Top 20 Expert Tips: How to Get Newborn to Sleep in Bassinet

How to Get Newborn to Sleep in Bassinet

If you are wondering how to get newborn to sleep in bassinet you can try establishing a sleep routine, finding the right timing, encouraging self-soothing skills, and being patient and consistent with your approach.

As a special educator, I understand parents’ challenges with their babies. After days of research and talking to parents about what works best for them, I have valuable tips on how to get a baby to sleep in a bassinet.

Keep reading if you want to find out more:

Why is it important for babies to sleep in a bassinet?
Why Won’t Your Baby Sleep In a Bassinet?
20 Tips to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Bassinet
Safe sleep environment

Why is it important for babies to sleep in a bassinet?

  1. Because of Safety – Babies should sleep in a bassinet because it’s safer for them during sleep. Experts, like the CDC, suggest this to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It’s much safer for babies to sleep in their bassinet or crib instead of sharing a bed with their parents.
  2. Because of Healthy Sleep Habits – Using a bassinet helps babies develop good sleep habits. When babies get used to their bassinet, they learn it’s a special place for sleep. This makes it easier for them to fall asleep at night. Plus, it teaches them to soothe themselves and go back to sleep if they wake up. These skills are important for better sleep as they grow.

Why Won’t Your Baby Sleep In a Bassinet?

You’re not alone if your baby has trouble sleeping in a bassinet. There are several reasons why this may happen:

  1. Temperature – Babies can’t regulate their temperature well. Check if they feel too hot or cold.
  2. Moro reflex – The startle reflex can wake them up if not swaddled; it usually goes away around six months.
  3. Hunger – They may have trouble settling or sleeping for short periods if they’re hungry.
  4. Undertired – Not giving your baby enough awake time can make them wake up soon after you put them in the bassinet.
  5. Overtired – Staying awake too long can make it hard to settle and wake up.
  6. Noise interruption – Sudden noises can wake them up during light sleep.
  7. Habits – During sleep, babies often seek comfort through habits like parents holding or rocking them. Some may prefer co-sleeping in your arms or on your chest. 
  8. Anxious parents – Babies sense your emotions, so staying calm helps them feel calm too.
  9. Overstimulation – Doing too many activities before sleep can make it hard for babies to fall asleep. 
  10. Illness – Signs like a stuffy nose or coughing might show sickness, affecting their sleep.

20 Tips on How to Get Newborn to Sleep in Bassinet

  1. Control Lighting: Make the room dark during sleep time, like a cave, to signal that it’s time to rest. During the day, keep the room bright to differentiate between day and night.
  2. Get the Right Temperature: Keep the room temperature comfortable, between 68-72°F (20-22.2°C). Dress your baby in one extra layer than you would wear for the same temperature. This ensures they stay cozy without getting too hot or cold.
  3. Swaddle Your Baby: Swaddling can recreate the feeling of being in the womb and reduce startling, helping your baby sleep better.
  4. Use Sound Machines: White noise or natural sounds can mimic the noises babies hear in the womb and create a calming environment for sleep.
  5. Adapt Sleep Routine: Pay attention to your baby’s sleep patterns and adjust their bedtime. If they are having trouble falling asleep, try putting them to bed 15 minutes later each night until you find the right bedtime.
  6. Discover Baby’s Wake Windows: Watch for signs that your baby is getting tired, like yawning or rubbing their eyes. Each baby has a specific window of time they can stay awake before needing sleep. Putting them to bed before they get overtired can make it easier for them to fall asleep.
  7. Observe Timing: Try to put your baby to sleep before it becomes overtired. Overtired babies may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
  8. Establish a Bedtime Routine: Create a consistent and calming bedtime routine to signal it’s time for sleep. This can include a warm bath, singing lullabies, reading a book, or a gentle baby massage.
  9. Tackle Reflux: If your baby has reflux, hold them upright for about 20-30 minutes after feeding to help reduce discomfort while lying down. Always consult your pediatrician if you suspect reflux or other health issues.
  10. Use Touch to Soothe: After laying your baby down in the bassinet, place your hand on their chest to provide a comforting touch. This can reassure them and help them settle.
  11. Tolerate Non-Urgent Noises: Babies make various noises while sleeping, which is normal. Not every sound requires your immediate attention. Allow them some time to self-soothe back to sleep before rushing to check on them.
  12. Encourage Self-Soothing Skills: Avoid putting your baby in the bassinet when they are already asleep in your arms. Instead, place them in the bassinet when drowsy but still awake. This helps them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own.
  13. Move the Bassinet: If your baby is having trouble sleeping, consider placing the bassinet a few feet away from your bed. Being too close to you might be distracting for them.
  14. Use Your Scent: Your baby finds comfort in your scent. Transfer your scent to their sleep space by placing their fitted bassinet sheet under your clothes for a while before using it in the bassinet.
  15. Avoid Overstimulation:  Make a peaceful and quiet bedtime environment by lowering the lights and reducing noises. 
  16. Warm the Bassinet: Before placing your baby in the bassinet, warm it up with a heating pad or warm water bottle. Make sure it’s not too hot, warm to mimic your body’s warmth.
  17. Feed and Wind Your Baby: Make sure you feed and make your baby comfortable before bedtime to avoid hunger or discomfort that might disturb their sleep.
  18. Change Diaper Before Bed: Ensure your baby has a fresh diaper before bedtime to avoid discomfort during sleep.
  19. Offer a Pacifier: If your baby is drowsy but not asleep, offer a pacifier to soothe them and help them drift back to sleep.
  20. Be Patient and Consistent: Each baby is unique, and it may take some time to find the best strategies that work for your little one. Be patient and consistent in implementing these tips to help your baby sleep in the bassinet.

Safe sleep environment

A bassinet is a safe bed for newborns until they are about 4 months old. Keep the bassinet clean with a firm mattress and snug sheets. Always place the baby on their back to sleep with their feet at the end of the bassinet. Avoid using loose blankets or toys.

After 4 months, babies become more active so that they may need a crib instead.

Follow the ABCs of safe sleep:

Alone (baby sleeps in their own space but in the same room as parents)

Back (always place the baby on their back to sleep)

Crib (use a safe crib with a firm mattress and no extra bedding).

Remember, never sleep with the baby on you for naps. Put them in the bassinet or ask someone else to hold them. Safety is essential for a good night’s sleep!

Final Thoughts

Help your newborn sleep better in a bassinet by creating a sleep routine, picking the right time, and teaching self-soothing skills. You can create a safe and comforting sleep environment for your baby by being patient and consistent. 

A bassinet is safe for newborns until they are about 4 months old. When your baby reaches 4 months, it’s time to transition from bassinet to crib, following the ABCs of safe sleep guidelines. Check out our guide to find out more!

FAQ: How to Get Newborn to Sleep in Bassinet

How can I introduce my baby and my scent to the bassinet for better sleep?

Placing an unwashed pillowcase or T-shirt of yours in the bassinet can help transfer your familiar scent, offering comfort to your baby. Similarly, not overwashing your baby’s bedclothes can maintain their scent in the bassinet, promoting a sense of security and familiarity​.

What effective ways to soothe my newborn to sleep in their bassinet?

A bassinet that sways or vibrates can mimic the soothing motions they feel when held. Establishing a quick bedtime routine, such as applying lotion, changing diapers, and a few minutes of rocking, can signal it’s time for sleep. Sleeping on your baby’s bassinet sheet before use can transfer your scent, providing comfort​.

How do I establish a good sleep routine for my newborn?

Begin by using the bassinet for daytime naps to acclimate your baby to the new sleep environment. Then, create a consistent bedtime routine and a calming pre-sleep ritual that may include activities like bathing and reading. This routine helps signal to your baby that it’s time to rest​.

What should the bassinet’s sleeping environment be like?

Ensure the bassinet is comfortable with a firm, but not too hard, mattress, and avoid any soft bedding or toys that could pose a risk. A white noise machine can mimic womb sounds, creating a soothing sleep environment. Also, ensure the room is dark during sleep to help your baby associate darkness with sleep​.

Can adjusting the room’s light help my newborn sleep better in their bassinet?

Yes, exposing your baby to sunlight during the day and keeping their sleep environment dark can help establish their circadian rhythm, teaching them to associate darkness with sleep time. This natural rhythm adjustment can make it easier for them to sleep in their bassinet​.


I'm Andjela Antic, co-founder of DreamBabyGear. I have a degree in special education and rehabilitation from the medical faculty, and I've been a registered nurse since high school. Using my medical and education background, I understand child development well. I choose high-quality baby gear carefully to support the best development and well-being of children.
Photo of author

Leave a Comment