How To Get Newborn To Sleep In Bassinet

Getting babies to sleep can be one of the most challenging tasks for new parents. When I entered my parenting era, I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that putting a newborn baby to sleep would be such a process. I remember setting her down in her bassinet, unswaddled, and thinking, “Well, that is it. My job is done here.” I started walking away, and about two seconds later, my little girl was wailing. At that moment, I realized that newborn sleep was going to be a lot more difficult than I imagined. I had no idea how difficult getting a newborn to sleep could be, and that sometimes a baby won’t sleep…

How To Get Newborn To Sleep In Bassinet

How To Get Newborn To Sleep In Bassinet

While a bassinet is designed to provide a safe and cozy sleep environment for newborns, not all babies readily take to it. Exhibit A, my daughter. Today, we’ll explore practical strategies to help your newborn sleep soundly in their bassinet for longer periods.

What is a Bassinet? 

A bassinet is a small bed specifically designed for newborns and young infants. It offers a secure and comfortable sleeping space, often preferred during the early months due to its cozy size and portability. 

Having your baby close to you during the night can offer peace of mind as well as convenience for those middle of the night wakings. Whether you are feeding your newborn, or changing a diaper, many of us have been up throughout the night with a newborn. Having them right next to you can be a saving grace for many reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing (but not bed sharing) for ideally a year but at least six months. 

Why Getting Newborns to Sleep in Bassinets Can Be Difficult?

There are various reasons why newborns may resist sleeping in bassinets. Newborn sleep is erratic. They are adjusting to lightness and darkness, new sounds (both loud and quiet), a new environment, and a new world! Understanding these factors is crucial in finding effective solutions:

  • Moro Reflex: This startle reflex can cause babies to wake suddenly, especially when transitioning to a flat surface like a bassinet. Moving slowly when putting your baby in the bassinet and avoiding jerky movements can help make this a smooth transition. Also, consider using a swaddle to help ease your baby’s reflex. While laying them on their back, in the safest position of sleep, a swaddle also offers a similar comfort and security that your baby is familiar with. 
  • Room Temperatures: Babies are sensitive to temperature changes; if the room is too cold or too warm, they may struggle to settle. It is safest for an infant to sleep in a cooler room. Sleep experts recommend somewhere between 65 and 72 degree Fahrenheit. This helps a baby sleep better and also helps prevent against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
  • Sleeping in your Arms: Babies often fall asleep more easily in a caregiver’s arms, finding it challenging to transition to a bassinet. With a newborn, do not focus on putting them down awake. Focus on getting them in a deep stage of sleep, and then put your baby down in the bassinet. 
  • Noise and Light: Environmental factors like loud noises or bright lights can disrupt a babys sleep in their bassinet. It is important that there are no glowing lights in the baby’s room, or outside light peeking through windows or doors, if possible. Use blackout shades or blackout curtains to keep your baby’s room dark. Pure white noise (static – not nature sounds or music) helps mask outside noises and prevents wakeups during light stages of sleep. Invest in a good white noise machine. It will help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep! 

PRO TIP: Keep the white noise machine on during middle of the night feedings. It will make the transition from feeding to sleep smoother. 

How To Get Newborn To Sleep In Bassinet

Check out our blog, “How To Get Longer Stretches of Sleep With Newborn: Newborn Sleep Tips” to get some longer stretches of sleep for both you and your baby. 

How Do I Get My Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet?

Preparing the Safe Sleep Space:

Creating a conducive environment is key to helping your newborn sleep comfortably in their bassinet. Make sure your baby is sleeping in a room that is dark, cool, and quiet. Ensure that your baby is sleeping on a stationary, float surface for both naps and nighttime sleep. A firm mattress provides essential support and reduces the risk of suffocation. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges against anything other than a fitted sheet in the child’s sleep area during the first year of life to prevent SIDS/SUIDS. 

Dressing Your Baby Comfortably:

Dress your baby in light, breathable clothing suitable for the room temperature. Make sure the temperature of the room is somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider swaddling your newborn. Swaddling can recreate the snug feeling of being in the womb, calming your baby’s startle reflex.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Stick to a regular bedtime routine to help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. A routine before bed can be a few simple, easy, and quick steps. It doesn’t need to be a 30 minute routine. For newborns, lowering the lights half an hour before bedtime can help soothe your baby into sleep mode. Also, turning on their white noise machine can be a signal that it is time for bed. Your routine should fit what works best for you and your family. 

Can Babies Sleep In A Bassinet Overnight?

Can Babies Sleep In A Bassinet Overnight?

Yes, newborns can safely sleep in a bassinet overnight if proper safety measures are observed. To ensure that your newborn is sleeping in a safe sleep space, check out our blog, “Safe Sleep Practices for Newborns: How to Protect Your Baby”:

  • Safe Sleep Guidelines: Follow recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for safe sleep practices.
  • Monitor Room Temperatures: Ensure the room is comfortably cool (around 65-72°F) and use appropriate bedding to prevent overheating.
  • Regular Checks: Check on your baby periodically to ensure they are sleeping safely and comfortably. 

For more information on safe sleeping practices, including the use of pacifiers, visit can a newborn sleep with a pacifier.

Helping your newborn to sleep peacefully in their bassinet is a gradual process that requires patience and consistency. By understanding your baby’s cues and creating a safe and comfortable sleeping environment, you can encourage longer and more restful sleep patterns from an early age. Remember, every baby is unique, so it may take some experimentation to find what works best for your little one.

Congratulations on the birth of your baby, this is such an exciting time! Remember to give yourself grace and try to remember that this phase is short!  Try not to compare yourself to other moms or your baby to other babies. Each child is different and is born with different needs and sleep patterns, and that is perfectly fine! 

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Ready to work with an expert to get your baby on a solid schedule? Want to get your newborn, infant, toddler or school-age child sleeping an extra hour? Perhaps the goal is your child sleeping the entire night? Check out my newborn course that will give you the confidence and tools to handle newborn sleep. It includes a video course that can be accessed anytime and two live troubleshooting phone calls to help support you in your newborn sleep journey. Don’t need the course just yet? Check out my other newborn, infant, or toddler sleep resources!

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