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Trying to settle 4 week old in crib or basket

(27 Posts)
Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 09:42:35

Hi everyone, I'm desperate for some help with my 4 week old boy's sleep habits. I appreciate that he is still very young but am terrified of sids and introducing bad habits. Up until last week he was breastfed, and would fall asleep in my arms during the day and on the bed while being fed lying down at night. In all cases, he then would wake up if we moved him, so I would hold him during the day and cosleep at night, with him lying on his side (he would wake or curl up and resist if I tried to get him on his back). From this weekend, he has been on formula due to issues with breastfeeding latch and tongue tie. He is much happier and fuller on formula and sleeps more during the day, so it was the right decision for us. However, sleeping is now an even bigger issue, because he can't be fed to sleep due to being held fairly upright and needing to be winded (he has issues with trapped wind and we are using infacol). So now, he only falls asleep while being held upright on our chests whole we are sitting or lying. I can usually transfer him onto his back and onto my lap after 20 minutes or so, but putting him down in the crib in the bedroom or the moses basket in the lounge is still impossible, he wakes up every time. He has twice let me transfer him to the bed and has slept for 2 x 4 hour blocks on the bed between us like he used to when bf, but the other times I have had lie down with him on my chest (and him on his front). Him sleeping on his front terrifies me even more than he slept on his side, as does the fact that I fall asleep that way with him on top of me.

The problem is that he is such a light sleeper and wants to be held all the time. The health visitor just says to keep trying to settle him in the crib or basket. We have tried white noise, rolled up towel around him, my shirt in there with my smell, hot water bottle to warm sheet, feeding him on muslin and lowering him in with that so that it is warm and smells of me...

I would be so grateful for any other suggestions!

I know people like the sleepyhead but as the rolled up towel isn't working I don't think that will either. Am considering a bedside crib, but I want to see if we'll be able to wean him off sleeping on us first.

Thank you smile

Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 09:45:14

Forgot to say that we have also tried putting him down awake and shush patting (he doesnt fall asleep) and leaving him for a little while if he cries (he doesn't self settle, I don't want to leave him for long as he is so young)

PurpleRibbons Wed 27-Apr-16 09:50:00

This isn't what you want to hear but my DD was like that for months, in the daytime especially. I got very frustrated with the lack of napping as I felt like I couldn't do any housework, cooking etc. I eventually gave up and let her sleep on my lap while I read a book or watched tv.
4 weeks is very young, I think your hv is right, you'll get there in the end. DD suddenly started to settle for naps no problem at about 8 months.

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Apr-16 09:59:01

Just to add - if he moves onto his side on his own, that is fine. You need to put him on his back, but what he does after that is not a problem.

dakin1 Wed 27-Apr-16 10:18:00

Using a sleep nest may help. We had a PurFlo nest that's cheaper than the sleepyhead and DD settled really well in in. I have also heard the cocoonababy is good. The nest really helped her transition from co-sleeping to cot.

dakin1 Wed 27-Apr-16 10:18:06

Using a sleep nest may help. We had a PurFlo nest that's cheaper than the sleepyhead and DD settled really well in in. I have also heard the cocoonababy is good. The nest really helped her transition from co-sleeping to cot.

lalath Wed 27-Apr-16 10:22:51

DD (9 weeks is the same) - will only sleep on me. For naps during the day I use a sling, so have arms free and can get on with doing stuff. Being upright in a sling also helps with wind.

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Apr-16 10:23:37

Have you got a swing/bouncer for during the day?

jusdepamplemousse Wed 27-Apr-16 11:18:30

Oh it's so tough. They just want to be close!

Perhaps a wrap sling for during the day? Let you get on with things?

Have you tried a dummy for letting him settle himself easier? I know they aren't for everyone but they help DD settle in her crib or basket when she's super fussy. They also reduce SIDS risk generally. She only takes it when she wants it, but always takes it when tired and grouchy. I only offer it when I know she is definitely full but as you are doing bottles this shouldn't be an issue?

Also, swaddling is great. You can get stretchy 'easy swaddles' which are really handy, or just use a big muslin. There are tonnes of YouTube videos.

Good luck!

Coconut0il Wed 27-Apr-16 11:28:22

DS2 is 8 months and has had almost all his naps on me. I have co slept at night since day 1. During the day he would sleep in a bouncy chair as long as we kept bouncing it or in his carrycot if we pushed it back and forth.
Please don't worry about bad habits, 4 weeks old is so young. Sleepy but awake has never worked here. DS1 just grew out of feeding to sleep and I'm sure DS2 will too. For now do whatever gets you the most sleep.

BreakHerOffAKitKat Wed 27-Apr-16 11:40:58

I had a similar problem with my DD until the health visitor suggested warming the basket with a hot water bottle before I put her in it, raising the mattress slightly at the head end (I put a rolled up blanket underneath) and putting an item of my recently worn clothing in the basket

Babies want to be close to us so the warmth and smell in the basket makes them feel more secure and the tilted mattress helps with reflux

It's worked wonders for me so worth a shot!

Good luck smile

CutYourHairAndGetAJob Wed 27-Apr-16 11:48:53

Can you still bf at night? If so you could still co sleep and just do bottles in the day.

cakeycakeface Wed 27-Apr-16 12:45:25

I suggest you do whatever works for you and only think about habits at around 4mo. Swaddling helped us with DS, and so did warming the Moses basket with a hot water bottle before putting him in it (do check its just body temp warm though). You could also try using a t-shirt you've worn as a sheet, although that didn't work for us. It is very hard in those early days, but it does get better. Good luck.

Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:17:38

Thanks for the responses. He doesnt fall asleep on his back st the moment, mych prefers to be upright or on his front, and putting him on his back in thE crib and basked is i su spect part of what wakes him up.

I have been thinking about a nest but not sure if it will work when a rolled up towel doesn't, but can see that it might make transition from bed to crib easier if he does take to it.

Tried the NCT caboo carrier but he hated it because his head was trapped in the wrap. Need to find a carrier that will allow him to turn his head left and right. Also the midwife advised us against leaving him in a sling for naps and to always take him out and onto his back?

My SIL has offered to buy a bouncer as a gift but hasn't come through on that yet, and I don't want to prod her, seeing as it is a gift. But that could be an option.

We introduced a dummy along with the bottle, it has helped soothe him generally but he won't be soothed to sleep by it. But he did lie in the crib with the dummy while awake and calm for 30 min this morning, which is an improvement.

Unfortunately have tried warming basket, worn clothing and raising basket with no success. Have tried loose or lower half swaddling, he likes to have his hands up and by his head, so constraining them tends to annoy him. Also hasn't worked sadly.

I've chosen to give up breastfeeding completely and am just expressing a little to alleviate pain and reduce supply slowly. He wasnt getting enough to satisfy hI'm and i dont have time tO express enough to feed him and hold him all day. He really is a much happier baby on formula. Also, I really never wanted to cosleep to begin with and don't want it to be a long term solution.

I know I shouldn't worry so much about it - am on antidepressants because of my anxiety since the birth - but it's so difficult, not just because of lack of sleep but also the fear that I am being irresponsible and will lose him to sids. Thank you to those who said that their DCs grew out of it, though I'm sure that you appreciate that 8 months of age seems a lifetime away right now! (Forgot to say that I'm a ftm in case that wasn't obvious!)

Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:29:55

I should clarify that I feel I'm bring irresponsible because of him sleeping on his front (and previously on his side), not the fact that I'm holding him all the time or cosleeping (though they are not ideal)

whatlifestylechoice Wed 27-Apr-16 13:33:29

I sympathize. My Dd is the same age and won't sleep in her bedside crib either. She sleeps fine in her basket during the day, but at night will only sleep if I feed her to sleep lying down. I'm also terrified of SIDS as she's on her side, and also that I'll roll on top of her.
So I've obviously no advice, but just wanted to give you a hug and tell you you're not alone.

CutYourHairAndGetAJob Wed 27-Apr-16 15:08:11

Did your midwife say why you shouldn't let him nap in the sling? Ds takes almost all.of his naps in the sling and I have never been told not to do this, provided it is a proper supportive one like the caboo. Do you have a sling library near you? They may be able to advise you on other slings you could try.

If it makes you feel any better, ds only sleeps on his side too.

Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 16:06:39

cutyourhair - no the mw didn't say why, I assume because they should in theory always be sleeping on their backs? I haven't looked into a sling library, the mw did suggest that too, thanks.

And thank you, that does make me feel better!

Leicfox1 Wed 27-Apr-16 21:03:16

whatlifestylechoice - thank you, hugs to you too. It's the constant worrying every day and night that I hate!

Coconut0il Wed 27-Apr-16 21:12:12

Definitely get a bouncer. We bought a fancy all singing, vibrating, white noise playing thing and DS2 would never settle in it. My mom got me a standard simple bouncer for £5 at a charity shop and it was brilliant.
DS2 likes to sleep on his tummy. When he was younger I would let him while I was awake and then try to gently roll him when I was going to sleep. Sometimes this would work but not always.

JuxtapositionRecords Wed 27-Apr-16 21:19:00

How about a swing? Babies like the movement.

The sling comment is weird, never heard that before and no idea why they shouldn't sleep in one! I liked the Ergo. Do you have a sling library near you? Worth investigating and then you can try some out.

JuxtapositionRecords Wed 27-Apr-16 21:19:43

Oops sorry seen sling library has already been mentioned

Cosmiccreepers203 Mon 02-May-16 16:32:40

Did is 8 weeks old and a crap sleeper, so I feel your pain. By far the best resource I've found on baby sleeping is the Precious Little Sleep website. Dd has to be swaddled, rocked and be in a loud environment to get to sleep. It is a total pain. However, she turned a corner at 6 weeks and has gotten a little better. She's sleeping more at night but still not great during the day.

You can also buy a swaddle that lets them have their arms out. I think Gro do a zip swaddle with arm holes. There's also the Love to Dream swaddle that lets them hold their arms up. Might be of use to you. We found successful swaddling really made a difference to night sleep and afternoon naps.

Good Luck!

Cantstopsmiling37 Mon 02-May-16 18:29:34

I second (or third/fourth/whatever) swaddling! My 3 week old is also a big fan of sleeping on our chests! I think this and sleeping in the sling are fine as long as you are awake at the time. Obviously, this is impossible to maintain all night so you need and want a solution for this time. Co-sleeping is fine if you can sleep too and doesn't need to be permanent. But if you want your space to sleep then I really recommend trying again with swaddling.
All 3 of my children including latest one woke up when laid in crib unless we swaddled them as they would jerk awake. We tried the other things previous posters suggested and had some success with white noise for DD1 and my T-shirt in crib for DS but swaddling only thing that worked consistently for all 3.
Napping we did in pram, car or on our chests/sling. The older two managed to figure out how to nap in cots without much effort from us before they started nursery at 6months. They also both self settled in cots for night time sleep from 8weeks (with swaddle up to about 3 months) and continue to do so now at 2 and 4yrs old. So please don't worry about bad habits - I did with DD1 and then learnt that 'do whatever works for now' really is the best approach.
Congrats on your wee squidgy baby BTW!!

Leicfox1 Tue 03-May-16 18:19:43

Thanks everyone for the tips. An update: we bought a sleepyhead and have been using it for three days with some mixed but promising results during the day and night. He still needs to fall asleep on our chests, but if he is a deep enough sleep we can drop him into the bed nest and he will stay asleep. He has aslo spent some time in there awake with or without his dummy and seems ok. Startling awake is still a problem, and I'm trying the half swaddle again, which has worked 1 out of 3 times, so I will persevere. Will also look into a bouncer and sling. Thanks again!

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