Sleep in Crib or Hold the Baby All Day?

Updated on June 08, 2010
M.L. asks from Ardmore, PA
21 answers

It has been 10 years since my last baby, so maybe I am just not remembering well, but my 2 week old baby sleeps only for 15 minutes in her co-sleeper or crib and then wakes up. She will sleep just fine if someone is holding her, so we end up holding her much of the day, which is sweet, but we end up not being able to do much else. I really thought my other kids slept in their crib fine from day one (unless I am just not remembering?) and don't know what to do now. Did it take a while for your babies to sleep without being held -- and how long-- weeks, months? Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Provo on

I second that every baby is different. My baby would sleep by himself for about a week then had to be held non stop. Even to this day he still has to be held sometimes. But what I did was get a swaddle (I suggest either a woombie or a miracle blanket) and then put him in his swing. I did that for a month then tried one night to put him in his crib still swaddled. He slept perfectly. It was beautiful. Until teething. Now his sleep is unpredictable. I swaddled until he was 4 months old and then could get out of it. Then you swaddle ween him and O was a perfect sleeper till those darn teeth.


I second that every baby is different. My baby would sleep by himself for about a week then had to be held non stop. Even to this day he still has to be held sometimes. But what I did was get a swaddle (I suggest either a woombie or a miracle blanket) and then put him in his swing. I did that for a month then tried one night to put him in his crib still swaddled. He slept perfectly. It was beautiful. Until teething. Now his sleep is unpredictable. I swaddled until he was 4 months old and then could get out of it. Then you swaddle ween him and O was a perfect sleeper till those darn teeth.



answers from Dallas on

All babies are different. If you haven't tried swaddling - see how that works for her. Some babies like to feel all wrapped up, especially after being in the womb all smushed and comfy. Also, they have a startle reflex, so if they move, they can wake themselves up. They have easy to wrap swaddle stuff - - hope that helps!

More Answers



answers from San Diego on

My suggestion is to get a baby carrier, put the baby in it and then you have your hands free! Some babies (dare I say all?) would much prefer being with mama than alone in a crib.

Remember your baby just came out of a place where she heard, smelled, tasted, and felt you all of the time. And then you expect her to be happy alone in a crib with none of that? I am sure some baby's get used to that, but this one wants you.

I always say, when your baby has the emotional tools to be alone, then by all means, put them in a crib, but until then, it is your job to meet her needs and her needs right now are you.

Baby carriers saved my life! I have worn both of my boys to cook dinner, go for walks, do the laundry, etc. They will sleep in them and watch the world go by. They get to be close to mama, feel her heartbeat and feel secure.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

have you tried swaddling? My daughter didnt sleep very well at first unless she was swaddled. In fact, we swaddled her until she was 9 months. You can buy neat self swaddlers at babies r us.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I had kids 10 years apart and what I did worked wonderfully with both of them.
Holding them is sweet and nice and snuggly, but they also have to get used to sleeping or at least laying down in other places.
God only gave us two arms.
My kids were used to their cribs from very early on even if it was just to take a shower or bring laundry in or have a free hand to make myself something to eat. I tried laying them down at the same time every day so it became routine. If they cried for a while, they cried. If they were fed and dry and just didn't want to be laying down, I let them fuss over it. I wasn't cruel or heartless, but the fact is, mom's have to go to the bathroom, moms have to get dressed, moms have to sit down and pay bills....
getting your baby used to laying down will not hurt your baby. In fact, in my opinion, the longer you try to hold her 24/7, the more they believe that's how it's supposed to work and when they get too big to be carted around all day long, you realize you just can't do it anymore and then it's a shock to them because they don't know any different.
Loving your baby and holding her is great.....but, she needs to be able to lay down on her own for brief periods of time without being held. My kids were in their crib, or their swing, or their playpen and as a result, they could sleep anywhere when we travelled to visit relatives out of town or hotels.
They will figure out the world won't end if they aren't held constantly. I think it's better for them in the long run.

Some may disagree with me so I mean no offense to anyone, but that's what I found worked.

Best wishes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Although I absolutely adore both my children, I just wasn't able to do the constant all day holding thing. We did have the baby hawk and a sling for those times when our babies just needed to be held close and wouldn't stop crying, but we also found the swinging chairs, and vibrating boucy seats helpful along w/ swaddling to help keep them happy. If you buy one or both now, and it doesn't work, just pull them out in a few weeks and see if there is any change, I'm guessing she'll take to at least one of them at some point. Our son didn't like the bouncy seat until he was a few months old, but then he loved it! As everyone knows, all babies are different so these are just a couple suggestions.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Every child is different and I do think that this is more of an individual personality thing than any deficiency in parenting. Both of my boys loved to be held all of the time and were only totally relaxed when I was holding them. So I did a lot of co-sleeping and such.

What helped me was baby carriers. When they're really little a sling is good for keeping them close but also being able to get things done. As they got older they went in hiking child-carrier backpacks (even in the house). Babies R Us online carries these.

Some babies just need physical contact with their care provider to feel safe. Embrace and indulge it and she'll be a more independent person when she gets older. Give her what she needs now and you're building a strong emotional foundation for her for later. Both of my boys are very happy, independent and active guys and they were both very clingy and needy babies. Just give her what she needs and it will allow her to grow out of it in time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. I NEVER held my baby when he was asleep... or past 4 months to get him to go to sleep. Read Dr. Ferber's Solving Your Child's Sleep Problem book, it will give you great advice on developing great sleep habits.

Congratulations! Good luck getting some sleep!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

All of my kids only slept for the first few months if they were somewhat upright. So I put them for naps and for bed in either the swing or their carseat. In the swing/carseat they would sleep through the night by about 4 weeks old. In their crib, only about 1/2 hour if that. They all slept like that until they were probably 3-5 months old and then we moved them to the crib.



answers from Cincinnati on

My son could sleep in his bassinet at night beginning at about 2 weeks (maybe it was a little later, I can't really remember). I don't like co-sleeping and did not intend to do it, but getting my son to sleep in his bassinet was so hit-or-miss that, occasionally, we did co-sleep in those early weeks. I do remember that he had to be held during naps for his first six weeks of life. There was nothing else I could manage - he refused to nap in his bassinet. I was exhausted until I invested in a baby carrier. I used a Baby Bjorn, but for Baby #2 (due in September), I intend to use a ring-sling or a Moby Wrap. My son was able to sleep and be awake while on my person, and I was able to go about my regular routine. Eventually, we weaned him into sleeping in his carseat, and from there, his bassinet during the day as well. But whew, that first month was a tiring time!


answers from Barnstable on

I always wore my little one in a Moby Wrap and then a BabyHawk. They are brilliant, soft baby carriers. My child also both co-slept with us. When they were really small, a boppy pillow in between us in the bed was a great way to snuggle them in. My kiddos are 8 years apart and I never regretted holding them or co-sleeping with them. It made them confident people!


answers from Kansas City on

I am of a happy medium philosophy. My back would never tolerate carrying a baby around. So that's out of the option for me. I say hold him when you can. When you need to put the laundry through, let him cry. How long can it take to put one load through, 5 minutes, 5 more for folding? You will be surprised how fast you can fold a load when baby is crying. Hold him again. 20 minutes later, baby gets put down, dishes get done. Again, you will be surprised how fast the dishes get done when baby is crying. So long as you are home you can stick to this. Don't let him actually fall asleep on you if at all possible. Play with, talk to, sing to, kiss all over, do the baby massage, etc....when baby starts to pass out, put the baby down and clean some more. This way, the baby will eventually get tired enough to sleep by him/herself. The house gets cleaned. And you still get plenty of cuddle time.

If you think you may go back to work, then do the daycare provider a huge favor and teach your child to be by him/herself sometimes! No one else will be able to keep a dirty house, put aside all other chores, and ignore the other kids to just sit and hold baby all day.


answers from York on

I don't want to discourage you but my 2 year old still will not nap in his crib. As a 3 day old baby he wouldn't sleep unless someone held him. We made the choice to hold him. When I returned to work my grandma kept him and she held him to sleep. We kept thinking it would pass and never did. Now my son naps with one of us on the couch or lays his head on our lap to nap. It isn't a huge issue since he doesn't go to daycare and on the weekends my husband or I take turns depending on who has something they want to get done. This being said my son sleeps all night in his crib and is a very good night sleeper so overall I can't complain. I enjoy cuddling him during naps because before I know it he will not want to nap and cuddle with me.



answers from Philadelphia on

You may want to try the swing, so the baby still gets that 'held' feeling... but you get a break. Also- I LOVED my Hotslings, so I had my hands free.... The baby still gets to feel safe and close to you, but you get to do what you need.

I had great luck with combining the techniques from 'On Becoming Babywise' and 'Happiest Baby on the Block,' (Babywise says to get the baby used to falling asleep in the crib/bassinet right away with no props... Do NOT rock the baby, etc.... However, Happiest baby on the block talks about the five S's for soothing your baby (swaddling, swinging, putting baby on stomach, sucking on a pacifier, and Shushing... (white noise, etc...)

On the one hand you want to enjoy that baby while she is still young... But- on the other hand you need to get stuff done and need a break too. I found the sling and the swing to be a good compromise. You find what works for you. Good luck and congratulations!



answers from Philadelphia on

Neither of our kids would sleep in the bassinet or crib until between 2-4 months. Everyone suggested swaddling, which neither one could stand and it upset them more. The only way we could get them to sleep away from someone holding them was to put them in their car seat. That way they were partially upright (seemed to aid in digestion) and snuggly (which was the point of swaddling). As other moms have said, every baby is different. Ours started out in a bassinet until they were big enough to move around and we had concerns about them getting their leg over the side or sitting up and falling out. The bassinet felt more secure for them since it was much smaller than the crib. Good luck with that precious little one and I hope you get some sleep soon!



answers from St. Cloud on

Both our kids enjoyed being held all day...... What I found that DID allow me a little rest as a bassinet WITH A LIGHTED UP MOBILE OVER THE TOP! (I swear by that soft light and mobile......) Our daughter was like a month old and I NEEDED SLEEP so we broke down and bought it. SHE LOVED IT! As did our son. In the middle of the night, I would nurse her and lay her in it and push the button to run the mobile. She would stare up at the light and fall asleep! Worked like a charm! Even between feedings, it would put her back to sleep if she woke up.

Along with that, we did co-sleep at times too. It worked for us. And made breastfeeding SO much easier.

For NAP, I would nap on the couch with the baby curled in my arms. Both of us slept so much better that way. I knew the baby was okay and the baby slept longer.

We also purchased an ERGO baby carrier when we were pregnant with our second. Used it a ton. Very comfy and padded. We were hesitant to spend that much money at first but it was so much nicer than the original carrier we had for our daughter that was purchased at Target.



answers from Chicago on

When our (most recent) newborn needed to sleep, we swaddled him to give him the 'close' feeling and then used a moses basket. It worked well for our child, but all children are different so some experimentation may be needed.



answers from Houston on

Some babies just like to be held more than others. I found my Slingling and Moby Wrap indispensable when my daughter was an infant. Later on I switched to a buckle-type Mei Tai carrier called a Calyx. They left my hands free, kept my baby sleeping, and every one was better for it.

As I was breastfeeding (and a single mom), I co-slept at night but she was napping in her crib by a couple of months old. Also, bad mom alert, I had her sleep on her stomach during the day.

At three, she still sleeps with me most nights, but it is what works for us right now and ensures everyone gets a good night of sleep.



answers from Harrisburg on

Each baby is different. Holding the baby all the time is disaster ready to happen. The older the baby gets the harder it will be to break them of the habit. Try tight swaddling. Keep the room dark, except for enough for you to see to walk in. Play soft nature sounds to soothe. Blacken the windows if need be or use darkening shades.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius



answers from Allentown on

First of all, congratulations on your new edition! How exciting!

It sounds like you may have a High Need baby this time around.--That's how my son was/is. He NEEDED to be held a lot more than my daughter did. That's just how he was. If I put him down to sleep, I'd be VERY lucky to get 15 min. If I let him sleep in our THING-A-MA-SLING, however, he'd sleep for a good 1+hrs (and of course, both of my hands were free, so I could answer emails, talk on the phone, play w/ my daughter, read a magazine, make myself a sandwich, etc....) If we took a nap together, we'd both get to sleep for at least 2 hrs. has some great info on High Need babies & Dr. Sears' books "Attachment Parenting", "The Fussy Baby Book" & "Night Time Parenting" are great books that deal w/ this subject!

Btw--if you're interested, THING-A-MA-SLING does offer a 15% discount to Mamapedia moms if you use the coupon code "Mamasource".

Hang in there!--I'm sure you remember how quickly time flies & before you know it, this one will be running away from you to go play with friends! ;-)

Congrats again!



answers from Philadelphia on

My son would sleep in his Moby Wrap for hours when he was a newborn. They are relatively inexpensive (around $40). It takes a few times to figure out how to tie it properly, but once I knew how to use it, it was a lifesaver! I had my hands free to do what I needed to do, but he was still close to me.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions