Baby Won’t Sleep in the Crib or Bassinet

Posted on: May 5th, 2012 by Violet 16 Comments

baby won't sleep in crib, baby won't sleep in bassinet, baby won't stay asleep, baby hates cribWondering why your baby won’t sleep in the crib or bassinet? Well if I told you I put my my baby down in her bassinet for the first time and she smiled with joy, I’d be lying. The fact is, we really struggled with this when we brought her home from the hospital. She would sleep in her swing, newborn napper, bouncer, but she would not sleep in the bassinet. We had a “Arms Reach Co-Sleeper” so it was the size of a bassinet but looked like a mini crib. I was determined to figure out why she slept so soundly in everything else but not the Co-Sleeper. It didn’t take long to figure out, however it took some investigative work. Don’t you wish babies could talk?

I realized all of these swings, bouncers, and nappers had something in common. They were all positioned in such a way, that recreated a snug and womb-like environment, something all babies love. So I picked apart all the differences between the nappers and her Co-Sleeper bassinet, and created that same snug feeling.


sleep-baby-sleep-17“It has been 6 days now and every night my daughter sleeps 10 hours straight. No feeding, no rocking, no bouncing, no dancing around the bedroom at 35 degrees trying to get her to sleep! Just laying her down in her cot and within 5 minutes she’s asleep! Daytime naps are no longer in a car seat/bouncer/ sling/ pram (unless on the school run)- she sleeps blissfully in her cot! Violet is a miracle worker!”




First huge difference, they were all elevated. Of course! My baby never slept flat in my belly. It makes total sense that she freaks out when I lay her flat. My Pediatrician recommended I fold or roll a towel under the mattress of the Co- Sleeper. And Ta Da!! She didn’t cry when I put her down!!! Keep safety in mind, just a small incline will do. If you bought the extra leg extensions for your co-sleeper you can actually take off one set for a great and natural incline. With the incline, my baby actually gave the co-sleeper a chance. She stayed in it for a few minutes at first, then eventually longer and longer.






Practice Time

I also gave my baby some “practice time” in the the Co-Sleeper when she was happy and alert, like after a good feeding. I just let her explore in there. This gave her a chance to get use to the Co-Sleeper, and feel safe in something other than my arms. I did this a few times a day, for several days, until one day she just got tired, and even fell asleep in it all by herself. But we weren’t done yet. I knew I had to keep working on this. 

Babies Love to be Snug

The second big difference I noticed in her nappers, is that they were all snug. They had padding or newborn positioners, to make baby feel as if she’s being held. Ok got it, HALO Swaddle SleepSack. I remembered I registered for one and haven’t used it. I took it right out and wrapped her all up. Now we’re getting somewhere I thought. I put her down, she’s wasn’t crying and she actually fell asleep!

Cozy Sheets

Now for the hardest part, staying asleep. I watched by baby night after night. She was rolling her head around side to side. What the heck was she doing? One night she stretched her neck out like a turtle and dug her face into the top of the co-sleeper and fell asleep! The top of the Co-Sleeper was padded and soft. So she actually used that part of the bed to soothe herself back to sleep. Ok great, now I have to worry about her suffocating because the only way she will fall back asleep is by digging her face into something soft! This was a tough one! Thanks to the SIDS campaign we know that the crib should be pretty bare. No toys, blankets, or loose bedding. What the heck was I suppose to do???

I watched how she napped during the day and noticed the same thing. She liked to fall asleep by putting her face into something soft. Then it dawned on me, let me try some cozy sheets. The ones I had were plain, kind of stiff, regular cotton sheets. She liked things that were soft or plush, so I went on a hunt. That’s when I found these Velour Sheets. They are available for the co-sleeper, crib, and playpen. They are as thin as cotton, no unsafe plush, no padding whatsoever. Its just a thin and very soft velour. And guess what? It worked! Brianna felt that nice soft texture up against her face, she moved her head side to side a few times and was able to soothe herself to sleep. I’m not surprised, that’s probably what she was doing for 9 months in my belly. Believe it or not things are pretty cozy in there. She wasn’t sleeping through the night just yet though. I had to incorporate some sleep strategies. But at this point I saw signs that she was capable of putting herself to sleep independently, as well as soothe herself back to sleep. That was huge!

Lovey and Sleep Sack

I also use the same techniques for transitioning my baby into the crib. I elevated the mattress for about a week, bought crib size velour sheets, and switched the Halo Swaddle for a sleep sack. A “lovey” also known as a security/transitional object was also a huge help. If you are worried about leaving a lovey in your baby’s crib, Bitta Kidda, makes an amazing product. It’s “LovieSack” which is a sleep sack with the lovey attached for self soothing. It’s genius!


Gentle Sleep Training
I basically re-created a womb like environment to comfort my baby and help her sleep. Kind of makes sense right? It was something so simple but not so obvious without doing some work. Once we figured out how to get her to like her Co-Sleeper, we started working on how to get her to sleep through the night, by using some gentle sleep training. And the rest was history!


Are you having trouble getting your baby to sleep through the night?


Violet Giannone of Sleep, Baby, Sleep is a Registered Nurse and Baby Sleep Consultant who offers personal consultations to guide you and answer all your baby sleep questions in order to ensure that your little one is getting the sleep that a growing baby needs. Believing there is no “one size fits all” advice for helping a baby sleep, Violet offers personal sleep plans and consultations that take into consideration your baby’s age, sleep history, temperament, and individual circumstances. If your baby won’t sleep in the crib, or is having other sleep troubles, Violet can help!


View Options Here—>



baby fall asleep on their ownMy breastfed baby is now sleeping through the night for 12 hours and his naps have greatly improved thanks to Violet and her customized plan! After 7 days, my usually fussy baby is smiling, cooing, meeting milestones and I actually heard him laugh for the first time yesterday–I think I’m a better mom because I’m also getting some much needed rest. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do! As I type I’m watching my almost 5 month old baby sleep soundly on the video monitor. He went down awake, without being nursed to sleep with minimal fuss. This is a sight I never thought I would see. I no longer sign off on emails as “Tired in Toronto”… ~Christine, Canada


This article contains affiliate links, but don’t worry I only recommend products that I absolutely love!
Violet Giannone

Get tips. Ask questions. Connect.

16 Responses

  1. Hi violet! You have such a great blog here! I have an almost 6 month old son who currently sleeps in a Graco Pack n'play. We will be moving in 2 weeks and in the new apt he will have a crib. My question is, are there any tricks or tips you know of to make the transition a bit easier? he made the transition from bassinet to play pen pretty easily. Should we put the play pen in our room for a couple nights? Im hesitant to do that because he sometimes has the moro reflex which wakes him up eventually.I was thinking of putting him inside a few times before to play, but I don't want him to associate the crib with play time. What do you think? Thank you!

  2. Hi Helen, glad you like the site. Yes I have a few tricks. Take a look at my recommended sleep items article, there are some sheets I recommend as well as different sleep sacks. The goal is to make him as comfy as possible on a big and stiff crib mattress lol. The other thing you can do during the transition (about a week) is to elevate the mattress slightly by putting some towels or blankets underneath it. Babies hate sleeping flat especially on these firm mattresses. Within the week he should start getting use to it and you can slowly make it less elevated, until it's completely flat again. Not sure how you feel about breathable bumpers, but they are also a huge help. The mesh really is breathable, I tried it myself lol. It helps alot because your baby can scoot up against them with his back or even the feeling of putting his arm or hand up against something, without it falling through the slats, gives great comfort. Sometimes babies find it scary to have their arm or leg slip out, they want to be up against something, that's why they love cuddling with you:) I really hope this helps. I will be writing a review on the breathable bumpers as well as an article devoted strictly to crib transition. You can subscribe by putting your email in at the top right of this page, and you will get all my latest posts. Good luck Helen!

  3. Your recommendations were excellent! Thank you so much! i really hope he takes to his crib easily because he just started sleeping a full 10 hours in the play yard!!

  4. Hi! My daughter is still not having the crib lol. She has been in her rock and play since we brought her home for the hospital. She is now 21 weeks and she slept in the crib once through the night, but then the next night we tried she cried and cried. We don't have her needing a feeding to sleep in the rock n play and she goes out when we put her in it and sleeps for 10+ hours through the night. I'm wondering if maybe we should take a break on the crib and try more naps in the crib and let her adjust when ready? What do you think? Thank you!!

  5. Hi Violet! Your blog is great! Do you have any advice for a 16 month old who hates napping in his crib? My DS is a great night time sleeper (7pm – 7am), but has always resisted naps in the crib since he was young. We went through nap training, which helped, but if I missed a nap in the crib or became inconsistent, we'd have to start the whole training process over again (so painful). Now I drive or stroll DS for every nap. I'm starting to get tired of having my life revolve around my son's naps. Any tips would be great!

  6. Hi Violet! Your blog is great! Do you have any advice for a 16 month old who hates napping in his crib? My DS is a great night time sleeper (7pm – 7am), but has always resisted naps in the crib since he was young. We went through nap training, which helped, but if I missed a nap in the crib or became inconsistent, we'd have to start the whole training process over again (so painful). Now I drive or stroll DS for every nap. I'm starting to get tired of having my life revolve around my son's naps. Any tips would be great!

  7. my cute boy still sleeps between us, everynight! I do it because I think it's the way he feels safe and warm to fall assleep! when he grows a little more we will let him sleep alone in his own room!

  8. OMG Finally an article that has helped me get my 4 month old to sleep! He started having trouble with the transfer from me to crib and would cry and fuss once put down, and I was at a loss! I read that it might be separation anxiety but he had no problem sleeping in the bouncer so I didn't buy into it being anxiety. Once I read your article and how to recreate a cozy environment for baby I implemented the sleep sack, elevated mattress, roll and one of those carseat headrests because I used it in his bouncer and I noticed he liked cuddling up to it. Once I implemented these things there has been a HUGE change when putting him down when he wakes at night! Thank you so much as I really did not want to co-sleep to solve this issue!

  9. My 7 month old still falls asleep while nursing even if she’s slept! We are finally fixing her nap schedule and that’s definitely helping, but most of the time she falls asleep nursing. She’s eating every 3.5-4 hours during the day (and then closer together in the early afternoon and evening before bed) but only naps an hour to an hour and a half (up from 20 minutes!) so sometimes food comes at an odd time. Hard to keep her awake!

  10. So I know this sounds harsh, but I have been feeling like I could throw my 10 week old on the floor or out the window and run out of the house. Post-natal depression, yes. On treatment, yes. Sleeping less than 2hr stretches for more than a month, no.

    My baby sleeps in motion. Needs motion to fall asleep and needs it to stay asleep. She is generally strong willed and very fussy. Used to sleep okay on top of me for stretches, but have always struggled putting her down. Despite a warm bed, cozy bedding, swaddling and white noise, she screams like she's being tortured when leaving the comfort of arms, especially when tired.

    Lately, she falls asleep in motion and when I sit down with her still in my arms, she wakes and fusses.

    Walking around with a 6kg baby for all her sleep time, is killing me. I'm exhausted and frustrated and I'm sure she feels that, making it worse.

    Please help if you have suggestions. I'm desperate to get her to sleep when put down.

  11. We have a one and a half month old and she is having trouble sleeping through the night do you have any recommendations for sleep sacks to help us out we have not had much sleep lately

Leave a Reply



The 2 Week Bundle Package
    This package is a good fit for all ages, newborn to toddlers. This package includes a complete assessment of your child's sleep troubles. A personalized step by step sleep plan. Unlimited email and text message support. Two phone calls per week. Two follow up emails for ongoing support. Survival guide for bumps in the road.


The Unlimited 2 Week Package
    As with the other packages you will receive a personalized sleep plan that is created based on your baby's age, temperament, sleep history and other important factors. With 2 weeks of unlimited email support and survival guide for bumps in the road.I will be an email away to answer all of your questions.


The Unlimited 7 Day Package
    Complete assessment and identification of your child's sleep needs and troubles. Personalized sleep plan specific for your baby. One week of unlimited email support for a fully personalized consultation. Survival guide for bumps in the road.