Newborn Won't Sleep Unless Held!

Updated on May 04, 2008
C.V. asks from Fremont, CA
15 answers

I'm starting to loose my mind because my 4 week old daughter just will not stay asleep unless we hold her or put her in the baby carrier. Once she falls alseep in our arms and we put her down, she'll awaken in 5-10mins - with a loud cry. Is there anyone who has gone through this with any advice?

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T.A.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi C.......I definitely don't miss those nights. The first month is the hardest but it gets a little better every month, it seems to me. I have to mention that I LOVED Jodi Mindell's book "Sleeping Through the Night." It is kind of a "cry it out" solution but she gives really great advice on how to do it gently so it isn't so cruel. Plus I don't know about you.....but I am NOT in good shape without at least a little sleep, so it would be worse for me to be an unhappy, miserable, tired mommy who couldn't give my all to my little one. Both of my children have wonderful sleep habits and have both slept through the night since they were three months old (I had big babies so they were able to do this at this age; it goes by weight and if they can start going without feedings at night or not). They have maintained great sleep habits through teething, sickness, sleepovers at grandmas and vacations. I wish you all thr best and really recommend the book. Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy SLepp Habits, Happy Child were pretty good but Jodi Mindell's was my favorite. It is pretty short, with lots of good tips and info. Let us know how it goes! Best wishes!

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C.C.

answers from Fresno on

Are you swaddling her? Sometimes they wake themselves up with their little flailing arms and legs if you don't swaddle them.

Also, I LOVED the book "On Becoming Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo. It really did give some great advice on how to structure the baby's day so they will sleep better (both during naps and at night). I used it for my second child and it made a world of difference for us vs. the crazy feeding/sleeping on demand thing we did with our first! My oldest didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old, where my youngest slept through the night at about a month old, if that gives you any idea of how much sanity this book saved me. I would highly recommend the book if you have not already read it.

Good luck and congrats on your new baby!!

1 mom found this helpful
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R.C.

answers from Sacramento on

I second Catherine C...Following the advice read in "On Becoming Babywise" had my first boy sleeping through the night by 10 weeks, but on a healthy nap schedule with only one nightly wake by 6 weeks. Family would always comment that that never saw a baby giggle himself to sleep. He would go into his crib awake, soothe himself to sleep, then wake up so happy. Take care and give that baby a big snuggle. My boys are now in the stinky toddler phase, not the sweet smelling snuggly baby phase....Enjoy being a Mom!

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A.K.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter did this too. One night is was so exhausted i just set her in her crib and told her that mommy couldn't stay up any longer and I had to get some sleep (we were both crying)

I got in bed and in 10 min we were both asleep. She just had to cry it out a little.

Swaddling helps as do pacifiers (I used a flannel blanket to swaddle; the wraps didn't work for us.) And in moments of true desperation you can prop yourself up on pillows and have her sleep on your chest. This got me through more than a few long nights.

Good luck and congratulations on the new baby. In a few months this will seem like a lifetime ago.

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B.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

Looks like you already have some good advice. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. I went through it myself with my now 3yo. He was a "high need" baby and i could never put him down for the first few months of his life. I used to let him sleep on top of my belly and we would both fall asleep together. Not sure if co-sleeping is something that you want to explore; but i don't think i would have a wink if i didn't. hang in there!

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T.B.

answers from Sacramento on

Check out the Happiest Baby on the Block book or DVD by Dr. Harvey Karp. Lots of good ideas for calming baby and then also getting them to sleep for longer periods of time in their crib. Good luck.

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S.B.

answers from Sacramento on

this is so common, and can be so frustrating :(

Someone reminded me that I wouldn't want to be put down after 9 months of only knowing life as being held and rocked and snuggly warm, plus the sound of momma and the HB..
it's hard to be weaned off that..

You've had some great suggestions

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S.M.

answers from Stockton on

WHITENOISE MACHINE!!!!
That saved me and my husband!! We read Happiest Baby On the Block by Dr. Karp, and I bought the white noise Bear (found it on sleepwellbaby.com) for 50 bucks and I would have paid $500. No joke, after two days at home and he was screaming I turned on the white noise and within 30 seconds (no exaggeration) he calmed down. My parents, my husband and I stood in disbelief as this silly little box worked like magic.
We swaddled him and used that machine and he slept longer and deeper. We took it everywhere with us, and sometimes now at 4 months when he gets really upset for no reason I turn it on and he calms down.
Get the book, read it, and get that machine. It was the best thing we bought, and I give it to all my friends who have babies now along with a swaddling blanket. Dr. Karp is awesome.

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C.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Hang in there. I was in your shoes 7 months ago. My guy only fell asleep nursing and stayed asleep with me. As soon as I laid him down in his crib he woke up crying (screaming). And his cries broke (break) my heart. I don't regret a single moment letting him fall asleep nursing and sleeping on me. My husband and I loved to have him sleep with us in the bed too. Any who - someone mentioned Happiest Baby on the Block. Read that if you have time b/c it has some great theories behind the madness. If no time, at least get the DVD to learn how to get a super tight swaddling technique. That seemed to help a lot. But I don't think there is much you can do the first few months. I didn't know they (babies) can sleep thru the night at around 4 months and that you shouldn't let me fall asleep while they nurse. I just got my guy sleeping thru the night at 7 months. So I've been sleep deprived for 7 months. The book The SleepEasy Solution (by Spivack and Waldburger) helped me like a charm. I had him weaned from night feedings and he was able to sooth himself to sleep within 4-5 nights! I tried a few books but this one worked for us.

C.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Unfortunately I think all of us went through it. I just had to stick it out with my now 8 month old. It was hard in the beginning but eventually it did get better. It's the warmth and the feel of a heart beat that makes them sleep that way. All you can do is just try to copy that in the crib or craddle. Or do what I did, had him fall asleep in our bed and just eventually placed him in between my husband and I. That's all you can do. Sorry ... I know you're probably looking for a miracle answer but that's all I can give you.

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A.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Congratulations on your little one! We went through the same exact thing with our daughter, except she would wake up the minute we set her down. I dreaded putting her down for fear of her waking up and it got to the point where I just didn't even try anymore. Spent many hours napping myself while holding her in the glider. Do you have anyone that can come over and hold her while she sleeps to give you some relief? At night, I had her sleep on me on occasion. She slept really well this way - probably the warmth and familiar scent helped. However, a more practical solution that also worked for us was a swing. I initially felt bad about putting her in the swing but got over because she was content. Plus everyone finally got some sleep. Hang in there, it does get better. I didn't think then that we'd ever get to this point, but at 3 months, she started sleeping in her own crib and through the night soon after.

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A.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I had this happen to me with my first child (who is now 6 and sleeps great). When I was young I used to love to swaddle my dolls. But with the excitement of a new baby I simply forgot that technique. Being held keeps your little girl warm and close. Once my doctor reminded me of this simple remedy I started swaddling my son in a blanked with a worn shirt of mine that day. During that day I also took a nap with another receiving blanket of his and held it close through out the day. This help put my scent on the blanket which is another comfort factor. I had my husband sleep with one that night and we used it the next day. We kept this up that way there was always a warm clean blanket ready for him when needed. After the newborn stage he was fine with a simple blanket wrapping him up and we didn't have to put so much effort towards putting our scent on them. I am sure you will find this will help a great deal. Congratulation on you new bundle of joy!

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J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

The only thing that would work for my boys is swaddling them before they fell asleep, then placing them in the cradle swing once they were sleeping. The snugness of the swaddle plus the gentle rocking of the swing helped them stay asleep for hours. If I ever tried to lay them down in the crib or bassinet, forget it! They'd wake up in 30 seconds.

Hope it works for you too!

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T.T.

answers from Yuba City on

LOL...FINALLY someone to relate to my issues. My son, now 6 1/2 months old ABSOLUTELY LOVES his infant carrier for sleeping. I imagine it is because it is confining, similar to the uterus. When he finally did start sleeping in his crib it was for shorter periods, he'd have night tremors causing him to wake and have a hard time sleeping. I don't co-sleep w/him either. We still go back and forth between his crib and infant carrier. I'm reading no-cry sleep solutions and healthy sleep habits happy baby. I will not let him cry it out. I don't believe in it and find it cruel. Love to hear more about it, please feel free to email me, [email protected]____.com't worry, they're only babies for 12 months. It goes FAST.

Hugs,
T.

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S.J.

answers from San Francisco on

C.:

I think everyone had great advice I just wanted to provide you with a note of caution on Babywise ... I realize this method has worked for many parents and as a mom ... I believe whatever works for your family is right for your family.

However before you consider Babywise and parent-directed schedules, please research it a bit. The methods have been denounced by the American Association of Pediatrics as well as lactation experts. Doctors were noticing an increase in dehydrated, failure to thrive babies if parents followed parent directed feeding schedules. Newborns have a unique ability to only eat when they are hungry (and spit up anything extra), babies also go through growth spurts s where they need more frequent feedings and some babies need to cluster feed for a horde of possible reasons. And many newborns cannot physically sleep through the night until they are older (smaller stomachs - my baby was only 5lbs at birth or smaller milk storage capacity of the mother).

Again, if the method worked for your family. Fabulous. However, I just wanted to alert others to be careful.

http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/1...

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