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My 2wk old only sleeps in my arms - advice appreciated

(42 Posts)
Niccc123 Thu 30-Jun-11 02:35:41

My 2.5wk old son will only sleep in my arms and wakes crying if I try to put him down. It's getting exhausting now, as he is the same during the daytime so I can't even catch a nap then unless I ask someone else to hold him for me. Have tried everything - hot water bottle to lightly warm his crib, co-sleeping, waiting til he is fast asleep to put him down, putting him down just before he is asleep to 'teach' him to settle himself (thanks baby whisperer for that 'helpful' advice - not sure you're whispering in the same language as my son!) etc. Nothing seems to work. It seems from my endless Internet searching that this is a common problem with newborns and that I should just indulge him and enjoy the cuddles. This is fine, but I need a couple of hours sleep at least! Anyone have any advice or other tricks I can try? Should also mention that I am exclusively breastfeeding him.

Thanks in advance.

EDD24may Thu 30-Jun-11 04:50:03

Hi, have you tried a sling?i'm using moby sling with my 6wk old and it's great for giving me hands free.can also breast feed on the move discretely in it (saved me when mid sainsburys shop)! Have you tried raising cot so head son has bad reflux so hates being flat. I've managed to get him to sleep by putting him on boob when both lying on side...we both drop off then. Good luck. X

EDD24may Thu 30-Jun-11 04:50:57

Are you swaddling baby?

shelscrape Thu 30-Jun-11 04:54:34

I would second swaddling him. Doesn't have to be too tight, just need a light blanket or cot sheet to wrap around him. My DS wouldn't sleep unless held or wrapped tightly. By about 5 months he progressed to a grobag

SofiaAmes Thu 30-Jun-11 06:08:18

It gets better. Ds would only sleep sucking on my breast for the first 6 months. At 6 months I went on strike and all in a week, put him in his own bed, did controlled crying and started him on solids (did also continue to bf, just not to sleep). He's been a fabulous sleeper ever since.

RitaMorgan Thu 30-Jun-11 06:32:11

Will he sleep on your chest? You can semi-recline in the middle of your bed with some pillows round you.

threefeethighandrising Thu 30-Jun-11 07:00:20

Definitely get a sling if you haven't got one already, it'll allow you to reclaim some ability to actually do stuff with your hands (useful things, hands!) while still keeping your baby close and snuggly to you (this is actually good for helping babies regulate their breathing too apparently).

I'd also echo EDD24may's advice about feeding one one side so you both drop off to sleep together. This worked wonders for us. (I expect you know already but this should always be in bed, not on the sofa as sleeping with babies on sofas isn't safe).

You could maybe try expressing and see if DH can give him a bottle. I would say that this didn't work for us - not because DS would't take a bottle but just because I never found the time to express. If I have another though I'm going to try again with an electric expressing pump next time, as it would be nice for DP to be able to help a little more in those early days.

But yes, it's nature. Can you (or your DH) do anything which makes it easier for you to just spend time with your LO? A friends of mine gave me some really good advice, she said once you have a baby, if you get just one thing done in a whole day, you've done really well!

I know some people swear by the Baby Whisperer but that kind of stuff never worked for us.

A website with some great advice on many aspects of BF is

threefeethighandrising Thu 30-Jun-11 07:02:57

It does get easier by the way! And I forgot to say, congratulations! grin grin

Niccc123 Thu 30-Jun-11 09:12:02

Thanks for all your suggestions. We haven't really tried swaddling - we do have a swaddle pod but think DS is still too little for it as it doesn't seem to hug him very tight. Have been a bit worried about swaddling him in this hot weather we have had recently - will he overheat or am I being paranoid?

Have just checked out the Moby online and think I will invest in one. Would be handy to have my hands back in the day for little things like eating etc! Is amazon the best place to order from? They are £36 new on there.

One final query (and excuse me if these are all silly questions, I'm still new to this mum game), would it be unsafe for me to sleep with DS on my chest with me half reclined on pillows, duvet only up to my waist? He is all curled up, arms and legs tucked in and reminds me of a roast chicken! This is what I resorted to at 5am this morning just so I could sleep and we both survived, but will stop in future if it's dangerous.

Thanks again!

RitaMorgan Thu 30-Jun-11 09:22:17

I think lots of people do sleep with newborns on their chest, but I doubt it is recommended. So long as you observe all the other safety rules about not sleeping with the baby if you have been drinking, taking drugs/medication, are a smoker, are really exhausted etc. and make sure no covers of pillows are on the baby I don't think it would be dangerous.

PrisonerZero Thu 30-Jun-11 09:24:28

I feel your pain! I also have a 2 week old DS that wont sleep unless I am holding him (I'm breast feeding too) and it is exhausting - even making a cup of tea requires planning and if I need the toilet I have to let him cry for a bit in his crib sad - I also think I am starting to smell a bit as I haven't had chance to have a shower for a couple of days blush (I'm on my own all day so no one to hold him for me)

I have tried the moses basket, swinging crib, cot, swinging chair, pram - the list goes on. I don't like having him in my bed as I am worried he will fall out or suffocate, or I will squash him etc but its the only way for me to get an hours sleep. I keep waking up though paranoid that I have killed him. I do swaddle him as he gets wound up when his hands wave around. I have resorted to giving him a dummy which he likes but will only have it if I put a little bit of infacol on the tip. I am probably ruining his teeth or something but I have been desperate.

The best thing I have is the swinging chair, as sometimes if he is properly asleep I can just lay him in it, swaddled and turn it on and get a few minutes quiet time (like now) but its quite hit and miss on whether he will tolerate it for 5 minutes.

He feeds every hour and 15 minutes or so, but the only time i've got a couple of hours sleep in one go was when I fed him from both sides and he was so full up he just crashed out grin

I do have 2 older DC, they are 7 and 9 and I can't remember what it was like with them but I take comfort in the fact that they and I survived so this difficult stage can't last forever. I adore my newborn, I keep telling myself that he will only be so tiny for such a short time and that if i'm what he needs then so be it. One day i'll be desperate for a cuddle off him but he will be to busy, out, or cuddling his girlfriend so i'll make the most of it now wink

missorinoco Thu 30-Jun-11 09:24:51

As RitaMorgan says above. It will get better, mine all did this. Congratulations.

PrisonerZero Thu 30-Jun-11 09:25:33

Oh, also meant to say I think I am going to get a babasling as I have read some good reviews about them. I am crossing my fingers that it will be a life changing miracle piece of material.

RitaMorgan Thu 30-Jun-11 09:29:01

I didn't get on with a babasling at all - maybe consider a stretchy wrap or Close carrier? My baby didn't like being cradled in the babasling and as it only goes over one shoulder the weight isn't very well distributed. I could carry him in a Close for hours though.

Quenelle Thu 30-Jun-11 09:36:18

Congratulations on your new babies Nicc123 and PrisonerZero.

My boy was the same as you describe. I was also worried about swaddling because it was so hot. I know other parents decided it was ok but we weren't happy about it. He slept on my and DH's chests as RitaMorgan described. My MW gave me a leaflet about safe co-sleeping and there was also lots of advice and support in this lovely book The Food of Love.

If I needed to pee or make a cup of tea I would put him down but it would only be for a couple of minutes so no harm done IMO. And it's amazing what you learn to do one-handed. A sling is invaluable too.

I was so worried that we were doing it all wrong at the time but looking back DH and I are both so glad we had that close bonding with DS in the early days. The time goes so quickly, make the most of every cuddle.

Quenelle Thu 30-Jun-11 09:37:33

I had a Close carrier too. I did find it a bit loose when DS was tiny but I think I might have been doing it wrong. He loved it when he got a bit bigger, would sleep in it for hours.

RitaMorgan Thu 30-Jun-11 10:11:09

Quenelle, think you really have to have it pulled tight around your body (like a tight t-shirt) without leaving a "space" for the baby. Then when you put the baby in the stretch of the fabric creates the space.

Quenelle Thu 30-Jun-11 10:34:21

Yes, that's where I went wrong Rita. It felt too tight when I'm sure it was ok really. But it was incredibly hot at the time and DS would absolutely cook in it. I loved it though, it was so soft and comforting. I've kept it in case I'm lucky enough to have another.

camdancer Thu 30-Jun-11 10:59:36

My DD2 is 3 weeks old. I feel your pain - and tiredness. I'm mostly sleeping with her on me as you descibe Nicc - like a roast chicken! grin It may not be the first choice but if it gets both of us some sleep then it has to be done. During the day she mainly sleeps in a wrap sling. It is nights where the real problems start. Being DC3, I know this phase will pass but I just can't remember quite when and it is so knackering while it lasts. Even with her on my chest I don't get great sleep but it is better than nothing.

camdancer Thu 30-Jun-11 11:07:29

Quenelle - the foodoflove link made me cry. (hormones and lack of sleep!) The breastfeeding in your sleep cartoon just seemed so true. I've never been able to feed lying down but maybe I should keep trying.

Nicc, I forgot to say, could you give your son to your partner for a portion of the night. Even just one hour of good sleep will start to refresh you.

kindlekid Thu 30-Jun-11 11:17:40

Congratulations on the new babies.

One tip that someone gave me when I had dd2 (I wish I had known when I had dd1) is that when you lay a sleeping baby down rest your hand gently on their chest for a minute. The gentle pressure seems to reassure them and help to settle them back to sleep.

It still works on dd2 now and she is 2 1/2, if she falls asleep and has to be moved down to bed.


trixie123 Thu 30-Jun-11 12:05:02

hand on the chest or over the forehead and eyes works on DD. Also have you tried a dummy yet? Controversial for some I know but really helps DD and DS. There is a reason they are called pacifiers!

Mumday Thu 30-Jun-11 13:56:50

I remember similar things with our little one. One helpful thing I read is that it takes about 20 mins for them to get into a deep sleep so maybe putting them down after about 20 mins might give you a bit more luck. I remember waiting about half an hour with ours and it did help, although it took a while to get out the habit later on!

LabMonkey Thu 30-Jun-11 14:12:43

My DD is now 8.5 weeks and in the last 3 days has worked out how to get to sleep on her own - as in go into her moses basket awake but tired and get herself to sleep. We're still experimenting but it seems to work 90% of the time. Until the start of this week she had to be fast asleep before she could be put down at night and pretty much would only sleep on me during the day so it is possible for things to get better. For the first few weeks I was terrified of falling asleep with her on me until I realised that I would not survive if I didn't. I generally ended up lying on the sofa with her as both the beds in our place killed my back if I wasn't lying flat. I worked out how to angle my body so that she couldn't roll of slide off me onto the floor and wedged my hand so that she couldn't roll face into the cushions. Basically she could wriggle but nothing else.

Also DD will still only sleep in a swaddle so when it was crazy hot this week she was in the swaddle with just a nappy with a blanket ready in case the temperature dropped at night.

Things really do get better I promise smile

threefeethighandrising Thu 30-Jun-11 19:03:56

I've not used the Moby sling, but it looks like exactly the right kind of thing, wrap around ones are the best I reckon.

I've got no idea about your DS sleeping on you. Here are the co-sleeping guidelines but they don't say anything about your DS sleeping on top of you.

Sorry to not be of more help!

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