Baby only sleeps when held, help!

My little one is just over 3 weeks, and although every book says they can't get spoiled at this age, she clearly hasn't read them because she only sleeps for 3 hours (good) when held (baaaad). Put her down and she fusses and wakes up within 40 minutes, sometimes sooner. While this isn't a problem during the day (I love holding her) its starting to drive me crazy at night - just means I don't even get 3 hrs sleep!! Any tips before I go crazy?? x

24 Replies

They like the warmth and the smell of u and ur heart beat apparently babies still think they are attached to u till they are a good few months old. ...this is a hard one. ... well I found it hard cos I used to hold mine alot...u need to keep putting her down. ... had she got a dummy? That can sometimes help if u don't mind using one. ... my boys were the same but I'm guilty of holding them lots too. ..I don't really know how I got thru it to be honest sorry I'm not much help x

No, am trying to do it without a dummy. And also tried to keep putting her down but unless we are out in the pram (loud and moving), she just won't sleep properly. When she's in someone's arms she sleeps like a log. This is so frustrating :(

My LO was exactly the same til about 3 weeks - I was scared witless as we were co-sleeping as it was the only way. Midwife was lovely (thought she would be judgemental) and said women had been co sleeping since pre-historic times and not to be too hard on myself...

Anyway! He did finally start sleeping in his cot, but not until we had tried everything: sleeping with his fitted sheet and grobag before using them so they smelt of me, swaddling - he hated it, using a hot water bottle to gently warm the crib so it wasn't cold and uninviting. What finally worked for us, I think, was a combination of the grobag - stays nice and warm, so less thermal shock when you do put them down - and the realisation that just because he's making a noise and moving does not mean he's unhappy - the only thing that gets him out of his crib between midnight and 8 am now is a cry, or noise not quite a cry but when he's due a feed... Took a week or so for him (and me) to settle, and the first few nights of trying this were hell, but...

When he goes down after feeding now, I hold him in his crib (leaning over with both arms either side of his head for a minute or two for reassurance, then retreat back to slumber...

Sadly, I think it's one of those situations that unless you keep trying nothing will change as babies are creatures of habit... Keep going, you're doing a grand job! Xx

Omg, midnight and 8!? ;) I'm dreaming of at least 4 hours! She's now 3 weeks and 2 days, I need to teach her to sleep somehow as for now I have help and can nap during the day when my mother in law holds her but from next week I'm on my own and the thought petrifies me! :-/

Will try the grobag and maybe putting her in cot all day today, something has to work eventually right?

He doesn't sleep through that time! Usually feeds at 3.30 ish and again at 6/6.30...

He doesn't sleep through that time! Usually feeds at 3.30 ish and again at 6/6.30...

It must all be a culture shock for these LO, I am learning from you ladies all the time. I am scared to Co-sleep and mentioned this to MW on Wednesday as many of you seem to be put in the position where you have too, her tip was to use the Moses as much as possible in the day so it becomes familiar to them as quickly as possible. One of those 'horses for courses' as she likes to our things same as using a pacifier, we are set against using but it may be all about control and not giving as a quick fix.

DrFluffy you had already mentioned the body scent transference which sounds like a good idea, maybe I will get a recording of HB & play that to the LO as well ;-) X

Do you have a smart phone? We've been using a really good white noise app - by Safe Dreams, called baby white noise sleep soother xx

I tried baby white noise (sound like waves) but she started stirring and after 10 mins woke up anyway) :( xx

I do yeah, will take a look. Bubba always reacts to electric toothbrush. Not so much the hairdryer. Washing machine on different floor to living space. My singing yes, not sure if good or bad lol & think we had voice recognition on daddy now but it took me a while for him to communicate with Bubba as he thought he looked like a tit in front of me lol :) x

It's also worth remembering babies spend much more time in REM sleep (the shallow dream sleep, where you can move and make noise) than we do - at least 50%. Often, they are actually asleep, making a din and flapping around like a shark on dry land! Just watched my LO do it for 5 mins, fast asleep :-)

I guess that's like they do in the womb, lots and lots of activity but not necc awake xx

Yep! Know that feeling! My little man was the same when he had colic, plus he has a crazy startle reflex so as soon as we put him down, his little arms and legs shot up and were flailing all over!!

Swaddling worked for us, he felt like he was still being held, but he soon became strong enough to wriggle out as he was waking up!

Now he sleeps in a sleeping bag, goes between 4 and 6 hours after each feed!


That's the thing - my girl is so strong, impossible to stay swaddled, lifts head all the time, kicks etc. will give the grobag a go today, fingers crossed!

The 7pm feed he goes in a swaddle shell then his bag just to get him off then any other wake ups he just goes in his bag and goes straight off by the time I have washed and sterilized his bottles he is fast asleep! The swaddle shell is very thin material so I don't worry about him over heating! X

I've just bought one of these never used one before so I'm hoping it works and def the smell thing maybe sleep with her bedding for a night I'm going to give it all a go. ..II only had 1 child that would settle and that's because she turned her sheet around her Fist and sucked it. . She still has a baby sheet she takes to bed with her and she is 15 !

We have a cd of a vacuum and hair dryer. All mine fell asleep with it on ;-D xx

also have you tried rolling blankets up and putting down side of basket? Its makesit seem less 'big' and when they thrash about there's the comfort of something being there xxx

im 34 weeks and 5 days, one of the first things we bought was Ewan the Dream Sheep (coincidence that our little man is going to be called Ewan), its a teddy sheep that attaches to cots, moses baskets and prams, you press his feet and each one plays a different sound, hoover, heartbeat, womb and lullabies he also lights up. He is £30 from Mamas and Papas which is a little pricy for a "teddy" but we did our research on him an the reviews were really good also my mother in laws friend swears by Ewan the Dream Sheep

x x x

Ewan the Dream Sheep is at the top on my baby wish list for presents :) xXx

One of the other new mums i know has one of these - pressie from grandma... Says it's the most sinister thing she had ever seen and she would never have bought it, but it works!! Only down side is it doesn't stay on and you have to keep pressing it when LO wakes...

Hello, I have a 7 month old boy. He was born 4 weeks early weighing 4lb 13oz, but healthy. He came home at 3 days old feeding every 30 mins-1 hour, falling asleep at the breast.This was due to his small size and a tongue tie, so he tired very easily and spent more effort feeding than he needed a consequence we co-slept and bed shared for quite some time until I diagnosed his tongue tie and it eventually got snipped at about 14 weeks :(

Because he was feeding so frequently and was so small he too could only sleep on someones chest for many weeks,and at night he slept in the crook of my arm with his cot pushed up to our bed and the side off so he couldn't fall out of ours.

I was gradually, ( over a few weeks) able to slip my arm out and slide him slightly up the bed so he was eye level with me,( I'm using a small square sofa cushion as a pillow so he can't accidentally slide up under a normal pillow), and he would sleep for 3-4 hours like that.

I'm happy to say that after the 3 month mark he started to settle and now nurses to sleep at 8pm, I lay him down in his cot with a fan on nearby, ( to keep the room cool in this weather and the white noise is good too), and he will go for 4 or 8 hours, ( he's teething so some nights are not so good )quick top-up feed where he doesn't even open his eyes properly, and then goes back off until I wake him between 7-8am. During the day he will have 4 or 5 naps for 30 mins-1 hour at a time, where he nurses to sleep then I lay him down.

3+ months ago I was exhausted, crying and getting depressed due to the lack of sleep. I felt like a big failure. Especially seeing as I have an 8 yr old girl and she was a great baby, sleeping 6 hours at 8 weeks old!

It has got better though, so hang in there Mummy, you're doing a great job, and this bit won't last forever...soon they'll be too big to hold while they're asleep :)

Thanks lunarkim, sounds like you had it quite difficult with your boy, glad it's sorted itself out :) x

I had been co-sleeping with my daughter and now her cot is attached to my bed, mattresses made to order to match our bed level (so its actually like a bed extension). Easier to breastfeed during the night as I can always feed her on one side without having to move her (so she takes a dream feed) and night time feeds have gone smaller (so she takes most of her milk in the day)

I think co-sleeping has a lots of benefits too, which should not be ruled out, although as new mums we are always paranoid of rolling over the baby in sleep of them falling off the bed (I was more concerned with later, because I knew if I would even accidentally roll over her pinky finger she would probably cry the building down!)

and dont worry once your mum-in-law leaves your mind will find out more innovative solutions for healthy survival with a baby ;) (mine did after my mum left - and bouy! I am so much more comfortable dealing with my DD now than I was when mum was around!)

It's your heartbeat LO is loving, it sounds like they're in the womb again and soothes them. In the day try putting Moses basket in front of washing machine or tumble dryer when it's on, it's like white noise which babies like as its like noise from in the womb. Try buying Ewan the Dream Sheep too, he's great!! A cuddly sheep which plays various womb like noises including heartbeat, strap to Moses, cot or pram and helps baby sleep but do it soon, leave it too late and baby won't recognise womb noise being introduced. My mum used something similar with me in the 80s and it worked, washing machine and Ewan appear to help my lo. Good luck .

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