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Newborn won't sleep at all at night

(19 Posts)
Lovingtyrells Sun 08-Oct-17 09:08:52

Hi all,

My son is 4.5 weeks and won't sleep at night at all. It's like he wants to be held to sleep. I do nappy if heavy or poo, feed where he falls asleep and then when I go to put him down he starts fussing and then cries after 3mins. I pick up and try put down but he won't have it. He then goes to sleep about 7.30am! But during the day he will let me put him down to sleep.

Is there anything I can do ???? Not expecting him to sleep a lot at this age but atleast 2hours at night maybe ?

I tried playing a lot in the day and also a lot of naps in case over tierd and nothing works. Have tried swaddling no chance and he sleeps in sleepyhead.

imjessie Sun 08-Oct-17 09:30:33

It’s unpopular on here but the Gina Ford routines helped me with my babies who came nocturnal . Within weeks they were sleeping through the night ( both at 12 weeks old ) .. it’s worth a read .

cushioncovers Sun 08-Oct-17 11:11:53

My second child was like this. He was awake all night and slept all day it was absolutely exhausting. He eventually got his clock in line with ours after about 8/9 weeks, we had to wake him in the day for feeds and try to keep him awake for as long as we could and so but by bit he was fuller and more awake during the day and slept longer at night. The trouble with them sleeping all day is then they wake up early evening hungry and then spend 6-8 hours feeding. It will change just hang on in there. Congratulations on your baby x

FATEdestiny Sun 08-Oct-17 11:22:06


The tools for helping put baby down to sleep are:

Plentiful calories

Hunger, either discrete immediately before a feed is due or low level whereby total calorie intake over 24h is less than baby wants, is always going to give you a clingy baby who wants to be held. It is not that all babies who like to be held are hungry, but you wont get an easy-to-put-down baby who is hungry.


The natural, newnorn sucking reflexes is soothing and calming for a baby. It is why most networks will fall asleep when feeding. The dummy is the simplest and easiest no-crying sleep tool


In the newborn phase, in particular the first few weeks, babies are soothed by recreating womb-like conditions. In the womb baby was cramped tightly into a small space and fully enclosed on all sides. This is the feeling that the swaddle taps into - tight, enclosed, secure.

Keep the swaddle right around arms and shoulders, loose around legs and hips. A baby fighting against a swaddle probably needs one more, because once enclosed (and with a dummy) baby can start calming down and soothing.

Plentiful Sleep

Good sleep promotes better sleep. Poor sleep results in even worse quality sleep and so you get into an over tired cycle.

In this early newborn stage, baby should mostly sleep all the time. Over 24 hours a day. Many parents are surprised how much sleep a newborn needs and don't realise that my 'entertaining' their newborn they are creating an over tired cycle. At 4-6 weeks old baby should literally just wake, feed, have maybe 10-20 minutes floor time and then straight back to sleep. Throughout the day baby should be awake no more than 1h at a time, in the range of 30-45m awake time is ideal, including a feed. During the night, just feed and straight back to getting to sleep. The only time baby might be awake for longer is the evening clusterfeeding marathon that breastfeeders often do.

If baby is over tired, it's not the end of the world. But does require you to notice tgat that she is and put in significantly more effort and focus to get baby more sleep in order to get out of the downwards spiral with sleep.


This is an added extra-help way to get baby sleeping. Easy hands-off ways to allow for movement to sleep is the bouncy chair. I use the bouncer for all daytime naps. If baby goes to slerp easily in the cot, great. If not, try a bouncer.

Another obvious way to allow for movement to sooth to sleep is rocking baby in your arms. The problem with this is that baby doesn't go to sleep where he stays asleep (ie goes to sleep in your arms, then stays asleep in the cot). It's really not a problem to rock a tiny newborn like yours to sleep. But as you head towards 4 months, an approach that allows baby to go to sleep where they stay asleep (with movement if needed) is most helpful.

Your Presence

Another factor of recreating womb-like conditions for comfort. Baby is used to feeling you, hearing you, touching you, seeing you, always being with you. Your physical presence is in itself a comfort.

So touch is important. I got baby used to feeling my hands on her chest when she went to sleep, so she knew I was there. I also knew the benefit of my head hear baby's as she goes to sleep - to hear me breathing in her ear, feel my breath on her cheek, smell my smell close to her.

Some other parents choose to cosleep or cuddle to sleep in order to give baby this reassurance. That's fine, it's not the only way to ensure baby is comforted by your presence though. Committing to giving baby your time and focused attention when going to sleep helps, rather than assuming it's a passive thing whereby you should be putting baby down and leaving.

imjessie Sun 08-Oct-17 12:37:32

That’s basically the principle of gf. Keep them awake and get as much food in them in the day as poss . Make bedtime 7 and feed them in their room between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am . It worked for both f my very different children .

Lovingtyrells Sun 08-Oct-17 20:29:02

Have been trying to keep awake and feed a lot past few days in daytime but he springs awake every night 7pm and is so active sad

imjessie Sun 08-Oct-17 22:28:10

You just have to keep trying , shift a little every day . It will get easier as he is able to stay awake for longer periods . Def look at the book though as I had no clue when I had my dd and a few weeks she was on the right timeline . Of course there will be people saying leave them to it and they will sort themselves out but I wasn’t prepared to take that risk and wanted her on the same time as us . It really wasn’t that difficult once I got into it .

RedPandaMama Sun 08-Oct-17 22:33:35

My daughter is 8 weeks now. Only now is she happy to sleep alone- and still only during the day. Have you considered co-sleeping? I didn't want to do it but it's actually been such a great thing for us. I feel extremely bonded with her, and I'm EBF and can do that laid down in bed with her. She now goes to sleep by 11 and only wakes up at 4.30 and 7.00 for a feed - we usually stay in bed until 9 so get loads of sleep. X

JustPutSomeGlitterOnIt Sun 08-Oct-17 22:36:38

Oh darling :/ damn babies. Have / would you try a dummy?

Lovingtyrells Sun 08-Oct-17 22:50:58

Considering co sleep but a bit worried, I fell asleep once with him on me and woke up in a panic. I'm not keen on a dummy but willing to try it maybe at 8 weeks

Lovingtyrells Sun 08-Oct-17 22:51:45

I do try to let him self settle but he cries loads nothing soothes other than BF

QuackDuckQuack Sun 08-Oct-17 22:56:03

We coslept because I thought it would be safer to plan to cosleep than accidentally fall asleep with my DDs in an uncontrolled manner.

MagnumAddict Sun 08-Oct-17 23:01:14

Far better to research co-sleeping safely and creating the best environment possible than doing it accidentally through exhaustion.

I ebf, don't smoke, drink or take drugs and ensure no pillows or covers are near the baby. Dh has also been removed from the bed (he's probably secretly delighted!)

In these conditions I am happy that I making the best decision for me. Apart from two wake ups in the night I get plenty of rest with my baby which was not the case first time round as I resisted co sleeping through fear.

Appreciate its not for everyone and it's not something I necessarily promote to others but your situation sounded so similar to mine.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Sleep deprivation is tough!!

imjessie Sun 08-Oct-17 23:10:25

Have you tried music , mine always went to sleep with music . Scout / violet toys are great . Teaching babies to self soothe is tricky but certainly helps .

SpaceDinosaur Sun 08-Oct-17 23:17:04

At 4.5 weeks my lovely your baby is 10000% normal.

If you're boobing then this is most likely clusterfeeding to increase your supply. There's a big growth spurt on the horizon.

Look into "the fourth trimester" as most babies are exactly the same as this. Not wanting to be put down is perfectly normal. Being held is calming, reassuring, helps them to regulate their breathing.

At this stage my husband and I tag teamed. I nursed her to sleep, he held her and watched a box set whilst I slept. She woke and we switched.

It passes. I promise.

Also. Babies are NOT supposed to sleep through. x

FATEdestiny Mon 09-Oct-17 09:21:09

Are you breastfeeding?

Evening clusterfeeding is normal.

Try settling yourself on the sofa when baby "springs awake" early evening. Noobs out and plan to not move for several hours. Just let baby feed and size at the breast on and off continually.

Lovingtyrells Mon 09-Oct-17 10:15:19

Yes breast feeding. I'm thinking maybe he has reflux? Seems really uncomfortable when put down but fast asleep when on me or held upright.

Tried music etc too. He didn't sleep at all last night except when held which I did for a bit as was worried he would be too tierd. Fed about 6 times.

imjessie Mon 09-Oct-17 10:38:31

Try raising the cot up at one end ( put books under the top two legs ) if it’s reflux this is a more comfortable position for them . You could also try a reflux wedge . It’s worth asking the doctors though as they can help . My son had severe reflux and still slept through 7-7at 12 weeks so it’s possible .

FATEdestiny Mon 09-Oct-17 11:18:30

I'm thinking maybe he has reflux? Seems really uncomfortable when put down but fast asleep when on me or held upright

That could be medicalising what might be normal behaviour. Yes, it could be reflux. But:

- A hungry baby won't want to be put down.
- An over tired baby won't want to be put down
- An unswaddled newborn not liking to feel 'exposed' won't like being put down
- And not forgetting, that very few 4 week olds even when well fed, well rested and swaddled will also need kid-glove gentle ninja-style movements to get them out down without fuss. So it could just be normal newborn behaviour.

I'd suggest getting baby dummy sucking.

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