When a newborn won’t sleep in a bassinet, the parents likely don’t either. This can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, especially if you find that your newborn prefers to only sleep in your arms. The first few days you might deem this as cute and a time for bonding, but soon parents come to realize that a baby needs to sleep in their own bassinet.
There are other reasons why putting a baby to sleep in a bassinet is important. The first reason is safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a newborn should sleep on a flat and firm surface for safety reasons. This includes crib, bassinet or pack and play. These guidelines are part of safe sleep, including putting a baby to sleep on their back, which helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Keep Your Baby Within Arm’s Reach
According to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, parents should select a bassinet that allows a newborn to be near them. He recommends the Arm’s Reach® CO-SLEEPER® brand bassinet which allows parents and babies to have their own bed space, yet still be within touching distance of each other. This makes night feedings easier, especially if mom is breastfeeding. For working parents, a bassinet that is close by helps to make up for missed touch time during the day and allows parents to reconnect with a baby at night. A baby will know that their parents are close by, and this provides a sense of night-time security that supports emotional development.
Understand that Babies Will Fuss and Cry
Most parents never want their baby to cry or fuss. They want their child to be the happiest kid around. The second a newborn starts to make some noise many parents will quickly rush in and pick the baby up. Sometimes, if it’s time to sleep, a better approach is to be an observer and offer comfort without picking the baby up. You can still offer comfort and touch without holding when it’s time for bed, and let the baby settle in the bassinet for a few minutes with parents staying within arm’s reach.
Make Sure Your Baby is Comfortable
Before you put a baby down to sleep, make sure that they are comfortable. Check that their diaper is clean, that the temperature of the room is where it’s supposed to be, that their swaddle isn’t scratchy, and that they are not hungry. This way if your baby is fussy, you’ll already have crossed off a few of the reasons for the fussiness.
Check Your Baby’s Surroundings
Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant, is known for her work with families that need some extra support getting their baby to sleep. Following the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michi also recommends that babies always be placed on their backs. She also tells parents to check for loose bedding and to make sure that the bassinet does not have toys, blankets, or crib bumpers. These can all be dangerous.