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My 4 week old refuses to sleep anywhere but on us. Tips please!

(26 Posts)
Freyathecatt Tue 30-Apr-13 09:00:15


Our son is 4 weeks old and has steadfastly refused to sleep either in his cot or the moses basket we have.

He'll drop off in our arms, out cold. However as soon as we put him down he wakes himself up. So far we have tried:

Swaddling - he hates it,he likes having his arms free but the flailing of his arms might be what wakes him? Perhaps we need to swaddle him more firmly or use a woombi

Heating the bed with a hot water bottle - seems to make a little difference but he still wakes up

Leaving a t shirt of mine in smelling distance of him

Settling him in the sling- he sleeps in it but it is essentially the same as me holding him

I'm not a massive fan of co-sleeping and would like to avoid that.

I really don't like the idea of leaving him to cry and settle himself back to sleep when he wakes, but i need my arms! I would really appreciate any tips you might have for settling babies.


plummyjam Tue 30-Apr-13 11:33:50

Mine was same, would happily fall asleep on me but hated Moses basket, she would sense it as soon as her head hit the mattress. At night she would sleep in the double bed in the spare room with me (DH in our bedroom). I'd feed her lying down then usually pull her out of the way so I didn't roll on her.

She then developed reflux so from about 7 weeks I had to start putting her in a basket with the head tilted up next to the bed. She took to it straight away (it had been weeks since we'd tried her in it) and now sleeps happily in it every night. I was amazed! She sleeps in a gro bag.

I think this is a really common problem with little babies - just google baby won't sleep in cot/basket and see how many hits you get! Sounds like you are trying all the right things, I think they just reach a developmental age where they don't need to be right next to you to sleep. 4 weeks is still really tiny. I'm sure things will improve over the next few weeks.

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 11:36:41

He's only 4 weeks old- he's a tiny baby animal doing what tiny baby animals do. Please don't even think about leaving him to cry.

Just go with it- he will be a different person in two weeks.

Think of it as natures way of telling you you need to spend the day lying on the sofa watching TV or reading books.

GladbagsGold Tue 30-Apr-13 11:38:59

Your son needs your arms more than you do right now smile Just hold him and enjoy his tiny little loveliness. He will separate from you as he gets older, but right now he needs you.

plummyjam Tue 30-Apr-13 11:39:28

Also a dummy was brill at keeping DD in the sleepy zone after she'd fallen asleep on the boob and I think that helped. It meant I could transfer her onto a pillow next to me, the bouncer or the basket without her waking up. She wouldn't really take it before 6 weeks - probably a good thing as that was when feeding was really well established - and she doesn't always need it now but it's another useful trick to have up your sleeve.

I wasn't keen on the idea at first but it makes her happy and I get more sleep so it's got to be a winner!

Kubalai Tue 30-Apr-13 11:42:00

Just cuddle him or use a sling - this won't last forever.

Look up safe co sleeping, I had no plans to co sleep but I wasn't prepared to leave a tiny baby to cry so changed my mind and it worked well. Dd2 is now 1 and settles and sleeps through in her own bed no problems.

A Moby wrap during the day saved my sanity.

TotesAmazeGoats Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:44

It may be controversial but have you tried him on his front? The week after DD was born was horrific as she just would not sleep anywhere but on my chest. (cue insane neck ache all night from half sitting up half lying down!)
My mum and mil both said it try her in her front, I was a bit hmm as a ftm, but they were just as shocked that "these days" babies are told to be put on their backs.
We gave it a go and she slept almost instantly, it was also easier to lie her down on her front as every time we put her on her back, her arms would fly out and she would wake up!
If your LO has good strong head control it could be worth giving it a go?

I also find the shhhhpat method for getting them to drift off much easier, who doesn't love having their back rubbed!

TotesAmazeGoats Tue 30-Apr-13 14:39:07

Oh and definitely get a sling. A Mei tai will see you from newborn right to toddler, they are fab.

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 15:21:40

"It may be controversial but have you tried him on his front?"

It's not controversial, it's dangerous.

OP- please don't let your baby sleep on his front.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 30-Apr-13 15:29:43

My DD2 was like this. I co-slept and would gradually roll down until she was on mattress on my arm, but I could at least lie down. Then gradually I removed the arm. By 6 weeks she was sleeping happily next to me. By 2 months she was in the co-sleeper, by 5 months in her own room. They do change very rapidly at this age.

Also, I gather bouncy slings/pouches are amazing for babies like this - all my very hippy Aussie mummy friends swear by them. Will try and find a link.

This is very useful:

phantomhairpuller Tue 30-Apr-13 15:30:19

Letting your baby sleep on his front is not dangerous!! It was what was advised years ago, hardly likely if it was in fact dangerous confused it may not be what is advised now but advice is just that. ADVICE. Worked for me and plenty of others I know. From about 6 weeks it should not be a problem.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 30-Apr-13 15:33:19

Ah, here we go:

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 15:39:00

Sleeping on their front used to be advised- before they realised that it was a significant contribution to SIDS.

The rate of SIDS dropped by 50% after the campaign to put them to sleep on their backs.

hellohellohihi Tue 30-Apr-13 15:40:06

Enjoy the snuggles. He will change. He won't always want to fall asleep on you but while he does enjoy every moment.

My 16mo only sleeps on me when she's poorly. I miss her little body nuzzling into mine.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 30-Apr-13 15:42:19

I didn't enjoy being slept on I must say.

I can't sleep unless I'm cool and absolutely lying down so I found it very stressful and exhausting. If you're like me, do check the link and hammocks.

If you're ok with it but worrying it's creating a 'bad habit' - do not give it another thought and enjoy it like people say.

oinkment Tue 30-Apr-13 15:44:53

Enjoy it smile

batteryhen Tue 30-Apr-13 15:49:22

I used to put DS in his Moses basket and then literally put my head in with him, kissing his face and singing to him until he had settled. I also had a moby wrap too. I know people say just lay abAarout with him but however lovely that is, it's very impractical too! My DP works away during the week so I couldn't just lay around as nothing would get done!
I do agree though that babies change so quickly so before you know it this challenge will be over and it will be on to the next!

Meringue33 Tue 30-Apr-13 16:32:19

Feed on a muslin then lift muslin with baby into basket?
Push in pram?

iloveholidays Tue 30-Apr-13 20:19:59

My DDs always fought being swaddled until they fell asleep like it, then they'd go down fine. If I put them down without being swaddled they wouldn't sleep.

hellohellohihi Tue 30-Apr-13 22:00:18

Ahh yes, somehow I forgot about pushing DD round town in the pram for hours on end getting her to sleep!

He might just, being so little, want to be close to you.

Kafri Wed 01-May-13 02:27:45

ds slept (upright due to reflux) on myself and dh for the first 9 weeks. he would just wake the minute we put him down.
now at 4m he sleeps in his cot though will only sleep on his tummy. We're just entering sleep regression with him.

I had people telling me i was making a rod for my own back every single day but i chose to ignore them and went with the idea that if he needed to sleep on us then that's what he needed. he did grow out of it but i look back fondly on those early days as they only happen once.

it can be difficult especially if, like me, you're used to cracking on with things in the house but I quickly learned to just enjoy watching him sleep and fill the dishwasher later.

Radiator1234 Wed 01-May-13 03:31:11

On the swaddling front have you tried wrapping really really tight and putting the dummy in? That usually works for us.

Celia1978 Wed 01-May-13 10:53:06

When I was going through this (it does end!) I also thought DD didn't like being swaddled. But as previous poster said, it was just being put in the swaddle she objected to. Once she was asleep she slept so much better. So now (8 weeks) I put her in the swaddle (the SwaddleMe wraps are good), feed her until she drops off, hold her to make sure she's really asleep (20 mins or so) then put her in the crib. She sleeps really well like that.

StormyBrid Wed 01-May-13 11:01:28

Swaddling - the flailing of the arms drove us demented because the tireder DD got the more uncontrolled and jerky her arm movements got. Swaddled her anyway and she pretty soon calmed down. She's far too good at escaping it now so we got a woombie thing. It's perfect, once she's in there. Would definitely recommend trying one.

Dummy can be a godsend too. DD cries because she's tired. Stick a dummy in her mouth and it gets in the way of the crying. She sucks it happily and it keeps her distracted until sleep overtakes her (which usually only takes a few minutes).

Rebecca75 Wed 01-May-13 20:19:40

Great thread, I have the same problem with my 3 week old. It wouldn't be so much of an issue if I didn't have a toddler to look after full time too. My dad will happily sleep in her bouncer or sling during the day but come bed time she wants to be glued to me. She also has a blocked nose so can't breathe if she's laid flat. I've tried books under co-sleeper etc etc but she's still on my shoulder....

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