Wondering why your baby won’t sleep in the crib or bassinet? Well if I told you I put 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.
The 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.
I also gave my baby some “practice time” in 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 used 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 was 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 wasn’t crying and she actually fell asleep!
Now for the hardest part, staying asleep. I watched my baby night after night. She was rolling her head from 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 supposed 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. It’s 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?
I would be glad to help! I am available for individual help!
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!
“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!”
My 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 5month 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