As a new parent, trying to get your little one to sleep in the bassinet can be daunting when all they want to do is sleep on you. We know that babies wanting to sleep on or near us is biologically normal and helps with brain development. During the day, we can enjoy those newborn snuggles (because we know they go way too fast!!), but it can be frustrating and dangerous at night if you're dozing off while holding your baby.
How to get baby to sleep in their bassinet
Always follow the Red Nose Guidelines for Safe Sleep when putting your baby to sleep. In addition, here are some tips to help you get your baby into their bassinet overnight:
- You want to try and mimic what it was like in the womb for babies, as this is what they're used to and what makes them feel safe. So, to do this, you can use soft organic cotton fitted bassinet sheets, use a white noise machine and have the room dark. Consider a Window Blockout.
- Next, you want to make the baby feels safe and secure, which can be done by using an ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag to reduce baby's startle reflex and help them feel snug and fast (like they were in the womb). The Cocoon Swaddle Bag is designed to be both easy to use and difficult to escape from. In addition, the zip-up swaddle is TOG rated for warmth to keep baby snug and securely swaddled without the need for complicated wrapping; from day one, you don't need to use blankets.
- Once you have your baby in their Cocoon Swaddle Bag, gently lower baby into the bassinet feet first (this helps reduce the startle reflex, so they don't wake themselves up).
- You can also opt to use the ergoPouch Tuck Sheet, an amazing, game-changing product. The Baby Tuck Sheet is a TOG-rated, safe newborn bed sheet - a baby blanket alternative - suitable from birth. Designed to be used over the top of a swaddle or sleeping bag, it provides added security and comfort for a newborn during sleep. Each side of the Baby Tuck Sheet is TOG-rated; flip the sheet over to adjust the warmth and follow their Bedding Temperature guide (included) for help layering. The zips allow you to adjust to two firmness levels (tightness) to find the perfect fit for your baby's size or strength of the startle reflex.
- After placing your baby into the bassinet feet first, you can gently pat their tummy or roll onto their side and pat their bottom (remembering you will have to roll baby onto their back for safe sleeping once they're asleep) until baby looks like they're asleep. The gentle patting works best in conjunction with a white noise machine, or you make 'shushing' noises with your mouth.
- When you think baby is asleep in the bassinet, keep patting and shushing for at least another 10 minutes while they drift off into a deep sleep (you can then roll baby gently onto their back if you were patting on their side), and then you can sneak out of the room.
How to dress baby for sleep in Spring
For baby to sleep well in a basseinet, it's important that they are not too hot or too cold. So, it is essential that you dress baby appropriately for the weather.
Since we are going into Spring, let's chat about how to dress your baby for Spring as the weather warms.
A 1.0 TOG Layer is a good option underneath your Cocoon Swaddle Bag or on a colder spring night, while as it gets warmer, you can choose a lighter 0.2 TOG Layer. As it contintues to get warmer, you can slowly reduce the number of layers you have underneath your Pouch.
To determine the number of layers to add to your baby, you can follow the general rule of whatever clothes/blankets you have on your bed – add an extra layer for baby if it's cold or take an extra layer off baby if it's hot. Alternatively, you can feel the baby's chest to determine if they are too hot or too cold (this gives a much more accurate temperature to touch than touching the baby's forehead).
Babies lose heat from their heads to try and cool themselves down if they are too hot. Therefore, to avoid overheating, you should never sleep your baby in any hats or beanies.
Finally, don't forget to enjoy those baby cuddles as much as you can and follow these helpful tips for dressing baby during spring and trying to get baby into the bassinet.
Lauren Brenton is a Clinical Midwifery Specialist with 7 years of experience. She now runs Antenatal classes helping prepare new mothers for labour and childbirth. Her passion is to empower women to feel confident during the early stages of parenting. Lauren is a mum of 4.
This article was originally published on 1st August 2022. Content updated on 26 September 2023.