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.

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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. There is evidence that padded sides may increase the risk of suffocation and overheating. This is why baby nest manufacturers have invested in developing breathable materials and meeting breathability safety tests (in particular BS4578;1970). Purflo has also created innovative side walls and a solid base for its Sleep Tight Baby Bed, aimed at reducing the likelihood of suffocation or overheating.

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If you follow Safe Sleep guidelines, 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.

The best baby sleeping nests and pods on the market…

1. Purflo Sleep Tight Baby Bed, £120

Purflo Sleep Tight Baby Bed colours

Suitable for: Birth – 6-8 months
Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Yes
Suitable for tummy time: Yes

Following concerns about the safety of baby nests for unsupervised overnight sleeping, Purflo have invested in addressing the two key risks – suffocation and overheating. Rather than having the usual breathable cushion sides, the Sleep Tight Baby Bed features a new type of breathable sidewall designed to better retain its structure and shape, even when a baby rolls towards it.

The base is also solid, with a mesh covering, giving an ultra-firm base that’s still comfy for your baby. This solid plastic base means that Purflo are able to claim that it’s safe to use in your baby’s cot as well as on firm, non-elevated surfaces.

With these differences, Purflo is calling the Sleep Tight a Baby Bed rather than a nest.

“I was delighted at how quickly my 10-week-old baby took to lying and settling in the Sleep Tight Baby Bed,” says our MFM reviewer Fay. “The flat base might not look as comfy as other nests around, but my son didn’t seem to mind the lack of padding, and of course it’s the firm base that makes it more safe.”

Read our full review of the Purflo Sleep Tight Baby Bed

Available from Argos, Amazon and personalised from My 1st Years

2. Sleepyhead Deluxe+, £130

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Suitable for: Birth – 6-8 months
Suitable for unsupervised or overnight sleeping: Not recommended
Suitable for tummy time: Yes

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

It can be used from birth until around 8t 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 side walls 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: John Lewis and Amazon

3. Mokee Mini Pod, £69

Mokee mini pod baby sleep nest

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

4. PurFlo Newborn Breathable Nest, £65

Purflo Breathable Baby Nest Elephant sideview

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 and Amazon

5. 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 6-8 months, 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: Uber Kids

6. 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: John Lewis, Amazon

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