When it comes to investing in baby’s first bed, most new moms opt for a bassinet as it cosy and comfy, and make for the perfect first bed for a baby before he is ready to make the transition to something big and more sophisticated. But getting a child to sleep in a bassinet is not as easy as buying one. If your munchkin prefers to get most of her shut-eye in your arms, he is likely to cry or throw a fit if you put him in a bassinet. But if you want your little one to sleep soundly, you will have to train him to sleep in a bassinet.
Before we tell you how to do that, first understand why you should choose a bassinet.
Benefits of Choosing a Bassinet for Your Child
Bassinets have been around for a long time now and for good reasons. They are easy to move around, do not occupy much space, and the best part – new parents can make their child sleep in their room. But there are enough and more practical reasons for choosing a bassinet over other things. Let’s find out what they are:
1. Bassinets are affordable.
Most bassinets have less upfront cost as compared to the costs of other baby gear. It would be a perfect choice for new parents who are looking for baby gear on a budget. It’s also an inexpensive option to consider for the first few months before upgrading to a crib later on.
2. Bassinets do not occupy much space.
It is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months as it is statistically known to reduce the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If your bedroom is small, a bassinet would fit in perfectly in your room. This way your little one will be in front of your eyes but not on your bed.
3. Bassinets are portable.
If you want to always have your baby around regardless of where you are in the room, bassinets are a great option as they can be carried around. Some models even come with wheels so they can be taken from one room to another.
Why Infants Don’t Sleep in a Bassinet
For new parents, getting their baby to sleep is tricky, let alone have him sleep in a bassinet. Most newborns prefer being swaddled and fall asleep in the warmth and comfort of their mother’s arms. Bassinets come nowhere close to offering the same comfort. Also, babies are light sleepers who wake often, even when parents put them in the bassinet after swaddling them for almost an hour, the babies begin to cry as soon as they are disturbed.
How to Get a Baby to Sleep in a Bassinet
With the proper approach, you can train your baby to sleep comfortably in a bassinet. Consider these tips for making bassinet comfortable for your baby:
1. Have a Steady Routine
This is perhaps the most common advice you must have received, but it works! Having a steady sleep routine will help your child sleep on time. Get him to sleep at the same time every night with a routine that involves a warm bath, followed by a light massage or a breastfeeding session. When your little one seems sleepy or drowsy, swaddle him and sing to him. When he falls asleep, put him a bassinet and watch him sleep peacefully!
2. Make Your Presence Felt in the Bassinet
Your little one can instinctively recognize your scent and it’s something that makes him feel comfortable. One way to ensure that your child feels comfortable in a bassinet is by making your presence felt in the bassinet. Now we know that you can’t co-sleep with your baby in a bassinet, you can make the sheet of the bassinet smell like you. To do that, sleep with the sheet tucked between your chin and neck for a few days or do the same with their sleeping clothes. While this method takes a few days for the sheets to be ready and smell like you, but it will work.
3. Place the Bassinet Close to Your Bed
As you train your baby to sleep in a bassinet, start with placing the bassinet right next to your bed so that your little one can feel your presence. This way he will know that his mommy is around and there is nothing to be afraid of. Keeping the bassinet close to your bed will also enable you to keep him close to you and reach out if he wakes up crying. This is also a better alternative to co-sleeping as the latter poses risk of suffocation for the baby and a disturbed sleep pattern for you.
4. Swaddle Him
Before putting your baby in a bassinet, make him sleep by swaddling him in your arms. Babies feel secure and protected when swaddled; swaddling gives them the warmth and comfort of their mothers’ womb. Swaddling also lowers the startle reflex and improves sleep as the reflex is activated by sudden changes in light, sound or temperature. Furthermore, babies also feel less anxious when they are swaddled.
5. Lay Him Down Awake
The key to successfully train a newborn to sleep in a bassinet is to lay him down while he’s still awake. As a parent, you will want to give in when your little one throws a fit or cries incessantly when made to sleep in a bassinet, but you must resist. He won’t get comfortable falling asleep in a bassinet unless and until you train him to do so. The trick is to get him cosy and comfortable by his bedtime; and when you place him in a bassinet, he should be drowsy but still awake. To get it right you need to find that sweet time when he’s sleepy enough to not protest but awake enough to know that he is being placed in the bassinet.
6. Sing Lullaby or Read a Book
Once you place him in the bassinet, you can sing him a lullaby or read a book. When you sing to your baby, your voice will soothe him and he will fall asleep in no time. Reading a book or a short story will also calm him, and your little one will fall asleep and sleep comfortably in the bassinet. White noise machines can also help baby stay asleep once he dozes off.
7. Get an Inclined Bassinet
Not all babies are comfortable sleeping flat on their backs throughout the night, this is especially true if they have issues such as acid reflux. If you are not comfortable with using a wedge to raise the mattress to incline it, you can look for models that come with an incline or incline control. With these models of inclined bassinet, you should be able to find the proper angle which will help your baby sleep well without any fuss.
8. Make the Sleeping Environment Comfortable
A good sleeping environment can help your baby fall asleep in no time. If your baby sleeps in your room, make sure you dim the lights an hour before you put him in the bassinet. The bassinet sheets should be soft and comfortable. Pick the sheets that are made of natural cotton or a combination of a polyester blend that is soft and warm to touch. The room temperature needs to be kept optimal to go with the sheets and not too warm or too cold else your baby might wake up. If you find that your baby becomes irritable soon after being placed in the bassinet, try warming the sheets so that he does not feel the change in warmth after being transferred to the bassinet from the comfort of your arms.
9. Get a Bassinet That Rocks
You will find plenty of options in bassinets that come with rocking skids and wheels. If your baby likes to be rocked while sleeping, you can buy a bassinet with rocking skid. Inclined bassinet models also come with motorized rockers and vibration feature which is helpful for babies who have a hard time falling asleep because of reflux. The more features the model offers the better it is for your baby.
To make the bassinet as safe as possible, do not place cushions, pillows, or toys in it. These objects may suffocate your child. Other than the blanket used to swaddle him in and a pacifier, your baby won’t need anything extra to sleep comfortably. If you must use sleep positioners or wedges to ease the baby’s acid reflux, always tuck them under the mattress to get the desired incline angle.
Getting your baby to sleep in a bassinet may take some time but we know you can do it. And with the above-mentioned tips, we know you can’t go wrong. Experiment with the above ways and see what works best for your baby. Soon your little one will start sleeping in a bassinet without making any fuss.