6 Week Old Sleep Question

Updated on June 08, 2012
M.Z. asks from San Francisco, CA
17 answers

My 6 week old only sleeps well when she is on me. At night after a feeding I hold her until I feel she is in deep sleep and then lay her down on her back in the co-sleeper. Sometimes she stays asleep but most times she wakes up a minute or two later. As the night goes on it gets harder to put her down again and I end up sleeping with her sleeping on me. I know this isn't safe and I don't want her in our bed. Any advice on how to get her back down easier or insight as to how long this phase is? I also don't want to establish bad habits. She is 6 weeks so definitely not in sleep training mode!

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answers from Phoenix on

I always put my baby to sleep on their bellies if they woke up switching to the back. Some babies just don't sleep well on their back. And no...I don't believe that sids can be prevented by sleeping on back.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When my youngest slept in his bassinet he slept on his side but most of the time at night he slept on my husband. You do what works for you. My husband usually got home around midnight or 1am so after that time he was his responsibility unless he was hungry and then he handed him to me. But since he didn't go right to sleep when he got home he had his special time with him.

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answers from Honolulu on

This is COMMON with infants.
They were in your womb for so long and have not been in our world for long.
It is also a "bonding" thing for the baby with the parent.
Babies will grow out of it.
Enjoy it for now.

And yes, infants wake a lot.
They also have a "startle reflex" which means, that they do not have control over their body or limbs at all. Nor do they have control over their motor movements or reflexes or coordination.
And they also wake because they are hungry or may have gas.
Their internal organs, are also still developing.

Nurse/feed her on-demand.

Infants also do what is called "cluster feeding" and it means they need to feed and get hungry even every.single.hour. Thus, you need to nurse/feed baby on-demand. Not according to a schedule.
An infant has growth-spurts every 3 weeks... and they get hungrier. And their tummies are tiny, so they need to feed frequently.

You can try swaddling her.
Or put her in a bassinet.
Or put her in a "Moses Basket." (that is where my son slept as an infant).
The Moses Basket and Bassinets are smaller in size, hence it is more cozy. If in a crib, some infants feel uncomfortable because it is such a wide open space.

Get the book "What To Expect: The First Year."

Your baby is normal.
They feed, wake, feed, poop, feed, wake, feed, poop, etc.

How an infant sleeps now, is NOT how they will sleep all their life.
It changes.
Per age-stage. Per development. Per needs.
Sleep "patterns" never stays the same.
And it is not "bad habits." She is only an infant.

An infant, needs to be comforted, to "bond" with Mommy, and to know that their needs are being met. That impacts their development as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well, you're right too early to sleep train. I feel like the first 3 months, you have to do what works, but that being said, I also get where you're coming from and you're ready for a change!

Try swaddling her or placing her in a bassinet instead of a crib so that the walls are closer and more "secure" Also, put her in her crib multiple times throughout the day, even if she's awake just so she can get used to it and recognize it.

I think mostly she's probably waking up b/c she's gone from snuggled closely and warm to on her own and free, so consider putting her down before she falls asleep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My kids were the same way. We angled one side of the co-sleeper to prop it up to reduce the startle reflex all babies experience when being put down. We swaddled tightly. We also rolled up towels or blankets on the sides so that they felt safe/tucked in when we put them down between the rolls and then put another light swaddle (like Aiden/Anas blankets) blanket over top to really tightly tuck them into the sides of the bassinett. We learned this from a nurse in the hospital. Babies are used to really close/warm spaces, so this was a perfect adjustment. They don't move around a lot so young and if they're in there secure enough there's no concern with getting wrapped up in the extra blankets, etc. It worked during the transition time (first 3 months) with both my kids. They're both light sleepers but we were usually able to get them down easier with those tricks.



answers from San Diego on

try warming up the co-sleeper with a heating pad before you put her in. that way its all cozy for her.



answers from Green Bay on

Swaddling might be something to try.

Otherwise, GET THE BOOK "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and take those recommendations seriously. It walks you through a child's development and how they sleep at each "age". It is AWESOME and it has answered so many of my own questions. I have considered it my parenting bible!!! Seriously, GET IT! I recommend it to anyone on here with a sleep question :0) Good luck!


answers from Columbia on

Let me guess...on you she's sleeping on her belly, and in the co-sleeper she's on her back?

I had the same problem.

I went and bought a stuffed doggy, washed it in Dreft, and gave it to my boy. When I put him in his crib, on his side, I snuggled it into his arms. So instead of startling awake and clawing at his face, he'd snuggle the doggy and dig his fists into it.

Why a doggy instead of a teddy bear? It's longer. Not as fat. Easier for baby to hold. Make sure its fur isn't very long, but he's soft. Get two so you can rotate them in the wash. :-)

I used this technique with both my boys, and my best friend used it with all three of her kids. It really works to keep baby comforted.

Oh, and as soon as they were rolling over, I put them to sleep on their bellies.



answers from Washington DC on

Swaddling was my life saver (took me 3 kids to discover it!). The only problem we had is when she was old enough to break free but couldn't sleep without it. But...it did get me through the first few months. We had the fisher price rock n play, love that thing. It is inclined somewhat so they sleep more comfortable. She was in that next to me for 5 months, when she decided to roll over and we couldn't put her in it anymore. I second the Healthy Sleep Habits book. Putting her down when drowsy but awake will help her fall asleep on her own. I think it is that book that gives the analogy of imagine if you are asleep some place, then you are moved someplace else and wake up, how disoriented would you be?

Each of my kids were different with sleeping. My first child was like yours, I would put her down and she would scream a few minutes later. I did realize much much later that she was not getting enough daytime sleep and that was causing her to be more awake at night. When I fed my son, my second, I would stay in his room (or ours), and feed him in the dark, no talking, and then put him right back to bed. He had reflux, so he slept in his car seat at the foot of the bed. My third was the swaddler, and she was the easiest up until recently at 8 months old.


answers from Jacksonville on

To each his own. What worked for us may not work for you. etc etc etc

We put our kids to sleep in their crib in their own room from day one. Yes, it was probably a bit more effort on my part to schlep to the nursery for feedings for the first few weeks... but they were sleeping 6 hours or longer by 12 weeks (my youngest, by 6 weeks) and I didn't mind. I had a glider rocker in there, and would nurse them right next to their crib. Hubby wasn't disturbed (since he was the one who had to go off the work the next day all day) and it was nice.

I know people say that they aren't accustomed to being alone so they don't sleep well in a different room, but I also think people can underestimate how much noise people make in their sleep, and don't think about the fact that YOU might be waking the baby up. ?
Just a thought.
Do what works for you.



answers from Champaign on

The best place for baby to sleep is wherever baby will SLEEP!

Don't worry about bad habits. Habits, for the most part, just don't exist with babies. If she'll sleep on you, and you can actually sleep, let her. It's not going to hurt her in any way. Co-sleeping is perfectly safe. If you are at all concerned, check out the Dr. Sears co-sleeping safely:


I'm sure Sheila S is correct in that her sister has seen tragic situations, but I those cases always involve alcohol or drugs. Her sister is only going to see the situations where adults were unsafe.

For now, do what works. If you need to make changes when she gets older, you will. My boys co-slept until 16 months (when we transitioned them to a twin mattress in their room), and even now they are allowed to join us in the middle of the night.

My boys also slept in their carseat, in the swing, in the boucy seat. My youngest actually went through a phase from 2 to 4 months (ish) where he slept in his carseat at night. Really, do what works. One day she will sleep in her own bed. Right now she's still a baby.



answers from Chicago on

I ended up doing the same thing and wish I hadn't.
But am grateful my children lived through this.My sister is a forensics photographer for the police dept. and sadly she has said loud and clearly, 'Parents don't sleep with your infants'. It has sickened her to be called to a scene where the child has not survived and have to take the photos. I would suggest to put a little bassinet or bed near you for awhile, so she senses your presence at night, then eventually eek her out of that. And I know for people with older children if they are trying to get them out of their beds, let them sleep on the floor in the room for awhile until all are ready. Sometimes we adults are not really ready to part with them, but believe me, they do grow up and then they don't want much to do with us at all!



answers from St. Louis on

So I did a few things that seemed to help my son right around this age. First, he couldn't sleep completely flat on his back till he was much older. So he slept in his bouncy seat, swing, or carseat. I also swaddled him. She may like being snuggled and warm on you so Make sure when you are nursing her that the room is completely dark and quiet. Also, I was very routine. He had a different routine for nap time versus bed time.



answers from Jacksonville on

You don't mention what you do during the day. It has a big impact on what happens at night. I think my son was closer to 8 or 9 weeks when I started a sleep, eat, play routine during the day. Pick a time to wake up, if the baby is not awake within half an hour of that time, wake her. Feed her, then play. If she falls asleep while feeding wake her. When she gets fussy, help her go to sleep, I would rock my son. When she's sleepy but still awake put her in the crib. Do this all day until bedtime, then you can nurse her to sleep. When I started with my son, his play time would last about 45 minutes, then he would sleep for anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours, so he was eating every 2 to 2 1/2 hours during the day. He started sleeping longer and longer at night and after about 4 or 5 days he was sleeping for over 6 hours at night. Plus he was used to falling asleep on his own.



answers from Los Angeles on

It's a phase she will outgrow. You should enjoy it. I want another baby just to get to experience the baby sleeping on me again! You will miss it when she is older and does not want to cuddle anymore because she is independent or chooses to cuddle with daddy instead! Enjoy every minue of your baby sleeping on you. The time goes by way too fast.



answers from Muncie on

My daughter was a side sleeper. I used rolled up t-shirts that my husband and I had worn to help prop her over a little. I believe the scent of my husband and I close to her helped keep her calm. You can also try talking to her while she's awake and eating. I sang and talked. This way she'll might settle back down once she's full if you simply talk/sing to her softly. She may just need to know you're near by.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I moved the baby bed to right beside our bed when the kids were little like this. I would sleep with my arm through the bars so the baby could feel me, they need that skin to skin contact. They need to feel that pulse, the warmth of the skin, etc...

I think maybe bundling the baby could help, it might make them feel more secure.

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