Childbirth is a magical experience for the female. The smell of a newborn is unlike any other. I went through five pregnancies and gave birth to five, all were normal deliveries. While each pregnancy was distinct from one another, there is one common catch – putting the newborn to sleep.
If you are on the family way or nursing a newborn, chances are you’re preparing or looking for the best solution to put your baby to sleep. But have you ever thought about the bassinet?
Sleep Characteristics of the Newborn
Let me manage your expectations first before dwelling on the meat of this article. It is important to understand the sleep characteristics of the newborn.
- A newborn needs plenty of sleep, roughly 2/3 of the day or 16 hours
- The 16 hours is not continuous but completed in 3 to 4 hours intervals as mentioned earlier
- The interruptions in between the intervals are reserved for feeding time as the newborn needs to be fed every few hours
- Sometimes my newborns manage to stay awake for a couple of hours before dozing off again
- Once a sleeping pattern is developed, you can expect bonuses of longer hours of sleep and that to me is a welcome relief
Is Bassinet a Need?
Frankly, I would consider bassinet as the best parental hack ever made for infant care. It did a lot of wonders for me and it will for you too.
- For safety reasons, your newborn is secure in this petite compartment yet it allows enough room for movement and a bit of stretching.
- I chose the bassinet with a mattress that fits snugly in its dimension and covered it tightly with a sheet. I made sure there are no spaces between the body frame and the mattress.
What are the Conveniences of the Bassinet?
The good thing about the bassinet is its compact size and portability. It does not cover much space which is also my consideration.
In my case, I moved my bassinet a lot. From the nursery room to my bedroom and anywhere in the house where I can watch my sleeping child while doing other chores if I’m not resting.
Nighttime becomes more intimate with the bassinet just beside our bed. There’s less stress during feeding time in the wee hours with your baby in close proximity.
How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet?
Step 1 - Create a Routine
Establish a sleeping routine early on for your newborn. Interestingly, infants are very perceptive and would respond positively to a mother’s signal. Be consistent just as you are in feeding, bathing, cuddling and diaper change.
Step 2 - Develop the Habit
One way to develop a sleeping habit is to put your baby in the bassinet while awake. I placed my baby when fast asleep after cradling until I realized it will be difficult for me in the long run.
Let your child learn to settle on his own and find that sleep. Amazingly, it happens.
Step 3 - Use a Swaddle
Wrap your newborn tightly in a blanket sleeper before tucking him in the bassinet. It’s just like recreating the setting inside your womb. I am certain your newborn will find plenty of sleep. It also minimizes the startling reflex common in sleeping newborns.
Your newborn’s head or face should not be covered. Watch this instructional video to learn how to swaddle your newborn baby.
Step 4 - Let Newborn Adapt to Sounds
Take advantage that a newborn has yet to cultivate a separation anxiety from the mother. Music and lullaby work for me.
From my experience, my newborns were never awakened by normal sounds while sleeping in the bassinet. Only extremely loud noises like the banging of a door or really loud music can disrupt my children’s sleep.
I took several precautions to ensure all my babies are safe and protected.
- The ideal position of a newborn is sleeping on his back on the flat, firm surface. Do not let your baby sleep on her side or tummy.
- A newborn should sleep alone in the bassinet. It is never safe to share his bed space with a twin or another baby.
- I bought a bassinet without a drop side rail to prevent a tip-over accident. While your newborn is too young to make roll-overs, don’t take chances and to avoid freak accidents of this nature.
- Do not clutter the bassinet with objects such as stuffed toys, rattles, ribbons and other non-essentials to sleep. I just have a soft pillow and a blanket sleeper. Be mindful of objects that can put your newborn in harm’s way. Also, make sure the bedding is always tight not loose.
- I kept the bassinet away from hanging window cords or curtain ropes as a precautionary measure against entanglement.
- I always dressed my newborns in light sleeping clothes. Make sure the ties or strings are kept away from the head.
- There were isolated cases of suffocation and lack of oxygen in newborns. In short, give your newborn the breathing space at all times.
My Newborn is Sound Asleep
I would have wanted to keep my original bassinet as a family heirloom. However, I decided to purchase a new one with the arrival of my fourth baby since she was 9 years apart from the third.
My experience with the second bassinet was no different from the first. I never really changed the effective ways how to get newborn to sleep in a bassinet. I also used the bassinet for my youngest child who came 2 years after.
With the second bassinet, I observed an interesting fact. I noticed my newborns adapted quite well to the limited dimensions of this little bed space. They kind of felt the confinement which I found remarkable.
I also made sure the bassinet I obtained had the same sturdy bottom with a wide base like the original. Old habits die hard and that is one idiom I adhere to when it comes to baby bassinets.
For good measure, I bought a LED night light for late-night diaper changes. Other than that, my newborns found restful sleep in my bassinets. I found mine too.
Please Share Your Tips
I hope you will find my experiences with baby bassinets insightful and helpful. As a mother, I can relate to the concerns of other moms who are looking for effective sleep solutions for their newborns. Mine was never easy as it seems. It took me awhile before I got accustomed to the bassinet. In time, it relieved me of my concerns.
If you have any valuable inputs about your own personal experiences with baby bassinets, please feel free to share them with us. We would appreciate receiving your comments about this article too. We are all in this together.