As many things as you can buy for your newborn baby before he or she is born, there’s no guarantee you will use all of them! A common issue that comes up often is when your baby won’t sleep in his or her brand new bedside bassinet!
If you’re even a little like me, you might be nervous about bed-sharing. I worried about rolling over onto baby! I also felt that having him in the crib in another room was too far away! A bedside bassinet is a perfect solution, but only if your baby actually sleeps in it. If your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet at all or anymore, here are 3 things you can do to help:
Sleep on the Bassinet Sheets
Your baby likes to be near you and your scent, especially if you are breastfeeding. The smell of you is one thing that helps him feel more comfortable. You could try to sleep on the bassinet sheets for a couple of days or even walk around with them in your shirt while you pitter-patter around the house before putting them back on your baby’s bed. Your scent will be transferred to the sheets and may help him feel more comfortable when you put him a little further away from you in the bassinet.
Buy a bassinet with an incline and/or movement
Many babies do not enjoy sleeping flat at all. It can feel unnatural especially if your baby has reflux. Sometimes just inclining the bed helps babies feel more comfortable, and helps keeps things down for those with reflux. Have you already purchased a bedside bassinet with no incline? Check and see if you have the receipt to return it (if your retailer will accept it back). If it’s open/used, consider selling it to a gently used kids store and purchase a bassinet that has an incline. Believe me, the cost of buying a new bassinet will be worth it to get more sleep! Here are two options to consider:
The SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper has a slight incline to it and can help your baby feel more secure and comforted. It’s easy to soothe baby by rocking the bassinet back and forth or turning on the vibrations. In addition, it is adjustable for beds of different height!
You may have heard about the Rock-N-Play Sleeper, which has now been recalled**. This sleeper was involved in a safety controversy (see below). Please – no matter what item you use be sure to always use any restraints every time you use it. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully too. Here is a potential replacement for the Rock-N-Play:
The The 2in1 Rock-N-Stay Bassinet has breathable mesh sides, rocks back and forth or stays stationary, and opens and closes super easily.
These incline bedside bassinets can be well-worth their money if sleeping flat is the main reason your baby won’t sleep in the bassinet.
** The Rock-N-Play was recalled in April 2019. Since 2009, over 30 infant deaths occurred due to a child rolling while unrestrained. Please always use restraints on any device that has them and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, it is recommended to stop using some items as soon as your child can roll.
If you had a choice of sleeping on a regular mattress or on a pillow-top mattress pad, you might prefer the padded mattress, but it doesn’t mean you couldn’t sleep on the regular mattress. As long as the bassinet is safe and not made of rocks, your baby may be able to adapt and “get used to it.”
This might mean gradually increasing time in it during awake periods as well as sleep periods. For example, if he currently will only sleep in it for 30 minutes, try increasing the time he spends in it to 45 minutes, then 60 minutes, and so on. In the end, what makes your bed “your bed” is the fact that our bodies become accustomed to it. When you sleep at a hotel, it’s just not the same is it? So, as long as your baby is allowed to sleep elsewhere, then what becomes their “bed” is not the bassinet. That might be your bed, your arms, or chest. With concerted effort on your part, you can help your baby associate the bassinet as her preferred sleep space! Even if it doesn’t happen in one sitting or one night, work your way up gradually!
Of course, if your baby is outgrowing the bassinet, it’s possible it’s time to transition baby to a crib or cot.