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What to do When Baby Won’t Sleep in a Bassinet

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Bassinets are hyper-popular these days, and it’s easy to see why. Portable and easy to carry, they’re light and comfy and pretty addition to every room, and they can be placed right up against the bed so that baby is right next to you all night long or carried all around the house.

But as convenient and comfortable as they are, sometimes baby won’t sleep in a bassinet, at least at first.

It can take consistent effort and a few tips and tricks to get them settled, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll realize just how easy it is.

What is a bassinet?

A bassinet is a bed that’s designed for your baby to sleep in for the first few months of their lives. From birth up until around the fourth month.

Unlike a cradle, which is designed to rock and move, bassinets are usually built around a fixed leg design, so they’re far more stable.

Once your baby gets old enough, they’ll transfer out of their bassinet to a crib, but don’t expect this to happen until they get a few months in.

Can my baby sleep in the bed with me?

One of the reasons bassinets are so popular today is because sleeping in the same bed as your baby just isn’t recommended anymore.

Being near your baby whilst you both sleep is great, but keeping baby in the same bed can lead to complications, and in the worst cases injury or even death, so don’t do it. By all means, chill and maybe snooze, but don’t sleep in the same bed together.

How you can help if baby won’t sleep in a bassinet

Keep to a fixed routine

A good routine gets baby comfortable and used to what’s supposed to happen, and why. This primes their body and mind to settling down and sleeping, so try and do the same few things in the same order before bedtime every day.

For example, bathtime could be followed by a feed, then a lullaby as you keep them close, diaper change then finally being settled down to sleep.

Keep their sheets in your bed

One of the reasons that babies don’t like sleeping in their bassinets is because it puts them away from mom. Even though you’re just across the room, maybe even within touching distance, that can seem like infinity to a teeny baby.

You can help sort this by sleeping with your baby’s sheets. That way they’ll pick up your smell, so when it gets time to snuggle down and go to sleep, the baby is surrounded by your scent and feels a lot more relaxed and natural, and that much more likely to fall to sleep.

Buy a bassinet that’s inclined or moves

Sleeping completely flat feels utterly unnatural for babies, especially really young babies like newborns.

Lying flat can also affect your baby’s reflux, otherwise called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.) If your baby suffers, then definitely consider buying an inclined bassinet and make sure that they’re propped up and comfy. That way, you’ll both get a much better night’s sleep.

You can compensate for this by buying a bassinet that’s angled just a fraction, or has the option to rock and swing. That way, it’s easy to comfort the baby by gently rocking them to sleep, and they’ll feel that much more relaxed when they’re in a bed that’s built the way they like it.

Keep trying

We’re all creatures of habit. One of the reasons your baby might not want to sleep in their bassinet could literally just be that they’re not used to it yet, and that makes them grumpy.

Imagine if someone came into your room, changed all your bedding and pillows, then told you to enjoy your new bed. No matter how nice it all was, it would feel alien to you for the first few days.

So take it slow, give the baby a few days to adapt, and try to keep them in it for slightly longer times each day and each nap session. It’s absolutely fine to leave them in it to get used to it, whilst you hover around and make sure they’re alright.

The first few days of putting the baby in their bassinet can be hard on you both. They’re going to be getting used to an entirely new experience and environment, which can make them grumpy and grizzly.

You’re going to be worried, and likely to not get very much sleep because of this, not to mention if and when baby wakes up or refuses to relax and sleep properly.

But keep at it and you’re sure to get the hang of it quickly enough.


  • A strong routine
  • Making baby’s bassinet smell like mommy
  • Buying or inclining the bassinet, and
  • Persistence

Will have both you and baby happy and settled quickly. We know that in just a few weeks you’ll have everything sorted. By then it’ll be time to switch out the bassinet for a crib! But you’ll get there, we believe in you.

If you’ve got any tips for other moms struggling as baby won’t sleep in a bassinet, or if you’re currently struggling to get a full night’s sleep, be sure to share in the comments. Our community love to pitch in and help out other moms, so no matter what you’re facing, someone’s sure to have seen it before.

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