When you’re raising an infant, getting too little sleep for both you and your baby can be troubling. You can both use sleep to re-energize. If not, you both end up cranky and that can adversely impact your health and your baby’s development if it becomes chronic. That’s why it’s important for you to learn how to get an infant to sleep in a bassinet.
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Why Learn to Put Your Baby in a Bassinet?
Parents have to do what they can to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Much of the more than 3000 SUID incidents in the US happen during baby’s sleep or in a baby’s sleeping area. This is based on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
To help educate the public about preventing SUIDs, the American Academy of Pediatrics released several recommendations. That includes:
- Keeping babies asleep on their backs
- Refraining from setting babies beside you in bed
- Avoiding crib sharing among siblings
Before moving further to help you help your baby learn healthy sleeping habits, you should also know the quality of the bassinet or crib you have impact your baby’s safety during sleep.
So, make sure to check that the product you’re buying is compliant with all applicable standards set by regulatory authorities. If unsure, make it a point to ask your seller.
Equally important is for you to understand that learning how to get an infant to sleep in a bassinet impacts your baby’s health and well-being, and yours too. Besides, if you get this challenging period in the bag, you’ll be setting up yourself and your baby for success.
That way, you don’t just get the sleep you need to raise a child. You also get to do other things that you need to. And, if all continues to go well, it might surprise you when you find extra time to spend on a hobby or two. Or, even just a moment to take a deep breath and take better care of you.
Top Musts to Teach an Infant to Sleep Safely
Now you know experts advise against keeping your baby in bed or allowing the baby to sleep face down. There’s only one thing left to do and that is to leap right into action!
Let’s flesh out the details of what you must and must not do to encourage your baby to sleep calmly and soundly in a bassinet.
Succeeding in this endeavor entails some strategy, preparation, and sometimes a bit of tweaking to tailor-fit solutions based on your baby’s needs and yours too.
Here’s a list of the things you must do:
- Set up a cozy atmosphere in the bedroom. This will help set up your baby to sleep. Placing the bassinet away from the windows and even putting up blackout curtains will help prevent light from entering the room during nap time.
You might also want to install adjustable lighting to soften the light. Softer light helps suggest to your baby that it’s time to settle in and induce sleep.
- Set up a cozy bassinet. One thing to keep in mind when you do this is that babies, infants most especially, are still in that stage where they miss the warmth of a mother’s womb. Make sure there’s no shortage of cushioning in there to keep your baby warm.
Extra cushioning can also keep your baby safe. Make sure there are no sharp corners or edges. An important pro mum tip to keep in mind is to make sure your cushions are safe for your baby and are positioned in a way that will be unlikely for your child to get suffocated.
- Shop smart. We can’t reiterate it enough — not all bassinets or cribs out there meet all the safety standards set by regulatory authorities. Make sure you know if the product you’re eyeing does before handing over your card or checking out your online cart.
- Refrain from instantly picking up your baby when she’s restless. It might be hard to do so at first and your baby’s sad face isn’t going to make it any easier but you both have got to try. That’s why it’s called ‘training’.
Resist the urge to pick him to comfort him. Instead, find other ways to provide relief. Sometimes your baby will ask to be fed, sometimes, he’ll need to be played with, other times he needs light touching. The trick is to be patient in finding out what your baby needs instead of immediately offering your arms for comfort. You’ll be uber thankful later once you both learn picking up your baby in your arms isn’t always the best solution.
- Do swaddle an infant. Swaddling helps replicate the feel and warmth of the womb that comforts your baby. A swaddle is more advisable than layering blankets and quilts to keep your baby warm. Unlike these things which could accidentally suffocate or strangle your baby, a swaddle is the safest option. Just make sure it’s not too tight to cause your little one discomfort or injury.
- Introduce a routine and stick to it. Train your baby to sleep and get up at the same hour everyday. That’s just a start. It will be challenging to stick to a full routine and follow it everyday — that includes feeding times, bath time, and play time.
Also, expose your baby to certain cues that induce them to calm down and sleep. Things like setting your baby on his bassinet after taking a bath to play a little, then pulling the curtains shut and adjusting mood lighting will make your baby recognize the cues that it’s time to take a nap.
But, when you and your baby ace it, you’ll find it much easier to manage your day and energy. When your baby gets in the habit of taking naps, waking. up, feeding at predictable times during the day (and night), you can work around that schedule to get other things done around the house or at work. Thank me later!
As you may have guessed correctly, when there’s a list of ‘Dos’, there must be a list of ‘Don’ts’. Here’s how we’ve broken it down:
- Don’t set up a bassinet in a different room. You may have prepped the most beautiful, most quaint nursery but that’s not the best place to set down your baby. Beside your own bed is the best location. Why? Here are the most compelling reasons:
- Your baby is undergoing hyper development at this stage. While you’re sleeping, she may turn on her tummy for the first time and not quite be able to turn to her back again. She could suffocate if you’re not there to help her.
- Your baby is still developing sleeping habits. She may wake up in the middle of the night and ask to be fed or to be played with. You’d want to be there ready to give her what she needs when she needs it.
- Don’t use pillows inside the bassinet. That can get in the way of your baby’s nose and mouth, causing suffocation! You’ll be surprised at how prevalent this rather unsafe practice is.
- Don’t leave anything else inside the crib. Your baby will zone out regardless if he’s in the middle of feeding or throwing kicks at you. Most of the time, rattles, bottles, blankets, towels, and other stuff will be scattered around your baby. Always, you must make an effort to get all of this stuff out of the bassinet. All of these things have the potential to suffocate, wound, or hurt your baby in some way.
- Don’t let your baby sleep on her tummy. When sleeping, your baby should always be lying on her back. Tummy time is good for your baby as it eases out cholic and also helps prevent flattening their head. However, you should only do tummy time when they’re awake.
- Set your baby down on her bassinet while they’re awake. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when training your baby to sleep in a bassinet is to settle them in after falling asleep in your arms.
Instead, you should sit your baby in the bassinet or crib while she’s awake. That way, you won’t be disturbing their sleep. More importantly, you’re giving them time to adjust to her surroundings, take in the cues, and realize she’s not in your arms before falling off to sleep — absolutely no surprises there for the little one.
If you think you’ve tried all of the advice we shared on how to get an infant to sleep in a bassinet but still not noticing positive improvements in your child’s sleeping habits, perhaps you should examine how tired your baby really is before putting her to bed.
Give your child playtime, an early morning soak under the sun, and any other creative (and safe) activity you can think of. Try giving her a warm bath before bed time. It might also be a good time to warm up your vocal chords and learn to hum a lullaby.