1 Month Son Only Sleeps in My Arms

Updated on May 06, 2010
A.Z. asks from Tucson, AZ
20 answers

I have a 6 week old baby boy and before he was born we bought him a bassinet, bouncer and swing, but now that he is born he will not sleep in his bassinet, he sleeps in his swing for about 15 minutes or when he realizes his not in my arms and he slept in his bouncer for the first 3 weeks but now he will not go in it at all, the only time he gets his sleep is in my arms or besides me in bed. how do I break this habit?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Phoenix on

swaddle him... that works miracles. My lil girl would know exactly when I put her down & would stretch her fingers out & cry... until I swaddled her & then she was fine. They are used to being in a tight spot :)



answers from Phoenix on

I agree with getting a sling!
Also, while I certainly wouldn't let him cry it out by any means, allow him a minute to adjust to where he is before you pick him up. Babies make lots of noises and he may just need a second to get himself comfy.
Good luck!

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

It's nature's way of making a new mom get some rest! He will grow out of it. Get yourself a rocking chair and put it in a sunny window and enjoy the new baby in your arms. :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

I have responded to many questions just like yours. If you look in my responses there is a lot of info but here is the short list:

-Google 4th trimester and Dr. Harvey Karp because that is where your baby is. Baby needs/craves/wants the comforts of the womb.
-You can not expect a 6 week old to self-soothe! Again see above and 4th trimester. To expect that is just plain cruel! Babies need to be taught to sleep and they can not learn to do that at 6 weeks. Even Dr.Ferber (whose method is sometimes called cry it out) says you do not start his type of sleep training till 6 months old!
-Babies at 6 weeks cry and need closeness for a reason. Again, see 4th trimester.
-Get a mayawrap or mei tai and wear baby. you will both be happier. Baby will get what he needs and your arms will be free. I had a high needs preemie and my mayawrap was the best money I ever spent!
-Some babies adjust more easily than others to life on the outside. Follow you baby's cues as to what he needs and wants.
-Things like swaddling helps with sleep. Also, invest in a crib wedge. They are around $10. If baby has a bit of reflux it can be very painful/uncomfortable to sleep flat.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

It's not a habit at 1 month old - it's instinct.

Babies don't grow out of their instincts until closer to 4-6 months. He is simply letting you know that the bassinet, bouncy seat and swing aren't his favorite places right now. But, your arms, your heartbeat, your scent, your voice are all familiar things that make this big, cold world not as scary.

He will outgrow it, it's just going to take some time. This phase is SO short, don't be surprised if tomorrow is a completely different set of issues and instincts.

You can't spoil a baby at this point. PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM CRY IT OUT! They're not crying for attention, they're crying because they're telling you that they need something and don't know how to soothe themselves.
They need to bond with you and know they're being nurtured.

My daughter was a few weeks older than your son when I was diagnosed with cancer. I had her fall asleep in my arms every night for the next year and sleep next to me in bed until 12 months (mostly because I needed the reassurance but also because it was easier on my fatigued body) - she's a fabulous sleeper.

This may not come out the right way, but being a mom requires a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes doing the right thing is doing what's not best for us personally but for the baby. Having a newborn is tough, but they move out of it so quickly - enjoy the precious moments while they last.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Agree with the Harvey Karp (happiest baby on the block) thing. My son was the EXACT same way. Probaby worse too. Harvey Karps tequnique works like a miracle.
Also swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. It looks like some kind of japanese torture, but my baby slept like....well a baby when he was swaddled.
White noise is good. You can buy a cd that has white noise sounds.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Just trying to encourage you. This is normal and holding your newborn is a natural thing to do. Sleep with him so you both get sleep. AND GET A SLING! Your baby needs to be held and with a sling you can be mobile and a tiny bit productive. But don't make your priority right now be getting housework done or be busy with other tasks. Your job right now IS to hold your babe and to sleep with him. Get rest together and you'll both benefit!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Flagstaff on

get a sling so he can sleep in your arms and you can go about your day. the first year is when it's so important for your baby to feel your love. he will begin to make choices to change when he's ready, try not to push him to quickly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

My son was the same way. Until he was a couple months old it was rare for him to fall asleep somewhere other than in my arms. For nap time, I just used it as an excuse for me to get some sleep as well. So both of us just cuddled up on the couch, with couple of pillows to help keep me from moving aroudn and got some shut eye. At night I would lay down in bed on my back and just hold him until he went to sleep and then gently roll him over beside me (we did the co-sleeper that fit between myself and my husband). Babies really don't start developing sleeping habits until they are three months old. Before then I was always told do whatever it takes to get both you and baby some sleep. After three months, I would definately make it a point to move him to his own bed, and be ready for some crying. But it is between 3 and 4 months that true sleep habits are formed and babies are ready to self-sooth at this point. We moved our son to his own bed during this time and often times he was only drowsy and not asleep when we laid him down. But it forced him to develop his self-soothing skills so we didn't get stuck in the habit of having to rock him to sleep every night.


answers from Washington DC on

My kids came home from the hospital and went right into their beds. I did not hold them to get them to sleep. At 6 weeks, you can absolutely train your baby to sleep in his bed. If he has a full tummy, dry pants, and is comfortable, just put him in. If he cries, let him. Some babies just need to cry to self soothe. My sister was one of them... Check on him every 3 to 5 min. Don't pick him up. Pat his back or his butt and tell him you love him. Then walk out. Eventually he will sleep. Do it now while he's still little... If you wait it will get harder and harder...



answers from Phoenix on

it's very normal! my boys spent at least their first 8 weeks that way. It's hard sometimes when you need to go potty or just get one minute to yourself but it doesn't last long. Some babies just need more physical contact than others. It's your smell, your voice, your heartbeat. A baby wrap/sling does help a lot. It was the only way I ever did anything other than sit on the chair. It helps them transition from the womb to the outside world, your motion puts them to sleep. It gets easier!



answers from Flagstaff on

Question: why do you want to 'break' this habit? Your son is telling you that he needs to be close to you. In some cultures, the baby doesn't even touch the ground until they're almost a year. They're always held or carried by a caretaker. We are one of the only species who's children are not capable of even the most basic self care when they are born. There is the Nine In, Nine Out theory, in that we need to carry our children for 9 months in the womb, and wear them for 9 months out of the womb, which is the earliest they can even possibly be capable of the most basic self care.
That all being said, my daughter was the same way when she was born. Would not sleep more than 10 minutes unless she was on me. So, she slept in our bed (which is perfectly safe if you follow the safety guidelines - look at mothering.com for those), and I tried out different baby carriers, so I could 'wear' her. That way, she could sleep, and I could still get some things done and move around. There is a lot of information out there on Babywearing, one of the best resources online is from Dr. Sears. http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp
Then see if there is a local Babywearing group near you. You can check on www.thebabywearer.com, or http://babywearinginternational.org/
They can help you find a carrier that will work best for you and your baby. Everyone is different in what they like, and what works for their body type and their baby. I'm a big fan of wraps, but Mei Tei's are a lot easier for most people to work with. Just stay away from the Bjorn's and Infantino's (especially the Infantino sling). Those carriers are bad for baby's hips and back, and the Infantino sling can cut off baby's air passages. The websites I mentioned will let you know what the best positioning is for the baby. There are ways for you to give your baby what he needs, while not incapacitating you. Your baby speaks to you in the only way he knows how to tell you his needs. Babywearing also breeds more independent children. If we don't give them the closeness they need at such a young age, they can grow more needy and insecure later, among other things. My daughter is 3 now, and very independent, as well as sleeping the full night in her own bed. So just remember that whatever stage you hit with your baby is only temporary. Good luck and congratulations!



answers from Phoenix on

My 2nd baby was like that - didn't sleep at all unless he was in my arms or in the swing. Swaddling just didn't work either no matter how hard I tried. (yes I am a big believer in swaddling) Also, I don't sleep well with babies in my bed at all, so that doesn't work for me either. I was paranoid about starting bad habits with putting my baby in a swing so I could get some sleep. One night I finally put him on his stomach to sleep and... it worked like a charm. He went from 5 weeks of no sleeping to all to a suddenly great sleeper. I talked to my pediatrician about it in detail and she told me that at his age, it was purely personality. She said to just make sure there was nothing else in his bed when I put him down to sleep though. (Yes I understand the risks of SIDS. I also know that every family has different perspectives and different ways of making their needs met. There is no single perfect solution that is right for everyone.)



answers from Portland on

Babies have no bad habits so young. Many child development experts question even one-year-olds having bad habits. Give your little guy what he needs. At six weeks, he's still very dependent on being close to you, feeling your warmth, hearing your voice, and other sensations that are more like the womb that he was so dependent on for his first several months.

He'll start exploring the world at 3-6 months, and then he will need less constant care from you. But babies are not little packages that can be plunked down in a bassinet. They genuinely need lots of contact with mommy for their first several months.



answers from St. Louis on

Do you swaddle him? He may not feel secure. I found swaddling correctly and using a baby wedge to keep my children on their side or back helped them stay asleep in their crib. Make sure the crib matress is on the highest setting so you don't have too far to bend, and keep your son close to you until you reach the crib. They make all sorts of things like devices that play a heart beat or music, some that will vibrate the bed softly etc. I used a bassinet for the first 8 weeks. After I put my daughters in it, if they woke up I would just reach in and softly rub their face.
Now, with that being said, does it happen every time you lay him down and if so, how soon after a meal is he laying down. I did have an issue with 2 of my children. Turned out they had reflux. What helped me then was to secure them into their infant car seats after they fell asleep. This kept them up at an angle so they could sleep and I could get about my chores.

Good luck and I hope you get some sleep!



answers from Phoenix on

Swaddling is great, but my son was exactly the same! It was so difficult, he was just very attached. My daughter was completely different, she could sleep on her own, so I felt it was something about their personality differences. There's also a gadget I saw called nap nanny (http://napnanny.com/) that I thought looked like it would be really good! I might try this as i'm having my third next month. Good luck!!




answers from Chicago on

I agree with the advice to swaddle your baby, it helps them to feel snug and also keeps them from waking up when they fling their arms in their sleep. My son is like yours and he will only fall asleep in mine or my husbands arms. It's just a routine we've gotten used to, and it doesn't bother me to rock him to sleep. He sleeps just fine through the night and usually in his own crib, but sometimes if he's particularly fussy he gets to sleep with us. One thing with my son, is that when I do lay him down I have to go very slow and I keep him very close to my body until he's almost to the mattress, then I gently slide my arms out from under him and tip toe out of the room. If you go too quickly when you lay him down, he might get startled and feel like he's falling, and that will wake him up. Another thing that has helped with my son is to put my t-shirt (that I've worn all day so it smells like me) in the crib near his face so he can smell me and think I'm still there. I knot the t-shirt up so that he can't get wrapped up in it. I don't do the "let him cry" thing, if he fusses for more than a few minutes then I go get him. My son will just keep getting more and more worked up instead of crying himself to sleep anyway. Good luck, just keep working on it and it will get better. In the meantime, enjoy cuddling with your son!



answers from Phoenix on

It's hard when they are still so little. Too young to let them cry it out. Maybe lay him down in the bassinette when he is tired and stay there next to him and gently rub his back and talk quietly to him in hopes that he falls asleep. Otherwise, enjoy this time while he is still little. It won't last very long. Yes, I know it is hard to get things done, but that goes with the territory - we've all been there. Good luck, it will get easier.



answers from Des Moines on

9 weeks is how long my son slept in my arms. lol though tired i enjoyed every moment. after the first month i started sleeping laying down with him at night by 7 weeks i started laying him in his crib part of the night and once he woke up he slept with me. each night crib time got longer and sleeping with me was shorter. by 3 months he was in his own room his own crib and waking every few hours to eat. he didnt start day napping in his crib or bassinet until nearly 5 months old. i held him for naps and tried every few days to lay him down in his crib but he never slept more then 45 mins to 1 hour on his own until he was 11 months old. if you really want to not hold your son then keep trying to lay him down on his own, but if you only want him to sleep on his own because you think holding him will cause him sleep training damage it wont. by 7-9 months my son was sleeping 12 hours straight at night and i swear i never set him down for the first 2 months. lol each child is different in what they need. i am a believer that the baby is the only one that knows what they want and since they cant speak to tell you, you just do what makes them happy and that makes everyone happy!



answers from Chico on

Try swaddling him so his arms and legs are kept close to his body. They sell swaddling blankets with velcro, but you can probably find a youtube instructional video. Keep his hat on, too.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions