’s easy to move it from room to room but as it’s quite thick it doesn’t fold down. It does come with a clear plastic carry bag though, or can you can buy a separate transport bag. With hypoallergenic fabrics that come in on-trend colours and prints, overall it’s a super-stylish bit of baby kit.

Read our full MFM review of the Sleepyhead Deluxe+

Available from: Mothercare, John Lewis and Amazon

purflo-purair-breathable-nest

2. PurFlo Newborn Breathable Nest, £65

Suitable for: Birth – 4-6 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended

Suitable for tummy time: Yes

The Purflo Breathable Nest is a light and portable pod for supervised daytime naps and is a popular choice due to its reasonable price tag – it comes in at half the price of the much-loved Sleepyhead Deluxe.

The Purflo nest has a comfortable sleeping area of 64 x 28 cm and the pod’s base and sides are fully air permeable. It’s hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial too so can reduce exposure to dust mites that may aggravate allergies.

Our reviewer says: “The PurFlo Breathable Nest is a great value for money product that can last for a decent amount of your young baby’s life. It gives me peace of mind and allows me a safe place to put my daughter, and as I breastfeed on demand it was a lifesaver when I had her next to me in the living room during the day.”

Similar to the Sleephead, the cover is easy to take off and wash and the range of fabric designs feature neutrals or cute creature prints.

Read our full MFM review of the PurFlo Breathable Nest

Available from: Purflo, Mothercare and Amazon

voksi-baby-nest

3. Voksi baby nest, £99

Suitable for: Birth – 6-9 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended

Suitable for tummy time: Yes

The Scandi-designed Voksi baby nest is a cosy, egg-shaped pod that comes in an ultra-stylish selection of colours.

It has firm, but breathable sides, a soft and supportive mattress, and its fabrics are certified as being free from nasty chemicals. As with most pods, the Voksi should be placed on a firm surface and is only suitable for supervised daytime naps and tummy time.

Unlike nests that can only be used up to around three or four months – such as the Red Castle Cocoonababy, the Voksi nest’s standout feature is an opening foot-end. This gives the pod a slightly longer lifespan so ideal for fast-growing babies that like to kick out. It also comes with a travel bag for easy transportation.

Our home tester Lara says: “I love how snug and secure my little boy seems in the Voksi nest. He naps well in it and I also think it will last us for a while because not only is he a small baby but I can open the end up too.”

Available from: Natural Baby Shower, Mothercare, Uber Kids

mokee-mini-pod

4. Mokee Mini Pod, £69.95

Suitable for: Birth – 6 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended

Suitable for tummy time: Yes

The beautifully simple moKee Mini Pod promises a cosy nap space for babies from birth up to six months old, along with providing a soft place for tummy time.

It has air permeable, easy-wash fabric with rounded bumpers and an internal measurement of 65cm x 31cm means the Mokee offers a slightly larger sleeping area than the Purflo nest or the more expensive Sleepyhead Deluxe – so a thumbs up for bigger babies.

The minimalist grey will blend into any nursery and hypoallergenic fabrics help to keep nasty allergens at bay. The pod’s lightweight design makes it easy to move around your home from room to room, keeping baby close.

Our home tester Donna says: “I love the Mokee brand for it’s simple, stylish scandi-designed baby products and I found the pod invaluable in the first few months after my daughter was born. It was a cosy place for her to sleep during the day between feeds and it was great to take with us on our first weekend away as a family.”

Available from: mokee

sleepyhead-grand

5. Sleepyhead Grand, £205

Suitable for: 9 – 36 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Yes, from 12 months

Suitable for tummy time: Yes

The Sleepyhead Grand is the big sibling of the Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod for babies – the follow-on Grand can be used from nine to 36 months, and is the only pod in our list that caters for this age stage.

It’s designed to give older babies the same cosy nest-like experience as a baby pod and once a little one reaches one years-old, is suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping. This means it can be placed in a cot or used on a toddler bed for security when transitioning from a cot.

Our reviewer says: “For sleep-deprived parents experiencing issues with getting a child to go to sleep or for those who want peace of mind that their toddler won’t roll out of a junior bed, the Sleepyhead Grand is unquestionably worth considering if you can afford it.”

As with the Deluxe, the Grand is breathable, hygienic and there’s a great selection of cool washable fabrics to choose from.

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Mothercare, John Lewis, Amazon

red-castle-cocoonababy-nest

6. Red Castle Cocoonababy Nest, £130

Suitable for: Birth – 3 months

Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended

Suitable for tummy time: No

The Red Castle Cocoonababy is a bestselling nest with features that really appeal to the parents of newborns.

Unlike the flat pod designs of the Purflow or the Voski, the Cocoonababy is a thick, ergonomically created foam wedge that curves to support baby in a reassuring semi-foetal posture. Because of this unique shape, the nest claims to reduce gastric reflux and limit the risk of flat head syndrome.

It also has a tummy band to secure baby in the correct position, although it’s worth noting this nest isn’t suitable for babies much beyond three months when they are starting to move or trying to roll. Despite its chunkier size, the Cocoonababy is still easy to move around the house.

Our reviewer says: “I found the Cocoonababy useful to use in the daytime instead of a moses basket as it’s light-weight and easy to move around so I can have him in whichever room I’m in.”

The nest comes with one fitted sheet, but buying more along with the additional washable protective cover, does makes it a pricier option than the Sleepyhead, which can be used for longer.

Read our full MFM review

Available from: Jojo Maman Bebe, Olivers BabyCare, Kiddies Kingdom

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