6 Proven Tips to Get Your Newborn to Sleep in Their Bassinet

Written by: Julian Wood



Time to read 10 min

While they might be happy to snooze in your arms during naptime, getting your newborn to sleep in their bassinet is super important. We understand this can be a tricky thing to achieve, but there are ways to help them drift off.

As your baby grows, it's important to establish healthy sleep habits and routines, including being able to sleep in their own bassinet to prepare them for independent sleeping as they get older.

In fact, a lot of moms find detaching their little ones from them and transitioning to the bassinet quite difficult. But it’s all about persisting with good sleep practices, and soon enough, your baby will feel just as comfortable sleeping in their own space as they do in your arms.

How to Settle Your Newborn in a Bassinet

Even though every newborn is different, they all still tend to find the same things comforting. And the more cozy and safe they feel, the easier it’ll be for them to drift off to sleep.

Sometimes just small changes to their bedtime routine or sleep environment can make a big difference in helping your newborn sleep in their bassinet, so you shouldn’t feel disheartened if your first attempts don’t work.

As with anything in the world of parenting, trial and error is key – but with these tried and tested tips, you’ll have your newborn sleeping soundly in their bassinet in no time.

Our 6 tips to get your baby to sleep in their bassinet:

  1. Get the ambience right with lighting and temperature

  2. Sync their naptime to their wake windows

  3. Adjust their sleep schedule to align with their day

  4. Lay them down awake but drowsy

  5. Practice the 5 S’s of sleep

  6. Ignore any non-urgent noises so you don’t disturb them

#1 Setting the Correct Room Ambience

Ensuring the right ambience in the room is paramount in aiding your baby to settle and sleep in their bassinet. An environment that mimics the warmth and security of a mom's womb can significantly soothe a newborn.

To achieve this, consider the following tips:

  • Adjust the lighting: Soft, dim lighting or the use of a nightlight can create a calming atmosphere for your baby. Avoid bright lights, as they can overstimulate and disturb your infant's sleep cycle.

  • Maintain a comfortable temperature: Babies are more sensitive to changes in room temperature. Keeping the room comfortably warm, ideally between 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit, can help your baby sleep more comfortably and soundly.

  • Introduce white noise: A quiet room isn't always the most soothing environment for a newborn. Gentle, continuous sounds such as white noise or a soft hum can recreate the constant sound they experienced in the womb and work wonders in calming them down.

  • Soft bedding: Ensure that the bassinet is equipped with soft, comfortable, and breathable bedding. Avoid over-layering and ensure any blankets or sheets are securely tucked in to create a snug and secure sleeping space for your baby.

#2 Sync Naptime to Wake Windows

Syncing your newborn's naps with their natural wake windows can significantly enhance their bassinet sleep quality . Wake windows are the periods when your baby is alert and awake between naps. By understanding these, parents can time naps when their baby is naturally ready to sleep.

Placing your newborn in their bassinet during these periods reduces fussiness since they're already inclined to sleep.

It also minimizes overstimulation that occurs when trying to put your baby to sleep outside these windows, ensuring a smoother transition to bassinet sleeping.

#3 Adjust Their Sleep Schedule

Adjusting your newborn's sleep schedule can significantly bolster their ability to sleep in a bassinet. Establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up time aids in regulating their internal clock , making them more likely to feel sleepy at the right times.

A routine signals to your baby when it's time to sleep, encouraging a smoother transition to the bassinet.

How to Adjust Your Baby's Sleep Schedule

Adjusting your little one's sleep schedule means setting a consistent routine that matches their natural sleep patterns and gradually tweaking sleep times.

Start by observing your baby’s current sleep habits to understand their rhythm. Choose a bedtime and wake-up time that fits both your family's routine and your baby’s needs.

Shift their bedtime 15 minutes closer to the target time each night , keeping it there for a few days to let your baby adapt. Then, adjust wake-up times, napping schedules, and feeding sessions gradually to create a more structured routine that helps them sleep.

Consistency is key, so maintain a predictable bedtime routine with calming activities like a warm bath, reading a story, or playing gentle lullabies to signal sleep time.

Patience and sticking to the routine are vital, as adjusting your baby's sleep schedule can take weeks. Remember, each baby is different, and flexibility is essential to find what works best for your tyke.

#4 Lay Them Down Awake

Putting your baby in their bassinet while they're drowsy but awake teaches them to self-soothe and sleep independently.

This method helps your baby link their bassinet with sleep, making it easier for them to settle in their own space over time. Being slightly awake when placed in the bassinet helps newborns become familiar with their sleeping environment, turning it into a comforting, secure place for rest. 

#5 Practice the 5 S's

The 5 S's are a series of techniques proposed by Dr. Harvey Karp that aim to mimic the environment of the womb to soothe your baby and promote sleep.

Each 'S' represents a different approach to calming your newborn, making it easier for them to settle in their bassinet. Here's how to practice them:

Soothing Technique Description
Swaddle Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket for security and warmth, ensuring arms are comfortable, and the swaddle is secure but not too tight, especially around the hips.
Side or Stomach Position Hold babies on their side or stomach when awake and being comforted, as it can soothe fussy babies. Note: Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep.
Shush Replicate the whooshing noise of the womb with a gentle 'shushing' sound or a white noise machine at low volume to soothe babies.
Swing Use gentle, rhythmic motion, like soft rocking or swinging, to mimic womb movement and calm newborns. This can be done in your arms or in a baby swing.
Suck Allow babies to suck on a pacifier or finger for comfort and relaxation. This natural reflex is deeply comforting for infants.

Each baby is unique, so it may take some experimentation to find the combination of S's that works best for your little one.

#6 Ignore Non-Urgent Noises

When transitioning your baby to independent sleep in a bassinet, it helps to recognize which sounds need immediate attention and which are non-urgent.

Babies make a range of noises as they settle or stir in sleep, including whimpers, grunts, and light fussing. Reacting to every small noise can disrupt their settling process. Allowing your newborn a chance to self-soothe encourages healthy sleep habits.  

This approach doesn't mean ignoring distress cries; it's about understanding that not all sounds indicate discomfort or wakefulness. Often, a fussing or stirring baby is just moving through different sleep cycles or settling themselves. 

Common Reasons Your Newborn Won't Sleep in a Bassinet

It can be frustrating as a new or first-time parent when your baby won't sleep where and when you need them to. However, many of the reasons why your newborn is reluctant to sleep in their bassinet can be rectified once they've been identified.

Such reasons can include:

They're Uncomfortable

Babies have a heightened sensitivity towards their immediate environment, making comfort crucial for their sleep. Common reasons for your little one to be uncomfortable in their bassinet include...

  • The mattress is too hard

  • The bassinet is too cold

  • The bedding is scratchy

  • There's too much space

  • There's not enough space

Ensuring the bassinet is cozy, with appropriate bedding and a snug fit, can help mitigate discomfort and encourage your newborn to sleep soundly in their designated sleeping space.

Make sure the fitted sheets are the correct size for their bed and that they’re made from a soft, breathable material like organic cotton. Avoid using blankets or other loose bedding that can potentially suffocate your baby.

If your little one is nearing 6 months of age, it might be time to transition them to a crib or bigger bed. Once your baby becomes too big for their bassinet, they’ll likely feel cramped and uncomfortable in such a small space. Keep an eye out for signs your baby has outgrown their bassinet, such as difficulty settling or sitting up unaided.

They Prefer Your Arms

Sometimes, newborns show a strong preference for sleeping curled up in their parent's arms rather than in their own bassinet. This is often because the warmth, heartbeat, and gentle movements of a parent offer a sense of security and comfort that mirrors the environment of the womb.

This familiar comfort can make babies feel safer and more relaxed, which naturally lends itself to easier and deeper sleep.

You can aid the transition to a bassinet by creating a similar environment. Use a warm, snug baby blanket to mimic the feeling of being held, and consider placing a piece of clothing with your scent near your baby's head. This can help them feel calmer and more at ease in their bassinet.

They're Overtired

When newborns become overtired, their bodies release stress hormones like cortisol, making it harder for them to relax and fall asleep.

This state of overstimulation can lead to fussiness and resistance to sleeping in their bassinet, as they find it challenging to switch off and settle down.

They've Got Reflux

Reflux is a common condition in newborns in which stomach contents are regurgitated back up into the esophagus, causing discomfort. This can prevent your baby from sleeping in their bassinet due to the pain or unease that lying flat often exacerbates.

Symptoms of reflux in babies include frequent spitting up and noticeable discomfort during or after feedings.

The SnüzPod4 features a gentle reflux tilt option to help make your little one more comfortable when they're settling down to sleep. Making the reflux tilt part of your baby’s bedtime routine can help reduce those sleepless nights.

The Startle Reflex is Stopping Them

The startle reflex, or Moro reflex, is a natural response in babies that often disrupts their sleep. When babies are gently lowered into their bassinet, this sudden change of position can trigger the reflex, causing them to feel as if they are falling.

This sensation makes them jolt awake, often leading to cries and difficulty settling back to sleep. Swaddling can help mitigate this reflex by providing a snug, comforting wrap that simulates the feeling of being held.

It's Too Quiet

Babies transition from a consistently loud womb environment, where the sound of the mother's heartbeat and bodily functions acts as constant white noise.

A room that's too quiet can feel unnervingly unfamiliar to newborns, making it difficult for them to settle. Achieving a balance with soft, consistent background noise, such as white noise, can recreate the comforting ambience of the womb and promote better sleep.

What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Sleep in Their Bassinet

If your baby struggles to sleep in their bassinet, it's crucial to be patient and problem-solve.

Persistent sleep issues could indicate health or developmental problems. If your baby can't settle or seems uncomfortable often, see your pediatrician. They can check for issues like reflux or allergies affecting sleep and offer advice tailored to your baby's needs.

If you're using a SnüzPod4 and facing issues, reaching out to our  support team can help. Our caring team can guide you on setting up, making comfort adjustments, and using the SnüzPod4's features effectively for your baby. Snüz support is available on our website.

Remember, moving to a bassinet is a big shift for infants used to being held and adjustments take time. Professional advice and product support can ease this transition for you and your baby.

Summary: Helping Your Newborn Sleep in a Bassinet at Night

Above all, it’s important that you don’t get too overwhelmed or frustrated if your baby isn’t sleeping in their bassinet at first. Remember, this is a new experience for both of you, and it may take some time to adjust.

Be patient and try different techniques until you find what works for your little one. With consistency, patience, and plenty of love and care, your baby will soon be sleeping soundly in their bassinet.

If you think it’s time to reach out to your pediatrician or a sleep specialist, don’t hesitate to do so. They can provide personalized advice and support for you and your baby.

Read more on our blog for more baby sleep tips and insights into helping you and your baby get the best night's sleep possible.


How Do I Get My Newborn to Sleep Without Being Held?

Getting your newborn to sleep without being held involves gradually getting them used to their bassinet. Start by holding them until they're drowsy, then gently placing them down.

Consistently using soothing techniques like white noise or swaddling can make this transition smoother for both baby and parents.

Is it OK to Hold a Newborn Until They Fall Asleep?

While holding a newborn until they fall asleep can be comforting, it's important to gently transition them to sleeping in their own space to foster independence and ensure they become accustomed to their bassinet.

Why Does My Newborn Wake Up as Soon as I Put Them Down?

Newborns often wake up when put down due to the startling change in environment, feeling from warm, close contact to a cooler, more spacious bassinet. Swaddling and ensuring a warm, snug bassinet can help mimic the comfort of being held.

What is the Pick Up Put Down Method?

The ‘Pick Up Put Down’ method is a gentle sleep training technique. It involves comforting your baby by picking them up when they cry, and then putting them back down when they calm. Repeat until your baby falls asleep, teaching them to sleep independently while ensuring they feel safe and loved.