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How to Get a Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet

When you’re a new mom, sleep is a big thing. Your sleep, your baby’s sleep, your partner’s sleep… it seems as though everyone is obsessed with sleep.

For babies, it’s not only about getting them to sleep more during the night but where they sleep that can become an issue. While some parents put their babies in the crib right away, others opt for a bassinet.

It’s a smaller space and many are portable so they can be in the same room as mom and dad. But what happens when your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet? If this is happening to you, you’re not alone.

Let’s take a look at how to get your newborn to sleep in a bassinet so everyone can get a good night’s rest.

Why Isn’t My Baby Sleeping in the Bassinet?

There may be several reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping in the bassinet. Here are a few to consider:

Your baby has a dirty diaper or gas

A baby isn’t comfortable with a dirty diaper so it will harder for them to fall asleep. The same goes for if he’s feeling gassy. He needs to be comfortable if he’s going to fall asleep anywhere.

Your baby is hungry

When you’re hungry it’s hard to fall asleep. Your baby is no different. Feed them and then see if they’ll fall asleep in their bassinet.

The room is too hot or too cold

If your baby is cold, they won’t be able to fall asleep. If they’re too hot, the same applies. Be sure the room is comfortable to promote good sleeping habits.

When your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet, take care of all of those needs, and see what happens. It may be a simple fix to get them into dreamland while in their bassinet.

Ways to Get a Newborn to Sleep in the Bassinet

Getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet can take some work.

Here are some ideas to try:

Establish a bedtime routine

A routine helps a baby know what’s expected of them. As they go through the motions, they begin to realize what is going to happen which can help them fall asleep better. Here’s a routine to try:

baby in the bath

  • Bath
  • Light massage
  • Reading or singing
  • Swaddling 
  • Cuddling 
  • Bed

Put Baby to Sleep When Awake

Some new parents think that they have to rock their babies to sleep before actually put them down. But, putting them to sleep when they’re still awake is actually better for them. This teaches them how to self-soothe and fall asleep by themselves.

But, you don’t want to put them to bed when they’re wide awake. Wait until they’re sleepy and relaxed. This will make it easier for them to fall asleep once you put them down.

Try Swaddling

If your baby is small enough to sleep in a bassinet, they’re small enough to swaddle. Be sure your baby can’t roll over on their own. If they can, don’t swaddle because it can suffocate them.

Swaddling helps your baby feel secure, like when they were in the womb. When your baby feels relaxed and secure they’ll be more likely to fall asleep.

Sing a Lullaby or Read a Book

Reading or singing to your baby (or both) are great ways to relax your baby before bedtime. This helps to soothe them. Letting your baby hear your voice as they’re drifting off lets them know you’re close by, which is also relaxing for them. 

Make Sure the Room is Dark

Too much light in the room can be stimulating and can keep your baby awake. Keep the room dark with just a nightlight. If too much light from the outside comes into the room, try blackout curtains to keep the room dark.

Baby Massage

A massage can relax you and make you feel sleepy. The same is true for your baby. A gentle massage can help your baby sleep in the bassinet if he’s having trouble.

baby being massaged on the stomach

Sleep on the Bedside Bassinet Sheets

A baby likes to be near his mother and picks up on her scent. If your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet, try sleeping with the bassinet sheets for a few nights before putting them on.

This will help them to pick up your scent. Your baby will smell it when they’re trying to fall asleep. This can make them more comfortable and may just do the trick!

Place the Bassinet Close to Your Bed

Besides giving the bassinet sheets your scent, keep the bassinet next to your bed so your baby can know you’re nearby. This will let him know that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Keeping the bassinet close to the bed will also let you hear your baby cry in the middle of the night. This is a good alternative to co-sleeping which can pose a suffocation danger to the baby.

Buy a Bedside Bassinet With Movement

If your baby falls asleep in the car or when you’re rocking him, try buying a bassinet with movement if you’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep in the bassinet.

These bassinets cost a bit more, but the cost is well worth a good night’s sleep for everyone.

How Sleep Affects Your Baby

Getting your newborn to sleep is very important because it affects them emotionally, mentally, and physically.

When your baby doesn’t get enough sleep, they get fussy because they’re exhausted. They can also become overstimulated which makes it harder for them to sleep.

Just as adults are not as mentally sharp when they don’t get enough sleep, the same can be said for babies. They’re less alert and unable to concentrate. When babies don’t sleep enough they also become physically tired (just like adults).

Safe Sleeping Tips

As you look for ways of how to get your newborn to sleep in a bassinet consider these safe sleeping tips:

  • Always put your baby to sleep on their back
  • Remove any pillows, blankets, toys, or crib bumpers when your baby is going to sleep
  • Make sure the bassinet mattress is firm and has a well-fitting sheet
  • Once your baby shows signs that can roll over, stop swaddling them. It becomes a danger because they can suffocate. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents should sleep in the same room as their baby until they are at least 6 months old. It’s preferred to stay in the same room until they are at least one if possible.

When it comes to getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet, be patient. As with many things with babies, it may be just a phase that they will outgrow. Keep calm and parent on.