Babies (0-12 mos)


Child Development


How To Get Baby To Sleep In Bassinet in 7 Steps

sleeping baby

How To Get Baby To Sleep In Bassinet in 7 Steps

Getting your baby to sleep when and where you want is not always an easy task.  Some babies sleep easily no matter where they lay their heads, but others are very particular. A bassinet can be a safe and convenient place for your baby to sleep up until they are about 3 or 4 months old. Getting your baby on board with the idea of sleeping in their own cozy bassinet might take a bit of effort and consistency, though. If you want your young infant to sleep restfully in a bassinet, and they are resisting, you could find yourself feeling frustrated and tired. Read on to learn how you can get your baby to sleep in a bassinet in 7 steps.

Choose a Bassinet Carefully

A bassinet does not have to be particularly fancy or expensive, but it does need to be safe. There have been numerous recalls on bassinets in recent years. Some models have even caused injuries and deaths. Consumer Reports recommends always buying a new and certified bassinet that meets current safety standards.

You don't have to spend a fortune on a piece of baby furniture you will only use a few short months. Your baby’s bassinet does not necessarily need all the bells and whistles. In the case of actual bassinets, perhaps all the soothing white noise and automated motions. Those features can add a lot of expense. Also, at least according to some pediatric specialists, may come at a cost to the development of some babies.

Do a bit of research and choose a bassinet that fits both your budget and your needs. A bassinet with a flat sleeping surface and no excess padding is best for preventing SIDS. Avoid products that may allow your newborn to inadvertently roll, turn, or sink down against the mattress or the frame. Also avoid bassinets that have legs that seem unstable or may easily unlatch and collapse.

Create a Quiet and Comfortable Space

Whether your baby’s bassinet will be close to your own bed or in a separate nursery, the space where your baby sleeps should be calm, quiet and comfortable. White noise may help soothe your baby and prevent them from becoming startled as they fall asleep. Lights should be dim enough to allow your baby to recognize that it is time for sleep. This will help if they arouse in the night or the middle of their nap. And the temperature should be such that your baby is neither too cold nor overheated. A room that is too warm, or a baby that is bundled too heavily, can increase the risk of SIDS.

sleeping two month old baby
Babies from newborns to about 3 to 4 months of age may sleep safely in a bassinet.

©Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock.com

Prepare Your Baby to Sleep

An abrupt transition to bedtime can be unsettling for babies, just as it would be for most anyone. Babies usually thrive on routine. A little preparation at bedtime can go a long way toward helping them to sleep when and where you want. A simple bedtime routine might involve a warm bath, followed by cuddles and a bottle, then perhaps rocking for a little bit while reading a story or listening to soothing music. These tasks, done in the same order each night, can help your little one settle in and prepare for sleep.

Back to Sleep and Swaddle Safely

Bassinets are recommended for babies from newborn to about 3 or 4 months of age. In other words, babies should be young enough that they are not rolling around or pulling themselves up and over the edge of the bassinet. Older babies should be moved to a crib where they are safer.

The young infants for whom bassinets are appropriate should always be placed on their back to sleep. Swaddling can be safe and appropriate for babies this age while sleeping. Swaddling your baby before placing them in their bassinet can help prevent them from startling awake. It can also give them a sense of security similar to the feeling they had in the womb. Swaddled babies should never be placed in a prone position, on their bellies, or placed in such a way that they can roll or scrunch down against the mattress or the side of the bassinet. Inclines and positioners should be avoided.

sleeping baby
Babies in bassinets should not have loose blankets or other bedding for safety.


Put Your Baby Down Awake

It may be oh so tempting to just keep rocking your baby until they are completely asleep, only placing them in their bassinet once they are snoozing soundly. However, if you put your baby down before they are asleep, when they are very sleepy but not quite there, they will learn more quickly how to fall asleep on their own, in their bassinet and later in their crib.

Come Back When Needed

Don't give up if your baby doesn’t sleep right away in their bassinet. Keep trying to help them adjust to the bassinet and don't ignore them and let them cry through the night. If your baby is crying after you put them to bed, come back to check on them. Babies young enough to sleep in bassinets are too young to manipulate anyone with their cries. By all means, soothe your baby and try to help them fall back asleep.

You may not even need to pick your baby up to help them get back to sleep. Your touch or the gentle sound of your voice may be all the reassurance they need. However, your baby may have a dirty diaper, painful gas, a hungry belly or even a hair or a string wrapped around one of their tiny toes! Come back when your baby cries out for you. The reassurance you give them at this developmental stage will help them form a strong attachment and sleep even better through the nights to come.

Consider Offering a Pacifier

Young babies have a strong sucking reflex, and having a pacifier can provide a soothing stimulus that helps them go to sleep and stay asleep. Pacifiers are generally considered safe and appropriate for babies up to the age of six months. They can reduce the risk of SIDS and are known to help babies fall asleep more easily. The advantages outweigh any risks during these early months, when a baby would be likely to sleep in a bassinet.

Other Considerations

As mentioned before, a bassinet may be a cozy and convenient piece of furniture that allows you to keep your baby close to you during the night for the first few months, before they move to a crib. However, it may also be an investment you cannot afford, especially when you are going to need to move your baby to a crib before long. You don’t want to use an old, potentially unsafe or even recalled bassinet for your baby. It would be better to start from the beginning with a full-size crib than to risk your little one’s life with baby equipment you are unsure about.

You may look at renting a bassinet. Some models are available as rentals, much like breast pumps, and with the short duration of use, renting might be an economical choice for your family. You might also plan on a co-op-type purchase with another family that is expecting a few months before or after you. If your babies are staggered just right in age, you could both use the bassinet in sequence and maybe resell it to another expectant family when you are finished. Feel free to get creative, but do remember to stick with newer, certified baby equipment for safety.

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