Advice on Getting a Two Month Old to Stay Asleep in Bassinet

Updated on January 07, 2009
C.M. asks from New Braunfels, TX
30 answers

Hello everyone, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on getting my two month old to stay asleep in his bassinet. I am a new mom and since we've had our little bundle of joy my husband and I have enjoyed keeping my son in our arms (even at night to sleep, which I know is not recommended but we've kind of perfected it using the boppy pillow as a barrier while we hold him). We do put him down in his swing during the day and he will get tummy time, and he even stays in his bassinet awake long enough for me to eat something. However my husband is going back to work soon and we realize that this has to come to an end, especially since we don't want our son sleeping with us at age 7 and so on and we are also ready to sleep more comfortably ourselves, so we know we have to start something now. I've heard of letting them cry themselves to sleep but feel like two months is too young for this. Does anyone have tips on how to get him to stay asleep in his bassinet. When we do put him down he either wakes right up or stays for about 5 minutes and then wakes up. There have been a couple of times when he's stayed for a long 20 minutes but that is the longest. Please let me know what some of you have done.

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C.M.

answers from Houston on

Try swaddling him. Music at 90 beats is good (think reggae). He is WAAAAYYYYYY too young to let him "cry it out". Read Brazelton's book on sleep.

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D.B.

answers from Austin on

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. The Happiest Baby on the Block has a great instruction sheet on swaddling and I would recommend using a blanket that is a bit larger that the typical infant blanket. The Miracle Blanket is a great swaddler as well. It worked like a charm with my youngest.

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J.F.

answers from Houston on

Hi C.,

I have a 3 month old and had this problem for a while. She usually fall asleep with me holding her and then I lay her down. When we lay her down we sort of shake the bassinet to keep her asleep and we also run a blow dryer until she is fast asleep. For some reason she loves the sound of the dryer and it will keep her asleep or at least calm even when she wakes up. Hope this helps

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

I found with both of my kids that by a month or two old, I had to move them to their crib in their own room because we would be waking each other up sleeping in the same room. Babies make a ton of noise in their sleep and I would always jump up to check on them thinking they were about to start crying (thinking if I could get them back to sleep right away, they wouldn't really wake up). But, it turns out they were just stirring and by me messing with them to give back a pacifier or whatever, I would actually wake them from a sleep cycle. And if I wasn't waking them up, then my husband's snoring was. Once I moved them to their cribs around a month old, both of them did much better (although in general, my daughter was a better sleeper than my son and still is!).

Get a baby monitor and turn it up as loud as you want at first (you'll soon realize that you really don't want to hear every little noise all night long). Put him in his crib in his room and let him rustle a bit before you go to him. You can try just 2-3 minutes at first if you want, but when you do go in, just soothe him without picking him up. I know 2 months seems young and I wouldn't recommend letting him cry for a long time, but sometimes babies cry a little without even being fully awake (my son did this and it took me a long time to realize that he wasn't even awake...he would startle and really start screaming if I tried to soothe him), so give him a minute or two to see if he stops on his own. It's going to be trial and error at first to see what works for you. I would also recommend getting some soothing music or a mobile that plays music or something (I personally use the Fisher Price aquarium toy....had it for both kids and they both loved it).

One other thing I will say is that you're probably going to have to work hard to learn baby's sleep cues and put him in the bed before he is asleep. The older he gets, the harder it's going to be to put him down asleep and get him to stay that way. If you can figure out when he is getting tired (eye rubbing, yawning, fussiness), and get him in the bed right away, you're more likely to get him to fall asleep on his own. If you want to rock him for a few minutes when he starts to show signs of sleepiness, that's okay too as long as you don't rock him fully to sleep. Let him get nice and drowsy and then put him in the bed. I really liked the book called "The Baby Whisperer", so I would recommend that if you have a chance to read it. It's a quick read and it's such a simple concept, but really seems to work well. Best of luck! Sleep issues are by far the biggest parenting challenge I have found, but you'll get through it!

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A.B.

answers from Houston on

Have you tried to swaddle your baby while he sleeps in the bassinet? That will help him feel secure and cozy keeping his limbs close to his side so that he doesn't wake himself up. I have twin boys and we swaddled our boys while they slept for two months and then they didn't need it anymore, so we gradually took away the swaddle. I have a friend who still swaddles her four month old. She says that if she doesn't swaddle her little one, she will wake herself up before her nap is over. When I was on bedrest before my boys were born, I read "Happiest Baby on the Block." It is a good book and in it, it teaches you how to swaddle properly. It is definately an art. :) Hope this helps.
A.
www.InvestingInMyKids.com

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K.M.

answers from Houston on

Are you swaddling? He may just be waking up b/c he moves

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A.M.

answers from Austin on

You've already gotten advice for swaddling and white noise, which are awesomely helpful. I have a couple of things to add, though. You're right about crying it out being not helpful this young - it worked for us, but kids can't self-soothe until after about 5 months of age, so don't even try it - we did it at 7 months. Also something we found helpful: bedtime was in our daughter's bassinet, but naptime was in her crib. When it came time to transition her to her crib (at 3 1/2 months), the crib wasn't a scary place, since she'd had experience sleeping there before. Remember, 4 months is about when babies start to really notice and process the difference in their surroundings, so we wanted to nip any anxiety in the bud early if we could.

Congrats on your new addition, and have fun learning all about her!

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L.H.

answers from Austin on

Hi C.,
I've been a professional nanny and early education consultant for many years and have seen this problem many times. It's good that you're aware that you basically "trained" him to sleep in your arms and not in his bassinest so that you know that you can help him learn to sleep on his own too. "Crying it out" need NOT mean and hour of crying.....crying is the only way an infant can cmmunicate any form of discomfort and some discomforts are such that they need to be "accomodated" by letting them be communicated (cried) and dealt with IN-wardly by the baby starting to learn self-soothing methods. This is absolutely vital to baby's well-being and the fact that it is uncomfortable at first is not unlike learning anything else new.....it will be accompanied by some crying but the goal of learning independent self-soothing is one that is very worth the "discomfort". He may need something to suck on other than his own fingers if he's not into that.....make sure it's the right size as they come in newborn and older sizes so that the nipple hits where the sucking feeling is needed to respond to the sucking reflex. Try using a sound machine right off the bat....those work miracles for babies who are not yet adept at soothing themselves due to being soothed by others continuously since birth......white noise or water noise, fairly loud, works best with little ones.

A more gradual approach would be to start him in the bassinet with you soothing him but not picking him up. This shows him how to begin self-soothing....help him find his thumb (better than binkies in my opionion as they can't get lost in the middle of the night), pat him....let him fall to sleep on his stomach if he sleeps better that way, then turn him over when he's in a deeper sleep and soothe him back into deep sleep......go from that to less and less intervention.....lettin him cry and struggle with his OWN LARNING to self-soothe for 15 minutes at a time.....he may get REAL MAD as we all do when we struggle with new learning that is hard for us and espcially when we're used to having someone else do it for us....but it's a real loss to him if you DON'T teach him this very basic first step toward independence. Not only is it necessary to let him struggle with this for his benefit but for your benefit as well.....if you don't wabt a 7 year old who still needs mom or dad to solve the simpest discomfort, you should start right away at letting him learn what he needs to learn to sleep on his own...his first big challenge in life and the one on which other learing processes will be modeled.

Hope thi helps. Feel free to contact me on my email if I can be of any support to you when you begin the process of letting him self-soothe. Remember, there are MANY discomforts you CAN'T soothe for him because you can't be aware of them....that's why he really needs to have this skill early on....

Good luck and congratulations on your little guy!
L.
[email protected]____.com

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M.F.

answers from El Paso on

I know this is a rough patch, but very normal. Swaddle him, pat his tummy , caress his face tenderly, just keep hands on for a few minutes after you put him down. Babies just long for touch - to bond and feel secure - if this doesn't work right now, it may in a week or two. You cannot spoil an infant - by holding him!!!

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

Not all adults can sleep with an infant. Some adults move (flail) around a lot and it can be dangerous for their infants to be in the bed. Also loud snoring can really disrupt some infants sleep cycle.

You have been given great advice, I also suggest you use a rolled towel at the top of your infants head. They like the pressure. If you place your infant in a crib place the baby with its head and feet facing the sides of the crib not the length. It will make the baby feel not so lost in the big crib.

Also do you have a "carrier seat" or a bouncy holder that can sit up on the table? This is a great way for your baby to "sit" with you instead of always being held or laying down when awake. You can place him in this while you eat, shower, do chores and he will be in a slight upright position till he can sit up on his own.

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C.A.

answers from San Antonio on

C.,
We had the same problem with bundle of joy when we brought her home..
And what worked for us was we placed a pillow in the bassinet.. and laid her face up right on it.. I'm thinking the cozy feeling made her believe that we were still holding her,and it worked miraculously. We were then able to catch up on much needed sleep ourselves.
Good Luck and Best wishes with you new baby!

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E.R.

answers from Austin on

I love the Baby Whisperer methods - very gentle, yet parent led. Her book is called "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. I don't believe in letting a baby just cry by himself - he needs your help to get to sleep, especially at this young age. As you are teaching him (by patting, giving a paci, shhhh sound) he may cry out of frustration, but let him know you are there to help, don't just leave him alone. Trying soothing until he is very sleepy, then put him down and continue to pat, shh, etc. I am a firm believer in swaddling - the miracle blanket is great if the regular old baby blanket doesn't work out. Also - bassinets are often very uncomfy for a baby - you may just try the regular crib - with swaddling and maybe some rolled up blankets around him to help him feel cozy. Good luck!

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A.Z.

answers from Killeen on

I highly recommend swaddling your baby (if you don't already). My son always slept more soundly when we did this and made him feel secure in his bassinet. I put him in a tight swaddle, then put another light blanket over him and tightly tucked it under the mattress to try to keep him from moving around too much and waking himself up. Just make sure you have very light clothing on him so he doesn't overheat. (I usually just had a little t-shirt on him & a diaper). Your baby will probably take about a week to adjust to the new bed routine, but be patient and he will eventually learn to fall asleep comfortably in his own bed. If you have just fed him before putting him down, you can be assured that he is not crying out of hunger (even if it's only 20 minutes later). He should be able to make it until at least 4 hours before he wakes again by 2 months. Therefore, allowing him to cry would not do too much harm. Just check on him after about 10 minutes if he is crying, reassure him that it is night night time & maybe give him a little pat. If you are nursing him, I think he is still young enough to be nursed to sleep and then place him in his bed. I wouldn't carry out this routine after about 3 1/2 months, though, since he will need to learn to sleep on his own by 4 months. I do think that babies sleep more comfortably at this point in a proper crib since the mattress provides more support for them and they have a little more air circulation - etc. I wish you all the best!

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A.J.

answers from Killeen on

definitely do NOT let him cry it out! that's way too young, at that age babies only cry when something is wrong.
that said, what i did at that age is just swaddle my babies really tightly (makes them feel secure) and feed and rock them until they fell asleep, stick a pacifier in their mouth and lay them down. sometimes placing them sorta on their side (using a rolled up blanket or sleep positioner) with their back against the side of the bassinet, i think that way it feels like they are still being held. also, if your bassinett has the vibrating feature, i would try using that. just for a couple minutes until he falls into a deeper sleep. if he wakes when you lay him down, try sticking the paci back in and rubbing or patting his belly or back or stroking his hair. touch is very comforting, even if you aren't holding him, and he may be soothed back to sleep.
during the day, if he is more comfortable sleeping in the swing or bouncy seat, or even in a snuggli, those are all perfectly good options! i did that with both my girls until they were a few months old and they never had trouble transitioning to a crib for daytime naps later when they had more of a schedule. your son is still so young he probably sleeps half the time anyway
also, if you are breastfeeding, remember he might still need to eat more often, which could be waking him. that's why i always nursed or gave a bottle right before naptime so they could sleep on a full tummy
above all else, remember to trust your instincts!

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W.M.

answers from Sherman on

Hi C., Have you tried to make a pillow case out of a quilted fabric, those old plastic mattresses are cold & hard & it wakes them up when you put them down after they are nice & warm next to your body.

Also I bought a little doll of some kind for my great grandaughter that has the heart beat sounds, I got it at Walmart, was about 15.00, that really helped her too.

You could even try a soft towell folded up underneath the sheet to make it softer & warmer. Hope these suggestions help. W.

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L.S.

answers from Houston on

Hi. I have a 2 mo old daughter. I have found that swaddling her works, and before I lay her down each time, I pre-warm the bed with a heating pad. I just set it on low and lay it in the middle, and then remove it right before I put her down..it works great! Combined, she stays alseep for hours there! Good luck..I also wouldn't reccomend letting a 2 mo old cry themselves to sleep..I think that is way to young.. but to each his own.. Try starting with naps first, then move to bedtime.. you can do it.. I did with my first after holding him each night..just takes patience..

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L.J.

answers from Houston on

I haven't had an infant in years, but here's what I see so far.......

He stays in the bassinette AWAKE while you eat. I'm guessing maybe even he has found this a comfortable place to be AWAKE. If you are trying to get him to sleep, let him sleep in the crib instead. Use the bassinnette for short awake times as it seems you have established a pattern he may already be getting used to. Not fair to ask him to stay there awake, and then expect him to sleep there when it is you that may want him to be sleeping.

You'll find that you'll have to try things... most things really end up being trial and error. As you get to know your little one, his personality will emerge, and you'll be fine, babies don't come with a manual - cause they can all be so different! Be encouraged, and don't take any of the advice you get (even mine!) personally as in: that you aren't doing it right- RATHER, that others have found alternatives to what you have tried, and how it all worked for them!
Best wishes, and congratulations!

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S.J.

answers from San Angelo on

Neither of my kiddos would sleep in the bassinet. I swear by the vibrating bouncy seats that recline or lay flat. Both of my kiddos slept in that the first 3 months of their life. (so I tried to NOT put them in it during the day or only for naps) It was not hard to transition to the crib. At first we would put the bouncy seat in the crib!

S.
www.jbfsale.com/sanangelo

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J.S.

answers from San Antonio on

C.,
My newborns slept w/us in our bed. I could actually SLEEP better and get more rest instead of constantly getting up to check on the baby or listen to the wimpers and cries. I can assure you that they didn't sleep w/us until they were 7 yrs old. They had their own beds for nap time and we didn't have a "family bed" - but when they were little (up until about 6 months), it just worked better for us to have them right there next to us, comfortable, secure and happy.
You can NEVER have too much time w/them - they will actually be more secure and self-sufficient if you spend the extra time holding, catering to their needs right now, nursing on demand, etc...enjoy your baby!

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

You are correct in not letting your newborn son CIO. Two month babies do not have the cognitive ability to manipulate! CIO is dangerous and unnecessary. If you are nursing, nurse your baby to sleep and try putting him to sleep on his tummy. Babies digest better on their tummy. We put the crib in our room until our children were three months old and then moved them to their own room after that. Swaddling is also very effective. Best of Luck!

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V.H.

answers from Houston on

Put him in the crib and leave him alone.
Put him in another room.
It is OK for baby to cry.
He needs to learn to sleep in his own area.
The bassinet is too small and he is uncomfortable!
I don't mean to sound so blunt. :)

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J.H.

answers from Houston on

Truly at the point crying out is the only way i know. Kids even at a young age are good at training us! Start now by letting him cry out only when he needs something not when he is just spoiled and wants to be held. The eairler the better to break this habit.

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B.B.

answers from College Station on

Put something in there with him with your smell, a shirt, blanket, anything. Make sure it is something you have just worn. Alot of time that alone will make the baby think you are there. I've known several mothers that have done this. Don't know how well it works. Good Luck.

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M.C.

answers from Houston on

I put hanging toys so they cn amuse themsleves and stare at them.

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L.B.

answers from Corpus Christi on

what you heard about letting them cry til they go to sleep seems hard but it works it may take a few days but it is worth it in the long run. The problem is that you started it to start with. Now is the time to end it. Weekends when no one works it the best because you will not get much sleep to start with But do it for the safe care of your child.

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P.Y.

answers from Houston on

Hi C.,

When I first had my daughter someone gave me the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth as a gift. It has a lot of information about sleep cycles and infant development in it and practical help for establishing sleep habits. It helped me a lot as a new mom.

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J.H.

answers from Houston on

Unless he is an exceedingly small baby, at two months he should be in a crib not a bassinet. In a bassinet, when he moves his arms, they probably hit the sides, plus, he can't see anything down in that thing. Give him some room and someting to look at. He'll cry some at first because he is used to being with you and hearing your breathing, but it won't take long for him to adjust. Two months is not too young to let him cry himself to sleep. It's probably just that you and your husband can't stand to hear him cry and be unhappy. Believe me, he'll get over it.

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K.S.

answers from College Station on

Another book to recommend is "On Becoming Babywise". Now this book talks about letting your baby cry it out. It won't hurt to let him cry. Just give the book a try and see what you think, its a really fast read. The whole book focuses on getting your baby on a sleep and nap schedule and sleep training. I swear by it because my now 17 month old was sleeping 8 hours a night by 6 weeks and 12 hours by 10 weeks and now 12 - 13 hours!!! I also think you should switch to a crib instead of a bassinet and swaddle. :) Good luck

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L.B.

answers from Houston on

Hi C.,
Sorry, I did not read all of the responses but I just wanted to say please don't let your 2 month old cry it out! He is way too young. I did that with my 2nd child at 5.5 months and it about ripped my heart out. (My oldest slept thru the night at 3 months and only woke up once/night for a bottle from birth. I was very lucky!) With my 3rd, I read a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution which helped me tremendously. For now, try swaddling as some of the others have recommended--it really helps. Also, I did see that someone recommended putting him to sleep on his tummy but I have to say that is NOT recommended at his very young age b/c of the risk of SIDS. Also, does he use a pacifier? That is what worked wonders with my first--when she would wake up in the night, we would find the 'paci' and put it back in her mouth and 9 times out of 10 she would go right back to sleep. If she didn't, we knew she was really hungry. Finally, you might find that putting him to bed in his own room helps...sometimes as new parents we are hyper-sensitive to every little sound baby makes and tend to go to him a bit too soon. Try to only pick him up if he is really upset...sometimes they wake up and actually fuss for a bit and then go back to sleep. If he is in his own room you can turn the monitor down so that you only hear him when he really needs you. Best of luck to you!

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S.G.

answers from Houston on

Hi C. ~

Congratulations on our new baby boy!!!

A few things come to mind when I read your request... I have an 8 year old boy, a 23 month old girl and an 8 week old girl. My older children sleep *wonderful*!!! I did the "Ferber Method" with both of them. However not until they were much older than your son. I would wait a while to let him "cry it out". I believe 2 months is too soon. I probably waited too long 10 & 11 months. You will know when it is right for you (and your baby). I waited until I KNEW they were NOT crying out because they were hungry! Here is how I knew it was the right time... With my son, it took 4 days to get him to sleep through the night! He didn't cry out longer than 7 minutes. I started at 2 minute intervals and went up from there. (that was as long as I was willing - and my husband could hold me back!!! :-) It IS hard to hear your little one crying! C., IT WORKS! My daughter was almost as easy. It also took 4 nights however, she cried a little longer and when I went in to "comfort" her it made her cry more so I had to just sit and wait for her to settle down. I think I could have thrown up my stomach hurt soooo bad listening to her! Now, when it is nap time she says "night night" to everyone around (including the dogs) and goes to sleep. If she doesn't fall asleep immediately she will stay quietly in her bed until she does... The reasons are explained in Richard Ferber's book - "Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems". It makes total sense when you read it. They have to learn to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up.

As for now... are you swaddling your baby? I use the "swaddle design" blankets and they work great! You can get them many places and they are around $25.oo. Babies will jerk their arms and wake themselves ~ maybe that is what your little guy is doing now.

One last thing, as AWESOME as it is to snuggle with him in bed... you NEED your sleep and need quality sleep. I always felt like I was *half sleeping* if my children were in bed with me. Like I was keeping one eye open to make sure they were okay. You will be glad your baby (or 7 year old as you mentioned) is not in your bed. Your husband will be glad too!

Probably the hardest thing to implement as a parent is consistency! Children thrive with consistency and rules.

If you have any additional questions, e-mail me and we can chat! Good luck!

S.

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