Infant Sleep Advice

Updated on November 29, 2009
B.S. asks from Garland, TX
21 answers

I have a sweet newborn. he is my second baby. The first had all kinds of difficulities the first 4-6 months of life so its all kind of a fog. now that he is 2 and the newborn is 7 weeks old I am needing some help. Daytime sleep for infant is not happening unless I hold/rock him. This obviously does not work with the 2 yr old running around. I have speedread/reviewed Babywise, Healthy Sleep Habits, and the Happiest Baby on the Block. I am now just so not sure what to do. I wish someone could just tell me what is best for my baby but I know I am the only one who can decide that. I guess I want to know if crying it out is the only option for me. He does not like swing, car seat, bouncy for sleeping... only arms of someone loving. He needs to be a bit more independent during the day but he has cried it out for 55 minutes before. I was so upset i have not tried again. Is this making any sense? I am so tired! :)

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So What Happened?

wow! such kindness from fellow mommies. thank you all for the advice. I do use the Baby Balboa sling during the day (should have mentioned that in my request) but to be honest it has been hurting my back as infant weighs 11 lbs. I swaddle at each sleep time. That helps him at night too. So I am considering investing in a Moby Wrap. Mostly yall just made me feel better by responding. I think b/c now I feel like I got a booster shot of "someone cares". I will give baby some time and then maybe try naps in bed when he is a little older. The good news is that my 2 yr old sleeps great now even with a rough start. We have hd sacred naps and good nightime sleep with him for a while now...I just can't remember the timetable and how we got there! So,thank you all who responded. Feeling a little more confident today.

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

7 weeks is still young for crying it out - in my opinion - I know it's hard with a 2 year old, but try holding the baby for now. Once he's asleep, try laying him down. I didn't try sleep training until my kids were closer to 12 weeks. Also, try getting him used to his crib by playing the mobile for him while he's awake. Sometimes I could get my little one to sleep if I just kept starting the mobile...about 3-5 times and he would fall asleep (If it was his sleepy time). Hang in there, it gets easier!

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B.A.

answers from Dallas on

I had the same issue with my son, who is now almost 9 months old. We used a noise machine in his room and turned it up on one of the white noise settings. I was told to put him to bed while he was still awake, so he could learn how to put himself to sleep. In addition to the white noise, we blacked out his room, and do not let him play in there. Once he is in bed, we do not go back in his room until he has slept for at least an hour. Also, we always followed the same routine. Now, he is on a schedule, and knows when he goes into his crib, it is time to sleep. It was not easy in the beginning, but now is a true blessing.
Good Luck!

B.

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V.T.

answers from Dallas on

Although it does not solve the problem of getting your baby to sleep without being held, I also recommend a baby sling/baby carrier. It was a lifesaver in allowing me to get something done around the house. My oldest was not a good sleeper, and I tried EVERY imaginable technique to get him to sleep by himself without being rocked. NOTHING worked, I finally had to resort to cry it out, but he was much older than your baby. My second baby was much better, I could actually lay him down sleepy and he would put himself to sleep. So I know firsthand that no matter how sound the advice is, some babies are just NOT going to go for it. I occasionally used the sling for my older one even when he was 2 years old (on the hip) and it saved my sanity at times. I didn't need it as much for my younger because he was a better sleeper and did not want to be held as much. Hope it helps you out as well!

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B.L.

answers from Dallas on

I am not a fan of "cry it out" but I understand the need to have your baby sleep and you have free arms. It takes a lot of work to sleep train especially if you have a 2 year old. The way I see it you have 2 options. (if you choose not to cry it out)

1. put that little one in a sling! You can be mobile and have your hands free while your baby snuggles and snoozes away. My sling was a life saver.

2. start sleep training by rocking your baby until VERY drowzy then lay him down before he falls asleep. Stay with him and pat him until he falls asleep in his bed. This way he is not startled when he awakes and finds himself in his bed or as you are trying to lay him down. He may of course cry but will be comforted in your presence.

This method will work best if you are on a schedule. He will know what to expect and the routine will be comforting. Infants of this age will need to sleep after 3 hours of wake time. If he wakes up at 9am then start the sleep routine about 11:45.

A white noise machine will help drown out all the other distracting/startling noises in your home while your baby is trying to sleep as well.

Good luck and feel free to message me if you want to chat furrther about this. I will end by saying to do what you are comfortable with and what you feel is best for your baby. If your mommy heart cautions you then don't do it.

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S.S.

answers from Dallas on

Glad to see you're feeling the support! I remember the toatl exhaustion & feel for you.
I have a back injury, so my sling use was limited as well. I had luck with the vibrating bouncy & papasan swing, but is see that doesn't work for him. I wish there was a magic fix. I was going to say try the car seat, but just re-read your response. You just have to figure out what makes this little man happy. Don't get too hung up on books-- he may not be a big daytime napper (I hope for your sake this isn't true!). I broke lots of "rules" from the books & my daughter is at the head of her class. He'll turn out fine- you just need to preserve your own sanity! What works to get him to sleep at night & what is different about his daytime naps? Is there too much light in his room? Do you play music for bedtime? Hang in there and best of luck to you.

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

Newborns should never be left to cry it out. If they want to be held, they should be. Use a sling or baby carrier. Use the bouncy seat or swing when you have to put him down. If you consistently put him in it for a short time each day and stay in the same room with him and talk and sing to him, I'm sure he will grow to tolerate them and maybe even enjoy them. Most of us with more than one child have been through all of this, but it only lasts for a few months and you will make it through. Hopefully, your husband is doing his part so that you have time away from the children each day. If not, you need at least a half hour per day of alone time to take a walk or a bath or a nap. Congratulations and good luck with everything.

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A.W.

answers from Amarillo on

I do Babywise with my kids. Crying it out is not really the point of Babywise...though it is an option. The point is Parent Directed Feeding (PDF) and a Feed-Wake-Sleep routine. Also, it is helpful to avoid sleep propts early on so that you don't start bad habits...ie, holding the baby to get him to sleep, nursing him to sleep, etc. It's gonna be hard for you to get anything done when he's 7 MONTHS old and you still have to do that!
So, feed him and make sure he has gotten a good FULL feeding (so you don't end up with him snacking all the time), keep him awake by playing with him or tummy time or something, watch for cues that he's getting sleepy, and put him down in his bed to go to sleep. Since he's still so little, a swaddler would be helpful to keep him snug and feeling secure. And if big bro is on the noisy side (which I'm guessing he is), a noise maker is a good investment. We use it with our 3rd still (and she's now 1). Got it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $25 and we put it on the waterfall setting which is just white noise.
Give him a little time to figure out how to put himself to sleep. Sometimes this does require a little crying or fussing, but not always, and usually for only a few days. I KNOW that parts not fun, but believe me he'll be FINE and it is truly worth mama staying sane.
One thing to consider is also this fact: crying is the ONLY way that an newborn can relieve stress. It's a completely normal function. When you have ruled out a wet diaper, or hunger, or something like that causing him to cry, it's ok to let him relieve a little stress.

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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

I don't feel like crying it out should ever be an option. I know lots of mothers disagree, but based on the reading I've done on the subject, it's not going to happen in my home.

I would suggest getting a wrap or sling (the Moby Wrap is affordable, easy to use & will last a good long while) and keeping baby in it during the day. It's okay to hold your baby all day, it really is. It's good for both of you & will NOT spoil him or keep him from becoming independent. Infact, I'd suggest NOT pushing for independence; let him find it on his own. You won't damage his growth & development by always responding to his cries & need for attention.

I know it's sometimes so hard with a toddler and a newborn. And sometimes, one of them is going to be crying while you tend to the other. Sometimes you'll be crying, too. :) But it DOES get better & easier. Take one day at a time, being the awesome, capable, loving momma that you are. Respond to your baby's cries. Sit on floor, holding your little one while playing with your two year old. Sit your two year old in front of the TV for a little while, even. That won't hurt, either. ;)

Put baby in the swing & bouncy for just a few moments at a time & perhaps he'll start to enjoy it more. Use a wrap when you need to move around the house. Dr. Sears' Baby Sleep Book is a good one for practical, gentle advice. Most importantly, follow your mommy instincts!

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H.H.

answers from Dallas on

Definitely understand your 'lack of sleep'....my little one is now 5 months old, but has a 2 year old sister and 4 year old brother that are full of energy!!! There's never a dull moment around here :)

As far as napping during the day. Each one of my kids responded to a different 'soothing' technique and I, too, recommend the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. I read the book with my 1st and then with my 2nd I borrowed the DVD which did wonders for her, especially during her colicky hours. Not sure what swing you have, but the Papasan Swing from Babies R Us along with the Miracle blanket for swaddling was a lifesaver!!!!

Your little one is too young for the cry-it-out method. He must just love being close to his mommy :) Slings are great when you have another child to look after, as well as a baby that wants to be close to you. My 3rd LOVED being carried in the MOBY WRAP or Baby Bjorn, which is where most of her naps took place.

Best of luck and enjoy your tiny new blessing! Feel free to email me if you have any other concerns or just want to vent.

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V.B.

answers from Dallas on

Crying it out is so traumatic for the baby and you. It sends a negative messgae to a baby that cannot talk yet. Have you thought of wearing the baby next to your heart in a D-ring sling? My daughter makes them for sale and they are so comfortable and adjust for any size and build of women and up to 2 years of age on hip or for Dad to use. Call her at ###-###-####. She has sold over 100 to satisfied customers. Good Luck!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

I am totally ok with the cry it out method, but your little one is just too young at this point. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is fantastic, but it would tell you that 7 weeks is just not quite to the organized sleep phase yet. I would do two things. First, I would get a Moby Wrap like someone else mentioned. Everytime the baby gets tired (no more than 2 hours between naps) put him in the Moby, and he should go right out (he may fuss briefly, but he'll get used to it). My second suggestion is to use swaddling and white noise if you aren't already. I use blackout curtains and large air purifiers for white noise. I do understand your frustration. I have two boys that are 16 months apart. The first 3 months are the hardest! I got both of my boys on schedules by 3.5-4 months. My first son only took 2 days of crying it out, then never again. My second son only did it once. Both of my boys are better sleepers than most of their peers and I don't have to do anything to get them to bed.
Feel free to email me if you need support!
A.

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C.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Have you tried a sling or baby carrier? The baby is close to you and gives you the freedom of your arms. Good Luck!

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

Get the DVD for the Happiest baby on the Block....he tells and shows you about and how to engage the 5 natural calming reflexes of a baby: Swaddling (I used two blankets and wrapped kind of tight), swinging, Side (put baby on his side), shshing (white noise at intensity the baby is exhibiting), sucking (paci or finger). My first child only needed the swaddle (until about 7 months old even) but my second needed almost all of them......I was still able to lay her down though once she was calm......

The DVD shows Dr. Karp doing the technique...I think it is 30 minutes long. Unless the child was hungry I have always been able to calm a baby to sleep with his techniques......

Good luck.....and NO do not let him cry it out....he is way to young. Several doctors do not recommend doing that until after age 2 years....the brain does not get clean oxygen when the child is up set that long.....listen to your gut----it is an amazing instinct God has bestowed on mommies!!!

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P.G.

answers from Dallas on

Definitely don't do the cry-it-out thing. It's the only way infants have to communicate. I second the recommendation re. "happiest baby on the block" - you may be able to get the DVD from your library. Babies are on overload during the first 3 months or so out of the womb and some need more comfort than others. Swaddling can work wonders, and there are velcro swaddle pouches that are easy to wrap around the little ones. My son like his for quite a while. Slings and baby carriers can be a godsend also. I love my ergo, but I didn't have a chance to use the infant insert for it since I got it when my guy was 4 months old. If you have friends that have different kinds of swings, see if you can borrow one. We had one that was like a bowl and swung side-to-side like a cradle rocking. My son liked it :)

Good luck and take care!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hello! I ave only one child but have you thought of maybe getting a sling? That way your baby will be snuggled up to you and you can still do things. :-)
Hope this helps some!
A. M.
www.4theLoveofMyFamily.com

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

Hello! Have you tried the moby wrap (a baby carrier)? My baby slept very well in the hug hold, and it let me play hands-free with my older child. Obviously, it would be better if he slept in his crib, but I found the moby to be a blessing for those days when the baby couldn't sleep in his crib for one reason or another. I also like the book Babywise, but you know what I discovered (when my second child was 5 mos. old)? My baby sleeps SOOO much better during naps if I feed him shortly before nap. I still try not to nurse him to sleep, but by adding in an extra feeding about 30 min before nap, he went from sleeping 30-45 each nap to sleeping 1.5-2 hours each nap. I also have two boys who are two years apart, so I know its hard now, but it will get better! Good luck!

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

Oh no...my little girl is almost 6 now but I remember those days the first few months where she wouldn't let me ever put her down. All I did was rock the baby all day and all night and by the time she was 6 months old I was a lunatic. And I didn't have a 2 yr old running around to keep tabs on like you do. What eventually worked for us was "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" but your baby is still too young for that methodology...I believe it starts at 3 months. My best suggestion for you is to get a sling--the fabric kind that wraps around your shoulder and torso. It's a win-win for you both...your baby stays snuggled up against you all the time which is what he wants and you get both your hands freed up and the ability to move around to get things done and make sure your other little monkey isn't flushing the goldfish down the toilet. I always wished I'd had one of these and didn't really know about them until my child was much to big to carry around in one. I've seen some gorgeous ones like in the Serena & Lily catalog but I also know you can find just basic ones at the baby stores for a good price. Best of luck--and when that 3 month mark rolls around give "Healthy Sleep Habits" another shot. It worked for us and our daughter at 6 years old still sleeps almost 12 hours a night--solid. That right there is the defition of parental sanity!

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L.L.

answers from Dallas on

Crying it out at this age is not a good idea at this age. Research Babywise a bit more and you'll find that it's not the end all be all that some would have you believe. First, the author is a minister and not a child expert at all (and a disgraced minister at that). Second, He's just way too young for that.

Get yourself a sling, and if he naps in that, great. At least it will give you the chance to run after your other child and not feel trapped in a chair. You do what you have to do to get some sleep -- both yours and his.

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H.F.

answers from Dallas on

You could try swaddling him.

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K.R.

answers from Dallas on

NO CRYING IT OUT!!!!!!! THE BABY IS TOOOOOOOOO YOUNG! Don't get me wrong I have effectively used this technique and am not prejudice, just trying to be clear that you baby is tooooo young for that.

Here are a few things to explore. Try to put your baby down on his/her tummy for nap and see if that increases the independent sleep time. If so, then it could be a reflux (silent or regular) issue. Babies with reflux sleep more confortably on their tummies and on an incline, such as when we hold them. That makes is SEEM like they are being spoiled, but they are just refluxing when they lay flat, which burns and wakes them.

Remember to qietly monitor your baby, if they sleep on their tummies.

You can also try holding baby up right for 30-45 after a feeding, then lay baby down for nap and see if that helps.

Obviously if you suspect reflux is the issue talk to your doc about it. We had to change pediatricians to figure it out, but once we did and took care of it, all our lives got MUCH better.

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E.L.

answers from Dallas on

Hi B.,

First of all, a big hug to you. 7 weeks is a tough time, I remember with my three kids we didn't really get into a routine and back to "normal" (although it was a new normal) for 3-4 months. Hang in there, you are doing a good job.

About the sleep - 7 weeks is very young to be "independent." He still is totally dependent on you for everything. I've heard that the first three months should be considered the "4th trimester" of pregnancy. I have two suggestions.

First, there is a doctor who talks about the 5 S's: Swaddle, Side lying, Suck, Sway, and Shhh. These 5 things together can calm almost any crying newborn, it's like an off switch. To do it, first SWADDLE your baby in a blanket so he feels secure. Hold him SIDE LYING in your hands/forearms with his head away from you and his feet toward your belly. Rest your hands on your knees/lap if this is more comfortable (do this sitting down). Give him something to SUCK, either a paci or your finger. Gently SWAY (**NOT SHAKE**) him back and forth by moving your arms in a gentle rocking motion. Finally, SHHH him loudly right in his ear. These 5 things together combine reminding him of being in the womb with the sucking reflex which is calming.

Finally, I'd encourage you to try out some baby wraps, slings, and carriers. My first two were 18 months apart and the Moby Wrap saved my sanity. I could put my newborn in it, he felt safe and secure and would go to sleep, and then I had both hands free to interact with my toddler. I run a store out of my house called Babies Bottoms and More (www.babiesbottomsandmore.com) and we sell Moby Wraps, Baby K'tan, Beco, and other slings and carriers. If you come to the store with your baby I can help you try on different carriers to find the one that will be perfect for you. We're open Saturdays from 1-4 and during the week by appointment (b/c I'm also a stay at home mom). Email me at [email protected]____.com or give me a call at ###-###-#### if you want to talk more or set up a time to come by. I love helping new moms have a more enjoyable time with their babies, and the wrap carriers are really a lifesaver.

E.

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