36 answers

Anything to Help Me Sleep More?

I have a 5 week old and he has gotten into a bad habit of only being able to sleep when he is being held by someone, and usually that someone ends up being me from 2 am- 10am, non stop feeding and sleeping every hour. As soon as I get him doozing i'll place him in his crib and he starts stirring and then it escalates to crying and then another feeding. it seems nothing can settle him. Also now for some reason he has hardly slept today, and is just fussing, like hes bored and then calms down and then fusses again in another couple minutes. I am in dire need of some sleep because I get sick very easily without it. Any suggestions on how to get him sleeping longer?

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Have you tried wrapping him in a blanket? also play a musical toy for him or a radio then he thinks someone is in the room with him. My son was wrapped up in a blanket for about 3 months he needed to feel like he did in the womb.

Try swaddling him and putting him in a swing. My kids only slept in the swing for the first 8 weeks of their lives!

My daughter did the same thing at that age, and I slept horribly. I know they say to put them on their back to sleep, but I would lay her down on her belly so it felt like she was laying on me kind of, and that worked for us! As for getting him to sleep longer, I think that just comes with time..Good Luck to you!

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You have gotten some great adive here and I just wanted to reiterate what some have already said. Learn more about co-sleeping, get the Happiest Baby on the Block book, and the No-Cry Sleep Solution. Both will be extremely helpful. This behavior is very natural and it will eventually pass. Make sure you nap when you baby naps if at all possible. Don't listen to anyone who tells you let your 5 week old cry it out. To think you can teach life skills to a 5 weeks old is insane. They are completely helpless little creatures and crying is thier only form of communicating. You are doing a GREAT job! Definitely reach out to La Leche League and go to meetings, it will help you tremendously. I don't know how I would have gotten through those first couple of months without them. Also, they generally have the books mentioned available to borrow.

1 mom found this helpful

At only 5 weeks, I'm sure this is absolutely normal. Most moms of 5 week olds are severely sleep deprived and while that might not make you feel any better, at least you know you're not alone. You might try one of those swings that can convert from front/back swinging to cradle-like swinging. That was my life saver! I know people will tell you not to leave them in it to sleep, but you have to do what works. And if you can get him to sleep in it, then go with that.

PLEASE get some support!
Your baby is a BABY.
HOLD HIM.
HOLD HIM.
CUDDLE HIM.

please oh please get some real-life help from la leche league! PLEASE.
The La Leche League Breastfeeding Helpline - US began on June 1, 2007. Everyone in the U.S.A. will have access to toll free breastfeeding help 24 hours a day. Just call 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324).

We had twins and they were the same way at that age. You could try swaddling him so he feels comfort. The swings and carseats are great suggestions as well. You cannot spoil them at this age with their sleeping habits nor will you form bad ones. Crying it out is not an option until they are around 6-8 months. When breastfeeding you will go through growth spurts quite regularly. Demand feeding becomes very difficult and can make you very tired but he may be experiencing a growth spurt. Trying the pacifier is another great idea. I know they say they could get nipple confusion but mine did just fine with breastfeeding and using a paci. There were many nights they slept on us and many nights I fell asleep nursing them laying on my side. I agree also with watching what you eat and offering him gas drops as well. You can call your peditrician for other useful tips. That is what they are there for! Good luck momma!

I had that very same problem with my son. Have you ever seen the travel swings? Like, the Fisher-Price ones, but not the big one you set in your house, just kind of the once that folds up so you can take. The seat part of those are kind of like a little "hammock" instead of a hard seat, and it made my son kind of feel like he was being held. Honestly, I used to leave him in that thing all night long. It was the only way he'd sleep. I didn't even have to leave it on, he just needed to sleep in that little "hammock." I'm sure some would say it's not good for their back or whatever, but he's 4 years old now and is perfectly healthy and normal. Try it if you haven't already. You gotta get some sleep.....I've been there! Good luck!

Swaddling works wonders. Make sure it is nice and snug. Like at the hospital. YOU can also buy swaddlers by kiddoptamus. They help them sleep longer and they are a great way to blanket them without any safety issues. My daughter slept through the night because of these!.

My son (now 17 months) would wake up whenever I put him down for the first few months. I was really afraid to sleep with him in the bed due to SIDS, rolling on him, etc.
My solution was to put a curved changing table pad in the bed next to me. It had a softy cover on it and I could gently roll him onto it, and hover over him for a few minutes until he seemed settled. I was right next to him, so he heard my breathing, etc. It allowed me to get some sleep and have easy access for nursing.
Another trick is to have him fall asleep in a baby sling, lay down with it on, and then gently ease it off and have the baby next to you, still in the sling. You can also sleep propped up (a recliner or bed) easier with the baby in the sling b/c your arms don't actually have to support him.
I agree with Katie's post that he just needs security- he's really not fully cooked until he's about 12 weeks old. Most newborns don't want to sleep in a crib, or very far from Mama.

My son slept swaddled in his car seat with a pacifier until he was four months old (he decided he was done with both and has slept in his crib since then). I never could co-sleep with him, I either wouldn't be able to fall asleep or if I did I'd wake up every fifteen minutes or so, I guess to be sure I hadn't rolled over on him.
I'm so sorry things are like this for you right now and I wish that there was more I could do or say to help. Before we figured out that our son slept better in his car seat (my aunt's suggestion when he was about the same age as your son) I didn't sleep at all. I know how terrible and soul draining that can be and how crazy and desperate it makes you feel. When I say I didn't sleep at all I mean that, even when my son would sleep I would lie awake, tense as could be, just waiting for that next cry. In my particular case things got bad enough that I had to be hospitalized, I just lost it. No sleep and all those hormones can do that. I won't bore you with all the details - just know that it does get better. Now my little dude regularly sleeps from 7pm to 7am and I got all my sh*t sorted out. It really did get MUCH easier, and I didn't believe that it would when I was where you are.
Good luck. Accept help when ever it is offered and ask for it when you need it.

Your child is showing symptoms of hunger and, believe it or not, if you feed your baby some SOLID food, your problem will be immediately resolved. This is especially true if your baby was a "big" baby at birth.
Although most pediatricians would strongly recommend against solids at this stage, I have seen too many babies literally be starved until they are finally given solid food. As a general rule, you will know that it is time for solid food if you can answer "yes" to these questions: Is your baby eating ALL THE TIME? Can your baby NOT go for 3 or 4 hours between feedings? Does your baby "go ape" at the smell of food? Is your baby consistently "rooting" or using his mouth as if food/drink is near? Is your baby having problems with bowel movements?
You should start to add solids slowly so that you will not upset your baby's digestion. At this stage, I would feed my baby solid food at least once a day. You can start with a mixed cereal (about 1 Tablespoonful with 4 ounces breastmilk or iron-enriched formula). You may also try other foods such as mashed potatoes (in an almost liquid consistency) or pureed fruits/vegetables.
You will know how to adjust this by your baby's digestion and bowel movements. If the food is being tolerated well, there will be no problems, provided that the baby is not being overfed per feeding.(Overfeeding will cause the baby to "spit up" more.)If there are problems, cut back on the amount of solid food given. If there are no problems, the baby will eventually start to eat more. Also, if a baby is NOT being breastfed, the stool will be solid, but not hard. If a baby IS being breastfed, then add more solids as the baby's stool becomes more solid or if the baby stops having bowel movements for two or three days (which means that the baby is absorbing the nutrients in the food).

The first month of my 2nd daughter's life we could only get her to stay asleep in her car seat. Turns out it was related to her birth and have torticolis. The midwife reported she came out of the birth canal with her head tilted. Torticolis is being born with some neck muscles really tight. Her head always tilted to the right when we laid her down or put her in her seat. Treatment from a cranio sacral specialist and an infant chiropractor did the trick. Releasing the muscle discomfort that an infanct can't tell us about and making sure the vertebrae were in line was the answer for us. Since then she's slept fabulous. In fact now she's 7 and she's my sleeper. In SW Florida, the cranio-sacral specialist with infant certification is Becky Avers ###-###-####. The best chiropractor for kids we've found is Dr. Mike Lampe ###-###-####.

I think he needs to feel like he is safe and secure, instead of being put in a crib. I think that right now, for your sanity, you should try putting him to sleep either in a carseat, a swing..something like that so he feels cradled. The crib probably seems much to him like a huge space and somewhat lonely. Since he is so little, he may honestly miss the womb! Anyway, try feeding him, burp him very well, putting him inside with his blanket, and rocking it a bit, you may be surprised. Maybe in a month or so he will be ready for the crib :)
Good luck!

Teach him to self soothe instead of using you. This is a life skill and something that you need to teach. A little bit of crying to settle himself is not going to harm him. Change his sleep position to tummy. MOst kids can't get comfy on thier backs and they get acid reflux in their throats. No wonder they need to be held. Give him plenty of tummy time during the day so he exercises his core muscles and he will need sleep. As he matures, he will sleep longer and more soundly if you ignore all those infant gurgles and sounds. The term sleeping like a baby is not really true. Babies come in and out of sleep so often but it is their learned ability to get them to go back to sleep on their own.

Have you considered co-sleeping with your newborn? Put your infant in your bad next to you so that when you hear him stir, you are right there next to him and you can latch him to your breast while you go back to sleep. You won't get a newborn of 5 weeks old to sleep "longer." It's not how a newborn is designed so I'd suggest co-sleeping. He seems to enjoy being close to you and you will get more sleep in the long run. Good luck.

What are you eating?
It may be that he isn't getting enough nutrition- check out WestonPrice and make sure your diet is giving you enough to make milk for him that is giving him what he needs- and then he will sleep and stop fussing.
And it will be better for you- you must feed yourself well to feel your best too.
best, doc

I had the same problem with my first child. Consistently put him down when he is drowsy, but not yet asleep. That way he won't wake up when his environment changes, like when your arms are no longer around him. Also you could try placing a soft foam "wedgie" beside his belly and back when you lie him down. You can get them at Babiesrus. This may help him feel more secure than when he's just lying in the big open space that is his crib.

Also, try to get him on a schedule/routine if you can and look for signs that he's sleepy. If you put him down to sleep at the first signs of drowsiness, he'll go to sleep easier than when he's overtired. I believe that babies have sleep windows, you just have to find his and make sure to get him to bed before he's past it.

Also, schedules are not necessarily the same time of day every day. He may not nap at 10:00 every morning, instead he may nap two hours after waking. So if he wakes at 6:00, he'll sleep at 8:00 even if the day before he woke at 7:00 and napped at 9:00.

Consistency is key for some babies, while others go with the flow and their routines can be changed from day to day. I would say if you're not sure which kind of baby he is yet, go the consistency route. It can't hurt. This means that all caregivers should do the same as you do.

Lastly, you know your baby and what works for you and your family. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for not holding him while he sleeps or for holding him every time he sleeps. Do what works for you.

Know this will all change and it WILL get better and a lot more fun. Babies are a blessing, but they sure are hard work! Good luck!

Have you tried wrapping him in a blanket? also play a musical toy for him or a radio then he thinks someone is in the room with him. My son was wrapped up in a blanket for about 3 months he needed to feel like he did in the womb.

I completely understand what you're going through. I have a 2 month old daughter and a 20 month old son. They both did the same thing. One thing you may want to consider besides all of the other great recommendations by the other moms is to pump sometime thru the day to give your baby a bottle in addition to breastfeeding at midnight or so. This way he is more full. I did not produce very much milk, so both of my children were cluster feeders. It would take forever for them to get full and by then they would only sleep for an hour or two and be ready to eat again...exhausting! I also bring my daughter to bed at about 4 or 5 AM feeding and lay on my side to feed and then move her up between our pillows so she is safe. I wouldn't suggest this option if you toss and turn alot. This phase will pass soon. Good luck.

I read several books and tried multiple techniques with my first son, the one method that ended up working for us was "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby" by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau. Best of luck finding the method that works best for you. You are smart to address this issue now - the longer you wait the harder the habit will be to break. Good luck :)

My daughter did the same thing at that age, and I slept horribly. I know they say to put them on their back to sleep, but I would lay her down on her belly so it felt like she was laying on me kind of, and that worked for us! As for getting him to sleep longer, I think that just comes with time..Good Luck to you!

A.,

I will tell you what I did with my daughter. Everyone will tell you it is not the right way to do things but it was the only way I go ANY sleep during the first 6 months.

I slept with a baby on my chest. I would go in the living room & recline in the recliner, place pillows to prop my arms up & en-cirlced her with my arms.

you can try getting one of those suffed animal or crib sound machines with the heartbeat sound. This didn't work for my daughter. she hated to be swaddled too.

If she woke up during the night I had to sleep with her until morning until she was 2. I still ocassionally have to do it but not as often. I didn't get a full night sleep unless there was a grandma to take care of night duty until she was 2.

I may be late - not sure what the other mom's told you, but have you tried swaddling. I used to swaddle my daughter and feed her already swaddled and then put her down - there's a bit less of a shock when you place them down because their arms and legs aren't loose. We swaddled for 5 months despite a lot of people telling me not too. Good luck!

at 5 weeks, there isn't much you can do for him....but you need to get someone to help you out, and take care of the baby so you can get some rest. Get a breast pump and let someone else take over for awhile. You need this for your health and sanity! It will make you a better mom.

i have a 12 week old so i feel your pain! i am not good sleep deprived! however, it is actually very normal for babies to want to be held 24/7--mine sure does! after being in the womb for so long, they don't like being separated from us! i saw that some people mentioned karp's video and swaddling--that was a LIFESAVER for me with my first son! for this baby, he likes to be held in a sling or moby wrap to fall asleep. after he is very, very asleep i can transition him to almost anywhere. babies have a different sleep pattern than us--they are in a light sleep for about 15 minutes before falling deep asleep, and go through this REM sleep again about every 45 minutes (see dr. sears website--askdrsears.com for more info, his stuff REALLY helped me! he explains baby sleep patterns and what is normal). that 15 minute period is why your baby is waking up when you put him immediately in the crib, then he wants to be soothed by your breast again--very normal, but you can circumvent it if you rock him or hold him until he is very asleep. it is hard i know! but this too shall pass, and one day he won't want to be held and you will miss it! good luck to you!
***btw, carriers have been a huge help to me to decrease fussiness and keep him calm. he would probably never nap without it yet.

At 5 weeks, he's still so young. Of course he wants to be held, he's only known the incubation inside your body and you are his comfort. So, little by little, after nursing, place him in bed with you, and allow him to fuss a bit as you stroke his back or tummy. You need some rest, dear. Take it any way that you can...Any friends or relatives to help out?

Learn to lie on your side while breastfeeding him, and then you can both sleep. He will be able to feed while he's asleep. This saved my sanity with our first, and now with our second infant it's the ONLY way I'd ever do it.

There are a few basic rules about sleeping with an infant (like no covers on the baby, no way for baby to get trapped/fall, etc). Once you get comfortable and figure out the details, it is very easy and super nurturing for the little one.

Babies are supposed to wake up through the night, to feed and connect. It's not a bad habit, it's part of the baby's surviving and thriving.

Some advice from a medical anthropologist with a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old (and mine both did the same exact thing!). First, understand that putting a baby to sleep alone is a cultural practice that is not done in most of the rest of the world. Historically, co-sleeping with a breastfeeding infant is the most common way to care for a newborn. I know that you hear a lot of warnings about SIDS and all, but more and more evidence shows that breastfed babies who co-sleep with mom are much LESS likely to die from SIDS. There are safe ways to co-sleep to reduce any risk. Check out the work of James McKenna: http://www.naturalchild.org/james_mckenna/

I got sleep by co-sleeping...and kept my sanity. When I tried the crib, I inevitably lost lots of sleep and was very cranky. Also, you should know that both my kids now almost always sleep through the night in their own rooms. Co-sleeping with them during infancy did not form bad habits or spoil them!

Good luck,
A.

Try swaddling him and putting him in a swing. My kids only slept in the swing for the first 8 weeks of their lives!

I have 2 suggestions.

1. Mylicon drops. My girls were fussy not because they were hungry, but because they had gas and there belly hurt.

1. The pacifier. I know that a lot of people believe especially when you are nursing that if they appear hungry you should feed them. My daughters both slept throught the night at a very early age, and I schedule fed them. Ask your doctor, but I think that you should be feeding about every 3 hours during the day and buying the baby off with a pacifier in between. The hungrier they are the more that they will eat. The fuller they will be. The longer tehy will be able to sleep.

Good Luck! Take all the advice you get and ask yourself what do I think works for me. Every mom is different, and every baby is different. Trust your instincts and do what you feel comfortable with.

Just so you know, he's really really normal! 5-6 weeks is a rough time. They go through a mental growth spurt at 5 weeks. The Wonder Weeks is a great book that will tell you which weeks they hit these developmental phases: http://www.livingcontrolsystems.com/wonder_weeks/content_.... Then there is a a physical growth spurt at 6 weeks as well. The peak of infant fussiness is at this time too. My advice is to hang in there. Also, rent the dvd The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. He has techniques that help with soothing babies and getting them to sleep longer. In a nutshell, he talks about the 5 S's: Shhhing, Swinging, Swaddling, Sucking, and I'm blanking on the last one. My kids slept really well with white noise, swaddling, and being in the swing in the beginning. We all sleep with white noise now, but they don't need those other props now. I recommend cosleeping too. It beats getting out of bed multiple times a night. Laying down and nursing was my lifesaver. And I promise it won't last forever. Both my kids took/take naps in their own rooms and start the night in their own beds. Sometimes they still come into our bed, but we don't mind; it works for our family. Honestly, with a newborn, you do whatever gets you the most sleep at the time. Don't worry about bad habits.

Hi there - congrats on your new little one!

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp worked wonders for us too. Swaddling was the key component for us. My daughter fussed a bit getting wrapped up but she woudn up sleeping better and longer from it. we also used a wonderful co-sleeper called the supreme snuggle nest (at target) that gave her the comfort of us close by. A swing that will allow you to wind it down once the baby is asleep is a really good help for daytime naps or super fussy events. Seriously use what ever tricks you need to get some sleep...5 weeks is still so young. Hopefully you are taking advantage of daytime naps for yourself too :-)Can you and your hubby can take shifts?

Also be wary of overfeeding for comfort. some babies use feeding as comfort tool and can overeat which escalates into more crying because they have given themselves a giant belly ache and then we try to feed again because feeding seems to comfort them and it just gets worse. maybe call your Ped to talk it over. they should always be happy to talk to you with out having to set an appt.

Hang in there this is a tough time (babies are most fussiest right about now)for sleeping and it will get better!

Are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding? If you are feeding formula, the kind your feeding him might be upsetting his tummy. If your not formula feeding, then look at your diet. Something your eating might not be agreeing with him.

Also he might just be a gassy baby. Massage his belly, and work/move his legs like he would if he was walking. It will help with his gut. Two of my 3 kids were just gassy babies, and this helped a lot. My son has an intolerance to cows milk. I had to supplement a few times, and that's how I found that out.

Good Luck

Congrats on your baby. I slept so well after my daughter was born. She slept in bed with us, I slept on my side and she nursed whenever she wanted. It's a beautiful thing.

Hi A.,

first of all, congrats on your baby! I think many moms feel the way you do, and with my first I felt like I could never lay her down.

Here are some things that worked for us:
1) infant swing. It felt like my only respite was to put her in there, where she would go to sleep and give me time to take a shower!
2) lie down and nurse with the baby. Whenenver I needed a nap, up to about 5 months old, I could just lie down with her on my bed and nurse. She would go to sleep, I could unlatch, and we'd both get a good nap.

Good luck! You will sleep again, even though it doesn't feel like it right now. Hang in there. ;)

BTW, please don't give your 5 week old any solid food. It isn't recommended to give babies solids until 5-6 months.

My first child was the same way. I made up a goodnite song and later on it could put her out within 5mins. But for naps I had to sleep with her or rock her in the glider. She never would nap in her crib. I compounded the issue when my husband got deployed and i started taking her into bed with me. Not advisable it took her til she was 3yrs to sleep all night in her own bed.

Now with my second I use the rainforest swing ( you can plug it into the wall, no batteries reguired.)to help me during the day. If I dont wear her out during the day she is hard to get to sleep in early morning.
SO every day i make sure she has belly time to wear her out.

Hi A.,

My first born (now 3) was a HORRIBLE sleeper, so when I had baby #2 I was bound and determined not to repeat the cycle, and I am proud to say I have succeeded :) The Swaddle wraps are worth every penny!!! I also kept a sound machine in whatever room he was sleeping in. I kept it loud to replicate the womb and I also kept the room completely dark to eliminate any stimulation. Once he hit 3 months, I would nurse him until he was almost asleep and then lay him down. If he cried, I would pick him up and comfort him every 2 minutes. I was never one for cry-it-out, but this seemed like a good middle ground. He still knew I was there for him, but he had to fall asleep on his own. Honestly, it sounds like a huge pain in the butt but I never had to pick him up more than 3 or 4 times. The earlier you start the better :)

Is he going thru a growth spurt? He might just be building up a milk supply. If you are breastfeeding this will get better after a couple of days. If formula feeding, just increase the amount you give him.
Also, try swaddling if you aren't. That way he can feel like he is being held. Don't feel bad about keeping him awake from 8 o'clock on to make sure he sleeps better. The only other thing I can think of is to avoid changing his diaper (unless he poops) or turning on the lights or TV when he wakes up at night. This will help him remember it is night.
Just remember he will only be this little for such a short time!

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