Advice for a Newborn Baby

Updated on July 05, 2012
M.H. asks from Lima, OH
18 answers

I just had my third baby a week ago. My other two are 5 & 6 years old so it's been a long time since we've had a baby around. She's a good baby, but I'm wondering how do I get her to sleep by herself? The only way she will sleep good is if I'm holding her & it gets super tiring holding her all the time. She will fall asleep in my arms and when I lay her down, she wakes up screaming. I'm not really sure what to do as I don't even remember having this problem with my other two. Last night, I fed her and changed her and she was so tired I put her in her swing and she screamed her head off. Any advice would be appreciated.

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answers from Dallas on

Have you tried swaddling? That can help a lot. Some babies need the comfort of being wrapped up like they were in the womb. Perhaps one of those close to bed sleepers would help.



answers from Kansas City on

She is still very small, but you are right you can't hold her all the time. A bouncy seat with vibration works well for us. I tuck a blanket around baby to make them feel warm and snuggly and let them fuss it out a bit. Most little ones will fuss for just a little while and then drop off to sleep.

Good Luck.


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answers from Seattle on

<grin> that's because there are 1001 options /tips/ tricks!!!

And what works depends more on your baby and you than the tip/trick.

For a lot, putting them down groggy works. For others, not at all. For some (mine!) I had to NOT sneak/be careful or quiet. He smelled desperation. I just needed to slide Hume off my arm quickly, putter about doing other things (at a normal volume), leave (or just leave). For some, swaddling is the way to go. For others, they fight the swaddle and being swaddled = no sleep. For some, enclosed spaces (bassinet), for others Oy open spaces (crib). For some, reflux = car seats or angled beds. For others... Only somewhere flat. (hint: you can just set their carseats in the crib and strap them in). For some, darkness. For others, light. For some 'M. smell', for others NO M. smell (aka rubbing sheets all over your stankiest self before showering). For some, for others, for some, for others.

It's all trial and error.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

You have to nip this in the bud in the first few weeks, M.. If you don't, you'll be stuck doing this and it will be a harder habit to break.

After you feed/nurse her, lay her down groggily awake in her crib. Don't hold her until she falls asleep. Put a chair beside the crib/bassinet and pat her belly, back, or side (whichever one is facing up). As she starts to relax, pat her less and less and then take your hand away. If she starts to cry again, speak softly or sing a lullaby softly. As she starts to relax, let that go.

If you offer a pacifier to her, it's okay to let her fall asleep with it, but as soon as her mouth relaxes, take it out. If you let her fall asleep with her paci, she'll wake up when it falls out and cry all night over it.

Let her suck away during the day (she needs to suck for at least 4 months until that sucking instinct goes away), but not during night sleeping. (And please don't let her use your nipple as a pacifier! For what it's worth, it's much easier to take a paci away later than it is to break the habit of thumb-sucking.)

The thing is, she has to learn that she can't be held all the time. She also has to learn the difference in night and day. During the day when she is napping, make sure that all the daytime noises are still there. TV, music, dishwasher, etc. That way, you don't have to tiptoe around to get stuff done. The worse I've heard of is telling people that they couldn't flush the toilet or it would wake up the baby LOL!

So, no more allowing her to fall asleep in your arms. If you don't teach her to fall asleep on a flat surface, she will never know what it is, and waking up in a strange place is what is making her cry.

Just do this. It will take a little while, and then it will be done. Meanwhile, you are right there with her and as it happens less and less, you won't have to sit beside the crib anymore.

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

Are you swaddling her? That was always the key for my babies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Swaddling was what worked for us. We bought self swaddlers at Babies R Us, but I think they sell the good kind at Walmart and Target now too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well, babies are meant to be held.
She was inside you, warm, she was automatically fed via umbilical cord, listening to your body noises, and it was moving constantly more or less inside.
Now she's out in a relatively cold world and experiences hunger like she never felt before, and bowel and stomach movements - and yeah - they are happiest when held and tended to.
Some babies are more high maintenance than others.
And it's exhausting.
Try the swaddling.
You can also try to wear her in a sling or carrier.
She'll settle down a bit in 6-8 or so weeks.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Bundle Real Tight. The only thing that worked for us. Congratulations on your new born.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

You don't for the next 6-8 weeks you get use to the fact that trying to have her sleep somewhere by herself is more work then it is worth.

Enjoy the snuggles with your new baby, get a moby wrap if need be! and Strengthen those arms.

As a M. of three I hear you! soon enough she will be two like my youngest and unwilling to cuddle.



answers from St. Cloud on

My baby sleep bible is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. As if you have time to read ;P Right now your daughter is adjusting to the world, some babies need more comfort than others. If she loves being close to you, try wearing her in a sling. As exhausting as it is, this is the best time of her whole life to so-called "spoil" her. Maybe kick dad out of bed for a week so she can sleep with you. Then put her in a pack n play right next to you to get some space. If she was born on time (not early), then right around 6 weeks she'll go through a rough few days, but then she's able to start sleeping in longer spurts and therefore able to learn to fall asleep on her own. The biggest trick is to not let her get overtired, as I'm sure you know bad things happen when kids get too tired. Babies her age should be awake for an hour or two before needing another nap. A rested baby sleeps better than an unrested baby. If it were me I'd try to coddle her as much as possible for another week and then I'd start teaching her to be OK if I lay her down in the bouncy seat. I did that with my son. Within a day he was better. All I did was let him fall asleep on me and then I'd move him to the bouncy seat. If he woke up, I'd start over again but since he'd be more tired he'd be more likely to not care if I transferred him. Within 3 days, he had no problem falling asleep on his own in the bouncy seat.



answers from Muncie on

I have several suggestions... Swaddle her up may help. For my daughter, I used rolled up t-shirts that my husband and I had worn for a day and night to proper a bit on her side, she hated being on her back and our scent helped calm her. You can also try rubbing her belly and patting her while you sing/talk softly to her. Letting her know you're there. Think of it this way, only a week ago she was warm and snug and surrounded by the sounds of your heart/digestion/voice.

Good luck.


answers from Austin on

I agree, swaddle her.

Also place the sheet she is going to sleep on, inside of your clothing, especially at night.. so it will smell like you.

Also when you lay her down in her bassinet, place her head up against a rolled towel or blanket.

I used to place our daughter on one side of the bassinet lengthwise on one side. (the short end)

She was super tight inside of you for months.. All of this free space around her is not natural to her yet.



answers from Chicago on

Try a noise machine. Worked wonders for my baby, and she really liked the white noise. We actually found a humidifier that has a built in noise machine by Homedics. It also helped her sleep longer. As a two week old she was sleeping 4-5 hours between feedings!



answers from Little Rock on

Could she be colicky? How is her feeding? I agree with wrapping her up as well.
We held our son constantly. So much so that over time, when he would finally go down. I would catch myself rocking the air for no reason. As parents we want our babies to be happy all the time. This won't always be the case, despite our best efforts. If all her needs are being met, and she is not dirty or hungry or sick-Let her cry. I know a lot of moms will gasp at that advice, but I promise it didn't hurt my son at all. I think it teaches them to learn to soothe themselves. Good luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

Congrats on your new baby! The first 2 months of their lives, both of our children slept strapped in their car seat in the house. It was the only place other than our should that they would sleep. EVERYONE told us to swaddle, including the nurses at the hospital, but our 2 apparently were the rare kids who hated to be swaddled. They would always manage to get one or both arms out of the wrap, and as soon as they were free they would stop crying. Try the car seat. After that, ours were in a bassinet in our bedroom until they were 6 months old, then they went to a real crib. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

My vote for swaddling too.

If it doesn't work that excellently, maybe try one of those wraps? They kind of leave you hands-free to still do other work, but personally I wouldn't want it to become an either of you! :)

Congratulations on the new arrival, and all the best to you! :)


answers from Houston on

I'm in your position. Two older children and a newborn. It takes some refreshing that's for sure! Some babies just ant to be held all the time. I have pretty easy sleepers, but when my relative visited recently with her baby, that baby was always screaming and a little more high needs. It's possible she has reflux or a milk allergy. Dr. Sear's has some great advice on sleep issues.

Just keep in mind, she is only a week, it will take time.



answers from Miami on

Babies this young really do need to be swaddled. They LOVE feeling tightly secured in a blanket. Are you breast feeding? If so, are you nursing on demand? I don't support allowing a baby to cry themselves to sleep. Not this young! I have 4 children. All of them fell asleep in my arms, either rocking or nursing to sleep. I never put them to sleep awake. During the day, can you wear her in a sling so she access to nursing on demand that way? I cannot emphasize enough how much a newborn loves to be close to her mama.

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