What To Do If Your Baby Won't Sleep In Their Bassinet

baby won't sleep in bassinet

We know that sleep is a hot commodity for the bleary-eyed parents of newborns. When both you and your baby are losing shut-eye because your baby won’t sleep in their bassinet, you may start to feel desperate to get your little one down for some good rest.

If your baby would rather sleep anywhere than in their bassinet, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll share a few possible reasons why this happens and offer tips that might help.

Reasons Your Baby Won’t Sleep In Their Bassinet

They Are Uncomfortable

Your baby may raise a fuss about being put down in their bassinet, but it could have less to do with the bassinet itself and more to do with their general discomfort.

If your baby is under the weather or dealing with reflux or gas, sleep might be hard to come by. Period.

Add to that the fact that your arms are more comforting than a bassinet, and it all makes sense. That brings us to our next point.

You Are More Comfortable

 Mom holding a baby that won't sleep in bassinet

Your baby knows how comforting and comfortable you are. They love to be cozy in your arms, on your chest, or in a sling where they are snuggled up close to you.

Simply put, being in your arms is more comfy, cozy, and comforting than being a bassinet.

Habit Are Hard To Break

Your baby thinks you’re great, and the feeling is mutual!

There’s nothing better than having your snuggly, sleeping baby in your arms. However, this could also mean that your baby is simply in the habit of sleeping while being held or rocked.

If you have a hard time putting your sweet one down, they may have learned to fall asleep in your arms. That means learning to fall asleep elsewhere — specifically, the bassinet — will take a little effort.

Your Baby’s Needs Are Not Met

Just as it would be hard for you to fall asleep with a hungry tummy or in a hot room, it can also be hard for your baby to snooze if their basic needs are not met. This applies whether they are sleeping in their bassinet, on the go, or in their crib.

If your baby is hungry, hot, cold, or they have a wet or dirty diaper, settling down might be difficult.

The Startle Reflex Appears

Newborn babies have a startle reflex called the Moro reflex. While this is a good and normal reflex, sometimes it can startle them awake when you put your sleeping baby down in the bassinet.

Your Little One Is Overtired

For parents who are searching for tricks to get their little one to sleep, it can be tempting to keep your baby up to try to make them extra tired.

If they’re exhausted, they’ll fall asleep and sleep like a baby, right? Not necessarily.

If your baby is overtired, it may actually be harder in the long run to get them to calm down and fall asleep.

 Baby awake in bassinet

For any combination of the above reasons, your baby won’t sleep in their bassinet. No problem, right? If your baby won’t snooze in a bassinet, isn’t it fine to let them sleep wherever they want? The short answer: no.

The safest place for your baby to sleep for naps and nighttime is not in your arms, on your chest, or in a swing, but in their bassinet or crib. You can read more about baby sleep safety here.

That said, let’s jump straight into what to do if your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet, whatever the reason.

What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Sleep In Their Bassinet

 baby won't sleep in bassinet

Provide A Safe Place To Sleep

Resist the urge to make your baby’s bassinet more “cozy” or “appealing.” Blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, and stuffed animals may be cute and seem comfy, but it’s not safe for your little one to sleep with them.

For the safest sleep, the only things that should go in your baby’s bed are a firm mattress, a fitted sheet, and, of course, your little one. Yep, that’s all!

For ultimate comfort, go with a cute (and safe) fitted sheet with Newton Baby Organic Cotton Sheets. Our organic muslin cotton is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), soft, machine-washable, and 100% breathable.

 Newton Baby Organic Cotton Sheets

Sleep With Your Baby’s Sheet

Speaking of your baby’s crib sheet, here’s another tip. To help your baby love their bassinet, try sleeping with your baby’s crib sheet (yes, you) before making their bed with it.

This will provide your little one with the comforting scent of you as they doze off.

Make Your Baby Comfortable

For the best chance of success getting your baby to sleep in their bassinet, make sure they are comfortable and their basic needs are met. Put them to bed with a clean diaper and a full belly.

You’ll also want to check the temperature in the room. While there’s no hard and fast rule, somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for a sleeping baby.

And, as far as the clothes your baby wears to sleep, one layer more than you are wearing typically does the trick.

As for their bed itself being comfortable, remember that a firm mattress is the safest way to go. But firm doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable! When your baby graduates from their bassinet to their crib, put them to sleep on a Newton Baby breathable Crib Mattress.

 Newton Baby breathable Crib Mattress

This innovative mattress is made of 90% air and 10% material that yogurt cups are made of, providing just the right firmness for babies and comfort for toddlers.

Plus, it’s certified for low chemical emissions and much more breathable than leading organic mattresses.

Create A Bedtime Routine

Dad holding baby

It’s never too early to start a bedtime routine! When you stick to the same activities before bedtime every night, your baby and their body will start to clue into the fact that it’s time to settle down and snooze.

Your baby’s bedtime routine could include putting pajamas on, a gentle baby massage, reading a book, singing a song, and a goodnight kiss.

Swaddle Your Baby

To help combat the startle reflex and the possibility of your little one waking when you put them in the bassinet, wrap your baby like a burrito.

Swaddling not only helps to calm the startle reflex but can also play a part in regulating your baby’s body temperature, prevent them from scratching, and help them sleep.

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to wrapping your little one, read our article here.

 Swaddled baby yawning

Then use your newfound skills to swaddle them snugly in a Newton Baby Organic Swaddle Blanket. Made with pre-shrunk, 100% organic muslin cotton, these swaddles are oh-so-soft on your baby’s delicate skin and hypoallergenic, too!

And, since they’re breathable, these swaddles help keep your little one at the perfect temperature and avoid overheating.

Watch For Sleep Cues

If your baby is pitching a fit about being put in their bassinet, you’ll want to do everything you can to facilitate sleep in general.

Avoid an overtired baby by putting your little one to bed when they begin to show signs of being tired — these signs are called sleep cues.

It’s important to learn your baby’s particular sleep cues, such as jerky movements or waving their arms and legs, yawning, crying easily, losing interest, or fussing.

Put Your Baby Down Drowsy

Help your baby get used to falling asleep by themselves (and in their bassinet) by putting them in bed when they are drowsy but still haven’t quite dozed off. This gives them the chance to fall asleep when they are in their bed rather than in your arms.

Of course, your newborn still needs to be comforted when they are having a hard time! That brings us to the next point.

Comfort Your Baby

When your baby fusses about being in their bassinet, comfort them. Pat them, gently rub them on their tummy, and assure them that you’re there.

Give your little one a minute to see if they will settle with just the touch of your hand.

Talk With Your Pediatrician

If you have concerns that your baby’s sleeping troubles could have to do with reflux or illness, talk with your pediatrician.

If your baby deals with something like reflux, this can make them extra uncomfortable, which may mean they have a harder time leaving your arms to sleep in their bassinet.

Back To Sleep In The Bassinet

 sleeping baby in bassinet

If your baby won’t sleep in their bassinet, nights can be long and nap times can be frustrating. Remember there are several possible reasons that your baby is putting up a fuss. Consider Newton's Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper to ensure great sleep. 

Do what you can to help them rest easy in their bassinet by following the tips we listed in this article. Create a bedtime routine, watch for sleep cues, put them down drowsy, comfort them, and calm their startle reflex by swaddling them with a Newton Baby Organic Swaddle Blanket.

Finally, make safety a priority by keeping the bassinet free of anything except a mattress, fitted sheet, and your little one! When they make the switch from a bassinet to a crib, provide them with comfort and safety with Newton Baby’s breathable Crib Mattress.

With the tips in this article and a little luck, you’ll soon be putting your sweet one back to sleep in their bassinet!