Need Suggestions for Helping Newborn Sleep

Updated on August 17, 2010
J.C. asks from Belton, MO
24 answers

Hi - My daughter was born on August 1. This is my first baby & my husband and I need some suggestions on helping her sleep when she gets fussy. Main problem we're having - She's been fed, changed, clothed, etc.. and when we lay her in her bassinet she starts crying.. even to the point of screaming at times.. to where we'll go pick her up and sit and rock with her for a few minutes and she falls asleep. We try again laying her in the bassinet.. once again screaming. If she's laying on one of us she's fine - yet doesn't wanna lay in the bassinet. I dont mind holding her for a little bit but I dont want her to get dependent on sleeping on us and I want her to sleep on her own as well. Any thoughts?

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So What Happened?

Thank you guys, I will share this information with my husband and see what we can do. Makes me feel better knowing this is normal.. :) I really appreciate it

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree with A.C. Try swaddling and just hold her. She's so tiny and remember that she's used to being "held" by you 24/7 so it feels more comfortable for her to be snuggled in close and warm. You absolutely cannot spoil a baby this little so you may just have to rotate holding her! Also, maybe she just doesn't like the bassinet...was she a big baby? My daughter didn't really care where she was, but my son did not like that bassinet at all! He was bigger so I think he felt a little too constricted and we couldn't really use it for him. More likely though, she probably just needs a good swaddle! Sleep training will come into play at about 3-4 months, but I doubt she'll be this needy the entire time so don't worry! Hang in there, it does get better, it just takes a while! The first 3 months are rough, the next three are still tough but after 6 months things get easier!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

Sometimes we had to put my oldest daughter in her swing to get her to stay asleep for very long. My sister had to do this with her baby too. Mine would sleep with me or in her swing but NOT in a bassinet.


answers from Dallas on

My son is 4 1/2 weeks. He's slept in his crib maybe 2-3 nights. He always wanted to sleep in my arms or next to me...but now all he'll sleep in is his swing. They like to motion and mine has lights and soothing music that helped him sleep. This early she is dependent on you for that comfort, but you can't spoil them this young... I would say it gets better, but I haven't hit that point yet either. (first time mom too)

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answers from Phoenix on

Don't worry about your baby being dependent at this young age. You're baby will need extra care now but will be more independant as she gets older.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

She has been used to being in constant close physical contact with you for all of her life, so it is a big change to be all on her own. I don't know about you, but I know that I have a hard time sleeping when my husband isn't in the bed with me now that I've gotten used to his physical presence there every night. Your little one is just too young to realize what is going on and be able to calmly deal with it.

A good book to read is "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. The book has information about babies, sleep cycles, and when you can expect certain sleep behaviors, as well as lots of suggestions on how to get kids to sleep on their own when they are ready for it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Little Rock on

Swaddle her like the nursed did while you were still at the hospital. You have to remember that she has been crammed into you abdomen for 9 months and suddenly she is not and that makes her feel insecure.

It is also recommended to put them down while they are drowsy but still awake.

Here is some info from Mayo Health Clinic on the subject:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

do you swaddle? Our daughter would not sleep more than 15 minutes until we discovered the awesomeness of swaddling. We bought a self swaddler with velcro at Babies R Us and she used one until she was 9 months!

Also the 5 s's are pretty helpful, from the happiest baby on the block.

Good luck, Mama!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi J.,
Congratulations on your new baby! The reality of a newborn is that you get more on their schedule than they get on to yours! LOL
Maybe you are lying her on a cool surface? I used to try to hold my son in a blanket so that when I laid him down he was on his already-warm blankie.
Also, identify when she is "really" asleep by doing the "arm drop test" when you life her arm gently by the wrist and it falls like a brick--she's out.
Swaddling helps new little babies too...they feel very secure swaddled.
You will soon become the master of all kinds of maneuvers--the sway, the "shh, shhh, shhh bounce" etc. Find what works best for her (and you!) and she'll sleep.
Don't worry--you can't spoil an infant by holding her too much. Enjoy her!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your baby IS dependent – giving her what she needs won't make her dependent, but rather more secure.

Find out about the Fourth Trimester, which will help you understand that your baby is still completely helpless and dependent on your warmth, nurture and almost constant attention. Dr. Harvey Karp writes about this in his very helpful book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. Check out this description, and read the many positive reviews. Every young parent who has used this approach has found it helpful.

Your tiny will only gradually become more aware of the outside world and gradually adjust her schedule to fit yours, somewhat better, anyway. You may be lucky and have a child who's sleeping for hours every night by 8-12 weeks, but for some babies, the sleep adjustment happens over as long as 2 years.

You really can't give her too much attention for her first several months. Parenthood is exhausting – I know you were probably repeatedly warned, but it's hard to guess the enormity of it until it hits. But if you surrender to it, allow yourself to experience each amazing moment as it happens, you will treasure your memories forever.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

swaddle and then place her head up against one of the corners of the bassinet pad. She is used to the pressure up against her head.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

I know you've already responded to the earlier advice, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents. =0) First off.....welcome to the wonderful adventure of motherhood!!! It's like a big club that you're now a part of. ;0) Definitely a good tight swaddle, but there's something else that always worked for my first born. She didn't like going from our nice warm arms to a cool crib. So, we would warm up a water bottle and lay it in her crib while we fed her and burped her. Then, right before we layed her down, we'd move it out of the way and lay her down. It didn't work 100% of the time, but it did help lots. Good luck! You'll find your special trick sooner or later!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Provo on

SWADDLE! That was the only way I could get my son to sleep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Swaddling is totally the way to go! Think baby-burrito and tight, with arms in. Sometimes people feel like they should have their arms free, but this small they can't control their limbs yet and they'll startle awake by wacking their hands and arms into objects or their face.

I also loved carrying my daughter in a sling during the day so that I could have my hands free sometimes. She was a terrible napper during the day!

Congratulations and enjoy her!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on


My son wouldn't sleep outside of my arms for the first 2.5 weeks. Then, he would at night but not for naps. He wouldn't sleep on his own for naps until he was about 6 weeks old. This is not unusual, and she won't get dependent this early on. When you just can't stand it anymore, let her sleep in your arms, but keep trying the bassinet every once and a while. You'll get there, no worries!

In the meantime, try swaddling her. Also, go ahead and rock her to sleep (she's too young to sleep train) and then when you lay her down, keep your arms around her for a couple of minutes in the bassinet. Sometimes the combination of setting a baby down and then pulling your arms away wakes the baby, so separate the two - set the baby down but continue to hold her, and then a few minutes later, gently ease your arms away. It may be too early for this to work, but eventually it will help.

Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

u might want to try one of those heartbeat sound machines she's is use to hearing your heartbeat and is missing it



answers from Wichita on

Congrats on your new baby girl! I just wanted to add 2 of my 3 kids wouldn't sleep in our bassinet... I think it was something about the movement. So I'd definitely try the crib or something else. Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

She's 2 weeks old, she's SUPPOSED to be dependent on you!



answers from Kansas City on

At this point, try swaddling her (I always use a blanket) it will make her feel more secure and warm. Then when you lay her down, pat her back or if you can place your check next to her, and slowly move away so she has both sensations. She's too young to cry it out, no pediatricians will recommended that before 3-4 months. Many babies, even when it's this hot out, need that blanket wrapped firmly around them for security, so put an extra fan near by and try that. Good luck.



answers from Columbia on

Some babies are more needful of physical contact with their caregivers to feel comforted and relaxed enough to sleep. It is a perfectly normal survival instinct for all vulnerable primate infants to cling to their mother's body for nourishmen, warmth and enjoy this time and allow yourself to form a close physical bond.........I did and my childrem are way more kind, gentle and caring than the average child (my kids are 3 and 6 now.)

Most people get worried the baby will never sleep on it's own, and I have found that over time they do learn to comfort themselves to sleep - this process can begin when they are around 9 months old. So until then, respond when your baby's cries by holding, feeding, playing music, going for a car ride, rocking, walking or whatever it takes to calm her (and yourself) down. Please also see a physician to rule out reflux, or other physical causes of pain or discomfort. Dr. Sear's Baby Book details many of the causes and possible treatment for "colic"..........stress hormones have a powerful negative effect on a baby's brain and future emotional intelligence, please also enlist helpers who can give you breaks to take naps and get out of the house and have some time away from baby solo and as a couple every week. Love - A "colicy" baby's mama.



answers from St. Louis on

I'm sorry I haven't read the other answers, but I automatically thought--swaddle her. I think that might be just the thing. You guys are warm and she's used to being inside your nice warm uterus. So when you put her down, she might catch a little draft and wake up and cry. Just swaddle her in a nice warm blanket nice and tight. Good luck!


answers from Kansas City on

You could try laying her in the bed like suggested, with swaddling, etc., and just singing or humming and patting if need be for a minute. I would do it less each night and then it won't become a habit you have to keep up for months. Just something to try. I did that with some of mine and it worked and I also let them cry, not scream, for a few minutes as sometimes it takes a baby a little bit to calm down and go to sleep even though tired. If you look in the baby nurseries at the hospitals they aren't all rushing over if a baby cries for a minute or two. I wouldn't let her scream for long though. They have to learn to sleep alone in the world after being so warm and secure for so long.
Enjoy your little one. They grow up so fast.


answers from Jacksonville on

I echo the "can't spoil an infant (less than 3 or 4 months)" and the "try swaddling" responses. But here's another thought: (and I only mention it b/c we didn't use a bassinet, except for the one that was part of the pack-n-play - and that one didn't get used, b/c our daughter wouldn't sleep in it). Could it be that the bassinet feels unstable/unsteady? I really don't recall either of our babies having issues staying asleep when I laid them down in their crib at night, so long as they were REALLY asleep to start with, i.e, just finished their last meal/nursing for the evening and were burped and falling asleep. I put both my babies to sleep in their crib, in their own room, from day one. No bassinet at all. Except, as I mentioned, with our daughter, I tried the one in the pack n play during the daytime, and she would wake back up it it. It was a hanging basket type bassinet, that did not feel secure/stable to me (it would move slightly when I would lie her down on it). I always wondered if that slight movement of the surface I layed her on was the problem. The crib was totally secure. And I'm sure it felt it.

Kinda like the difference between climbing up on your own bed at home vs. lying down on a hammock. One feels really secure, one doesn't.
Just a thought...


answers from Kansas City on

I didn't look at any of the answers but have you tried swaddling her. At that age babies are used to being in the tightness of mommy's womb and swaddling mimicks that. Also, maybe try laying her on her side. My youngest would not sleep on her back or belly but only on her side. We found a padded wedge that would help her lay on her side. You can do the same with a towel rolled up and placed behind her back. Try the swaddling first, then try different positions. Congrats on your first and Good luck and God Bless.


answers from Kansas City on

Ditto for Happiest Baby on the Block. Helps with fussy times, but also helps get them to sleep. I found that the jiggling was the most effective, so I would jiggle her while I rocked/held here, then put her in the bassinet, and if she fussed, I could oftentimes jiggle the bassinet for awhile then after she calmed down again, slowly stop. Congratulations! You are beginning the most incredible experience of your life!

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