Help! Baby Won't Sleep on Crib Mattress!

Updated on January 12, 2012
S.T. asks from La Crosse, WI
14 answers

My 7 week old has been sleeping in our bed since birth. I am very conscious of the risk of SIDS and have been trying everything to get him to sleep some place safer. I don't believe in letting an infant this young cry themselves to sleep. We currently have the crib sidecarred so his mattress is connected to our mattress, but even if I lay in the crib to nurse him to sleep, he will wake up within 15 minutes after falling asleep. I know it's best to put a baby to bed sleepy but not asleep, but that doesn't work either, he just cries. Sleeps fine in our bed, but I don't because I'm so worried about his breathing and I'm going back to work soon so this is not an option anymore ( also the risk of SIDS is highest at 2-4 months of age). Tried luck! Also tried a vibrating co-sleeper that made heart beat sounds, again no luck.

Putting him to sleep on his side and belly are not safe, as well as sleep positioners or putting something soft between the crib mattress and sheet that is not safety approved. Also people often suggest letting them sleep in a bouncy chair or their car seat, which also are not options as they inhibit oxygenation and should not be used for sleep.

Any other suggestions?

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answers from San Francisco on

Try warming his mattress before putting him in it Crib mattresses are made of plastic and can be VERY cold. It may be the difference in temperator that's causing him to wake up.

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answers from Charlotte on

I suggest that you reach over and pat the baby. Then let him cry instead of bringing him into your bed. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too - you have taught him to sleep with you. You have to either give him what he wants, or wean him off of sleeping in the bed with you.

Aren't there times that he cries and holding him or feeding him or walking with him doesn't work? Do you feel like you are being a terrible mom because he cries anyway? It is not "wrong" to let a baby cry. You are there, he doesn't need anything. He WANTS to sleep on you, but you are training him to sleep on his own. At the point you feel able to do this, you can put him in the crib in his own room.


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answers from Houston on

He is 7 weeks old. His nighttime sleeping patterns seem normal. Nurse him then place him in his bed.

Dr. Sears is a trusted expert in this field has some helpful advice on sleep training in a safe and non cry it out method, as well as when co-sleeping is considered safe, and when it is not and how to transition and sleep safely:

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answers from Champaign on

Co-sleeping can be extremely safe. As Momma L mentioned, Dr. Sears is an expert in this field and has tips to make co-sleeping safe.

Not sure where you heard/read that sleeping in a bouncy seat or a car seat was a bad idea. They are actually highly recommended by many pediatricians, as the position slightly elevates the head, helps the baby feel safe and cozy (mimics the womb), baby can be strapped in for safety ... our son slept there for the first 6 months!

A swing is also a great option. Many kids really love the motion.

We used the crib with our oldest. We had to wait until he was completely out in order to put him in the crib or he would wake up. He slept with us a lot!

With our youngest, we hardly used the crib at all (he's the one who slept in his car seat). Let me tell you, we got so much more sleep with him! When it became unsafe for him to sleep in his car seat, he slept with us. He slept in our bed for about a year, and at 18 months he began sleeping in his big boy bed. He continued coming into our bed in the middle of the night sometimes. There have been a couple of phases in his life when he came almost every night. He'll be 3 in March, and he rarely comes into our bed.

I supposed my biggest piece of advise would be to try to be a little more open minded about your sleeping options. Remember, the best place for baby to sleep is wherever baby will sleep. That way you can get some sleep, too.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would suggest buying a crib sheet of the same material of your sheets and maybe putting a warm waterbottle in his crib to "warm up" his crib, taking it out right before you lay him down ofcourse, he's probably missing the warmness of your bed. Can't think of much other than that =/ I think it's great that you're trying to break the habit nice n early. Will you be using an angel care monitor once you get him to stay in his crib? i reccomend it 110%!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you thought about getting a co-sleeper? Smaller than the crib pushed against your bed (is that safe?) and he'll be closer to you since it's smaller. We co-slept, but after age 6 months. You can often find them on Craigslist, practically brand new since they aren't used for all that long, for a song.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

For his safety and my piece of mind, we put our DS in the crib all the time. One tip is to put him down in such a way that his feet touch first its less jarring. I learned that gem on mamapedia. I thought to pass it onto you.

good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Houston on

I tried lying on my baby's crib mattress once, because she just would not sleep on it. It was rock hard, slippery and cold. I put a comforter between the sheet and the mattress and she slept like a rock. Now I know you said you don't want to do that, but it's not so different to sleeping on an adult pillow top mattress. With my son, I was way more safety conscious, and I followed every rule, because he was my first. But with him I warmed his bed first with a blow dryer and he was much more comfortable. Those mattresses are plain horrible.



answers from Bismarck on

Try the Fisher Price Newborn Rock n' Play Sleeper (you can find it on Amazon or even at Target).

I highly recommend it!!!



answers from Green Bay on

Sounds pretty normal for that age. Our (2nd) 6 month old is just finally getting into a predictable routine, which is still waking 3x/night to nurse. But he was that way also, and putting him (and our first, a girl) down drowsy but awake never worked. We'd have to have them swaddled (but arms out), and when older, wrapped in a thick blanket (so he's laying on it, not loose to cover his face), and lay him down carefully once he's asleep. Have you checked the crib mattress, to make sure it's not so hard, as others have said? Sounds silly, but have you taken his blanket & crib sheet to bed with you, to get your smell on it? Since he's only 7 weeks, how long did you try the swaddling and co-sleeper? For #2, he did end up spending the last few hours of the night (morning) for 3-4 months in his vibrating bouncy (it's only slightly elevated) in the living room with Daddy on the couch, so I could just get a little more sleep.

I just can't let our little one(s) cry it out either, especially since I work full-time, I want them to know I/we will be there when they need comforting. 7 weeks is still young in my opinion so you may just have to hunker down for the long haul and be consistent. At that age it is still a big adjustment for him to be in the outside world. If you put him in his own crib/room all night, can you have your husband go in to rock him back to sleep when you know he isn't hungry? My hubby & I take turns, so even though our son (and daughter did too) goes through months-long streaks of getting up 5-6x/night, the most either of us is up is 3x, so we're still functioning in the morning ;-)

I've heard co-sleeping can be a huge benefit - and can be done safely, but I'm such a light sleeper I can't even imagine doing that. Good luck, it will get better!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Is he sleeping in the crib for naps? If not, where is he sleeping? We put my son in the crib when he was awake and he simply went to sleep (as long as fed and dry). It is normal for them to wake frequently (adults do also) - as long as he is not distressed it is fine to just wait and see if he falls back asleep. Warming the crib mattress is probably a good idea, but if you are using a sleep sac he likely is not touching much of the mattress.



answers from Washington DC on

It takes time to adjust to the crib mattress. I think that it is hard and large. We have a mobile that the baby seems to like. I am trying to get her used to the crib now too. I put her in it with the mobile when I am running her bath and if I am doing something upstairs, as kind of a play time. I have tried naps and we only have gotten 20-30 minutes at this point. I would practice with him during the day when he is happy. Put him in there under his mobile for a few minutes and take a 10 minute shower.



answers from Minneapolis on

Keep swaddling. When he finally gets comfortable in the crib, he'll want that. If he's busting out of the swaddle, use a Halo swaddle blanket, or, even better, a Miracle Blanket.

I agree with what others have said about the car seat & swings being fine as far as safety goes. (Just remember to turn the swing off after he falls asleep so that he can have a deeper sleep.) With him being so young, he needs sleep however he can get it.

Congrats on the birth of your son & good luck!



answers from Seattle on

With my daughter we always wrapped her bassinet mattress with a very soft blanket because she wouldn't sleep on the cold sheet. Then when we transitioned to her crib she wouldn't sleep on her sheet and mattress even with a mattress cover over it so we continued with the blanket. It just covers the middle of the mattress.
My ped said as long as it was tight and she couldn't pull it up it would be fine. She slept right next to us and I am a very light sleeper.
And to your car seat mention, so are you aren't going to let your child sleep in the car seat during car rides? If it wasn't safe they wouldn't say to have your kids sleep in a car seat or swing when they have colds or during naps. Humans actually breath better in a upright 45degree angle. That way there isn't pressure on the chest.
Good luck in finding something that works for you!

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