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7 Weeks Old & Wants to Be Held 24/7

My son is 7 week old he will only let you put him down for 5-10 min. at a time, he does have silent acid reflux. When we put him in anything (even upright in his swing or bouncy) he starts screaming this horrible scream (very different from his regular change my diaper etc. cry) his face turns blood red and he almost can't breath. We bought a wedge for his bassinet, no go. We even tried the co-sleeper in our bed. He sleeps with me on the recliner or in bed in my arms. Someone is always holding him, he will start daycare in 5 weeks, I don't have the option to be a stay at home mom :(. I am very worried, I will not take the CIO road. Our doctor said it was because of the acid reflux but I'm concerned it goes beyond that. Also he was enduced 2 weeks early and was in the neo natal unit for a week with low blood sugar, my husband and I were there holding him round the clock, maybe this started the cycle? He is breastfed and supplemented, he falls asleep constantly and is very difficult to wake up so feeding will sometimes take an hour or so. Any advice is welcome.

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Wow, thank you for all the replies! Everyone has been so helpful. I don't feel so alone and like I've done something wrong. He has been taking Prevacid for a little over a week and just now starting to see results.

The past 3 nights we have swaddled him tightly and left his feet open, (he apparently doesn't like his feet covered, my husband figured this out over the weekend) and put him on the wedge up top between my husband and I, I'm happy to say I haven't had to hold him all night, this is a big step (we did try this weeks ago and he wouldn't have it). In the next night or so we will purchase the soothing sounds teddy bear and try to put him in his bassinet next to me on the wedge and see if he's ready.

I do have a sling that he disliked the first few times I tried it but now he seems to be ok and goes to sleep. My husband has also been carrying him in the bjorn and he's ok with it now (he didn't like that either). Maybe we tried everything too soon or he just has to get comfortable with it, but I can for sure see he's quickly getting comfortable, he's started smiling and cooing, wow talk about feeling reassured your headed in the right direction.

He went to the Dr yesterday and got his shots :( but did very well. He weighs 10 pds so he's getting enough breast milk (load off). He eats for 45 min every hour to 1.5 hours very tiring but, when my supply catches up, it won't last much longer and it's worth it. For supplementing we went through every bottle and have come to love Dr. Browns, wow what a difference (started these over the weekend)! The Dr said to try to get him in his bassinet and then around three months move on to the crib if we like. I'm taking it slow and I now believe baby will do it when he's ready not when I'm ready.

As for daycare we are going in for a visit Friday and will voice any concerns, he's already changed so much in the last few days, I'm sure he will be fine. I do know they don't keep them in their beds all the time and I'm going to arrange to go up during the day to breast feed for the first few weeks. What ever happens will be the best thing for him.

Again, thank you for the wonderful advice, this was my first post. I even found out my best friend is a member!

Featured Answers

Good for you that you and DH held him constantly early on--no doubt in my mind that this helped him tremendously to grow and will help him his entire life. Have you looked into buying a baby hammock to sleep in? Look at www.ambybaby.com and you can find them used occassionally on ebay or craigslist. They are fantastic. Keep goin', Mama! Best wishes from another Mama.

Hey K.,

I just had my third after 12yrs... But my new baby was like that and what I did was swaddled her really tight and she felt like she was back in the womb. I found that to be very helpful. Goodluck

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Have you tried Kangroo Care? That means that you carry baby under your shirt, between your breasts most of the time. It is unbelieveable what this will do to help baby's breathing, temp, attiude and sense of security. Perhaps the postion along with being cuddled (with your arms free to do other things) will help?

Most people will place baby between breasts, wrap a long strip of cotton cloth around you and baby to secure his position.

your body temperature will actually drop to make his temperature correct, or vice versa. Blood tests on babies who are kangarooed show that their levels of stress hormones are considerably lower than babies who spend more time on their backs.

Who knows, it might even help with the reflux. Men can do it, too. It is great that your husband is an equal partner.

kangaroo care also works wonders for bonding in families with difficulties (teen parents, etc.)

As far as wanting to be put down, I know it is a hard adjustment but in my opinion a 7 week old baby wants to be held because you are the only safe thing he knows. Your body smell is familiar to him. You're the right temp and he loves the vibration of your chest when you talk. Babies should be held. It isn't a matter of conditioning. It is survival. He's a smart little guy.

While studying to beocme a lactation consultant I read a study which proved that the stress hormone levels of babies who lie in a glass crib directly next to their mothers are significantly higher (as tested in the blood) than those who are touching their mother's bodies.

You're probably on to something with the differing sound of this cry. Trust yourself. I'd try another doctor if this one isn't exploring your concerns. Try the Kangroo care, though, and see if it helps.

Congratulations on your little baby. I hope this helps.


2 moms found this helpful

My babies have had silent reflux also (well, three of the four.) My oldest was like yours, cried all the time unless I was holding her. I couldn't sleep because I'd drop her but I learned with my third to wear a sling and that would hold her in place on my chest so I could sleep. Anyway, as I said my oldest had to be held all the time and she was in the NICU for the first two weeks of her life. But I didn't have the luxury of being there all day like you (I was recovering from a classical (naval to pubic line) c-section and I didn't have a car so I went up twice a day.

I know that she was left to cry all the time in the NICU. They had these little swaddle type things but she hated them and wouldn't stay in them...but that's how I was able to get #4 baby to sleep or settle without being held so it's worth trying. I got my swaddle blanket at a resale shop but I know that Babies R Us and Target have them in different sizes.

Also, my oldest we later discovered has sensory integration problems and Asperger Syndrome. I felt awful when I learned 2 years later what her problem was because I DID end up letting her CIO every night, sometimes for hours, because I didn't know what else to do. She wouldn't SLEEP! She had special needs that no one had suggested and I'm sure I would have done things differently.

Meds did help her a lot though. I also like Gripe water. Babies with reflux shouldn't sit straight up, only recline. I like the bouncy seat and swaddle the baby in receiving blankets and put the baby in the bouncy (no, his legs won't be able to go through the holes swaddled) and have a carseat head roll or a blanket to stabilize the head. He may cry, but lightly bounce him for 5 minutes or so and see if he settles. Then you can use your foot to bounce it and have some reading time or whatever while he gets used to feeling secure AND not in mom's arms.

I did not put her in daycare. I felt that there was no way that they would care for her needs properly. I've worked in lots of daycares, in lots of infant rooms, and those with special needs were always neglected. We didn't want to, but when you have ten babies to two teachers, it's really hard. Those that took a long time to eat never ate all their bottle- if they fell asleep we put them down and dumped the bottle. So we moved into my inlaws house and lived there 3 months until we found a place an hour away that was cheaper to live in. Hubby was making only $30,000 but we made it work. It was a real struggle and we had to give up high speed internet, cable, a second vehicle, ect but it was what was best for the baby. Since I don't know your situation I certainly am not judging you, just telling you what we did.

Feel free to PM me.

S., mom to five- ages 5,4,3,1 and due in March with #5! At least three are on the autism spectrum.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., all 7 week old babies want to be held all the time! And I think it's because they really do need to be held all the time. Try to just enjoy it, smell his little head and feel him breathing. There's no way you can 'spoil' him, don't worry. He's a little guy, and ya'll didn't start any cycle by holding him so much at first. Seriously, they need that. By giving him the closeness he wants he'll bond with you, know that he can trust you to take care of his needs, and feel so much more secure later.
Also 5 weeks from now, when he starts daycare is very different developmentally from right now. He may not cry so much about being put down then. Make sure the daycare workers will hold him when he cries, find out their policy on that. And find a place that you feel is nurturing to your baby.
Just as an aside, we successfully did the 'cry it out' thing when our first son was 10 mos old, and when our second was 12 mos old. That option really comes much, much later.
Try not to worry, remember this parenting stuff is HARD! But we're all there with you, or have been at some point.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't blame yourself - your baby is telling you what he needs, which has nothing to do with "conditioning" or anything you've done to this point. I applaud you for not wanting to CIO! He needs you and he needs the comfort of being held, especially at this early age. I would definitely invest in a good baby carrier (http://www.thebabywearer.com/ is an excellent resource for choosing one, and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Houston_Baby_Wearers/ is a local group for hands-on help), and wear him as much as you can. It will free you up to do things you need to do while still meeting his needs!

As for daycare in 5 weeks, I would focus on meeting his needs NOW, which may well change in the next 5 weeks. I would also see a chiropractor for his reflux, which may well be a cause of his high needs. You can see http://www.icpa4kids.com/ to find a pediatric chiropractor in your area. It has made a WORLD of difference in my reflux babies, and is often covered by insurance, as well.

Definitely keep co-sleeping with him, as it is so good for him (and you!) in so many ways. It will also help when you go back to work and aren't with him during the day, as he may need to nurse more at night (so easy when he's right next to you!) and it will help him reconnect to you. Here are some good articles on sleep to check out: http://askdrsears.com/html/7/T070100.asp

1 mom found this helpful

Babies this young cannot be spoiled, nor are they cognitively able to try to manipulate you into getting their way, so don't let anyone steer you down either of those roads, for starters. I've heard that NICU babies are very into touch and being held, often by anyone, which will make it easier to leave him later. It's good for them in so many different ways (brain development, etc.), which shows us once again that babies really do know what they need. And you are listening! Good for you! Hearing that different cry lets you know he's trying to tell you something. I don't have your magic answer, but keep asking, and I'd look deeper into the reflux. Can your doctor recommend anyone else or something the reflux could be "masking" that is making your son really uncomfortable? Maybe it's colic....and we all know there's no cure for that!
When my first son was born I slept with him in my arms for weeks. Maybe not still at 7 weeks, but I was sure I was going to ruin him as a good sleeper forever. My dear mother assured me how fast babies grew and changed and what seems like forever suddenly changes. You are going back to work in 5 weeks. That's a long time in a newborn's development and routine, etc. I would slowly work toward changes you need starting now, but relax because he'll likely just suddenly stop fussing. (And if not, keep asking your doctor for help and find another one if s/he isn't taking your concerns seriously.) The sleepy eater is also very frustrating (been through that with my second son) and had to always feed him in a diaper only so he was a little less cozy. Does he have a strong suck so you are producing enough milk? Is his growth and development otherwise on track? Since he was early find out what a typical 5-7 week old is doing and if he is very off the mark, tell your doctor about that as well.
I hope you get some good advice from all the moms out there. Keep holding him for now, wear him in a sling or snugglie, and talk to him calmly. He knows you (and your husband ) best and needs you to help him get through this rough time.

P. (mom of three boys)

1 mom found this helpful

Despite what people say, it is impossible to spoil a new baby with being held almost constantly. I've read that babies who are held on demand in the first 3 months cry less in the next 3 months, and still less in the next 3 months, etc., and that was definitely true for my 1st and 3rd (my 2nd was an extremely easygoing baby). Like you, I slept many nights with my 3rd on the couch with the baby on my chest, but rest assured it doesn't last forever. Just give your baby what he needs right now, which is apparently constant contact with you! Definitely try a sling of some sort--I loved the Hot Sling from Target, and my baby was instantly happy (and usually quickly asleep) when I put her in it. But also trust your instincts if you feel like something beyond the reflux and normal fussiness is causing the crying. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I hurt for you as I was there also. It could be as simple as the fact he hears your heart beat. There are stuffed toys out there that mimic your heart beat. Try one and see. I am sure that you are tired and just about ready to hand him off to someone but they are such a wonderful gift. Your baby just has a mind of his own. Good luck.

Hi K.,
I was in your exact place 19 months ago. My youngest son had acid reflux. He was diagnosed at 2 weeks of age. He cried 24/7. We held him all the time. He hated his swing,bouncer and car seat. After many sleepless nights, I finally placed him on his belly to sleep, and he did a lot better. We were seeing a specialist, and he told us that babies with reflux are the exception with back to sleep. We tried him on different meds and changed doses many times. Finally at 6 weeks we found the right dose. Pepcid worked great until 6 months and then he was on Axid. I know it is hard to have a baby cry all the time. He was also breastfeed. And we even tried diff formulas to see if maybe he had an allergy to breastmilk. Actually he did worse with formula. So I continued breastfeeding. I promise it will get better. I would talk to your pedi about it. Is he on any medication? Hang in there.

If it makes you feel any better, the "Cry it Out Method" won't work yet, anyway. (But please note, you only let them cry for 5 min. - you never just leave them - even Dr. Ferber says that.) Babies aren't capable of self-soothing themselves until about 4 months. Have you tried swaddling when you set him down? Remember, the womb is a cramped little place, and I know swaddling helped our little one - being able to move all her limbs freely was a bit overwhelming for her! Plus, being swaddled is warmer and feels safer - it's like being held by a blanket, instead of mom or dad. Good luck!

Hey K.,

I just had my third after 12yrs... But my new baby was like that and what I did was swaddled her really tight and she felt like she was back in the womb. I found that to be very helpful. Goodluck

Been there done that, TWICE!! Both of my boys had reflux so bad that I slept in a recliner for months with them. If you gut instincts tell you there could be something more, pursue it. My first, changed behavior suddenly at two months of age. I would not allow a practice of veteran Ped's tell me it was colic. I researched and on the last Ped in the practice, I demanded meds for the reflux. She was a newbie and said if I wanted meds I needed a barium swallow. Ok, I was not thrilled at returning to the hospital (he was 9 weeks early and spent 4 weeks in the NICU). During the test it was found that his intestines were in the wrong place (malrotation)and he was developing a blockage. A mother's instinct is ALWAYS correct.
Hang in there.

It sounds to me that he just wants to be held. You will have to let him cry or teach him to be quiet. He will be miserable at daycare because they can't hold him all of the time and the caregivers will not like him crying all the time. You have set him up. My daughter had reflux too. But, there was a pain cry and just a "I want my way" cry. You have to be more stubborn that he is, or you will only be hurting him in the long run.

Did the Dr. give him anything for the reflux? My little man had it too and we gave him prevacid for about 5 months with fantastic results. He was a champ sleeper and the fussing stopped almost immediately. He still spit up a lot but the crying constantly was what is the hardest and that did stop. If he is on medication then maybe talk to your dr. about trying something else since it seems he may still be in pain. Best wishes and congratulations!

I don't know anything about reflux, but I do know about babies that insist on being held, as my daughter did. Three years on she's still very affectionate and clingy. I would visit your daycare center and talk to the teachers in the classroom, not just the director about your concerns. If you aren't happy with their responses or what you see, start over at NAEYC.org. Any good caregiver, will learn to distinguish the different cries, and hold your son as much as possible until he's over this. It's amazing what you can do with one hand.

Hang in there. You and your hubby sound like great parents. I'm sure it will all work out.

Good for you that you and DH held him constantly early on--no doubt in my mind that this helped him tremendously to grow and will help him his entire life. Have you looked into buying a baby hammock to sleep in? Look at www.ambybaby.com and you can find them used occassionally on ebay or craigslist. They are fantastic. Keep goin', Mama! Best wishes from another Mama.

My 2nd child (girl) had silent acid reflux so I know that your going through! I actually had to put her to sleep in her infant carrier and set it in the middle of her floor. Of course because of the acid reflux and the inability to eat enough to keep her satisfied she woke up twice a night for feedings. When she learned how to turn over we moved her into the crib and she started sleeping through the night at about 9 months. We were lucky enough to start weaning her from the medication at 6 months. Have you talked to your gastro doctor about it. Maybe the medication they have perscribed needs to be adjusted?

I have a 7 week old little boy too and he does have a slight acid reflux problem. We were told by the peditrician to keep him upright for 1 hour after feeding him. We also switched to Dr. Browns bottles and that has help as well.
One of the best things we have done is to get the DVD "The Happiest Baby on the Block". It teaches you how to invoke the "calming reflex" in your baby. I cannot rave about this enough! It has helped us tremendously with calming our little guy when he is fussy. One of the things we do is swaddle him. He spends alot of time swaddled and loves it. It helps him sleep more soundly!
The main point of the DVD is that the baby wants to feel like he is still in your belly. All the techniques for calming him on there will make him feel that way.
Before we learned about this our little one wanted to be held alot too.
Good luck!

I went through the same thing with my now 5 1/2 month old. I spent many nights with her asleep against my chest in a recliner. I tried the carseat, the swing, and the bouncy. I found the carseat and the swing actually made the problem worse because of the position of her body it caused the acid in her stomach to come up more. Has he gotten a prescription for prevacid or zantac? Those might help with the burning he is feeling but they take a week or so to fully start working. My daughter finally got through it all by 12 weeks of age. She now sleeps in her own bed. He will out grow it. Just be patient. the only way I got through it with my daughter was because I have 3 other children to show me that they grow up so fast and this is but a moment in time. Also, Fussiness tends to peak around 6 weeks and then gradually tapers off. Best of luck. It will get better.

Hi K.. My daughter is almost 5 months now and had been put on medication at about 6 weeks for reflux. We saw a huge difference once on Prevacid. Before that, screaming for hours in the evenings, wanted to be held all the time, walked around, and in an upright position at all times. Especially after feedings it is good for them to be upright. The reflux bothers them a lot and they can't seem to get comfortable. Hope things get better.

Have you tried swaddling him? We used the SwaddleMe blanket and it worked wonders for our little screamer! They also have a blanket called the Miracle blanket that is a true miracle!! We used that in combination with a vibrating chair and she would calm down instantly. Also, keep trying a paci even if he won't take it initially. Try different kinds too! We bought Soothie pacifiers after she wouldn't take the other kinds and kept giving it to her and would hold it in her mouth for her. Once she found it and realized that it was something to suck on she was a happy camper! Good luck and let us know what happens!

I know you've had lots of responses. Just wanted to wish you luck! I encourage you to pay attention to the mom's who've had a child with reflux and get ideas on what to ask the doctors. You are his advocate and if you're not happy with your doctors response, go to a different doctor for a second opinion. Take notes and bring written down questions to help manage the appointment until you're satisfied. You're the one who is with him all day - not the doctor who has to weed out the paranoid mother from the one who knows what she is talking about! :) (been there)

pay attention to his different cries so you can distinguish "pain" from "i want to be held and am being a stinker". General crabbiness starts to get better after 6 weeks usually and markedly better by 12 weeks (read Healthy Sleep Habits). It's true in my experience with 3 kids. BUT, a "horrible scream" may need more attention nd you have to be his advocate at the doctor!

Good luck!

I HIGHLY recommend that you try baby-wearing...AT his age he should be held almost constantly anyway. But baby wearing makes the holding much less complicated because your hands are free...there are a lot of places to get the wraps and all. And some shops that sell the slings also do little classes on how and why of using it. I hope you will try it.

Oh my gosh!! You just described my son. He did the exact same thing and had silent reflux. Congrats on holding him a lot. I agree with all the other mom's...you WILL NOT spoil him. I am also a first time mom and was very unsure of thigs at the beginning. My son had to go back in the hospital at 3 wks old and was in the NICU unit for a week. The HORRIBLE Physicians Asst. told me that I was holding him too much and that babies are very manipulative. She was awful...very cold towards my son. However...she was sooo wrong. Looking back I am sooo glad that I help him all the time. He eventually grew out of it and is fine now playing by himself. Now he doesn't want me to hold him as much--getting independent. :( growing up too fast. I also had to go back to work and I was lucky to find an in-home daycare that will hold my son when he wants it. It was hard, but the interaction he gets with the other kids during the day is great.Good luck and Congratulations on your new baby!!

Hi K.. My advice would be to try to get a second opinion about his condition. You may also need to really look into delaying going back to work. Please understand, I know that may not be an option you think you have. Speak with your work, (i don't know what you do). Look at your expenses. I had to work with our first child and I was able to get set up at home. Maybe just a delay of a few weeks may help. I am a mother of a 10 year old and a 7 year old. We have had many unplanned changes in our lives. As you already know, raising that child is the most important job you and your husband will ever have. I hope I don't come across poorly. I do understand being in a position with no or very few choices. Please consider a second opinion from a doctor. Plus, those baby slings i hear are great for these situations. Good luck. This all comes from a place of wanting to help. Trust me, the dilemmas continue to come no matter how old they are. : )

Hi Candace,
Hope we can help you through this. When I read your message I wonder how often you are feeding him and for how long? With our son's reflux I would worry that he would never get enough to eat because he kept spitting it up. I asked his doctor about feeding him less but more often (he was not supplemented) and it worked. The doctor asked to see him often to ensure he was gaining appropriately and he was. As far as work, I didnt return until he was nine months old. We cut alot out, but since he was our first, we were able to make the sacrifices. Talk to his doctors about what they recommend. I didnt take the medication route, but my nephew was medicated- each case is different and each solution is unique. God Bless, M.

HI K., My youngest is 4 months old. We had this same problem with him when he was little. What kind of formula are you supplementing with? My son had acid reflux also and we had to swith to a Similac/Isomil formula. That did the trick. He has been a totally different baby since then. With the acid reflux he just needed a formula that wasn't so strong, so the Isomil was it. I'm not saying go out and switch formulas, but ask your doctor if maybe this is something that you could try! Things will get easier, just hang in there.

First of all, congrats on being a mommy! I know this is hard, but it will pass. I do NOT believe that you started a cycle. Many experts agree that you can not spoil a baby under 6 months. Even those that don't agree with that surely would agree that a newborn can not be spoiled by holding. Honestly, this is what he needs right now, and I would just do it as much as I possibly could. Get a sling (a ring sling like the Maya wrap, or the Moby wrap are both easy to get online and pretty easy to use, from newborn to toddler. I know of a place in pearland to get a moby if you don't do online ordering.) and wear him. Hearing your heartbeat, feeling your warmth....

Dr. Karp (Happiest Baby on the Block) talks about a "4th trimester" where babies are getting used to the world outside. Most professionals say that you should count from due date if baby was early, so you're only 5 weeks into his 4th trimester (another 3 months, at least!).

Add to that he is high-needs because of the acid reflux...You are one tired mama! If you can keep it up, I would. Let him sleep on you. It will help strengthen his neck and arm muscles because he will try to look up at you and get lots of practice turning his head. THis is good since he can't have tummy time right now. He's getting his tummy time on you!

I honestly believe that you have not spoiled your baby. You are doing what he needs and he needs it more than other babies his age right now. Daycare will handle it. They won't let a newborn lie in a crib screaming, don't worry (no reputable place would, at least, and I'm sure you've done your research). It wouldn't hurt to discuss with the daycare your situation, but he won't be the first baby with acid reflux they've seen. And from what I understand, they do grow out of it pretty young.

I would highly recommend reading Happiest Baby on the Block (or watching the DVD). If nothing, it will help you understand how normal your little guy really is!

It's exhausting, but this is what he needs right now, and you've been doing a great job, it sounds, giving him what he needs.

As for the breastfeeding, this too is normal. I always changed my babies' diapers in between sides (or whenever they needed to burp) to help wake them. My second was particularly sleepy, and I would just get her practically naked to feed her so she would stay awake, and tickled her feet. That worked for us. Some babies are really tired, though, and it sounds like your little man is exhausting himself as well.

Good luck. I really do think this will pass, and in the meantime you are doing what he needs you to do. He will not be spoiled by being held all the time at this age. He's still adjusting to being in our big, loud, bright world, and he didn't have acid reflux in the womb. He's got a big adjustment that he's experiencing right now!

One of my babies was 3 weeks early and we were told by a nurse that if we held him a lot he would thrive. My arms would ache with exhaustion, even though my husband helped as much as he could. We eventually realized that we could lie him down (already asleep) and put rolled up towels on each side of him as "arms." He also had acid reflux which I thought he would never outgrow. He is now a strong, tall, healthy young man.

Your little one has a lot of catching up to do in the bonding department! He is not spoiled! He is just trying to figure out this new world he is in. Please explain to your caregiver his special needs now and if they can't deliver, look for someone who can. He may also be distracted in a setting with other babies, so may be content - who knows? A lot can change in a month. Check to see if you have www.care.com in you city- they have child care givers who can come to your home, if that helps. Good luck!

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