As a new parent, sleep is probably one of the things constantly on your mind. Sometimes it feels like your little one is getting all the sleep. It may also feel like as soon as you try to put them down, they start crying.
Although it may seem easier to hold your little one while they’re sleeping, you need sleep too. We understand how difficult it can be to get a newborn to sleep in their bassinet. Babies prefer the love and warmth that comes with sleeping in mommy’s arms, and they don’t like to be moved.
How can you help your new baby to sleep in their bassinet? Here are a few tips that you can try.
How Can I Help My Newborn Sleep in Their Bassinet?
Babies may sleep a lot, and if you’re holding them, it seems as though they can sleep through pretty much everything. However, when you’re trying to put them down on their own, it may feel like even the slightest disturbance will wake them up.
There are a few things that you can do to help prepare your little one for sleeping solo. During the day, your little one will need to learn how to nap with some noises, but at night, it can help to follow these steps to make settling down a little easier.
1. Set Up the Room
You first need to make sure the room your little one is sleeping in is prepared. Babies sleep the best in the dark, and it’s best if there aren’t any loud noises. Newborns tend to startle easily, which causes them to wake up.
You can do two things to ensure the room is the best environment for your baby to sleep in. One is to make sure that the room is dark. Turning the lights off is an easy way to help your baby sleep soundly.
Depending on the time of year, it may not be dark yet by baby’s bedtime, so it might be helpful to invest in blackout curtains. A small night light should be enough to help you find your way in the middle of the night.
If your baby is easily awakened by sound, investing in a white noise machine might be a good idea. It can block out other noises that could potentially wake your little one.
2. Make a Bedtime Routine
Babies need routines. A familiar pattern of behaviors can help your little one get the rest they need without getting overtired. Babies learn what they need to do. A routine can help babies fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Of course, you’ll want to find a routine that works best for you and your little one, but here are a few things that you can make a part of your little one’s routine to help encourage an excellent nighttime snooze:
Each of these steps can help your little one wind down for the day, which helps them to fall asleep more soundly and faster. The result could be better sleep for both of you.
3. Make Sure Their Diaper Is Clean and They’re Full
If your baby is uncomfortable for any reason, chances are, they won’t sleep very well. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your baby has a full belly and a nice, fresh diaper.
Hunger isn’t the most comfortable feeling, and newborns need a lot of food. They grow a lot between the time they’re born and their first month. Before putting your little one down for bed, you should make sure they’re well fed.
This won’t prevent your baby from waking during the night since newborns need to eat every two to three hours, but it should help them sleep in their bassinet, whether bottle-fed or breast-fed.
A diaper change is mandatory. A dirty diaper can irritate your baby’s bottom and potentially cause a rash. Not all babies will react to a dirty diaper by crying, but it can still be uncomfortable. Help baby stay comfy and cozy a little longer with a clean diaper before bedtime.
You may also want to make sure that the room is cozy in other ways. Sometimes babies can’t sleep because they’re too hot or too cold. Babies prefer a room temperature somewhere between 68 degrees and 72 degrees. Adjust the room temperature as needed to ensure the best sleeping environment.
If you watch your baby while they’re sleeping, you might notice their startle reflex. It might be caused by a loud noise or anything jolting or disturbing in any way. You might also see this reflex if you set your baby down too quickly.
Since the startle reflex can wake up your baby while they’re sleeping, you should consider swaddling your little one. You can use a blanket and fold it properly with instructions or buy a swaddle online.
A swaddle wraps up your little one’s arms and helps them feel cozy, reminding them of their time in the womb. However, a swaddle is only a solution until your baby can roll over. After your baby learns how to roll over, swaddling can be dangerous.
5. Use Drowsiness as a Cue for Bedtime
After you have everything set up and your baby is clean and full, it’s time to put your little one down in their bassinet. Although you might want to put your baby down and let them fall asleep, your baby may need a little help to settle down.
The best method is to put your little one down while they’re still awake but drowsy. They are sort of awake but feeling sleepy. It’s like when you’re trying to keep your eyes open, but you can’t.
Putting your little one down while they’re still awake is the best way to help them learn how to self-soothe. You can still comfort them, but they should lie in their bassinet.
6. Let Them Know That Mommy’s There
One of the reasons that babies have trouble sleeping is that mommy isn’t there. Babies are nearsighted and can’t see you from a distance well, but they can smell you. They like feeling close to you.
There are many ways you can let your baby know you’re still there, even when your baby is settling down, to help your little one relax. One way is to sleep on the bassinet sheets for a couple of nights before putting them in the bassinet. That way, your baby can still smell the comforting scent of mom.
When you put your baby in the bassinet, place your hand gently on your baby’s chest. They will be able to feel you there, and hopefully, it will help them settle down.
This is also why singing to your baby while they’re falling asleep can help. They know your voice, and it’s comforting.
7. Try a Rocking Bassinet
Many babies enjoy the feeling of being rocked. If that’s the case, you may want to invest in a rocking bassinet. That way your baby can learn to sleep without being held or nursed, but can still feel soothed by the rocking motion.
Does My Baby Need To Sleep in a Bassinet?
You might be wondering if you really need to put your newborn in a bassinet. After all, co-sleeping is technically an option. While co-sleeping might be the easiest option, it’s not recommended.
Babies need to sleep on a firm surface, but adult mattresses tend to be more flexible. Plus, all the extra blankets can be dangerous for babies. A bassinet is the best place for a baby. It’s a firm, snug space for your baby to rest.
Keeping Your Little One Safe While They Sleep
When you put your baby down to sleep, it’s important to follow certain rules to keep your little one safe. Babies should always be placed on their backs when they are first put down to sleep. It’s also important to limit what you put in your baby’s bassinet.
Your little one’s bassinet should only hold your baby and the mattress and well-fitting sheets made for the bassinet. Anything extra, like blankets, pillows, toys, or even crib bumpers, should be removed since they generally aren’t safe for the baby and tend to be a suffocation hazard.
Helping Your Baby Sleep Soundly
Both you and your newborn are still adjusting to life together. Your little one is learning what it’s like to be in the world outside of the womb, and since your presence is comforting, they want to stay around you as much as possible.
This can make getting enough sleep difficult for any new parent. However, by using these steps, you can hopefully help your little one learn to sleep in their bassinet.
It may take time and patience since establishing a routine takes more than a day, but once your baby is familiar with how bedtime works, your little one should be able to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Taking care of a new baby can be a bit of a learning curve. We have some helpful resources for you, whether you’re expecting a baby or already have your little bundle of joy.
The Best Room Temperature for a Sleeping Baby | Sleep Foundation.