Baby won’t sleep in moses basket (why)

In this article we will discover why some babies won’t sleep in the moses basket and how to sleep train them in eventually doing so.

Moses baskets, cribs or co-sleepers are basically designed for babies to sleep on for the first few months of their life. These are cosy and confined spaces mimicking a cocoon that is supposed to help them feel at ease and comfortable. But most often, newborns and babies find it difficult to adjust to the outside world and have a very disruptive sleeping pattern.

The moses basket can ideally be used for the first 3-6 months of the baby’s life, but if they are able to roll over or pull themselves upright, this is not the best place for them to sleep on anymore. However, some babies find it difficult to sleep on the moses basket, so let’s find out why:

Baby won’t sleep in Moses’ basket:

Baby won’t sleep in moses basket due to a variety of reasons, one is adjusting to the new sleeping pattern outside of the womb makes babies agitated on where they are supposed to sleep. As a mom of a newborn, where sleeping is almost next to none. Baby feeds round the clock and nappies have to change as often as possible.

 In our minds, we imagine the baby sleeping soundly in the moses basket, but then the sad discovery that he would sleep everywhere, except the moses’ basket.

How to get baby to sleep in the moses’ basket:

  • Ensure that your baby knows already the difference between night and day. 

It is not as easy as it sounds though.  Letting a baby sleep through the whole day, and having him awake all night has its benefits. You can get a lot of chores done like washing and cooking that can be finished as the baby sleeps. 

When it’s closer to bedtime, make a routine of having a baby downtime. Reduce playing with the baby, dim some lights, let him have a warm bath, do not make much noise when it’s downtime. This way the baby will somehow know that he’s getting ready to sleep. 

  • Make sure that the baby is ready to sleep.  

Baby should be happy and content and most of all have a clean nappy before putting him to sleep. Make sure that the baby is well fed before he goes to sleep so he wouldn’t be too fussy during the night.

  • Swaddle

Babies love the warmth and cozy feel of the womb and wrapping them in a swaddle can work wonders when they are about to sleep. Swaddling will remind them of the tight space in the womb, making them feel relaxed and fall asleep faster.

If the baby sleeps longer, she may be woken up by the startle reflex, and swaddling can help soothe him back to sleep.  While the baby is in the moses basket, it can be overwhelming for him to be in a large space wherein he can touch the sides. Swaddling can help ease him back to sleep.

  • White Noise

White noise is generally a background noise to help mask unexpected noises that may wake a sleeping baby, like creaking floorboard or cabinets.  White noise is helpful only for certain times. Make sure that it does not have the opposite effect that instead of helping your baby to sleep, it might overstimulate your baby.

Put the white noise machine or app in the phone at least two meters away and keep it at a reasonable volume level.  Babies can get used to the white noise though and use it as a lullabye and might have more trouble sleeping without it. Well, a sleeping baby is far better than not sleeping. 

Another option to keep your baby sleeping in the moses basket is the use of white noise attached to it. Just make sure no radiation is being emitted by the machine or phone when being used.

  • Control the lights

Lights have scientifically been studied to have an effect on our sleeping pattern. We are very light sensitive. The blue light that is emitted from the tv and phone screens and sunlight, suppresses the melatonin, the sleep hormone, in our bodies. And the same goes with the babies.

Red light on the other hand is ideal for sleeping and helps regulate our sleeping pattern. If you want to keep your baby sleeping in the moses basket, make sure that the lights are dimmed or turned off.  This will help babies sleep better.

If during daytime naps while in the moses basket, make sure that the nursery has black out curtains to ensure that no sunlight will peep through. When putting babies to sleep at night, make sure that the TV is turned off and the main room light is off. 

  • Make baby bored

As much as we want to play with the baby and show them how much we adore them, doing this before bedtime can have an adverse effect.  It is important to know that overstimulating your baby before naptime or bedtime can hinder their ability to sleep.

Important thing to remember: do not make eye contact with the baby before going to sleep. Eye contact signals to the baby a deeper level of communication. While this is an enjoyable time for both of you, this can also hinder their sleep pattern and make them overstimulated.

Don’t play with the baby, instead you can rock the baby in a gentle swinging motion to help them to sleep. You can also sing to the baby in a gentle voice. Since the baby doesn’t understand the song, it becomes just a white noise to them.  

When you do stop singing, make sure to fade away quietly so they don’t get startled on the sudden disappearance of your voice. So as long as the baby has no reason to stay awake, he will most likely fall to sleep. 

  • Put the baby down in the moses’ basket awake. 

After preparing him to sleep, when the actual time comes, he should be awake but sleepy.  Being able to put him to sleep on his own is important so they know how to self soothe themselves.  Being able to do this on their own is a huge step in establishing a healthy sleeping pattern as they grow older.

  • Make it a routine

Helping your baby sleep better in the moses basket whether for naptime or bedtime, make sure to have a routine that the baby will follow suit eventually.  The baby will somehow know the bedtime is approaching. This doesn’t happen overnight, but following a routine for each night will help the baby establish a routine.

Things to do to establish a bedtime routine:

  • Feed the baby. Knowing that the baby is well fed and burped properly during the night makes him sleep longer and more comfortably.
  • Clean nappy. Make sure that the nappy is changed before bedtime. Not only will you prevent rashes, it makes the baby comfortable as well while sleeping. Imagine sleeping in wet pants, how icky will it be.
  • Sing. This can help like a white noise to the baby. If you sing the same song to the baby, the baby will know that bedtime is approaching and its downtime.
  • Bath. This is optional, some babies do not bathe at night. Or if you want to do so, make sure that the baby’s hair is fully dried before putting him down in the moses basket to sleep.

How long should a baby sleep in the moses’s basket?

Moses basket makes it very convenient for the parents to keep the baby sleeping in while they move around from room to room.  They can do about their other chores with the baby sleeping soundly in the moses basket. 

However, babies should only be using the moses basket from newborn up until 3 to 4 months old only. Though this could be longer depending on the size, weight and mobility of your baby.  Once the baby is able to pull himself up, the moses basket is not a safe place anymore.

When placing a baby inside a moses basket, it is appropriate to have them “feet to foot” position, with their feet exactly at the end of the basket.  This ensures that the baby snuggly fits inside the basket. 

The mattress should be firm, entirely flat, waterproof and have no soft areas anywhere near the head.  Soft mattresses are known to increase the risk of SIDS. Make sure that they won’t be too warm in the moses basket. The surface of the mattress should be firm enough that when you place the baby, their head does not sink more than a few millimeters.

Safety is of number one priority when choosing a moses basket for your baby. Make sure that the handles don’t break and it is durable. You should always carry the basket with one hand in the handle and another one underneath to provide full support to the baby.


We have known that not all babies sleep well in the moses basket. However, this can be remedied by following a set of routine for your baby to establish a bedtime signal and better sleeping pattern. 

FAQ’s on “Baby won’t sleep in moses basket”:

What to do when your baby won’t sleep in a moses basket?

Always try to put your baby down to sleep in the moses basket while awake yet sleepy so they learn to settle themselves. You can sing or gently rock them to sleep.

When should a baby not sleep in a moses basket?

Until six months old, it is recommended to put your baby to sleep within the same room as you in the moses basket or cot. This arrangement has the lowest chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  Moses baskets can be used for babies before they are able to sit or pull themselves up.

How do you settle a baby in the moses basket?

Swaddling will help babies to sleep in the moses basket. Swaddling mimics like they were in the womb and make sure that the cot is cosy and snug.  

Can a baby sleep in moses basket all night?

The safest place for a baby to sleep both during the day or night is in a cot or moses basket in the same room with you for the first six months.

Are moses basket SIDS safe?

Moses basket should be free from any blankets or toys. The mattress should be firm and the head of the baby should not sink a few millimeters. This would ensure that the baby is safe when they sleep.