Help Getting 7 Week Old to Sleep

Updated on March 14, 2011
K.S. asks from Jacksonville, FL
20 answers

My daughter is 7 weeks old and will not fall asleep without us holding us. Also, she doesn't like taking naps. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to solve our problem? I have to go back to work in 3 weeks and I was hoping to have her on a good wake/sleep schedule by then. We'd appreciate any help that can be offered.

Thanks!
K.

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S.Z.

answers from Miami on

Hi K.,
Get the book, "Babywise" by Ezzo and Bucknam as soon as possible! It is the best. My son slept through the night by 9 weeks and my daughter by 10 weeks. They are now 2 of the happiest children!
Good luck,
S.

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E.D.

answers from Daytona Beach on

being that they're 7 (or even 10 weeks old) they are still Very young, so wanting to be held is normal and okay. However, have you tried swaddling her, very tightly? Or does she like the swing? also, have you tried putting her to sleep with white noise around? A great book to recommend is "the happiest baby on the block." It helps A LOT with the first 3 months.
Good luck.

E.

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T.B.

answers from Miami on

K., I don't believe in "schedules" for babies. A baby will wake and fall asleep when they are ready. I have 3 children...I KNOW how frustrating it is to want to take a nap yourself, clean the house, or do some other task but not be able to do any of it because of a baby who refuses to sleep. At 7 weeks old, your daughter, hopefully enjoys sitting in her swing. Do you have a bouncy chair with a vibrating feature? I used the swing and bouncy chair all the time. When my little ones didn't want to nap, I put them in the swing, plugged it in, played some soft music on the stereo and made the best of the situation. I found that with my second and 3rd child, they just didn't want to miss out on ANYTHING and when they did nap, it was too short for me to accomplish anything but seemingly long enough for them. I, too, experienced the baby-will-only-sleep-in-my-arms-syndrome. You have to remember that babies LOVE to be close to us. We, especially us mommies, are their security, their comfort and their source of protection. It's a bond unlike any other bond so it is understandable that your little angel wants to fall asleep in your arms. Try a bouncy chair and just bring the chair with you from room to room if she is awake. Ask your sitter to do the same so she doesn't feel obligated to hold her all day long. If your baby isn't ready to sleep, she won't sleep no matter how many times you beg and plead. Some babies just don't require the naps that we'd expect them to need. You can foster "quiet time" by making the house quiet and playing soft music. Somebody bought me a brick of CD's that we refer to as "baby music." They are soothing lullabies but in classical music. My almost 9 year old still loves listening to these CD's and they really do help calm things down. Even my dad, who has come over when they are playing in the CD changer will comment that he is feeling sleepy! Soft music really helps. Good luck to you .

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E.D.

answers from Boca Raton on

Some babies like swinging in a baby swing. The gentle rocking motion puts them to sleep.

V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi K.,
Frustrating, huh? If I recall though, that's probably pretty much normal. At 7 weeks, I wouldn't expect her to be on too much of a schedule (naps at 10, 2 and 4, etc). If you haven't read "On Becoming BabyWise", I'd recommend it to you. It is a short quick read. Teaches how to schedule.. beginning with the idea that you feed the baby upon them waking, then keep them awake after for a bit. THEN AFTER "play" time, they take a nap. Then after they wake it's "eat, play, sleep" again. I know it sounds simple, but lots of families do "eat, sleep, play" instead, b/c the babies naturally want to fall asleep at the end of the feeding-- their belly is full, they're comfy and warm and snuggled up to mom... It can be a challenge to get them and keep them awake after feeding sometimes, especially at first. In the beginning, the cycle runs about an hour & 45 minutes (breastfed babies eat that often usually). The longer you stay on it, and the more your baby grows, the interval between feedings gets longer. So they play longer and nap longer too. By 8 or 9 weeks, the interval is more like 3 hours, by 3 months, closer to 3, 3 1/2 hours, -- if I'm remembering correctly. The really nice thing is that if you begin using this schedule, it really helps with their NIGHTtime sleep. My son slept 7 hrs straight by 3 months. My daughter slept 7 hrs straight in 6 weeks. It was like a miracle!

If your baby falls asleep in your arms, either try moving her to her crib quickly, or wait until she is in deep sleep, then move her and she shouldn't wake. But at this age "cat"naps are more the norm, I think. Will she fall asleep in her stroller? Take her for a walk and let her fall asleep then leave her in it for her nap. Is she big enough for a swing yet? same thing. Does the car put her out? Drive around the block a few times, then bring her in in the car carrier and set it in her crib or on the floor.

When she gets to be closer to 5 months, you'll want to do some reading on sleep training for nighttime, too. Everybody has different opinions about it, but the Ferber Method worked wonders for us... (If only I'd known with our first baby....). Some people are very negative to it, but I urge you to at least read what it actually says before forming an opinion.
Best of luck. And congratulations on your new family addition!

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E.L.

answers from Tallahassee on

Not sure if it has been suggested, but I think there is a foam padding shaped to cradle the baby. My daughter flailed, so swaddling didn't always work. I didn't know about the foam thing until late too, so not sure if it works but it might be worth a try

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K.W.

answers from Orlando on

Oh congrats on the new baby!
My son is now 3, and if there is one thing I have learned--babies have to learn EVERYTHING--and that includes learning how to get to sleep on their own! If you want your child to start on a feeding/sleep routine, then you have to "nudge" her in the right directions. There are many books out there that if you follow then will help--Babywise was the first one I read, but found that it gave no help other than letting the baby cry it out--now don't get me wrong, sometimes that is all you can do--babies do cry--and many times it is because they are tired, but two other books based on a routine gave e much more insight on helping my son to sleep on his own--the first is the Baby Whisperer book and the second is Good Night Sleep Tight. IF you read and follow one of those, I think you will find some great tools on getting your child on a nice routine--soemthing that will help you and your family. And you can continue to build on that routine as she grows...
We started using the Baby Whispers methods right around 8 weeks, and had a great night sleeper (10 hours) but the time he was 14 weeks and naps soon followed. At 3, we have no bedtime or naptime issues whatsoever...and a oveall a very happy kid (and therefore family)!

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C.D.

answers from Jacksonville on

Bless you. Its not easy to leave your daughter in 3 weeks- I feel for you!!
If at all possible take her over to the house or let baby get used to knew provider before the big day. My baby is 5 months and 2 weeks. and each stage i am trying to figure out how or when to leave with sitter. I am breast feeding- so i think makes the whole process much harder.
but as for sleeping. My lil girl did the same thing.. and i would lay and nurse her and then sneak away while asleep. but then one day my very experienced sister showed me how to lay her in the porta crib.. roll a thick blanket into a tube.. to use as back support for laying on her side... She never liked her back as she would fuss. the other alternative to get her to sleep was.. snuggle her in to your neck and sing or humm! the vibratiions are comforting.. to her. about 2o minutes of rocking or boucing and she was asleep.
Pray Pray pray! My daoughter still does not fall asleep on her own quite yet.

Is there anyway you can wait to go back to work. seriously.. Babies let you know when they are tired..And to let them lay and cry in bed is scientifically proven to casue damage to their lil brains.. Please dont do it. Wait atleast until 6 months.

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C.J.

answers from Gainesville on

My daughter is 9 weeks old and still that way for the most part. What I have learned is how to put her down once she goes to sleep, and good ways to hold her that put her to sleep. I have really studied her sleep schedule, how much activity at what level of activity tires her out, how long she'll sleep depending on what is going on and the level of white noise. I've learned how to work around her. First thing is I sleep with my daughter in bed at night so that she can nurse while I sleep, so I don't have to wake up to do night feedings at all. She usually will sleep for 8-10 hours a night with 0-2 diaper changes.
Secondly, when she is awake during the day, I've noticed she is most apt to hang out by herself under a mobile or in a swing or on tummy time, first thing in the morning after she's had a little to eat and a diaper change. That will last for about 15-20 min she'll occupy herself, great for a shower, doing dishes, or putting in a load of wash and eating breakfast. Granted I really only get to do one activity, but I can get a few more short activities in during her cat naps. My daughter usually can't fall asleep unless he's nursing. So being able to put her down without her waking up has been the greatest challenge. I've found laying her sideways identical to her current cradle hold and then gently laying her on to her stomach has been the most effective. I know a lot of moms and professionals say absolutely no, but its the most effective way I've found to put her down and keep her down. If I know she's really exhausted, I'll take her to my bed like we are going to sleep for the night and nurse her. If I can make it through that routine awake, she'll usually sleep for about 3 hours. I don't believe in sleep training, just figuring out how to read when your baby is tired and how to encourage them to sleep when they need to.

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L.H.

answers from Miami on

HOLD THAT BABY, MAMA!!!!!

whoever will be watching baby will have to address 'scheduling' during the day

in the meantime ENJOY THAT BABY!
HOLD THAT BABY!

look into slings/carriers
www.thebabywearer.com/forum

please let that baby tell YOU when SHE NEEDS to do what she needs to do :-)

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P.M.

answers from Springfield on

Newborns love being close to you. They are used to hearing your heart beat and even your blood circulation. We found if we turned on a fan or sound machine while I was nursing our baby girl before I put her down it made the transition from me to the bed so much easier. The constant sound is soothing and it drowns out all the household noise. A friend recommended a portable sound buddy, Sleepy Bee, to use when we are away from the house. It works beautifully. (www.sleepybees.com)

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K.M.

answers from Miami on

I would also recommend Dr. Harvey Karp's book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. He talks about the "fourth trimester." Basically, the first 3 months of a baby's life are spent transitioning to the world. Some babies adjust easier than others. Remember that when you're pregnant, your baby spends 24 hours a day for 9 months being carried inside you. So baby is already getting a severe reduction in what he was used to! The book suggests 5 methods for calming your baby and helping them sleep. A lot of people have mentioned them already- swaddling, side lying/stomach, shushing, swinging, and sucking. The book is an easy read, but the DVD is short and shows you the techniques. I don't think a strict schedule is feasible at 7 weeks, but a loose routine is a good idea. I'm sure your baby will fall into more of a routine as she gets older and more of a schedule will develop with whoever cares for her while you work.

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C.J.

answers from Miami on

Most of the sleep training books agree that it is too early to sleep train much before 6 months and to not even begin until 3 months! Seven weeks is just too little. If you can't get to reading the Happiest Baby on the Block, get the CD and listen to it when you go back to work, on your commute. Try swaddling and a swing, swing only for naps. Track whether she takes cat naps and at what times. At that age, my son had a 3 hour schedule, eat for 20-30 minutes (he was breastfed), play /activity 45 minutes, sleep or be drowsy 1.5 hours, new diaper, eat again...

If she goes to daycare, they will help in establishing a routine. Learn what it is and stick to it on your days off, my son (now over 2 years old) will ask for naptime at the same time he would nap at school.

Hang in there, the first 3 months or so are the toughest from a sleep perspective.

C.

Mom to 28 month old son, aunt to 4.5 yo boy, 3.5 yo girl, 9 month old girl.

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P.K.

answers from Jacksonville on

I was going to suggest swaddling too. A schedule is possible. My grandbaby lives with me. She is 12 weeks old today. She likes to be held all the time too and I think it's because they like to be swaddled (squished I call it). A friend suggested a swaddleing blanket called the "miracle blanket", but I am sure that any is fine. They have pieces attached that hold their arms down by their sides so they can't wiggle them out, but legs are loose. This is amazing at helping them to burp and pass gas. But, you can not use it all the time (read directions). My daughter somehow has the baby on a schedule and it is working. She is bottle feeding though now. Breast fed for 1 month. She has a 5 1/2 oz. bottle every 4 hours almost like clockwork. We do sometimes have to appease her 30 minutes prior to feeding time by playing or walk outside. She starts at 5:30 by waking her for a bottle, then 9:30, 1:30, 5:30, and at 9:15 gives her a bath with lavender bath wash, dresses for bed, then eats her 9:30 bottle. Usually she stays awake for half an hour which is good to let her food settle. When she starts to get sleepy, she wraps her in her blankets. A recieving blanket first and another on top, tucking arms down. She plays music all night for her (night time lullabies) and then she sleeps until 5:30 when Mommy wakes her for a bottle. Amazing isn't it? So, it's possible! She is awake during the day quite a bit but that helps to sleep through the night. By the way, this did work with both my children, the schedule feeding part, both bottle fed). Best Wishes! P.

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

I wouldn't say you really can have a schedule by that age. I would say you could get into a routine though. But I do everything they tell you not to (hold mine till they are asleep, nurse to sleep, etc) and I was lucky enough to have this breastfed baby sleeping 5 hours at night by about 7 weeks! And now that she is 3 mos she is sleeping from 8:30-9 till anywhere from 4:30-7:30. I believe in routine but it has to be baby led. Meaning they need routine so they learn what to expect (like nighttine is sleep time) but you need to also follow what they are telling you they need. I liked the EASY plan from the Baby Whisperer. The baby Eats, has an Activity (at this age it could be a burp), goes to Sleep, and then you have time for Yourself. Mine slept alot at that age but my son was the complete opposite and we had to develop a nap routine so he knew what to expect. I literally did and said the same things for nap and bedtime routine and after about 6 weeks he got it and started to nap and sleep thru the night. Our nap routine included taking him in for a nap as soon as he acted tired, closing the blinds, putting on music, telling him it was time for a tiny nap, etc and he got it-eventually! But you little one is still very little! Don't lose sight of that. She'll get it but she's very new to this world! Congratulations to you and your hubby!

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L.Z.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello,
Our daughter is 12 weeks old. we keep the room she is in during the day darker than normal so her eyes aren't sensitive and closed. We make sure she is well fed, warm with a nice soft blanket (sears), we usuaslly keep her in just a onesie because the blanket keeps her so warm already and wrap her like the swaddling they do in the hospitals. I put a king size pillow in her crib, propped up a little so she doesn't have spit ups after eating.(place a rolled up towel underneath the pillow, do this until she can keep formula down after eating. We also use a swing A LOT!!! She will sleep from 12 am til 6am or 10:30 until 6 am. So that's our secret. Well fed, warm and soft and secure. And use the swings. We use the battery type and the newer one that you can use your babies car seat with, right out of the car or stroller, it is great. From a mom who stays at home, I will say a prayer for you when you have to go back to work, I know it will be hard for both of you, God bless you and good luck. Use the swing even during the night.

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J.M.

answers from Pensacola on

The first time my oldest son (now 4.5 yrs old) slept for more than 45 minutes was when he was six weeks old. We ordered an AngelCare monitor system that monitors their breathing (around $100). We put him on his tummy to sleep (yes I know, against all the rules - hence the breathing monitor). He slept for 4 hours straight and I went running to find him when I woke up and realized he hadn't woken me up like usual. All three of my boys love to sleep on their tummy and still do to this day.
Hope this helps!
Jen
Mom of three boys - 4.5 yrs, 2 yrs, and 8 months :)

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J.G.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi K.:

I agree that cuddling your baby to sleep at 7 weeks is fine. It goes so quickly. I do however recommend a book called The Baby Whisperer for help in getting her in a "routine" not a schedule. I use most of her suggestions but see nothing wrong at this point with still rocking my baby, 11 weeks, to sleep. When she is a few months older I will work more on her helping herself fall asleep. We used the suggestions in the book with my now 3 year old, when he was 4 months old, so you might want to give it a read. Good luck! It's so hard going back to work with a newborn at home.

J.

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M.F.

answers from Orlando on

Babies basically make their own schedule. My daughter was premature and would not take naps at all. Plus she would not go to sleep until around midnight. I know you are pressed for time but instead of putting her on a schedule which I know from experience did not work for me, I put her in bed with me. She felt more secure and went to sleep when I did and as she got older, when she wanted to nurse, I just rolled over and she took it from there. My daughter, now 16, and I are very close and I would not change what I did. My resolution might not be the popular one, but it worked for me. As for no naps, I just put her in her swing or bouncy chair and continued to do my work. She pretty much entertained herself or would listen to me talking to her as I worked. I hoped this is a help.

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B.M.

answers from Tallahassee on

I read a book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, and loved it. She addresses how to encourage your child to sleep alone. I'd highly recommend it. Godspeed to you and your family!