The bassinet finally arrived. Only, the instruction manual doesn’t thoroughly, if at all, cover how you should go about getting a newborn to sleep in a bassinet. Sometimes, it’s more than just a matter of placing them inside and wishing your baby a good night.
Well, it happens more often than sometimes.
We understand the frustration. We also understand that it’s not unsolvable.
The sooner we get to the bottom of things, the sooner you can go back to sleep. Until your baby transitions to a crib, you will have to master the art of getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet. Luckily, we have provided all the resources and information you need.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee and strap yourself in.
So, a Bassinet – How Does It Work, Exactly?
The bassinet is your baby’s sleeping space from birth to around four months.
Remember that a bassinet is, after all, only an option. Some parents opt for it, while others ignore it entirely. Either way, a bassinet resembles a strong choice when it comes to ensuring the highest quality and comfort in regards to your baby’s sleeping schedule.
Typically, a bassinet goes right by your bed. That way, you have complete access not only to your baby, but also a perfect view of the main cause of sleeplessness in your life. Many bassinets are mobile, which means that you can move them around throughout the day.
Every baby is different and every bassinet is different. Read the instructions.
During the first few months of your baby’s life, the bassinet comes in handy due to its convenience. Overnight, you have ideal access to your baby, but the portability comes in handy during day. Besides, it’s just as useful for naps as well as it is during nighttime.
If you have a strong desire to keep your baby close, the bassinet is the right choice for you. On top of that, it also provides the beautiful feeling of sleeping right next to your baby.
That is, if you do manage to succeed in getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet.
Right now it may seem impossible, especially if you’re getting frustrated, but try to stay hopeful. With the guidance provided below, we’re going to make it easy and simple.
Although bassinets are somewhat costly, they have many benefits. Especially if you plan to have multiple children, a bassinet sounds perfect because you get to reuse it if it stays in good condition. Otherwise, you would be using a bassinet for just a few months.
Nevertheless, the first few months are significant. When you get the hang of getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet, it’s going to save you a lot of well needed shuteye.
Why Do Babies Refuse to Sleep in Bassinets?
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at bassinets in general, let’s do a quick recap:
- Allows easy access to the baby.
- Mobility comes in handy.
- Convenient to use.
- Works for naptime and bedtime.
- Baby sleeps right next to you.
With all that in mind, how do you actually get a baby to sleep in a bassinet?
What happens when a newborn won’t sleep in a bassinet? When they outright refuse?
Understanding why it happens is the first step towards a practical solution.
Let’s keep it simple: it’s unlikely that it’s the bassinet’s fault. No doubt you’ve done your homework and purchased a safe and high quality bassinet, so what exactly is going on?
Some babies react poorly to change, but it could be any number of things.
When your newborn doesn’t sleep in a bassinet, we must consider all potential causes. For example, your baby could simply be hungry. Those tiny teeny stomachs have to be fed often. Sometimes babies get up all fussy in the middle of the night in want of food.
On the other hand, your baby may have a dirty diaper. Well, this one won’t go unnoticed, especially if you’re getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet because they’re right beside you. If the smell doesn’t stir you from slumber, the crying probably will.
What else should you consider?
Check the room temperature. Ideally, the room temperature should be between 68 and 72°F. If your baby’s shivering or sweating, then it’s a clear sign that you have to adjust the temperature in order to make your baby comfortable. Not too hot and not too cold.
Does your baby know what time of day it is? Newborns don’t have a developed sense of time. As such, when it’s time to sleep, you have to make sure that the lights stay off.
If you’ve done all of these things and checked everything, but you’re still finding it impossible to get your newborn to sleep in a bassinet, then it’s time to explore solutions.
Here’s what you can do to help your newborn fall asleep in a bassinet.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep in a Bassinet
Keep in mind that newborn babies experience quite a wild transition.
If not months, just a few weeks ago, your baby was sleeping in the womb. Now that’s as cozy as it gets. Trying to replicate that in the outside world is outright impossible. So, try to understand that your baby may need some time until they get used to the bassinet.
Ideally, you want to mimic all the positive aspects of the womb.
Before we get into the details, try to remember that you need to be consistent.
Unless you’re extremely lucky, these solutions will take a little bit of time until they come to fruition. So, don’t let the frustration get the better of you. Stay positive and hopeful. Do your best to work together with your partner so that you can finally get some sleep.
1. The Earlier You Start, the Better
Preferably, it’s best to start from day one. That means that you should start your bassinet training as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. However, that may not always be the case. So, the sooner you get a bassinet, the sooner your baby gets used to it.
Some newborns won’t sleep in a bassinet right away. It takes time. Be patient. Gradually introduce your baby to this safe and comfortable sleeping space until it becomes familiar.
Just make sure that you start as soon as possible.
After all, the bassinet phase lasts only up until around four months. After that, it’s time for a crib. So, you’re going to have to repeat the process in some way. Do everything right now and you’re going to save yourself and your partner from a great deal of headache.
2. Routine, Routine, Routine
Newborns understand schedule and consistency.
When it comes to your baby’s schedule, you don’t want to deviate from it. You can expect a newborn baby to sleep around 16 hours a day, which makes it seem like there’s no need for a schedule. But without it, getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet gets harder.
Right from the get-go, you want your baby to understand what bedtime is.
Establishing a bedtime routine at an early age is very important. By connecting certain activates like, for example, story time, you help your baby understand that bedtime begins after the story, which works great to teach your newborn routine and consistency.
3. Don’t Fan the Flames
This sounds obvious at first, but parents easily get frustrated and agitated by their baby’s crying and fussiness. Your anxiousness reflects on your baby. When they get up in the middle of the night seeking comfort, your agitation can only makes things worse.
That’s why it’s crucial that you stay calm, cool and collected.
Remember that it’s perfectly normal for your newborn to cry and to fuss.
It’s also perfectly normal when a newborn won’t sleep in a bassinet, but things change with enough time, effort and composure. So, don’t undo the progress you’re making by getting frustrated. Stay in control of your emotions. Let your baby feel your positivity.
4. Calm Your Baby With a Massage
Massaging babies soothes them and helps them fall asleep.
If you’re wondering as to how to get your baby to sleep in a bassinet, try massages. The trick here lies in massaging your baby when they’re inside the bassinet, regardless of whether you’re trying to help them fall asleep or not. Massages help release tension.
The reason why you should do it in a bassinet is because your newborn is going to connect the two. Being inside a bassinet doesn’t feel so bad when you’re getting a tender massage from your parents. It’s also probable that your baby may very well fall asleep after.
Do well to incorporate massages into your day-to-day routine even if your baby has no trouble falling asleep in a bassinet. You want to massage your baby often so as to help develop their cognitive functions, relax their muscles and lower their irritability.
5. Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling your baby has many positive aspects.
Keep in mind that only very young babies should be swaddled, that is until they show signs of rolling over. Babies usually reach that milestone at around four months of age, but it can happen much earlier, too. Babies can start rolling at around two months.
So, observe your baby and make sure to stop swaddling when they start learning how to roll over. For now, swaddling your baby has a calming effect on your baby that helps them fall asleep. As such, it’s the perfect solution to getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet.
Swaddling provides an additional sense of security.
However, it’s important that you learn how to properly swaddle your newborn, because if you do it wrong, you’re exposing your baby to multiple dangers, risks and disadvantages.
Swaddling too tightly can lead to hip problems. There’s also a risk of overheating. So, make sure that you do your homework before you attempt swaddling your newborn.
Nevertheless, when done right, swaddling calms the baby and helps them adjust to a bassinet. As such, if you’re trying to figure out how to get your baby to sleep in a bassinet, try introducing swaddling in order to provide that additional layer of safety and comfort.
Despite its benefits, it’s equally important that you mind the risks before you swaddle your baby. Read up on safety tips and guidance and swaddle up your little bundle of joy.
6. Is Your Baby Overtired?
Understanding babies resembles an art in and of itself.
Something you may have missed in your attempts of getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet is their energy levels. Consider whether or not your baby is overtired.
An overtired baby basically means that they’ve been awake for too long. Because of that, they have difficulty falling asleep. It’s similar to adults in a way. We get very sleepy the more we stay up, but there’s that fine line that, if crossed, makes us invulnerable to sleep.
Newborns, for example, need to nap practically every 45 minutes as the day goes by.
Knowing how much sleep your baby needs helps you prevent overtiredness.
If you have suspicions that your baby is overtired, these are the signs that you may notice. First of all, their attention span has decreased drastically. Also, they’re rubbing their eyes, pulling their ears. Your baby’s yawning a lot and getting more fussier than usual.
When your baby gets overtired, help them settle.
Rocking your baby, swaddling them and breastfeeding them can help calm them down. However, it’s important that you remember how much sleep your baby needs throughout the day and how often, so that your baby can never feel overtired and fatigued.
Avoid overtiredness and it gets way easier getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet.
7. Sound and Noise
When it’s time to sleep, everything goes on mute.
You don’t want any loud and aggravating noises disturbing your baby just as much as you don’t want them disturbing you. So, make sure to turn the TV off and keep the noise down to the minimum. That said, white noise has a positive effect on helping babies sleep.
Getting a baby sound machine is an excellent idea.
If your newborn won’t sleep in a bassinet, consider getting a white noise machine for your baby. Keep in mind that this not only works to help your baby sleep. It helps you, as well. If a sound machine appeals to your newborn, results follow in but a few minutes.
However, you don’t want the sound machine working all night. Use it to help your child fall asleep, but when they do, turn it off and let the silence do the rest. Use the sound machine as a tool. You don’t want your baby relying on white noise so as to fall asleep.
8. Try Moving the Bassinet
Usually, bassinets are placed right by the bed. That sounds good, in theory. However, for some babies and parents, as well, it can get a little bit distracting. If nothing works so far, try getting your newborn to fall asleep in the bassinet by moving it farther away.
Your baby still stays in the same room with you. Plus, you get all the benefits of convenience with a bassinet, should your baby get up in the middle of the night.
Try moving it a few feet away and see if that works.
After all, every baby is different. That’s why bassinets are so popular, because they’re mobile. Eventually, it will be your goal to help your baby fall asleep without your constant presence. So, moving the bassinet farther away can yield positive long-term results.
9. Work on Positioning
Some babies have gas and it takes a bit of finesse to solve it.
If you have a gassy baby, you have to relieve their discomfort. It could be the main reason why your newborn won’t sleep in a bassinet, or at all. To ensure a night full of sleep, try feeding your baby at least 30 minutes before bedtime and keeping them upright.
For how long? Well, 10 to 15 minutes should be just enough. You want your baby to burp. The more they burp, the better, because burping gets rid of excess air that they swallow during feed time. Do all of this before you put your newborn into a bassinet for the night.
Additionally, certain massages can help your baby with gas. Stroking their tummy in a gentle and circular motion does well to alleviate some of the internal pressure.
The best part about a message for gas is that it helps your baby fall asleep, too.
Two birds with one stone.
10. Keep the Baby Inside the Bassinet
When you go to sleep and you look at your baby, it can be so very tempting to pick them up and place them beside you on the bed. As such, you have to remember, especially if you’re struggling getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet, that you don’t share the bed.
Instead, you and your baby share the same room.
Stick to your guns. If your newborn is asking for attention, you don’t have to pick them up. Keep them in the bassinet until they fall asleep, because your baby has to learn that it’s their sleeping area. It’s going to take some time, but it’s your consistency that matters.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you give in and take your baby to sleep with you. After all, that makes a beautiful bonding experience in and of itself. Remind yourself that a few sleepless nights as your baby adjusts are going to be worth it in the long run. Stay focused.
11. Get Your Baby to Nap in a Bassinet
When your baby’s ready for their first nap of the day, take them to the bassinet. Why the first nap? Well, the first nap is usually the easiest for babies. You’re unlikely to face much, if any, difficulty getting them ready for sleep when it’s time for the first nap of the day.
Bassinet or no, napping can be the gateway to getting them adjusted.
When your newborn gets used to napping in a bassinet, they’re much more likely to enjoy a night’s sleep, too. So, if nothing so far has worked, try giving napping a try first.
Make sure to keep trying. Persistence and consistency mean everything.
Your baby may not fall asleep for a nap right away. Wait a few minutes and if it fails, pick them up, comfort them, calm them, then try again. Rinse and repeat. That’s how it goes. You have to keep on trying with the right strategies and you’re certain to find success.
As good as it sounds, you can’t cast a magic spell and make your baby fall asleep. Like with all things in life, it’s going to take some work and effort. Luckily, with the tools and instructions provided above, you now know how to get your baby to sleep in a bassinet.
It requires a coordinated effort, yes, but it all comes down to persistence.
Above all else, you and your partner have to stay optimistic.
Yes, it can be hard to think straight in those difficult moments when your baby just refuses to go to sleep, uncaring about how tired and exhausted you are. That’s part of the process. You have to embrace it and power through it. The results will come in due time.
When it finally all clicks together, that bassinet of yours is going to feel like a godsent. With so much mobility, ease of access and practicality, it will make those first few months of your newborn’s life easier and simpler, saving you a lot of headache.
Just try to keep in mind that getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet is no impossible task. A lot of parents have been in your shoes and they’ve found a way. So, keep going. Keep trying. In the end, crazy as it sounds, you may end up missing these sleepless nights.
Mother of three and a primary school teacher. I’ve always loved being around children and helping them, so I chose my path as a teacher. It is sometimes hectic with three children, but I am 100 percent into it and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.