She Won't Sleep!

Updated on June 16, 2014
T.P. asks from Houston, TX
15 answers

So my now four week old has a new issue. She won't go to sleep alone again. I'm frustrated mainly because I have not had decent sleep in two nights and I have no help. Husband is not home because he works two jobs to make ends meet. I am to return to work in the next couple of weeks and I'm starting to get very frustrated. She will fall asleep on my chest but the moment I try to put her in her bassinet she will wake up and it takes another 30 minutes to get her back to sleep. Right now we are sitting in the living room with her in her bouncy seat. No she isn't showing signs of falling asleep either. She has been up and fussy for nearly 16 hrs now. Her naps have been very brief all day. Any suggestions?

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answers from Austin on

Hire a postpartum doula or get a lactation consultant to come out. They could give you either some much needed rest or give you some feeding/awake/nap advice.
My child was pretty colicky and didn't seem to need to sleep to much. The only thing that seemed to help was...don't freak out when I say this...sleeping her on her tummy. It's something my husband and I did a lot of research on and made that decision together.
I hope I don't get a lot of flack for posting that....:)


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answers from Dallas on

That sounds like gas to me!! If she is okay in her bouncy seat chances are she will be okay in her carseat too. The upright position helps with that. You will NOT be a horrible mother if baby sleeps in her carseat for a night :-)
Talk to your ped about switching formulas, or if you are nursing, talk to a lactation consultant about what gassy foods to avoid.

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answers from Austin on

I agree with Julie V., welcome to motherhood. Your baby is only 4 weeks old and it is going to take a while to get a sleep pattern down. Please please don't let your infant cry it out as some others have suggested. A four week old newborn needs her mother to nurture not to leave alone to cry alone in a crib. I read the book Healthy Sleep Habits by Dr. Sears. I found this book to be very helpful in many ways. Please check it out before you follow some of the other advice posted. Also, I went back to work when my son was 8 weeks old and it was very hard because I was so tired but your body learns how to function on lets say 3 hours of sleep. Stay strong and you will make it.

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answers from Austin on

She is still so young, so it is rare for her to have a regular sleeping pattern. Do you have a mom or aunt close by who could help you out once in a while so you can get some sleep? Your daughter just needs you to be calm so turn on some music that you like that will make you smile or will get you feeling relaxed. Keep certain songs around just for that. Music can really change our mood. Singing to her will be soothing as well.

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answers from Portland on

The longer she's awake, the more tired she'll get and the harder it will be for her to go to sleep. And the more tired you get the less likely you'll be able to think straight. It's a vicious circle. I suggest that you lie down with her and both of you get some sleep. Then start over.

Put her down in her bassinet and stay with her until she falls asleep. At four weeks she should still be doing more sleeping than staying awake. (I think. It's been 7 years since I took care of a baby.) At any rate she should be doing a whole lot of sleeping. I suggest that she could stay in her bassinet or her bouncy seat whenever you're not feeding her, changing her diaper, or quietly playing with her.

My grandson slept best in his bouncy seat until he outgrew it. He also liked sleeping, buckled in his car seat. He was diagnosed with GERD early on. My granddaughter slept in her car seat for several months. She had asthma. Being more upright was more comfortable for them.

Have you tried bundling her up tightly in a blanket? Some babies need to be swaddled to sleep.

I also suggest that you take the bassinet or her bouncy chair into your room so that if she continues to wake up you can reach over and gently pat her without picking her up and without having to completely wake yourself up. Once she's trained to sleep for a few hours she'll be able to do that in her own space.

I'm retired and took care of both of my grandchildren the first months of their lives. I sometimes took naps with my granddaughter cuddled in my arms while I lay on the couch. The couch is to narrow to roll over on if that's your concern. And having her in my arms felt wonderfully cozy. You could try that so that you both can get some sleep.



answers from Anchorage on

At this age I started putting my boys asleep awake at the same time every night. If they cried I went in every 5 minutes to comfort (with out taking them out of crib, just rubbing tummy and singing softly), leaving as soon as they were calm, and returning if they cried again for 5 full minutes. I never had to go in more than once. At this young age it will come very natural to her and in only 2 or 3 nights she should be falling asleep mostly on her own.



answers from Chicago on

OK, for starters, welcome to mommyhood. Second, not getting any sleep is part of the deal with a newborn. I know you are going back to work and you want sleep, but babies are not able to self-sooth for many, many months. What this means is that you need to help her learn how to sleep. Newborns will pop awake until they are in a deep sleep. So, get a bassinet, if you aren't using one, and when she wakes, feed her, and then let her fall asleep laying on your chest. After she's been asleep for a while, then move her to the bassinet. Around week 8 or so, you should be doing less and less of this, and she could move to her own room, etc.

Babies should not be up for longer than 2 hours between naps. This means, literally, that they fall asleep in two hours, not that you start putting them down in 2 hours. If you go longer, then they get over tired and won't sleep.



answers from College Station on

Welcome to the fourth trimester! Try a swaddler or wombie! They worked wonders with my kids. Also she could be gassy so rub her tummy gently (sp?) Have you tried a paci? Also if she is on formual it might be the wrong one! Try laying her on her tummy for awhile and see what that does. Also I loved the swing I got at my baby shower.It gets better, but dont let her cry it out at this age please!



answers from Minneapolis on

my son would do the same thing. Try to lay her down in her bassinet next to your bed so you both can laydown but you can still touch her. it may take longer for her to fall asleep but she will eventually get so tired she falls asleep. and if your having problems gettin her to sleep at night try to keep her up more during the day. try eliminating the last nap befor bed. play with her, read to her, just try to keep her alert. but if she shows sings of being over tired let her nap. Aslo keep in mind she is very young and her habbits and patterns are still changing on a daily basis.Try to get a schedule set up now that is closest to the schedule you will have when you go back to work, even if it doesnt seem to be working just keep at it and eventually she will learn when its is time to sleep and when it is time to play. this will help you greatly when you go back to work. And also if shes in her bassinet fussing and you feel you can wake up if she has a real need dont be afraid to cat nap and doze. Sometimes these things have to work themselves out. and if your gettin frustrated make sure shes in a safe area and has no real needs and take ten mins to sit in a different room and read a chapter in a book, or call a friend. it is ok to let them cry, it is healthy for them. just make sure all her needs are met first.
Hang in there it WILL get better.



answers from Minneapolis on

I went through this same thing with my daughter. I to have no help due to my husbands work scheduale and went back to work when she was 7 weeks old. I was exhausted and have a 3 year old to so i am always on the go. I started reading healthy sleep habits happy child. I started putting my daughter down earlier letting her cry for like 5-10 min, going in calming her down, etc. It took a good 2 weeks of sticking with the same routine every night but she got a lot better. She was also put on medicine for reflux which helped her fussiness at night tremedously. She is now 4 months old and doesnt' need the medicine. She eats a 6-7 oz bottle with cereal in it at 6:30 and is usually sleeping by 7 and usually wakes up between midnight and 3 to eat. Sometimes i can get her back in her pack and play, but most nights i just sleep by her after that. I like this scheduale a lot because i have time with my older baby before he goes to bed and time to get things done after they are both in bet. You will still be tired but you get used to it. As long as i get between 5-6 hours of sleep total a night im good to go. It will get better. Just stick with a routine and maybe try putting her down earlier. Once a baby is over tired it is impossible to get them to sleep good. Good luck!



answers from Houston on

I did this same thing with my frist baby and finally at 2am, exausted one morning I put him down in his crib on his tummy and that is what did it. He cried for a bit and then was out! He slept through the night that way. YOu can try putting a warm blanket down in the crib and then when you get ready to lay her down on her tummy after going to sleep on you, just remove the towel. Hope you get some sleep soon!



answers from Eugene on is the best article I have ever seen on this topic. It lists the five leading experts/authors in the world on it and shows who the original is on the subject and then who came after and how all of them have definite similarities we can draw on. (all 5 are also medical professionals).

For any mother that cares to research for herself, this site will also show you dozens of doctors and pediatricians support and comments for the Babywise methods that over 6 million parents love with their children over the last 24 years.

If you are interested in what the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks on this subject (they have over 50,000 more Pediatricians):

The AAP states that newborns "be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger..... approximately 8 to 12 times every 24 hours."

If you look at page 70 of On Becoming Babywise Pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D and co-author Gary Ezzo state, "with these recommended times you will average between 8 - 10 feedings a day."

Looks pretty safe to me as the AAP recommends the same exact amount of feedings for your baby and Pediatrician Bucknam/Ezzo recommend the same authority: the mom should make the call as to exactly when her baby is hungry.

When it comes to the concept of babies crying, the American Academy of Pediatrics (quoted in On Becoming Babywise on page 146 says, "Many babies cannot fall asleep more without crying and will go to sleep more quickly if left to cry for a while. The crying should not last long if the child is truly tired." The AAP goes on to say, "Sometimes you think your baby is waking up when she's actually going through a phase of very light slumber. She could be squirming, startling, fussing, or even crying-- and still be asleep. Or she may be awake but not on the verge of drifting off again if left alone. Do not make the mistake of trying to comfort her during these moments; you'll only awaken her further and delay her going back to sleep. Instead, if you let her fuss and even cry for a few minutes, she'll learn to get herself to sleep without relying on you." The AAP goes on to say, "same babies actually need to let off energy by crying in order to settle into sleep or rouse themselves out of it. As much as fifteen minutes of fussing will not do your child any harm. Just be sure she's not crying out of hunger or pain, or because her diaper is wet."

This is precisely the entire point of Babywise and from what I read, the whoe them of the book. I cannot fathom where all the rumors of "no medical backing" and "dangerous" come from as Pediatricians all over the country back what 23 year Pediatrician and author Robert Bucknam, M.D. and his co-author Gary Ezzo have written.

Moms-- enjoy this book, use your common sense..... and happy sleeping!!



answers from Dallas on

Girl!! I was there for 6 weeks with my now 4 month old!!!
I had to go back to work when she was 8 weeks and was seriously going to quit my job if things weren't going to change- which seemed impossible!

I searched through my book shelf of mommy/baby books and grabbed the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. It seriously saved my life/sanity!!! I read it 4 yrs ago when i had my son, so I really just skimmed through it and read major parts i needed.

It talks about getting the baby on a ROUTINE- not a schedule, but ROUTINE! Sleep, eat, play. Sleep, eat, play! Once I got Ava on this routine, her sleep patterns got better, she SLEEPS IN HER OWN BED (what?!?!? She doesn't need me!!!!!! Amazing!)

She's been fussy for 16 hours becuase she is tired!
Between that time also, I was over feeding her, espeically at night. When she would cry, feed her, and then she was up for another 2 hours straight. And then up again!

Get her on a routine and get some sleep!!
If you need any advice or help conserning the book, PM me. I was seriously in your shoes less than 5 months ago. Ava is now sleeping through the night- started at 3 mo! And takes regular naps and is overall a happy baby because i did the above!

Good luck and God bless



answers from San Antonio on

Have you tried a swing instead of the bouncy thing? That was the only way that I would get my son to sleep for the first 6-8 months of his life. He wanted to be carried constantly, but the only thing that would work for me was the swing, he'd fall asleep in it and after he would get into a deep sleep, I would transfer him to his crib or blankets on the floor. Of course, this would only work if he didn't have colic or was hungry.

Good luck!

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