How To Get A Newborn To Sleep In A Bassinet

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We’ve all been there, a newborn who just won’t sleep in their bassinet or crib. You’ve done everything you can think of, but they just won’t settle. 

There are ways to make sure your baby gets a good night’s sleep and in their own safe sleep space. Here’s how to help your baby sleep in a bassinet. 

Comfort Check

Before putting your baby in their bassinet check that they have had sufficient milk and check their diaper. 

The final feed of the day is the one that will keep your baby’s tummy full during the night. Make sure they have had all their milk before starting their bedtime routine

If your baby suffers from reflux or gas this can make them fussy, and you will struggle to get them to settle.

Keep your baby upright in your arms for 20-25 minutes after feeding to make sure they get rid of any gas bubbles before bedtime. 

Also, babies can be sneaky! They wait until you have put a nice clean diaper on after their bath before immediately filling it or wetting it. Check they are clean and dry before attempting to lay them down. 

How To Get A Newborn To Sleep In A Bassinet

Temperature

The temperature in the room should be comfortable for your baby, neither too hot nor too cold. Either extreme is bad for your newborn as they are unable to control their temperature until the age of 12 months. 

Dressing your baby for sleep is important to get right, as they will be sleeping without a blanket or cover.

For this reason, the rule of thumb is to add one extra layer to your baby’s nightwear than you would wear. 

Check the temperature of the room too. The ideal temperature is between 68° and 72 °F (20 – 22 °C). If your home is warmer or cooler than this, adjust layers of clothing accordingly. 

A home thermostat or room thermometer can help with this. 

Remember overheating for babies is very dangerous and has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

Routine

Routine

A good bedtime routine is essential to help your newborn to sleep in their bassinet. Start as you mean to continue.

Doing the same thing at the same time each night in the same order is essential in establishing a bedtime routine. 

Download our bedtime routine.

It is natural to love the feeling of your baby falling asleep in your arms. But this can be the start of a habit that may be hard to break. Harder than you might imagine. 

After the final feed of the day and when the baby has had time to digest you can begin their bedtime routine with a warm bath.  A light massage can also help your baby relax. 

Then it's time for reading or sing a lullaby to your baby. If you are going to swaddle your baby then do this beforehand. As they get sleepy at this stage, you want to be able to put them straight into their bassinet. 

Lay your baby in the bassinet while they are awake. This is important, as it helps them to self-soothe and not get into the habit of only falling asleep in your arms. 

Is your little one struggling to self-soothe?

Our Sleep Training Guide: How To Sleep Train & When To Start Sleep Training will help you and your baby get more sleep.

Swaddling

Swaddling is a great way to help your baby settle in their bassinet. It helps them to feel safe and secure, helping to get them to sleep. This works up to the age of about two months. 

It is an ancient tradition that still has many benefits today. Babies that are anxious can be soothed by the feeling of being held in a close embrace, that swaddling provides. It can help them to sleep better and longer. 

Swaddling reduces the startle or Moro reflex which can wake babies. They are not used to being in an open space, and they can react to a change in light, touch, or sound. 

If you don’t know how to swaddle your baby there are purpose-made options such as Velcro sleep sacks. If you are want to learn how to swaddle your newborn, we have some expert tips. You will have your “Houdini” all wrapped up!

Smell

One of the most soothing things for your baby is your smell. When you place them in their bassinet they are not just separated from your touch, but also from your smell. 

A solution is to sleep with one of your baby’s bassinet sheets for a night and then put it on the bassinet mattress. Having your smell close to them can help a baby feel more comfortable and secure. 

It may seem an odd thing to do, but don’t forget the bond between mother and baby is more than just sight, as most newborns don’t see very well anyway.

Sound and smell are strong bonding aids and should not be discounted as a way to settle your little one. 

Lighting

Lighting

Getting the light right in your baby’s room will help them to sleep better in their bassinet. Associating darkness with sleep is important to your baby’s circadian rhythm and establishing their nighttime routine. 

Keep lights low and invest in some blackout curtains for the baby’s nursery so that daytime naps are easier too. At night use low lighting rather than harsher overhead lights. 

Should my baby's nursery be dark for sleep?” has some excellent tips.

Sounds

There is no way to keep your newborn insulated from all sounds, and it is inevitable that there will be times when noise keeps your baby from sleeping in their bassinet.

If your neighbor decides to mow the lawn during daytime napping there’s not a lot you can do. 

Heavy blackout curtains don’t just eliminate light during the day, they can also reduce the amount of ambient noise coming into your baby’s room.

They are made from a tightly woven fabric that consists of two layers of fabric. 

Sounds will not be completely eliminated, but they will be muted. Hopefully enough to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. 

It may seem counterintuitive but introducing sound to a newborn baby’s environment can help them sleep better and longer.

Sound machines can mimic the sound babies hear in the womb or play white noise which is very soothing. 

Tiredness

A newborn who is overtired will not be easy to get to sleep in a bassinet. When a baby gets overtired, cortisol, a stress hormone, is released into their bloodstream.

This can make getting them to sleep very difficult for them, and they are more likely to wake up often. 

Similarly, a baby who is not tired enough at bedtime will not want to sleep in their bassinet.

Overly long or late naps can cause a newborn to be too awake at what should be their bedtime, and you will struggle to get them to settle down. 

These are the Signs Of An Overtired Baby And How To Help Them Sleep. Spoiler Alert :- Yawning is a sign of overtiredness!

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to get your newborn to sleep in a bassinet and some will work better than others from one baby to the next. 

The key to this issue is consistency. As long as you persist with a good routine and you know that there are no external issues preventing your baby from sleeping in their own space, then just keep persevering. 

It is really important that newborns sleep in their own bassinet as it reduces the chance of them overheating and the risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

We hope this guide to helping your newborn sleep in a bassinet has helped you. 

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