As many things as you can buy for your newborn baby before he or she is born, there’s no guarantee you will be able to use any of them! A common issue that comes up 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 and rolling over onto the baby but feel that having your new baby in the crib in another room is 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
Many babies do not enjoy sleeping flat at all as it feels unnatural to them and especially if your baby has reflux. Sometimes just inclining the bed just a bit helps babies feel more comfortable, and, of course, helps keeps things down for the little ones with reflux. I know you have likely already purchased a bedside bassinet, but check around to see if you have the receipt to return it if your retailer will accept it back if it’s open/used or 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!
Many of the families with which we work rave about the Rock-N-Play Sleeper! This sleeper lets your baby sleep at an incline and has vibrations and rocking capability. It’s very portable, so you can move it to a different room for naps or to grandma’s, which is a plus. 😉 This sleeper has been involved in just a bit of safety controversy. So, please, please, please if you decide this sleeper works for your family, be sure to always use the restraints each and every time you use it. And once your baby can roll, you’ll want to say bye-bye to this product right away. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully.
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.
* Please note: The Rock-N-Play technically does not quite adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines which state your baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface. In our experience, many families use it as a sleep device because, let’s face it, when your baby is not sleeping, you will do just about anything to get some extra zzz’s. To adhere to safe sleep guidelines, you should know that the Rock-N-Play’s incline, at the time of writing this article, is too steep.
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. Just 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.