8 Simple Tips: How to Get Baby to Sleep in Bassinet

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A cute baby is sleeping well in bassinet

Are you finding it hard to get your baby to sleep in a bassinet? It’s a common problem that new parents face all the time. 

When I was a new mom, I expected my baby to sleep soundly in her bassinet. Sure, I knew that she would wake up often during the night to eat, but no one told me that she would put up a fight about sleeping anywhere besides my arms.

Many new parents find themselves in this same position, and it’s easy to understand why. Babies are used to being in a snug, warm womb, and sleeping in a wide open bassinet isn’t nearly as cozy. If you want your baby to sleep in bassinet, you have to learn how to get baby to sleep in bassinet even though it sure feels hopeless at times.

Don’t worry; with a few tricks, your baby will sleep well in his bassinet, and you might be able to catch some sleep as well.

Bassinets seem like the classic, outdated choice for a sleeping environment for your newborn, especially with the popular convertible cribs and co-sleepers on the market. Depending on the circumstances, bassinets can be a convenient choice.

Why would you pick a bassinet instead of a different sleeping area for your baby?

1. Small Size

Did you know that room sharing can help reduce SIDS? That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep their baby in their room for at least the first six months of life(source). Ideally, your baby will sleep in your room for the first year of life.

Unless you have a large bedroom, a bassinet is a convenient choice because they’re generally a small size. Bassinets are some of the smallest sleeping options for your newborn baby, and they can be placed right next to your bed. No matter how small your room is, you can generally fit a bassinet in it.

2. Affordable Price

Since your baby isn’t going to sleep in a bassinet forever, they tend to be more affordable than other room sharing options for babies. Co-sleepers can reach costs as high as $200, and most bassinets are less than $100. That makes them an excellent price for parents who need to stick to a budget or who want to save money.

3. Easily Moved

Portability is another factor! Many bassinets have wheels, so you can move baby from room to room in your home. That lets you keep an eye on your baby even when he’s sleeping.

8 Tips on How to Get Baby to Sleep in Bassinet?

I’ve been in your position before. I purchased, for my oldest child, a beautiful bassinet that was as comfortable as it was adorable. Before she arrived, I spent days preparing her bedding, anticipating her arrival.

When she finally came home, she wanted nothing to do with the bassinet, and I was so upset. Why wouldn’t she sleep?

If you find yourself in the same shoes as me, here are a few things you can do to help her adjust to a bassinet.

1. Swaddle Your Baby

Swaddling your baby is a great way to help him settle down to sleep. Imagine what the womb was like – warm, snug, and cozy. Swaddling helps to mimic that same coziness that babies desire to sleep.

Another benefit of swaddling is that it helps to stop the startle reflex. Babies are born with a reflex that causes them to throw their arms out when they’re surprised. So, any loud sound while she is sleeping could set off this startle reflex, known as the Moro reflex.

Swaddling holds down his arms and stops him from waking up. Have you ever fallen asleep and woken up suddenly, feeling like you were falling? That’s precisely what it feels like for your baby to be startled awake – not fun!

2. Create a Routine

Babies thrive on routines. A bedtime routine helps prepare your baby for what’s coming ahead. By doing the same thing each night, your baby will soon learn that you will set him down in the bassinet, and he will be prepared for it.

A bedtime routine shouldn’t be complicated because you need to be able to replicate it every day. That’s why I don’t include bathtime in my bedtime routine because I don’t bathe my newborns or even infants daily.

What’s an easy bedtime routine for a newborn baby?

  • Lotion
  • Put on pajamas
  • Read a book
  • Nurse or give bottle
  • Go to sleep

3. Try Laying Your Baby Down Awake

Many parents swear that laying your baby down awake, but tired is the best way to get your baby to sleep in bassinet. The idea is that your baby is jostled when you lay him down in the bassinet asleep, so he wakes up. Plus, it helps baby learn how to go to sleep on their own.

The jury is out on whether or not this works, but it’s always worth a try. None of my children were able to go to sleep when I laid them down awake. However, it’s a trick that has worked for dozens of my friends, so it’s worth the try.

4. Sing a Lullaby

Lullabies were created for a reason – they help to lull your baby right to sleep. Sometimes, the simplest trick is all that’s needed to get your baby to sleep. Either rock your baby or lay him down awake and sing him a lullaby. Continue to sing to your baby once he falls asleep to be sure he doesn’t wake up once you stop. Gradually stop once you are sure your baby is sound asleep.

5. Sleep on the Bassinet Sheets

Babies have a fantastic sense of smell, and babies want to be near your scent, especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. The scent of their mother helps to make baby feel more comfortable.

One trick you can try is to sleep on the bassinet sheets for a few days or walk around with the sheets inside of your shirt. Then, put them on your baby’s bassinet. You’ll transfer over the scent to your sheets, and it should make your baby feel a bit more comfortable when you aren’t right with your baby.

6. Rock Him If He Prefers

All of my babies needed to be rocked to sleep first before I laid them down in a bassinet. Most of the time, we nursed to sleep as I rocked in my recliner. Once my baby was firmly asleep, I laid him down in the bassinet.

Some people say that rocking your baby to sleep will create a sleep association, and that might be true. However, all sleep associations can be broken, and chances are, you have a few sleep associations as well.

7. Warm It Up First

This tip seems strange, but it does work. Before you lay your baby down in the bassinet, put a heating pad where you will lay your baby. Then, before you place your sleeping baby down in the bassinet, remove the heating pad.

Why does it work? Well, sheets are cold! If your baby is warm and cozy in your arms, laying him down in a cold bassinet is a recipe for disaster.

Just make sure to keep the heating pad on low or medium. You don’t want the bassinet to be hot! The other option is to try a hot water bottle.

8. Try White Noise

The womb wasn’t a quiet location. Your baby listened to your rush blood, your beating heart, the sound of your voice, and the sounds of your digestive system. The quiet can be intimidating for your baby, and being in a quiet location cause your baby to wake up at any sudden sound.

Instead, use a white noise machine next to the bassinet. White noise machines create a variety of sounds, so something is bound to make your baby happy.

Safety Concerns When Sleeping in a Bassinet

No matter how you get your baby to sleep, you want to make sure you do so in the safest manner possible. Here are some safety tips for sleeping in a bassinet.

1. Empty Bassinet

The most important rule of all is to keep your bassinet empty. It’s tempting to put cute stuffed animals and cuddly blankets, but those are all suffocation hazards. Nothing should be in your bassinet besides tightly fitted sheets and your baby! If you want a blanket or your baby, consider a swaddling blanket or a wearable blanket.

2. No Sleep Positioners

Sleep positioners are used to keep your baby on his back to sleep or at an angle, but these aren’t deemed safe for babies. Doctors say that back positioners are a no when it comes to sleep safety because, if your baby rolls over, the positioner becomes a suffocation risk.

Don’t believe me? The American Academy of Pediatrics and FDA say no when it comes to sleep positioners and safe infant sleep(source).

3. No Sleep Wedges

When your baby has acid reflux, some parents like to use wedges to help prop up their baby. While sleeping at an angle can be helpful for babies with acid reflux, wedges aren’t safe for babies. They can cause the baby to roll over and suffocate in his sleep.

The Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating when your baby refuses to sleep in the bassinet. Babies need to get sleep, and so do you! That’s why sleeping in the bassinet is one of the safest choices for your baby. 

By using these tips on how to get baby to sleep in bassinet, you’ll eventually get your baby to relax and sleep peacefully in his bassinet.

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