Baby Will Only Sleep in Swing

Updated on February 04, 2008
S.C. asks from Saint Charles, IL
6 answers

My son is going on 9 months old and has gone from one health problem to another. First we dealt with colic when he was first born, then it was reflux disease, next was bronchiolitis, then 3 ear infections and finally we’re now dealing with a mild case of RSV with a secondary ear infection. Our choices to get him to sleep were either walking and rocking him all night long or putting him in his swing. So of course we went with the swing which in turn has become our best friend and pretty much a lifesaver. His sinuses are so bad right now that he can’t even sleep laying flat. We’ve angled his bed but it wasn’t high enough to make as much of a difference as the swing does. Right now because he’s so ill, he’s sleeping in it for hours at night but when he’s well, we let him fall asleep in it and then move him to the bed.

Here’s the problem. He weighs 21 pounds and the swing’s max weight is 30 pounds. How do we wean him off of it when he’s sick so consistently? I asked the doctor and she basically said put him in his bed awake and he’ll eventually get accustomed to being in it. HA! Not my son. He’s a stubborn little thing and will stand at the side of the crib crying for a VERY long time (like as long as 2 hours), which then turns to screaming. We don’t go in there other than to comfort by touch and to lay him back down. As soon as we start trying to get him more accustomed to the bed and things start taking a turn for the better, anther illness sets in and then we’re back to square 1. I’m not going to allow my son to cry like that when he’s already not feeling well but then again, 30 lbs is going to come quick and then I’ll be out of the swing, dealing with a baby who won’t sleep. PLEASE HELP!!!

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So What Happened?

So I took the advice to go cold turkey. I waited until he was on the mend and just have been putting him in his bed and I've got to say, it's not been too bad. There are times he cries some but most of the time he plays by himself for a little while and then crashes. And since we've had him in his bed, he just started sleeping through the entire night for the first time! YEAH! Thank you for your help. I was probably more worried than necessary but your assurance came in very handy and was really great for a first time mother like me!

More Answers


answers from Chicago on

Your poor son. As they doctors say, sleep them propped up when they are ill. Okay,yea - how can you do that when they are in a crib. I am a mom of twins... I JUST transitioned my kids to their cribs for their naps and they are 19 months old. So do what works for you. My son sounds a lot like your son and both children could and would cry for 3 hours if I let them and didn't put them in their swings. But as they hit 18 months and the weight limit, we had no choice and they had to get used to it. After a week and a stressful one for mom & kids, they got used to it. I found that using blackout liners helped. Also, when you put him in the crib, if the swing has any music/sounds he is used to, play it for a few days. Good luck and I hope he feels better soon and stays better!

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answers from Chicago on

Dear S.,

Hang in there! First of all, I don't think you need to worry too much -- the first 20 pounds come on way faster than the next 10. Your baby will be moving around so much that he won't weigh 30 lbs for a while. But, he will keep growing, and the swing stays the same size, and I understand wanting to get him out of it. In the meantime, I don't think you are doing any real harm and he needs sleep to get better. I would also focus on things you can do to keep him healthy once he gets that way. If he is home with you, everyone in your home can increase handwashing, bring purell everywhere, buy a cover for the grocery cart, etc. If he's in daycare, that's just a lot harder because of all the extra germs. Once he's breathing clearer, you can start to slowly transition him. I don't want to create a situation where he can only sleep with you or in your bed, but maybe you can cuddle him lying down and get him to drift off, or at least get sleepy, and then put him into his crib. Also, the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book is great. Good luck -- we've had a lot of sickness in our house this year and I know how hard it is when baby is sick.

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answers from Chicago on

I dont' know if this would be worth it for you since he is already 9 months, but maybe this would help?

Also, he is old enough (assuming he can roll over and move himself around well) that you should be able to put a pillow in his crib. My son started using one around that age as well. If you get a wedge to go under that edge of the crib mattress, and then put a pillow on top of the mattress, would that not be enough to give him a good angle to sleep?

I also agree that you have more time that you probably think until he hits 30 lbs, but not a bad idea to start looking into solutions.



answers from Chicago on

I am sorry if this is not what most people will advocate but its the best - trust me. Put your baby on his stomach to sleep and if you are too nervous get a motion sensor monitor but his health issues will dissipate somewhat if he starts to breath better which happens when they are on their stomachs, belief it or not! Also, he WILL sleep on his stomach. I agree that doctors are often flakes when it comes to their ideas of sleep (and other things) and you have to do what works for you as a mother. It is not a thing of theory, rather reality. YOU NEED TO GET SLEEP TO FUNCTION. So hang in there. Get him out of the swing immediately (Very bad for his back) and try what I'm telling you.



answers from Dallas on

If you're on the fourth ear infection at nine months, I would talk to your doctor about tubes. My first had ear infections every two months for his first year and I was about crazy when my doctor asked if we had thought about it like we should have already known. I had them when I was a toddler and he's had them now for several years. He has not had one ear infection or even a bad cold in more than three years because of the tubes. As with all medical procedures, there are some risks, so make sure you feel informed before you get them, but I highly recommend them if he's having so many problems. As far as the sleeping problems, wait until he's mostly well, and by that I mean about the second day of antibiotics when they start to clear up a little, put him in his bed and let him cry. I tried to do the touch comforting thing and it just made it worse and longer, if you go cold turkey and don't go in there no matter how long he cries (my daughter did 3 hours at 4 months) it should take less than a week until he's down to less than 5 minutes and sleeping great. If he's pretty mobile, giving him a pillow and putting him on his stomach will help. Mine all sleep on their stomachs as soon as they can roll anyway. The book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child is my sleep bible. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Our son had similar illness problems last winter and he spent much of the winter sleeping in his infant car seat. He transitioned just fine once he could sleep more comfortably lying down.

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