Welcoming a newborn into your life is such an exciting time. However, taking care of a new baby can also come with challenges, particularly when it comes to getting them to sleep. One of the most common struggles new parents face is getting their newborn baby to sleep in a bassinet. We will explore a few tips for getting your little one to sleep in a bassinet and reasons why they might not want to sleep or have trouble sleeping in a bassinet.
Why won’t my newborn sleep in a bassinet?
There are several potential reasons why a newborn might not want to sleep or have trouble sleeping in a bassinet.
They feel uncomfortable
Newborns are used to the feeling of being held and snuggled, so being placed in a large and open space like your baby’s bassinet can be uncomfortable for them. They may feel exposed and vulnerable, which can make it challenging for them to fall asleep.
They are hungry
They have small stomachs, which means they need to feed frequently. If your little one is hungry, it may struggle to fall asleep in the bassinet. Or if your baby sleeps but wakes up soon after, try feeding your baby before putting them in the bassinet to see if this helps them settle.
They are overtired
An overtired baby can become fussy and have trouble falling asleep. It’s important to keep an eye on your baby’s sleep cues, such as rubbing their eyes, yawning, or becoming fussy. If you have a fussy baby, put them down for a nap before they become too overtired.
They have reflux or other medical issues
Newborns who have reflux or other medical issues may find it uncomfortable to lie flat on their back in the bassinet. If you suspect your baby has any medical issues, it’s essential to consult with your pediatrician to ensure they receive the proper care.
They are used to being held
Does your baby love the feeling of being held? It could be why it may struggle to fall asleep without that comfort. To help your baby adjust to sleep in their bassinet, try holding them until they are drowsy or even let your baby fall asleep and then place them in the bassinet. This can help them associate the bassinet with the feeling of being held and make the transition easier. You can also look into rocking or vibrating bassinets that aim to mimic the sensation of being held and rocked in the arms.
They are in a noisy environment
Newborns are used to the sound of their mother’s heartbeat and the muffled noises of the womb. If your baby is in a noisy environment, such as a busy household or a room with loud traffic noise coming in from the outside, it can be challenging for them to fall asleep in the bassinet. This is why we love using white noise or a sound machine, which can help drown out other noises and make your baby feel more relaxed.
If the room temperature is too cold or too hot, your baby may feel uncomfortable and struggle to fall asleep. You probably know this to be the case even for yourself. The ideal temperature range for a baby’s room is between 68-72°F (20-22°C). You can use a room thermometer to monitor the temperature in their sleep space and also remember to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature.
Newborns have a hard time differentiating between day and night. Babies sleep good if you create a sleep-friendly environment by minimizing light exposure during nighttime sleep. It is essential to keep the room dark and quiet during the night to signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. We recommend you get blackout curtains to make it super dark.
The back-to-sleep position (sleeping on the back) is the safest position for newborns to sleep in to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, some babies may not be comfortable sleeping in this position and may prefer sleeping on their side or stomach. Always consult with your pediatrician before allowing your baby to sleep on their side or stomach and follow safe sleep guidelines!
Newborns are born with a natural attachment to their mother, and they may feel more secure and comfortable when sleeping near their mother. If your baby is very attached to you and is struggling to sleep in the bassinet, you can try using a co-sleeper or placing the bassinet near your bed.
Tips for getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet
Swaddling is a technique where you wrap your baby snugly in a blanket, mimicking the feeling of being in the womb. This can make your sleeping baby feel more secure and prevent their startle reflex from waking them up and instead sleep longer. When swaddling your baby, make sure the blanket is not too tight, and their hips and legs can move freely. Also, it’s essential to stop swaddling your baby once they start rolling over to avoid any suffocation risks.
Keep the bassinet warm
Newborns are used to being in a warm environment, so keeping the bassinet warm but not too hot can help your baby sleep better. You can use a warm blanket or a heating pad to warm up the bassinet before putting your baby in it. However, it’s essential to remove the heating pad or blanket before putting your baby in the bassinet to prevent overheating.
Establish a bedtime routine
Establishing a consistent sleep routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. Your baby’s bedtime routine can for example include a warm bath, a gentle massage, reading a story or singing a lullaby, and then placing your baby in the bassinet. Keep the same routine simple and consistent, so your baby knows what to expect.
Use white noise
White noise is a gentle, soothing sound that can help drown out other noises and make your baby sleep easier as they feel more relaxed. You can use a noise machine or a simple fan to create white noise. Just make sure the noise is not too loud, and it’s not too close to your baby’s ears. You can also try soft music.
Use a pacifier
Pacifiers can help soothe your baby and provide them with the comfort they need to fall asleep faster. However, it’s essential to follow safe sleeping guidelines and not use the pacifier as a substitute for feeding. If your baby falls asleep with a pacifier, remove it from their mouth once they are asleep to prevent any choking hazards.
Patience and Persistence
Getting newborn babies to sleep in a bassinet can take time and patience. Some babies may take to it right away, while others may need more time to adjust. It’s essential to be persistent and keep trying. However, if your baby is consistently struggling to sleep in the bassinet, it’s okay to try other sleeping arrangements, such as a co-sleeper or a crib.
All these things go for portable bassinets, twin bassinets, and even bassinet strollers, too.