My 2 Month Old Won't Sleep!

Updated on July 06, 2010
J.A. asks from Fresno, CA
13 answers

My son just turned 2 months old. He has never gone to sleep easily, but the last 2-3 weeks have been nearly impossible. The only way I can soothe him to sleep is by doing Karp's 5 S's. It used to take 15 minutes; now naps are taking over an hour to soothe him to sleep! Plus he typically only naps 20-30 mins. Bedtime at night can take up to 2 hrs for him to fall & stay asleep. And he will not sleep in the car or stroller- as soon as he's sleepy he cries & cries but won't fall asleep.

I've tried everything - starting soothing earlier or later, varying the way I soothe him, etc. He seems to have reflux, which may be contributing to the problem. Anyways, I'm at my wit's end. I spend 5-6+ hours every day trying to get him to sleep, & I can't leave my home w/ him!

Please let me know if you've been through this or have advice. I thought it was a "phase" that we'd be over by now.

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answers from San Diego on

Hi J., When you say sooth him to sleep, what exactly is that? I always gave my baby's rice cereal at bed time and rocked them to sleep, and from about 6 weeks on they slept through the night. If he does have reflux that would explain it. I have a 6 week old in my daycare and he has reflux, and he cries more than any baby i have had over the past 13 years. I do believe one reason baby's don't sleep as well as in my day (80's) because they are slept on their backs, all of my daycare parents sleep their baby's on their stomachs because they say they sleep longer. J.

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answers from Nashville on

If you think he has bad reflux, talk to your pediatrician about it. My daughter had it, and we had to start giving her medication for it. It seemed to help some. It didn't make her sleep really well, but she was much less miserable and therefore fell asleep easier.

I hope it gets better soon. I know all to well how miserable it is for both mommy and baby. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Will he sleep on you? That's the only way my first son would sleep. We tried the 5 S's and they helped, but he wanted to be held.

Invest in a good carrier and wear your will have your hands free and can do what you need to do. We ended up co-sleeping as well for the same reason.

I wasted way too much time shushing and swaddling the first 4 weeks when I should have just put the baby in a sling or carrier. Wanted to add that I think Karp is right on, but carrying baby close to you takes care of a lot of what he suggests.

Check out the Ergo, my absolute favorite! Good luck mama.

No rice cereal that early! It is so so so bad for them. Google "infant open gut" and read for yourself. Solids are best started at 6 months.

And I think you have a right to your life, at least some me! Wear your baby, go for a walk, go grocery shopping, cook some dinner, work on the can do it all in a comfortable carrier and baby will sleep well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Congrats on your newborn! Well, welcome to mommy-hood. Your baby is normal and I hate to say it but I think you need to get out of "it's my life" and into an "its our life" state of mind. Is your son getting enough to eat?
I don't think it's safe to take a baby less than 3 mos old out in public anyway, so if you need to get out, have someone watch your son. As for sleeping, write back if he's still not by 8 mos. Otherwise, if you have made sure he's not wet/dirty, well fed and burped (my kids were really hard to burp and would wake up screaming after 5-10 min of being asleep), then he's a newborn and try to be more understanding from his standpoint.
Hang in there! This will pass and you'll forget it ever happened ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Have you tried a swing? My now 4 month old daugter was very similar, and the swing saved my life. Now, she happily sleeps all the time! Also, if you need to get out,seriously, go for it. Unless there is a medical issue with your son's immune system, if you really need to go somewhere to save your sanity, then wash your hands, take some sanitizer,common sense, etc. and just do it! I took both my babies out early(also have a 3 year old), they both got colds, early too. My 1st baby, my son, I panicked, he lived and was fine,about time my daughter came along, I had no worries, but she got a nasty cold from her big brother, and needed amoxicillin, but is fine,big, hungry and healthy. Being at your wit's end is not a good place to be, so be somewhere you can relax a bit until it passes,it will.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

You said he "seems to have reflux..."
So did you take him to the Doctor and remedy that?
Reflux makes babies unable to sleep and uncomfortable.

Are you feeding him on-demand?
If nursing, do you have enough milk? Is he latching on properly? If not... then a baby will always be hungry and not be satisfied nor able to sleep.

This sounds basic, but its what happened to lots of my friends. They didn't have enough milk and their baby was hungry. They didn't know. And the baby was not latching on properly... thus the baby was not satiated.

He is so young... they usually nap a lot.
Maybe he is sensitive to noises/temperatures/lighting/etc.
My daughter as an infant, would wake even if the toilet flushed anytime. She has real sensitive ears.

Does he have gas problems? This is another reason why some babies are uncomfortable.
Burp him frequently or give him infant gas drops. It helped my daughter a lot.

In infants, growth-spurts also occurs every 3 weeks... then at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and so forth every 3 months. They need extra intake at these times especially. And infants will frequently "cluster feed" meaning they need to feed even every hour.
Thus, feed on-demand.

Over-tired babies and children, also do not sleep better and sleep worse and have a harder time falling asleep and they wake more.

Do you know his 'tired' cues???
An infant, will typically get tired after about 2 hours of "awake" time. And if over-stimulated, they can have a hard time sleeping and settling down as well.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I used to spend hours a day as well trying to get my baby girl to sleep. It was a challenge especially with having an older child as well but I just kept reminding myself that it won't last forever. I can't offer a lot of suggestions. Only try to remember when you are tired and frustrated that you are a good mom and you are doing what you should be doing for your child. Try to feel pride in that no matter how tired you are. If you think he has reflux call your doctor and see what they can do.



answers from Las Vegas on

I had the same issues with my son, he pretty much stopped napping at 2 months, and then I finally started to nurse him in bed on my side. That was the only way he could sleep. We had sleeping problems forever, but my son did finally grow out of it and now sleeps well.

Have you tried wearing him in a sling or an upright baby carrier (mai tei, moby, or ergo)? That way you can carry him around and do whatever you need to, and he may just fall asleep. If he does have reflux, an upright carrier would probably work best.



answers from San Diego on

If you are breastfeeding you may want to try feeding on one side until he seems satisfied before you switch (pump the other to keep up your supply) to make sure he's getting enough hindmilk. Check out foremilk hindmilk imbalance through La Leche league or contact a local lactation consultant and see if they have other suggestions.

It seemed the Mylicon drops helped my son a little when he was that age. Also, pacifiers saved me! Try a few different ones- he may only like a certain one. To get him to take it, hold him the way you nurse and hold the paci in so he feels the comfort like he gets while nursing.

My second and third both did that around 2 months- they would literally go ALL day without any naps. I had to sleep train them because I couldn't spend that much time- I had another kid(s) to take care of. It seemed like the more I tried to put him to sleep, the harder he would fight it... and it just kept taking longer every time. I suggest that just before he's getting tired, you "put him to bed" and go do a quick chore (dishes, laundry.. whatever, just walk away for a few minutes). Don't stand there and listen to him cry- get something done and distract yourself... then go back and get him if he's too upset. You get a break and he learns it's okay to be alone for a minute. Keep a very short bedtime routine- diaper change, song, snuggle... then out of sight so he can get situated. My 9 mo old will not sleep now unless I put him in bed and walk away- he does anything he can to stay awake! I miss snuggling, but he wouldn't relax with me holding him if he was tired anyway! Now I love that when he's tired, I just change his diaper and kiss him and walk away! Sometimes it takes him a few minutes, but he gets himself comfy and goes to sleep on his own without me having to tiptoe out of the room holding my breath and avoiding squeaky floor boards (that was what I did with #1)! If I can't put him in bed, I hold him very tight in a nursing position and move a lot (bounce or walk quickly) and pat him firmly on the back (this doesn't take too long anymore, but sometimes it takes more strength than I have to hold him still!). You will find something that works- he's still so young and his little body is adapting to so much! It will get better- just remember that he needs to learn to sleep more than you need to learn how to put him to sleep, that way when he wakes in the night he will know how to go back to sleep without you too!



answers from Phoenix on

Aw! Poor little guy, have you tried elevating one end of his crib mattress? If you put a foam wedge under it at a fairly mild angle then he won't have to lay flat. Also, I'd check with the pediatrician about feeding before bed. I would think eating right before would cause his acid to be worse rather than lulling him. Maybe a pacifier would help if he needs to suck to relax close to bedtime.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hey J. A.,
We went through some similar things with our son and it took a lot of guess work. So, as a warning it may take some trial and error to figure it out, but once you do, it will never be an issue again. :)
Some things we figured out with our son was that my milk supply was inadequate and he was not getting enough. It's hard for any baby to sleep if they aren't getting enough nutrition. If you are breast feeding have you tried pumping to see how much you are getting? And if he's on formula, have you tried switching brands?
He also had some pretty serious gas issues and so we tried a product called Colic Calm when he would have his crying jags. It worked like a charm. He usually was much more relaxed and easy going within about 5-10 minutes. However, sometimes we would give him more (per the instructions on the bottle) if we see he needed it. You can purchase Colic Calm on-line. The primary ingredient is activated vegetable charcoal.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,
My first advise to you is that you should just go on with your normal things that you do. If you need to go to the store, then go. You shouldn't stay home just because you a re trying to get him to sleep.
I have a great on-line book that I can forward to you. It's called "Sleep Sense Program". I was having a terrible time with my little girl and this book helped me see what I was doing wrong. As soon as I made those changes, my daughter started to sleep better. I know your baby is so young, but, it wouldn't hurt knowing the right way to do things for the furture. Email me at [email protected] and I will forward it to you. (or anyone else who might need it)
It will get better...eventually. It's possible that because you are not sticking to one way of doing things, it may be confusing him. Babies need things repeated over and over until they get it. You need to stick to one process. When my little girl wouldn't fall asleep on her own (she was 1 1/2) I read the same 3 books to her for about a month straight. After a week or so, she knew what to expect and stopped crying after I left her room. I also repeated the same "good night" phrases to her. I did the same when she woke up in the middle of the night. It really worked for her, and before I knew it, she was sleeping throught the night. It's been 2 years and she still sleeps through, in fact,it is 8:00 in the morning, and she is still sleeping. I know your son is really young right now, but it can't hurt to start being consistant with the things you do. Obviously, he needs to eat during the night. Are you breast feeding? Maybe he is not getting enough food, are you sure you are producing enough milk? Maybe you could switch to formula to see how much he is eating? Just throwing things at you........
I hope to hear from you soon about the on-line book.
Take care! M.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,
My son just turned 5 months and I felt exactly how you do.... I vowed I would wouldn't adjust my life too much but because my son was hard to put time and not a good sleeper, I wanted him to get as much rest as possible. Btw, he hated car rides, and still does... cries uncontrollably.

I haven't read all posts, so sorry if I'm repetitive. My g/f told me about gripe water... so I tried it and it really seemed to help (not all the time, but at times :). My son is a "spit-up" baby... After nursing, I tried Enfamil, then Good Start, then back to Enfamil AR (for spit-up) - the spit-up became "curd-ee" and I hated it. I switched him to Enfamil GentlEase and love it, so does he. I told my friend about it and his son does well on it also.

Finally, I wash him down every night and soothed him with baby calming lotion - it seems to work. Til this day, he has to have the lights off or dim to fall asleep. well, hopefully you got some good advice and you can pick and choose what works best for you. I do suggest getting out of teh house by yourself (go to Target or teh grocery store for an hour). It will help with your sanity. I was feeling very trapped because my baby wouldn't sleep and "me" time really helped. all the best!

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