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How do I settle my newborn? Bloody clueless!

(41 Posts)
vinoelle Sat 12-Sep-20 09:52:42

Stupid FTM question. DD is 5 weeks old and we are struggling with naps during the day. She seems to not need to sleep 🤷‍♀️ The only way I’m managing is BF to sleep and then keep her on me. We’ve tried everything I can think of - hot water bottle in Moses, my jumper, white noise, lullaby/same music each time, sleepyhead, nothing seems to work. Has no routine for naps as always such a battle. Last few days we have managed 30mins after each feed but doesn’t seem to make a difference in terms of her being less grumpy.

I don’t want to ‘make a rod’ for my own back as she will just not let us put her down alone ever, whether tired or not. She screams. No signs of reflux and will happily lie flat on us.

Will go down at night if rocked to sleep. Occasionally will nap in pram but only after an hour walk.

When people say ‘put them down and go back to settle them’ what do they actually mean? What more can we try? Please help!!

OP’s posts: |
SerenityNowwwww Sat 12-Sep-20 09:54:54

Ds would only go to sleep on me for ages - he grew out of it! There are no ‘hard and fast’ rules and sometime you just need to try a few things out.

Maybe lie down with him on the bed (dark and quiet) and try to get him to drift off then pop him in the cot when he is out stone cold?

SweepTheHalls Sat 12-Sep-20 09:54:57

They don't mean tinies like yours 😘. Pop her in a stretchy sling and let her snuggle. Swing chairs are good too. I miss those cuddles.

SerenityNowwwww Sat 12-Sep-20 09:55:31

DD - sorry! Awww just a wee tiny baby...

vinoelle Sat 12-Sep-20 10:00:01

Forgot to say can’t use a sling as I have a bad back - have already tried loads!

Also please don’t say “put her down drowsy but awake” as this concept doesn’t seem to exist!!

OP’s posts: |
vinoelle Sat 12-Sep-20 10:01:38

Thanks for the replies - posted the above before I’d seen them.

OP’s posts: |
SerenityNowwwww Sat 12-Sep-20 10:02:10

Nah - DS was a sleep resister (mum said he was concerned that he would miss something thing exciting). I just held him... muscles like Popeye... comfy chair, good book...

KihoBebiluPute Sat 12-Sep-20 10:02:12

this is what they call the "fourth trimester" and it is totally normal for your baby to be unsettled and for you to feel clueless. you are doing fine. there isn't a magical answer, your baby doesn't know what would be the right thing either. all the random bits of advice are things that people sometimes try and babies are chaotic and unpredictable but parents are desperate to find a pattern or rule so will latch on to a particular trick because using it coincided with the baby sleeping well on one occasion so they use that method every time in the hopes that it will always help - and sometimes it will, and sometimes it won't.

"put them down and go back to settle them" means trying to help the baby to get to sleep without picking them up and cuddling them. you leave them in the cot for a few minutes even if crying, but not for too long, and if still crying you return and make soothing settling reassuring noises and pat with soothing movements but don't pick up, then withdraw again. never leaving them crying for a long time but never being too stimulating when returning. sometimes a baby crying isn't saying "pick me up and cuddle me" but is instead saying "I just need to explain in detail how tired I am" and picking them up makes it more difficult to drop off to sleep.

LittleBearPad Sat 12-Sep-20 10:03:14

Cuddle her and don’t think about rods and backs. She’s still tiny.

If you feel trapped under her try popping her in her prom and going for a walk.

SerenityNowwwww Sat 12-Sep-20 10:03:19

Maybe try using the same soft blanket when you try to get her off to sleep - she might end us associating it with sleep (and it will smell like you - not in a ‘smelly’ way 😉)

Persipan Sat 12-Sep-20 10:04:19

That's super normal. Don't worry, it won't last forever and you aren't setting yourself up to never be able to put her down ever. For now, tbh, I'd just let her nap on you and not worry about trying to put her elsewhere or do the whole 'drowsy but awake' thing (what even IS that?).

LittleBearPad Sat 12-Sep-20 10:04:21


Guineapigbridge Sat 12-Sep-20 10:07:24

Are you regularly swaddling? It might be a bit late to start now but give it a try if you haven't already.
swaddling technique

Babies learn fast. Do the same thing, every time. They soon learn the rhythms of life.

Guineapigbridge Sat 12-Sep-20 10:09:10

Drowsy but awake means showing the tired signs: jerky arm movements, avoiding eye contact, a yawn. By the time they're crying with tiredness it's too late. Catch a tired sign and whip them off to bed.

PlinkPlink Sat 12-Sep-20 10:20:27

Swaddling -loads of YouTube how to's on that

Fourth Trimester - Google it. Your baby still thinks they're part of you.

There is nothing wrong with feeding to sleep, its entirely natural. I did it with my first born and I'm doing it again with DD who is 12 weeks now.

DS had colic and resisted sleep so I resigned myself to chilling out wherever I was with Netflix and him snoozing on me. It was great 😂😂 He grew out of it though. I breastfed him until I was 5 months pregnant with DD and he just weaned himself off.

You could also read Gentle Sleep by Sarah Ockwell-Smith. I swear by her. No judgments in her writing and she does things very gently. She's written about discipline, potty training, becoming a second time parent, preparing your kids for school. And if you end up liking her books, she also has a e-newsletter. Full of great tips

Persipan Sat 12-Sep-20 10:28:27


Drowsy but awake means showing the tired signs: jerky arm movements, avoiding eye contact, a yawn. By the time they're crying with tiredness it's too late. Catch a tired sign and whip them off to bed.

Personally, I could always absolutely recognise signs of tiredness well in advance of my baby becoming upset by it. On no level did that translate to him being remotely willing to be put down and go to sleep then.

Littlefrog99 Sat 12-Sep-20 10:41:27

You absolutely cannot spoil a baby by cuddling it too much at this age. She needs you close right now so accept that your life is now dictated by that gorgeous little bundle and enjoy the cosy newborn cuddles while they last. I really miss those moments.

vinoelle Sat 12-Sep-20 10:47:15

@Persipan EXACTLY.

Thanks all - have tried swaddling and do have a comfort blanket. At what age does this change/ get better ?

OP’s posts: |
pinkcheesecake Sat 12-Sep-20 10:53:41

That's really normal. I spent weeks trying to establish nap time. As a first time mother myself, I worked out that DS just wanted to be held close to me and fall asleep bf. He would be up for 2-2.5 hours and start getting cranky where I would take him to my bedroom with curtains drawn and just hold him and gently rock him. I had Ewan the sheep which would play and he will fall asleep. I would also swaddle him and leave my top next to him so he could sleep longer smelling me without me being there if I needed to run errands in the house. Don't worry, your newborn is still very young and it takes time to establish some routine.

Razpoot Sat 12-Sep-20 11:05:09

Congrats on your little girl!
Honestly, I just accepted my fate at your stage. Put housework way down my priority list and sat in bed all day watching Netflix so DD had a chance to sleep as she would also not sleep alone, and still doesn't at 7 weeks! It used to frustrate me. Then I read about the fourth trimester and it changed my perspective. Your baby adores you OP, you're everything safe that she knows and that's why being away from you is hard. You're her rock in this new, big open world. When I realised this myself, I didn't mind sacrficing my arms and time for her to be happy while she adjusts. It's not at the stage where you can "make a rod" for yourself so don't worry about that or routine either.

How long are you keeping her awake? I think I actually made mine undertired at your stage because I didn't understand sometimes they just need a little bit of wake time to play. Now that we play for a bit and go round the house she sleeps better.

As for the swaddling, I definetely second that! If you're trying to settle her obviously all babies are differently but honestly, swaddling her up, getting up and rocking and bouncing with my knees helps mine! Almost like im simulating pram movement. MIL scoffs at me for it but it works! Worth a try for you too maybe, let us know how it all goes!!

PlinkPlink Sat 12-Sep-20 11:19:10

Bless you, love.

I remember struggling with the change into motherhood particularly with DS's sleep. It just seemed never ending.

When he turned one, I put him in his own room, put white noise on and fed him to sleep. Then I'd sneak away and have some time to myself. He eventually learnt to go longer and longer without me. I also had the camera for peace of mind.

You could start trying this earlier though. I would have if we weren't moving house at the time 😂 you may want to look up sleep regressions though... there's a big one at 4 months and a couple more after i think.

But try not to stress about it too much. Just relax and get some good TV in 😊😊

ReeseWitherfork Sat 12-Sep-20 11:23:54

At what age does this change/ get better ?
Constantly. The weirdly specific needs they have one week will be different to next week. Lean into it, don’t let us stress you. Let her cuddle on you. Make sure you make a cuppa and have the TV remote to hand before you sit down and embrace it. You can throw the washing on and something in the oven when your partner is home. Don’t worry about bad habits, not even a concept at 5 weeks.

WooMaWang Sat 12-Sep-20 11:37:26

DS3 is 5 weeks too. He feeds to sleep and will only sleep on or next to me for the most part. He’s starting to accept being transferred fast asleep to the pram at about 9pm. But he won’t entertain sleeping in his bedside crib (because he is only near me not touching me).

My other two DSes were the same really. Although DS1 did accept being put down more. It works itself out over time.

I’m just going with it. I wish DH would though. He keeps nagging about ‘independence’ and other nonsense given we’re talking about a 5 week old. You’d think we were talking about a 25 year old who won’t leave home. It’s frustrating.

Singlewhiteguineapig Sat 12-Sep-20 11:41:20

She is a tiny weeny baby, you just have to go with it and it will gradually change. Just feed her and hold her and sit on the sofa. Go out for a walk and look after yourself. There is no such thing as bad habits and if someone is saying that to you, tell them to fuck off

Superscientist Sat 12-Sep-20 13:29:04

She sounds exactly like my 5 week old. During the day she rarely sleeps in the crib, on bad days she will only sleep on me and not on anyone else. We bought a bouncy chair a week or so ago which we will stay asleep in for short periods (supervised). At nights she needs to be a sleep on one of us for 30+ minutes before she can be put down to sleep (gentle rocking is needed to keep her asleep).

Have a look at the wonder weeks site/app there is a leap around 4-6 weeks.

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