Keeping Newborn Asleep?

Updated on March 26, 2009
J.C. asks from Seattle, WA
9 answers

Hi All,
I have a newborn he is 4 weeks old today (but was a week late so it is sort of like he is 5 weeks old). He is definitely getting more alert (and started smiling this weekend). Since then he has been fighting sleep more. Every time we try to get him to sleep (he is clearly tired) he will fall asleep for 10-20 minutes and then wakes himself up. This is the same scenario no matter what else is going on (swaddled or unswaddled, binki or no binki, in a car seat, in a swing, in a carrier or in a crib...). He will stay asleep if he is in our arms or if we are moving (i.e. in the car or on a walk). Any tips on how we can get him to try to stay asleep so we aren't fighting him as much? He will go back to sleep if we rock him or something but then it only lasts for another 10-20 minutes. You are all experienced moms so I thought I would check with you. :-)


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answers from Detroit on

Hi J.,

For many babies the transition from mama's womb to the big world is very hard.

Have you tried carring him in a sling? Alot of times that closeness with mama, the cozy space, and the constant movement are just what they need. My daughter was NOT a good sleeper... day or night. She didn't like to nap, didn't like to sleep at night, wouldn't just lay in her packnplay and occupy herself. She wanted to be engaged with us. It took several months before I got her on a good nap schedule and it was more then a year before she slept 12 hours in the night.

The first 12 weeks are definetely BIG transition. He's still trying to figure it all out as well.

Just keep trying .... you both will get there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I don't know if you can do this. When my daughter was a newborn (she's 20 now), I had the same problem. The nurse recommended sleeping with her on my chest. I held her on my chest while she slept, and she also slept with me at night until she grew out of this. I had to sleep on my back, and hold her while I slept.

Another suggestion that I have heard, but not tried is to put a ticking alarm clock into the bedding of her crib. The ticking of an alarm clock sounds like your heart beat which the baby is used to hearing.



answers from Lansing on


Our son had a really hard time transitioning to a crib when he was an infant. What worked best for him was the Mommy Bear with a battery powered speaker playing sounds of a heartbeat and the womb from her tummy area. Even better, this bear was attachable to the side of the crib with velcro, so I didn't have to worry about it falling on my son in the middle of the night. Once we starting using the bear he began to sleep better through the night. =)

Also, the sound box is removable from the bear so if you just wanted to use that you could.

Here is a link to one of the bears:

Good luck!




answers from Lansing on

try play music or what worked for my fourth daughter was one of thoe mother bear that lay the sound of the womb and she had to have a dark room no light mother bear are great you can pick them up at meijer or any whear that sell baby stuff



answers from Grand Rapids on

We used the babywise method feeding, then awake time, then letting the baby get himself to sleep on his own. Going to sleep on a full tummy isn't comfortable for adults so why would it be for babies? And then when they wake up when they're not fully rested, they can learn to soothe themselves to sleep again.

And I know this is against what the "experts" say but my kids were tummy sleepers. I made sure that there were no blankets or toys in the bed with them so their airway was nice and clear. But that made all the difference!

My boys were sleeping through the night at 7 1/2 weeks and 3 1/2 weeks and are still very good sleepers. And when I slept, EVERYONE was much happier!! :O)

Hang in there!



answers from Detroit on

My daughter (17 mos today) only slept at night until she was close to a year. She was a horrible napper. the good thing was, she started sleeping through the night around 10 weeks and still is a great night sleeper. The first 12 weeks were the hardest... then I sort of adjusted.



answers from Kalamazoo on

Sounds pretty normal for this age. They keep changing their sleep schedules for a while until they're 3-9 months old. Sounds like you're trying everything you know to keep him sleeping and he's just wanting to be awake. I say, keep doing what you're doing and he'll eventually figure it out. Maybe try a sling or something you can wear, but have your hands free, that way he's getting some rest and you can get something done. However, it is also good (at some point when he's older) for him to learn to self sooth and fall asleep on his own, or you'll be exhausted trying to coax him to sleep all the time. But for now, he's tiny and needs the comfort of Mommy and Daddy.

Best wishes!


answers from Kalamazoo on

Keep trying, but unfortunatly some babies are like this. My 2nd child, girl, was like this until about 2mo old. Very hard considering I also had a 2yr old running around at the time and couldn't really just sit and hold the baby. I put one of my shirts in her playpen where she napped and it helped alittle. Just keep with it and try not to pick him up, just pat his back or something if you can get him back to sleep that way and eventually this too shall pass. I would keep a basket of books next to the couch, so at times when I did get stuck holding baby for a nap, I could read to my 2 yr old at the same time.

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