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Please help- my baby will only sleep in my arms during the day

(24 Posts)
Joan1977 Tue 04-Aug-15 09:00:23


I'm a first time older Mum, I have no family nearby and was a bit clueless about childcare- I thought love and instinct was all you needed...

My baby was in NICU after delivery and couldn't breast feed. I was told to feed on demand by the HV. She had horrendous reflux and would scream after feeding and only drink 1fl oz at a time- I just fed and soothed her all day. Because she was so upset I would rock her to sleep. At first she would sleep in her cooconababy mattress no prob- but that then changed ... I don't even know when. So I have never had any hands free time during the day. She screamed if put in her pram so would only settle in her sling- it killed my back.

Things got better when I put her on comfort milk- it was so much easier for her to digest than the normal Aptimil. She can now drain a bottle - but usually has 3floz at a time.

Now in the past week I have been successful in getting her into a buggy as it's more upright. She will sleep in the pram if I take her for a walk! Some progress.

The problem is that she will only sleep in a moving pram for 30-40mins. Once it's still she wakes.

She will only sleep in the car seat for motorway trips- she'll cry after 10mins if it's driving in start stop traffic.

She won't go in her cot for a nap - she will scream till she vomits.

She is 13 weeks old and still sleeps a lot during the day. She only sleeps after a feed so has a bottle rather than self soothing to sleep- I don't mind about that

The irony is that she sleeps ok at night in her cot. She wakes at 2/3 , has a feed and goes back to sleep no problem

I am desperate for her to nap in a pram/crib/ glider during the day so I can make myself lunch or the evening meal !

It doesn't seem to make any difference how much milk she has. I can put her in the pram awake, push her around the kitchen to sleep but once I stop she is awake in 5 mins and bright eyed alert! She will also nod off in her bouncer if you're gently bouncing it but wakes in 5 mins when you stop. Basically she won't go and stay asleep unless in my arms or being pushed/bounced.

She will happily sleep in my arms for 2 hours at a time- meaning Im pinned on the sofa.

Sorry for the long post- desperate for advice that doesn't include leaving her to cry.

Thank you xx

lilac3033 Tue 04-Aug-15 09:05:24

Have you tried baby wearing? A sling made all the difference to me! It keeps DD close but allows you freedom of movement.

Singsongsung Tue 04-Aug-15 09:07:04

My advice? Sit back, put your feet up and cuddle her. She'll be all grown up before you know it. Enjoy the cuddles and sod the housework etc

BifsWif Tue 04-Aug-15 09:09:42

I feel your pain, my DD is 11 weeks old and the same. Ive found that putting her in her cot and sitting with her holding her hand or stroking her face works. It can take a while though!

Like your baby, she sleeps well at night! This is my second baby and I remember having the same problem with my first. They're still so little, they need lots of comfort and cuddles from mum. I remember feeling like it would never end, but it does!

Do you have medication for the reflux? Is baby happier on you because she's upright? I know if I try to lie my daughter down within 30 minutes of a feed she screams because the reflux hurts her.

beckworth Tue 04-Aug-15 09:14:18

You said you tried a sling, and it killed your back, but where did you get it from and what sort was it? I was amazed when a friend persuaded me to try an ergonomic sling instead of the baby Bjorn I'd borrowed, it was so comfy and supportive! A local sling library could lend you one for hardly anything (often around £5 a month) to try out, whereabouts are you in the country, I might be able to help? Honestly, people comfortably carry toddlers in slings, unless you have a back injury or similar I promise you you will be able to find something that doesn't hurt your back.

I only really started using a sling properly when my baby was around 6 months, and honestly, I so wish I'd used one more in the early days, I'd have got so much more done and watched a lot less daytime TV! I had doubts about it because I thought it might make the problem worse and make him more clingy, but that just isn't the case with the babies I know who are carried in slings, and at the end of the day it's just so much more practical. It's way more pleasant preparing dinner with baby on my back in a sling than listening to him whine in the high chair and having to keep try to distract.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 04-Aug-15 09:19:24

Have you tried feeding her in a baby chair, rather than your arms. Shes upright, so wind comes up, but reflux stays down. And stop rocking her, it just makes it harder.

53rdAndBird Tue 04-Aug-15 09:29:28

Mine was like this. I tried everything and nothing worked - I was so so jealous of all my NCT friends with their pram- and cot-napping babies.

We got a bouncy chair which helped a bit. She never napped in it, and she wouldn't be put in it for longer than ten minutes anyway, but at least I got those ten minutes to make a sandwich.

A good sling also saved my sanity. We had a Moby wrap in the early days, and then an Ergo after that. If yours hurts your back I really suggest trying others until you find one that doesn't - it was life- changing to not be pinned down on the sofa with her all the time.

Mostly though, I think I just had to accept that I did not have the kind of baby who would peacefully sleep in a Moses basket for a few hours during the day. It was maddening, and it was baffling to me (but that's what babies do! - yeah, not mine apparently), but it was what it was and my life got less stressful once I stopped spending literally hours of every day trying to get her to sleep on her own.

53rdAndBird Tue 04-Aug-15 09:33:27

Oh, wait, she naps in a bouncy chair? Get one that automatically bounces her! Costs a bit more but totally worth it if she'll do that.

Branleuse Tue 04-Aug-15 09:35:44

i would get a sling, and stop fighting it

Christelle2207 Tue 04-Aug-15 09:46:46

Hi op
Mine is 10w and the same. And my first child was the same too.
At about 3 months ish it does start getting better, I began being able to persuade my ds to go down for 40minute stints. Eventually he was napping for 90m twice a day!
Try and go with the flow for now and as others have said, try different slings. I must have tried about 8 or 9 different ones and now have a Connecta, expensive but worth it

Purpleboa Tue 04-Aug-15 10:26:41

Poor you. That must be so frustrating. Before I had my DD, my friend told me how frustrated she was that her DD would not nap during the day. At the time I didn't really get how bad that was...but I do now! My LO does nap, but much less than she did. It can be very difficult, especially when I've put her down, started to do something...and...crying starts! She's particularly grizzly in the morning, bless her.

I appreciate the advice about sod the housework, enjoy this cuddle time etc. But it's things like making a meal, having a shower - all of which I find to be essential to my sanity and physical wellbeing!

Some advice that I've read here that worked for me. The sling - lots of choices out there. My mum and baby group has a sling library where you get to try different ones - might be worth looking into? I have a close caboo which I'm still getting used to. Works very well for getting some stuff done like making lunch (as long as you don't mind dropping crumbs on baby's head!) I also like the idea of making a packed lunch and having your snacks for the day ready and to hand. More complicated meals will just have to wait for now.

Most importantly, remember that this is just a phase and it will pass. I keep on reminding myself of that! And if you're giving your baby plenty of cuddles, then you're getting it right smile

Singsongsung Tue 04-Aug-15 10:57:24

Of course you are. In the early days I just used to plan ahead- have a shower before dh went to work so he was around, sometimes he'd make me a packed lunch so I could eat while she slept on my knee!! My baby is 11 months and in all honesty still sleeps better and for longer on my knee than in her cot!

Joan1977 Tue 04-Aug-15 11:21:05

Dear All

Thanks so much for the responses - I suppose I have been feeling like I've failed because I don't have a sleeper baby and that unless I'm really strict with her Mary Poppins style I'm doing it all wrong. I worried that I've over compensated because she was an IVF baby who was ill on delivery- I worried she would feel abandoned if I didn't respond

I suppose I just need to love my little Velcro baby as she is and stick with the sling option. We do have a sling library nearby so will go there- I have an ergo baby sling and baby bijorn. I can't get into the ergo baby sling on my own as I can't do up the back straps. Also in the summer babe gets really hot in there!

I feel better about just going with the flow a bit more and knowing hopefully she'll settle more with age - she does improve each week

Thank you again - it's lovely to have responses - I feel less alone with it. All my friends have little perfect baby routines and it makes me feel inadequate x

Singsongsung Tue 04-Aug-15 11:26:46

Take it as a compliment- your baby loves you and wants to be with you

Nolim Tue 04-Aug-15 11:35:14

All my friends have little perfect baby routines

I dont know any body with a perfect baby routine, i honestly think it is an urban myth.

Andcake Tue 04-Aug-15 11:35:25

A wrap sling just for in the house and before she falls asleep on you make sure you pee, set up snacks and get the TV on.
Pre plan lunch etc Dp used to leave this out for me - although bags of twiglet's became my friend.
Enjoy the cuddles my 3 yr old manic ds was a Velcro baby and I miss it a bit.

beckworth Tue 04-Aug-15 13:19:57

The ergo's great but yeah, I'd struggle with the back strap. The sling library will have similar styles but which you can cross the straps at the back, which is much easier to get on yourself. There are lighter ones as well, better for summer. Honestly, there are so many different styles, I had no idea - and some of them are so pretty! Like I said, I regret not using one sooner - but I also secretly miss the relaxing on the sofa in front of the TV. Hated it at the time, I felt so trapped, but seriously, make the most of it!!

MummySparkle Tue 04-Aug-15 14:09:37

Re th back straps on the ergo, I used to do the back straps up at waist height behind me, then put my arms in the shoulder straps and clip everything else before putting baby in. I'm not 100% sure how the straps work on an ergo, but it's worth a try. The baby bjorn will kill your back after a while. Definitely get yourself to a sling meet if you can.

My DD was a Velcro baby. She still is at 14mobths, but she is wonderful. It's been hard work, but it's so nice to know that she wants and needs me even if I'd like some time off every now and then now she is walking it's getting better smile

Purpleboa Tue 04-Aug-15 15:11:53

I get the 'perfect baby routine' thing. I went to a first time mums group and it seemed everyone had a good little sleeper - apart from me! Like you, I was worried I was doing something wrong. But every baby is different. And things can change overnight - so today's good sleeper might be tomorrow's insomniac!

Piazzapiola Tue 04-Aug-15 15:43:57

My DS2 is 9 months and only naps in the sling. I think people are being very supportive but it sometimes makes me want to scream when people say, "oh just be accept it and enjoy it, they grow up so fast". Yes that's true . It's also true that I haven't had a break from my baby in 9mo. Not a single night or nap where I've not been in contact with him. It's bloody hard work and you have my sympathy.

Thurlow Tue 04-Aug-15 16:01:07

Sometimes you have to admit defeat on some things. I went crazy trying to get DD to nap anywhere but on me or in her pram, and it never worked. All that worked was me accepting this was how it was and settling down with a good book or a TV series and enjoying the rest - but that is a state of mind, you've got to accept that is what you're doing all day.

You may find that soon she will have slightly longer naps on her own, or will let you carefully put her down once she is asleep. Then you can juggle between shorter naps on her own, and a longer nap where she is on you or in the pushchair.

IHeartKingThistle Tue 04-Aug-15 16:14:25

Just be careful with the rocking - you won't be able to do it when she's massive and heavy!

dietcokeisgreat Wed 05-Aug-15 16:23:43

I feel your pain - ds1 was like this until 3mo then refused to nap at all in the daytime until started nursery at 9mo. Would scream incessently if put in swing, cot, bumbo etc. Highly recommend ergobaby sling - comfy lifesaver.

Fishwives Wed 05-Aug-15 16:31:53

Honestly, this will pass, OP. Go with it and don't worry for the moment, unless it's causing you serious problems. I had the same thing with DS as a baby, and worried desperately about it because I was so panicked by motherhood, and having an alert, irritable, unsettled baby compared to the placid cherubs at my NCT group.

Yes, it is definitely work, and can be frustrating if you just want to slope off and do something else during a nap, but you might be surprised by how quickly the status quo changes when your baby is that small and alters daily. Often, in my experience, something happens accidentally to show different possibilities. In our case, DS started at a childminder at ten months, and she had him napping in a reclined pushchair within days, and we replicated the environment.

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