What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In A Bassinet

For many new parents, getting your baby to sleep is one of the hardest things to do. We are all told to have your newborn sleep on their back on a flat surface. But what do you do when your baby won’t sleep in bassinet?

For those who become a ball of nerves at even the mention of bed-sharing, a bedside bassinet is the perfect solution. However, the option will only work if your child will actually sleep while in it!

So what can you do to help your baby stay asleep in a bassinet? Read on for several simple ideas you can try at home.

Purchase A Bassinet That Moves Or Has An Incline

The most popular option for sleeping on an incline has been the Rock N’ Play. Keeping baby buckled in place while at a slight tilt, the device also offered parents the ability to rock their child, with a newer version allowing the rocking to be done automatically. The device was especially loved by parents of babies with reflux, who tend to sleep better when placed at a slight incline.

While this popular sleep choice was recently recalled earlier this year, there are several other options still available for purchase. While some devices still offer a bit of an incline, it is lesser than the recalled option. In addition, the bassinet offers a vibration feature that allows for easy soothing, or parents can manually rock the baby back and forth. The bassinet is also adjustable so it is a great option for beds of all heights and for when the baby won’t sleep in bassinet.

Meanwhile, other options such as the Rock N’ Stay offer the ability to keep baby flat on their backs for sleep time but still offer the ability to slowly rock them back and forth, helping to ease them back to sleep quickly and quietly. Whatever the choice, these bassinets are a great way to help when baby won’t sleep in bassinet.

Is your bassinet safe?

While these devices are wonderful for parents of children who do not enjoy sleeping completely flat on their backs, it is worth noting that it is important to always use the safety restraints that accompany the bassinet and to stop use of any bassinet with an incline as soon as your child is nearing the ability to, or is able to, fully roll over.

For those who already own a bassinet and do not wish to invest more money into a new one, it is possible to work with the one you already have to create an incline for when baby won’t sleep in bassinet. A foam wedge, cushion, or pad placed underneath the sheets will offer enough of an incline for some babies that they will become more comfortable and find it easier to sleep. Another option is to place a towel underneath the sheets, which offers a softer sleeping surface for when baby won’t sleep in bassinet. This last option not only creates a softer surface but also produces a natural incline as well, making it a great option for babies who suffer from colic or acid reflux.

Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment

Babies are humans too, and as such they like to be comfortable. When your baby won’t sleep in bassinet, the solution could be as simple as a change of sheets. Because newborns have highly sensitive skin, the typical baby won’t sleep in bassinet unless there are incredibly soft, safe for baby sheets covering the mattress.

Temperature and sheets:

In addition, babies love to be warm when they sleep. It is important to lay your baby down on sheets that are warm while having the room kept at a cool temperature at the same time. Look for sheets made from natural fibers such as cotton or those made from a polyester blend or combination of other synthetic fibers, as these tend to be warmer to the touch.

While the sheets should be warm, as they are replacing the mother’s arms for a restful night of sleep, the room should be kept cooler to allow for optimum comfort when a baby won’t sleep in bassinet.

Does it smell like mom?

Babies are strongly attached to the scent of their mother. As such, if your baby won’t sleep in bassinet, one simple solution is to have mom spend a few nights sleeping on the bassinet sheets so that her scent is transferred to them. This helps to make the baby feel more comfortable and may also promote sleep as a result.

If you cannot wait, you could even try to wear the sheets during the day underneath your clothes as you go about your life.

In addition to changing the sheets, another option when baby won’t sleep in bassinet is to swaddle your baby. Infants love to feel safe and snug. As such, swaddles act as a hug for an infant while they sleep and will keep them warm and feeling secure all night long. However, some children do not like to be swaddled, so this option is not for everyone. In the end, you know your child the best.

Use A Co-Sleeper

Some bassinets are available for purchase that are used on top of the parents’ bed, making the child feel more secure because their parent is closer, which may in turn help your baby to sleep for longer periods of time. Because the infant is inside his own bassinet, he will remain safe when you toss and turn at night.

Models are even available that have a removable base, meaning you can choose to use it as a bedside bassinet or co-sleeper. These are all great options for when baby won’t sleep in a bassinet, as baby feels safer and will be more comfortable and at ease.

Keep At It

In the end, your baby will become accustomed to sleeping wherever you let them sleep. If you continue to allow them to sleep in your arms, that is where they will become the most comfortable. Just like adults prefer to sleep in their own beds, infants are the same way. Over time, they become most comfortable where they are used to sleeping every night.
It may take some more time than you would like to invest, but if you continue to try to use the bassinet, your baby will eventually get used to it. Great news for parents when your baby won’t sleep in bassinet!

Try this schedule:

One method to ease your baby into using his own sleeping area is to gradually increase the amount of time that is spent in it. For a baby who will only sleep for 30 minutes at a time, try to leave him in it for 45 minutes, and then 60 minutes. This method is not for everyone as it involves not answering every one of your child’s cries. Instead, it suggests that you let your baby remain in the bassinet while you are nearby and visible to help her learn to fall asleep on their own.

While this method may not work out in one or even two nights, within time you will be grateful to have a baby who sleeps in his bed!

The bassinet could also be used during the day to get your child more comfortable being inside it when baby won’t sleep in bassinet. For example, use the bassinet after feedings and for diaper changes. Place your child in it while you fold laundry so they can get used to the feel of the mattress while seeing that you are still nearby.


In the end, no one knows your baby better than you. These are all suggestions, but will not work with every child. You will come to learn if your child likes to be swaddled, needs to sleep on an incline, or simply wants to smell mom while he dreams. It may take some time, but your baby will learn to sleep on their own!