How to get newborn to sleep in bassinet: actionable tips

Nothing is nicer than a sleeping baby, whether it is the middle of the day or the middle of the night. The opportunity for parents to get some sleep of their own, the cuddles, and perhaps most crucially, the little sounds that they make. There isn’t anything better.

While a sleeping baby may be every parent’s ideal scenario, most new parents’ worst nightmare is a baby that won’t sleep in their bassinet! What should you do if your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet? A restless baby and sleepless nights lead to an unhappy home.

Why won’t my baby fall asleep in the bassinet?

You’ve undoubtedly tried everything to get your baby to sleep in their bassinet if you’re like most parents. But nothing appears to be working. Everything you’ve tried to calm and make your fussy baby fall asleep faster, including rocking, singing, and even playing white noise, has failed.

Causes – why won’t my baby sleep in their bassinet?

Your baby is accustomed to sleeping in your arms

Newborn babies are notoriously difficult to put down. They are soft and lovely. Another common love is cradling a sleeping baby. Babies typically fall asleep when being held, so it’s likely that they won’t find it simple to do so without that comfort.

  • Solution

You should try to stay away from this if at all feasible. Once habits are established, it can be quite challenging to get your infant to sleep unattended. To establish healthy sleeping habits, your baby must spend the day resting in a bassinet.

When your child naps throughout the day, try to put them in their bassinet. If you let your baby sleep in their bassinet frequently, they will get used to it.

Your newborn is uncomfortable

Your baby may not want to sleep in the bassinet since it is uncomfortable for him or her. A dirty diaper, a hard mattress, a scratchy swaddle, or a receiving blanket can all wake a sleeping infant.

  • Solution

If your baby wakes up soon after you put your fussy baby to sleep, check the bassinet for discomfort. Naturally, look for a dirty diaper.

Because long hairs have a tendency to tangle in these tight locations, check your baby’s fingers and toes as well.

If left untreated, these hairs may prevent your baby’s blood from flowing to that area.

Baby is too excited

When they are about to go to sleep, newborns commonly become overstimulated. If there has been too much excitement or activity right before bedtime, your baby can have a harder time falling asleep. An overtired newborn baby will be extremely restless and awake for long stretches of time.

  • Solution

The most popular baby sleeping treatment is creating a nightly routine.

Normal rhythms and good sleep habits are usually necessary for a newborn baby who is overtired. The same routine helps your baby sleep safely and comfortably by serving as a cue that the baby’s bedtime is approaching.

Your newborn is ill

When your infant no longer prefers to sleep in their bassinet, it may be because they are ill. Keep an eye out for any illness-related symptoms, such as a runny nose or coughing. In addition, a lot of babies have digestive problems, which might keep them awake at night.

  • Solution

If so, try to help your baby fall asleep by relieving their discomfort or helping with breathing. Holding your infant upright in a warm bathroom will help reduce congestion.

The startle reflex in your newborn is waking them

Infants’ startle reflexes may be one of the hardest obstacles to calming sleep. Your baby may be unable to fall asleep if, despite your best attempts, they only sleep for brief periods of time.

  • Solution

Another name for this reflex is the Moro reflex. The reason your child may have leaped or moved while they were asleep is now clear. Infants often outgrow this by the age of six months.

Essentials of baby sleep

Your baby should sleep for approximately 16 hours every day. Even if this only persists for a period of one to two hours at a time, if they aren’t fed or changed, they will likely be prepared to sleep longer.

As they become older, your child will start sleeping for a little bit longer periods and need a little less sleep overall. By the time they are 3 to 4 months old, your child will need closer to 14 hours of sleep, and they might no longer require one or two naps throughout the day.

This pattern will last until your child, usually between the ages of 6 and 9 months, is down to just two naps and a lengthy night’s sleep.

Establishing sleep rituals at a young age is a good idea. These cannot only inform your young one that it’s time for a lovely long sleep but also be comforting when your child suffers sleep regressions later on.

There’s no need for elaborate bedtime rituals. They could be as simple as a bath and a narrative, or even a straightforward song. What matters is the routine, the calm, the regularity!

Keep in mind that helping your child to fall asleep depends greatly on your mood.

Advice for getting your newborn to sleep in a bassinet

Try these suggestions if your baby won’t go to sleep in baby’s bassinet:

Set up a bedtime schedule

Setting up a nighttime routine is one of the best strategies to get your infant to sleep in a bassinet. Incorporate the following into your bedtime routine:

  • Bath
  • Lullaby being sung
  • Reading a book
  • Newborn massage
  • Calming skin substances

Make sure the safe sleep space for your child is cozy

A happy baby feels comfortable. You want to make sure your baby’s sleep area is as comfortable as possible when sleeping in a bassinet. Making their bassinet a comfortable sleeping environment is a huge part of that.

Here are some suggestions to assist you in providing your infant with a cozy bedtime environment:

  • Before you lay your infant down in the bassinet, heat it with a hot water bottle or heating pad. If your infant is sleeping next to you, the temperature shift could wake the baby up. It can aid in keeping children sleeping by warming the mattress. Before you put your baby to sleep, don’t forget to take the hot water bottle and make sure it isn’t too warm.
  • Wait for 10 to 15 minutes until your baby is in a deeper sleep if they fall asleep on you before placing them in their bassinet. Your infant can wake up if you move them if they are in a light sleep phase.
  • Instead of putting your baby’s head first in the bassinet, put their feet down first. They may awaken suddenly if you lay them down baby’s head first because they may feel like they are falling. You’ve experienced the feeling of being about to fall asleep when you suddenly leap and wake yourself up.
  • Sleep on the mattress cover that your child will be using for a few nights so that you can imprint your smell on it. A newborn baby’s sense of smell is extremely developed. When they are newborns, they cannot yet see you, but they can smell you. They find great comfort in your smell, which gives them the impression that you are nearby.
  • When necessary, place your infant in the bassinet during the day. It can be challenging to find a moment to yourself if your kid wants to be with you all the time. Therefore, the bassinet is a secure place to leave your child while you use the restroom, get yourself a drink or some food, or brush your teeth. Short bursts of time spent in the bassinet while your baby is awake may help the baby become more accustomed to the setting and may improve their ability to fall asleep in the bassinet.
  • Safe sleep guidelines state that there shouldn’t be any loose objects in the bassinet with the baby, but you may easily add your familiar scent by placing an extra sheet inside the bassinet made of a large T-shirt or an unwashed pillowcase. Place your infant on the firm mattress, and tuck the burp sheet’s two ends under them. This also serves as a “burp sheet,” which is helpful if your kid spits up frequently or has reflux. You can usually get away with changing only the top sheet, your pillowcase, or your T-shirt instead of the entire sheet.
  • As was already discussed in this piece, babies find their smell to be calming and reassuring in addition to that of their parents. The key here is to avoid overwashing your children’s pajamas and bedclothes. Obviously, you don’t want your baby to smell like sour milk, but a little bit of drip here and there can add the familiarity necessary when the baby falls asleep in a cradle. Additionally, put your infant in the bassinet during periods when they are not sleeping. As a result, the babies will feel more comfortable in this environment and be able to move into the bassinet on their own a little bit more.

Limit your exposure to stimuli before sleeping

Babies that are overstimulated are frequently cranky and difficult to calm down. Even when exhausted, an overstimulated baby won’t go to sleep. Additionally, they might experience disturbed sleep patterns and nighttime awakenings.

Make sure you are teaching your kid healthy sleeping habits throughout the day if they won’t go to sleep at night and seem overtired. A newborn who snoozes more throughout the day will probably sleep more at night. Likewise, an overtired baby who skips naps is prone to wake up frequently at night.

An overstimulated baby can be prevented by dimming overhead lighting and minimizing stimulation from computer or television screens. Attempt dimming the lights and turning off devices an hour before your infant goes to bed.

Wrap your newborn

Swaddling your infant might work if the baby won’t take a nap in the bassinet. Babies can relax, get to sleep easily, stay asleep longer, and have fewer startle reactions as a result. Swaddle blankets provide newborn babies with a womb-like feeling of comfort, which aids in their ability to fall asleep.

Use a large receiving blanket or a specific swaddling wrap to swaddle your infant.

Their arms shouldn’t jerk; therefore, the swaddle should be just snug enough. The swaddle shouldn’t be too tight, though, so that you can fit two fingers under the top of it.

Put them to bed awake

Many parents find it relaxing to rock or nurse their babies to sleep. But occasionally, this results in behaviors that prevent self-soothing. If you are nursing or rocking your baby, try to prevent your newborn from falling asleep. Instead, place the baby in the baby’s bassinet while they are still awake and sleepy.

A sound sleep habit can be established by letting your infant fall asleep on their own. Numerous training techniques can support your baby’s learning during this procedure.

When your baby is asleep, leave them in the bassinet and don’t move

Therefore, putting this into practice won’t be simple, but it will be worthwhile.

Then, here’s what to do:

  • Lay the infant on their side in the crib.
  • Pat the bottom rhythmically, in time with your heartbeat (or close to it), with one hand keeping the baby in this side-lying posture. This simulates the sensation the baby would have had at the end of pregnancy when the baby was head down, bum up.
  • If you can, swing the bassinet at the same time.
  • Every so often, pause patting and simply rest your palm on the baby.
  • Patting should be gradually decreased and stopped, followed by swinging and hand rests.

A secure setting for baby sleep

Your newborn can sleep comfortably in a bassinet until they are about 4 months old. You may transfer it around the house from one room to another effortlessly because it is portable. This is crucial since safe sleep recommendations state that your infant should spend the first six months sleeping in the same room as you.

However, babies become stronger and more active after four months, so depending on the sort of bassinet you have, it might be appropriate to move them to a crib. For more details on this, consult the bassinet’s instruction booklet.

Ensure that the firm mattress in your bassinet is fresh and completely enclosed by the bassinet. Your baby will be safer when sleeping if the mattress sheets are tight and there is no loose bedding.

To protect your baby’s airway, always position them in their bassinet on their back with their feet at the end so that they can’t wiggle under the covers.

Avoid smoking in the home around the baby or in rooms in which the baby sleeps.

Do not use sleep positioners. A significant safety risk is posed by sleep positioners and wedges. Never arrange your baby’s crib with wedges or sleep positioners.

There are several things you may do for newborns to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related accidents

Keep in mind these safe sleep tips to stay on track for giving your baby the safest sleep possible

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their infants in the same room with them until they are one year old or at least six months old.
  • Never place your infant in your bed; always place them on the sleep surface on their back.
  • Toys, pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers should all be taken out of your baby’s sleeping space.
  • Make sure the mattress in your baby’s bassinet or crib is firm, and the crib sheet is properly fitted.
  • Offer your child a pacifier when they go to sleep when they’re ready. Remember not to affix the pacifier to any cables or chains, and don’t worry if it slips out after they fall asleep.
  • Keep the temperature in your baby’s room at a cozy level while they are sleeping. Overheating may result from swaddling and wearing too many layers of clothing.
  • Don’t smoke near the infant or in the rooms where the baby sleeps in the house.
  • Make sure to stop swaddling your baby for sleep as soon as they start to try to roll over. Your infant may be able to roll onto their stomach at this time but not back over.
  • Your baby’s risk of SIDS can be decreased by breastfeeding.

Products that may assist in getting your infant to sleep in her bassinet

White noise machine

If you use it at home to put your infant or toddler to sleep, you may buy small portable white noise machines or download one as an app for your phone.

These machines help newborns (and parents) sleep better. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, white noise can help babies sleep better. According to a London-based study, it helped 80% of people fall asleep in just 5 minutes.


A baby’s small size makes trying to sleep with a stuffy nose particularly painful for everyone. A humidifier can help restore moisture to your baby’s bedroom, especially during the cold, dry months, avoiding stuffy noses before they even have an opportunity to develop.

A beautiful swinging bassinet

All right, many straightforward bassinets swing, but they typically stop when you stop pushing them. It’s time to glance up at the Snoo, a bassinet that resembles a Bugatti.

The Snoo bassinet actually sings and dances nonstop. You can choose from 5 various sound and motion combinations to keep the baby contently dozing off.

Frequently asked questions about sleep in a bassinet

How much time will my newborn sleep in the bassinet?

The quick answer is that there is no hard and fast rule—as long as they are comfortably secure. It will depend on your baby’s size, how quickly the baby grows, and the size or weight capacity of the bassinet. You should expect between two and three and a half months, but you’ll know when it’s time to move up to a crib.

For instance, if the baby appears cramped and is visibly bumping the edge of the bassinet, or if the baby’s hands touch the side of the bassinet after being unwrapped, you should probably consider getting a crib.

Is it acceptable to leave a baby in a bassinet awake?

Absolutely. Of course not while you are shopping, but this is a perfect time for the baby to get more comfortable in the bassinet and allow their own scent to fill the space, as newborns are comforted and calmed by their own scent.

The bassinet is a great area for a baby to stretch and kick their legs once they are awake for brief times other than feedings, or to try a few minutes of tummy time while you’re nearby.

How do I train my baby to sleep in a bassinet?

But from the beginning, softly (i.e., without any tears) supporting excellent sleep habits can be beneficial. Some people refer to this as “sleep training”, so we’re talking about things like establishing a bedtime routine and rousing the infant from daytime naps, so they can eat and avoid sleeping for too long throughout the day (avoiding a hungry, lively baby at night).

Let’s not overlook the effort it took to get the baby to fall asleep in the bassinet.

Helpful tips:

  1. Establish a bedtime routine. One of the best ways to get your baby to sleep in a bassinet is to establish a bedtime routine.
  2. Make sure your baby’s sleeping area is comfortable.
  3. Avoid overstimulation before bedtime.
  4. Swaddle your baby.
  5. Lay them down awake.

Why does my baby wake up the moment I put them in the bassinet?

The quick change in position is detected by your child’s vestibular system. Through sensory inputs from the skin, joints, and muscles, their proprioception tells them their body is in a different place in relation to their environment.

Startle reflex: if a baby is not swaddled, their startle reaction, sometimes referred to as the more reflex, can cause them to wake up in the middle of their sleep cycles or startle them awake when placed in their bassinet.

Sleeping in your arms or on your chest is the best thing when you’re out in the great, wide world since it provides several similar feelings that keep your child peaceful, happy, and capable of falling asleep. Unfortunately, everywhere else is insignificant, even the bassinet, so your baby frequently wakes up as you lay them down.

Hopefully, you can make a decent effort to learn how to teach a newborn to sleep in a bassinet.

How can a newborn baby who is too exhausted be soothed?

This is a difficult thing because being overtired causes heavy crying. Your baby won’t just be nearly inconsolable. The more time a baby spends awake, the more difficult it will be to get them to sleep. This is brought on by cortisol flooding your child’s body in an effort to keep them up when they should be sleeping.

Can you use cry it out (CIO) to soothe a baby to sleep?

Without a doubt, no!

A newborn shouldn’t ever be left unattended for an extended period of time (more than a few minutes). Infants cry to express their wants. They must be fed frequently, and you must “feed on demand,” or anytime they become hungry.

If it’s not for food, there are a number of other situations in which you might be required, including diaper changes, relief from congested air, pain relief, and assistance with falling asleep (since newborns are often unable to self-settle).

What should I do if my newborn only sleeps when held?

Take a break from trying if you’ve exhausted all of your options, such as the methods described in this piece, for getting a baby to sleep in a bassinet.

You need much patience to manage parenthood, particularly in the beginning, and there are times when you have to act immediately, which adds stress and fatigue.

Using a baby wrap or sling, which at least gives some hand-free time, makes arm/chest napping more comfortable. You’ve undoubtedly found a few more solutions as well.

Why won’t my newborn sleep in the bassinet?

  • Your baby is hungry.
  • Your baby is feeling gassy.
  • Your baby has an unclean diaper
  • Your baby is too hot or cold.
  • Your baby doesn’t know whether it’s day or night.
  • Your baby’s startle reflex is waking them up.

How do I get my newborn to settle in bassinet?

  • Work on the first nap of the day in the bassinet.  This is usually the easiest nap to get a baby down for. Try the pick-up and put-down method to help make it happen.  Put them down and offer comfort with touch and verbal “shsh”.  Give your baby 2 -3 minutes to settle, if they are getting wound up, keep the baby upright and calm. Then try again.
  • Focus on the timing of sleep.  Most newborns need to be back to sleep between 45 minutes and 1 hour up to 2 months, and about 1.5 hours in the 3rd month.  If you surpass this time (except before bed during the witching hour) it can be harder to get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Swaddle.  Swaddling can help your little one settle more easily as it mimics the womb and decreases limb activity, which can be distracting.
  • Move the bassinet a few feet away from your bed.  Sometimes having them so close can be distracting for both of you to sleep.  Move it a few feet away.
  •  Let the bassinet help you and make baby care more comfortable.

How do I teach my newborn to self-soothe to sleep?

Your kid generally won’t be prepared or able to learn this talent throughout the first few weeks and months of the newborn phase or fourth trimester.

This ability appears for about three months. Instead of “teaching” the infant to self-soothe during this time, you can simply gently support it by:


When the infant stirs, cries, or opens the eyes, pause briefly for two reasons:

  • Because babies are such restless sleepers, you’re only going to rouse them up by entering the room or picking them up.
  • It doesn’t imply the baby needs to eat or that the baby still needs to sleep because newborns frequently wake up when transitioning even between parts of one sleep cycle.


The wind-down ritual aids in preparing for and signaling to your baby that it’s time to go to sleep when combined with that crucial magical sleep zone. By following the same pattern every night, eventually, the final step of going to sleep will come effortlessly.


As a result, the baby must put themselves to sleep. Over time, this will develop into an ingrained habit and ability.


Try to keep in mind that your newborn baby is still getting used to this vast, unfamiliar environment.

They may need some time to adjust to sleeping in their bassinet without you since they spent nine months with you there, but you will both get there.

It may seem impossible to get your newborn to sleep in their bassinet but persist.

I understand that it’s easier said than done, but if you’re consistent and persistent, your efforts will be rewarded.

The key to all of this, keep in mind, is to try to recreate as many of those womb-like experiences as you can by creating the ideal sleeping environment and making sure you have a solid wind-down process. Make that bassinet incredibly enticing after that.

Last but not least, it might be ideal to place your infant in the bassinet before settling them. This way, the baby won’t wake up when you lay them down because they already are asleep.

Don’t worry if your baby won’t fall asleep in the bassinet. Just take a break if you need to, and then try again. Your infant will eventually learn to sleep in the bassinet rather than in your arms.

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