Advice on Getting My Baby to Sleep on Her Own Rather than in My Arms.

Updated on March 19, 2011
M.D. asks from Birmingham, AL
13 answers

I have a 2month old that will only sleep in my arms. I have exclusively nursed her. She wont take a pacifier (even though I try every day) so she nurses for food and for comfort. I don't really mind having her in my arms the whole time, but I just worry that I am not getting enough sleep, that she may not be getting the best sleep and also that she will form a habit and NEVER sleep anywhere else. Twice she has fallen asleep in her swing and slept for 6 hours straight. In my arms she sleeps for 2-3 hours at night and 25-45 minutes in the day. But other than the two times in the swing, she wakes every time I put her down within a matter of minutes. Even if I lay her down beside e in the bed. I am torn between letting her do her thing, and trying to manipulate her sleeping. Any advice?


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answers from Phoenix on

You may not like my advice, but try putting her to sleep on her belly. It made a world of difference for 2 of my kids....they slept so much better that way.

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answers from Honolulu on

Most ALL infants, do that.
They for 9 months, were in a womb... it is an adjustment for them.

You can try a sleep sack.
If you look on Amazon, they have it.

IF your infant is nursing for 'comfort'... to me, that is NO biggie. That is what babies do.
IN the womb, babies also, suck their fingers. For comfort. There is nothing wrong with that. It is instinct.

Since you are nursing, you NEED to feed, ON-demand. It is imperative.
Infants, feed, all the time. Not according to a schedule.
Also, you need to know 'hunger cues' in a baby.
Sucking on fingers, IS a hunger cue, in a baby. And "rooting."

Keep in mind, that the way a baby sleeps, it NOT permanent. Nor finite.
I personally do not know, of any adult, that has slept the same way they did, since they were a baby.
ALL people/kids/babies... change in sleeping habits.
It is never- permanent.
So do not worry, about creating bad sleeping habits in your baby.
She is too young.
It is an unneeded, worry.
It is better that she sleep in your arms, than in a swing.
To me.
Once she outgrows the swing, then what?
How will she sleep?

I would though, try a sleep sack.
Babies/infants, like to be cocooned.
That is why, they like to be in your arms, when sleeping.
And in a swing... it mimics, what they felt/heard in the womb.
It is what they are familiar with.

Also, never, use a pacifier, to replace a feeding.
Some will stick a pacifier in a baby's mouth, but the baby actually needs a feeding.
So discern this.

Not all babies take a pacifier. Some babies do not like it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

HI-My son loved being swaddled. It was the only way he went to sleep on his own. Here is some great information that really helped me.

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answers from Denver on

My second baby only ever wanted to sleep in my arms- I was so worried that she would never sleep on her own. I tried everything I could think of, including one of those sleep positioners in our bed. It didn't work- she would always wriggle herself down so her legs were touching me! During the day, I would lay on my bed and cradle her in my arm, so she was laying beside me but still close to me. Sometimes it was the only way she would nap! (And I was comfortable laying down to get some rest, too.) As she got a little older, she eventually she started sleeping in her cradle. She sleeps perfectly well in her crib now and I LOVE that I got to have that time with her when she was so little!

Your baby is still is young and she needs to be close to you, but getting better sleep is definitely important! Have you tried "wearing" her in a carrier of some sort? Babies are SO comfortable being so close to mommy, and this is such a great way to help her get good sleep during the day when she wont sleep on her own. A baby carrier was such a life saver for us, especially during her "fussy" time of day!

I agree with others' ideas of trying the swaddle too. You can gently rock her back and forth after you lay her down. If she can get good naps during the day, it will help her get better sleep at night, too.

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answers from Chicago on

Do you swaddle? That was the only way we got our first out of our arms at all. We didn't swaddle him at first because he fought it and we figured it was because he hated it (new parents' mistake), so we waited until we were so exhausted that we were afraid of dropping him if we fell asleep to finally "force" him into a swaddle. From then on, he slept on his own for several more hours in a row than ever before. We loved the Miracle Blanket (ebay stores)....

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answers from Los Angeles on

My baby also had to be on me to sleep in the day, but I was able to get her to sleep in a bassinet at night. Things got better after 2-3 months. I found the ErgoBaby carrier to be my salvation. I simply let her nap on me while i did other things. When I had to nap, I took to reclining in the nursing chair and ottoman with a neck pillow and her in the ergo. Even now at 7 months, its where she takes a nap if we are out of the house. Wish I had some words of wisdom for your night time sleep. You have it rough. All i can say is this stage of needing to be on you should get better after the three month mark.

I also agree with 3Priness1princess. Some babies simply sleep better on their tummies. My physician SIL has taken to putting her babies on their bellies. Sometimes, its about survival and you need to do what you need to do.

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answers from Pittsfield on

I'd also let her sleep in her swing. We had to do that with our daughter- she had reflux and couldn't sleep flat for a while. Once she started getting bigger, she was more comfortable in her crib :)

Also, if she is your 1st, and you don't have other children to care for, nap when she does!- that's the best thing about being a 1st time mom- you have that luxury. Wish I had done that more :)

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answers from Springfield on

If she'll sleep in the swing, let her sleep in the swing. Nothing wrong with that. She'll change her mind in a month or two and want something different. I think you said you tried this and it didn't work, but I used to put our son in the center of our bed, lay down next to him, nurse him to sleep and slowly roll away. I did this for naps. Also, when I was desperate for sleep at night, I would bring him into bed with me, latch him on and fall asleep while he nursed. Sometimes I would wake up and put him back in his crib, but most of the time I woke up when he was ready to eat again. I would latch him back on and fall asleep again. Best way for both of use to get some sleep!

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answers from Anchorage on

I always put my boys to bed awake and let them fall asleep naturally. They never had sleep issues thanks to that.

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answers from Austin on

Sleep with her cradle sheets or crib sheets.

Do not wash them, but place them on the cradle or crib mattress.. When you lay your baby down, place her head in the corner of the bumper.. You can even roll up a towel. This will mimic the feel of your womb.

You can even pat her bottom as a distraction for a few minutes, so that her body becomes rocked a little bit.

It is ok for her to cry just a few minutes, you can go back and pat again..

Our daughter hated the pacifier.. she would suck on her fist, but that was not her problem.. We found she loved laying on her tummy.. as soon as she could lift and turn her head while on her tummy, her doctor said it was ok to layer on her tummy and she never went back to sleeping on her back. She was a great sleeper.

ASK your doctor first.

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answers from Harrisburg on

My baby is now 9 months old and we just transitioned her to her own crib. Previously she slept in my or my husbands arms for naps and in bed with us at night. She was also exclusively nursed and always nursed to go to sleep and all thru the nite. We enjoyed the closeness to her and special bonding, but none of us were getting enough rest. We also had the same issue of her waking up everytime we tried to put her down. My sister who has 3 children recommended a book, "The Sleep Easy Solution" more info on It worked for her 2 children and is working wonders for us. This method is a mix of structure and reassurance. It took 2 nites for our daughter to sleep thru the nite in her own crib. I will tell you the book recommends not starting this method until the baby is at least 4 months old and can begin to self soothe. I also recommend talking to the babies pediatrician before starting anything new. I understand your conflict between making baby happy and mom getting rest... hope this helps

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answers from Las Vegas on

Have you tried a heartbeat CD or something? When she is in your arms I would assume she can hear your heart beat and maybe that is what soothes her and helps her sleep.



answers from New York on

Try different pacifiers, my son will only take the 100% rubber pacifier it is all one piece. I would also try swaddling and I am a HUGE fan of a white noise machine in the baby's room.

If you can, look up the Arms Reach co-sleeper and get one, it is great for the first 6 months and then you can transition to a crib. She will be right next to you, but in her own space.

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