Newborn just won't settle - what am I doing wrong?

(15 Posts)
ml01omm Wed 16-Sep-20 15:28:10


I am a FTM to a 5-week old. His day time sleep/naps have deteriorated week on week, and I am at loss, I just can't seem to settle him.

He is formula fed, and goes about 3 hours between bottles.

He sleeps well in is moses basket ( seems to like it) when he is asleep, but its just getting him there. He will sleep for an 1hr - 2hrs at a time.

The first few weeks, we could settle him in his basket, then it got a bit harder, so we would settle him on us, and then do a transfer when he was asleep ( I know, it goes completely against the drowsy but awake advice).

Now, he won't even settle or sleep on me. He is only averaging about 3-4 hours of day time naps split from 7am to 9pm. I can see him yawning and tired, but just will fight and fight sleep.

I swaddle him, and I give him a dummy. I've been stroking his head and gently rocking, which worked until about 2 weeks ago, and now no luck.

What do I do to get him off to sleep?

OP’s posts: |
burritofan Wed 16-Sep-20 15:32:58

You’re not doing anything wrong, newborns are bellends.

Drowsy but awake is a load of bollocks for most newborns. And quite a few toddlers.

Have you tried settling him much, much earlier than you think? Before you see any yawning or jerky movements or glazed eyes. Practically as soon as he’s awake for the day, really. First awake window of the day is shortest. I remember for a time with very small DD it felt like we got up, changed her nappy, then there was just time for me to grab breakfast, TV remote, water and phone for the sofa before The Great Bouncing began and she was back asleep within the hour – on me, hence the breakfast and phone rather than, say, showering.

burritofan Wed 16-Sep-20 15:34:16

Have you tried a sling? And white noise, dark room, being a bit more vigorous with the rocking? I used to put DD on my shoulder and more or less riverdance...

SoCrimeaRiver Wed 16-Sep-20 15:35:23

Agree, this is completely normal. Have you considered a sling so you just cart him with you and get on with what you want to do?

OnSilverStars Wed 16-Sep-20 15:40:51

Could he be hungry?? 3 hours seems a long time for one so young? Maybe I'm wrong

YouAndMeAndTheDevilMakesThree Wed 16-Sep-20 15:59:59

Agree with pp that the drowsy but awake thing is bollocks so ignore that. I fed DC1 to sleep on me for their entire first year - they are a fab sleeper now.


riddles26 Wed 16-Sep-20 16:07:26

Drowsy but awake is a mythical state and I am yet to meet a baby that conformed to it on a regular basis!

You are doing nothing wrong, baby is being a typical newborn and it will pass. Try tight swaddle, white noise, rocking with dummy in. Be persistent. As long as he isn't distressed, keep going for as long as it takes and he will eventually go to sleep


SeaToSki Wed 16-Sep-20 16:23:23

If you start the day at 7ish
1st nap at 9ish for about 1 hr
2nd nap at 11.30 ish for about 2-3 hrs
3rd nap at 4:30 for half an hour
bed at 7 ish

Then flex based on when you 'start' the day

riddles26 Wed 16-Sep-20 16:34:29

A schedule is better when baby is 8 weeks + (if routine is what you are aiming for).
At 5 weeks old, my eldest refused to nap and would be awake for 5+ consecutive hours - admittedly I didn't have the knowledge I do now on putting her to sleep. My youngest at the same age was not able to stay awake for 1.5 hours without needing his next nap.

LikeTheOceansWeRise Wed 16-Sep-20 22:49:14

Throw any thoughts of drowsy but awake out the window! You just had a baby - don't stress yourself out about needing to teach them to sleep in a certain way.

Just do what you need to do to be comfy and for your baby to sleep. This stage doesn't last forever, and you won't be teaching your baby bad habits by letting them sleep on you. I eventually gave up and just let mine sleep on me or sleep in the sling, and we were both a lot happier after I embraced that.

At that age I found that more vigourous bouncing worked, or dancing!

My little one is nearly 5 months now and will no longer tolerate me cuddling her to sleep. She jerks around til I put her in her cot, fully awake, and she then drifts happily off to sleep. I did absolutely nothing to encourage this, it just happened with time.

Good luck OP, I hope you all get some sleep soon!

ml01omm Thu 17-Sep-20 10:32:16

Thank you for the replies.

We are okay with our routine, that isn't the issue, he feeds on awaking( when he was sleeping more conisistently!), so has put himself into our routine .

I guess I have read so many sleep books I have paranoia about bad sleep habits and creating associations etc.

Just so frustrating when i catch him yawning and then he still won't nod off an hour later.

OP’s posts: |
Cardboard33 Thu 17-Sep-20 10:44:36

Until my now 18 month old was beyond 12 months he'd have to go back to bed within 90 mins of waking. If I let it get to the point that he was yawning etc then I'd missed the window and he'd be much harder to settle. I'd echo another poster saying try putting him for a nap before you (as an adult) think he is tired. At 5 weeks, I think even 90 mins was a stretch, I'd literally change and feed him then it'd be pretty much time for his nap again.

They also tend to hit peak crying at around 6 weeks, fyi, particularly for hours in the early evening. It'll pass.

MrsMaglev Thu 17-Sep-20 10:46:24

@ml01omm I think it's all normal sadly. And so frustrating!

I saw recommended on another board an app called huckleberry - it's one of those sleep/food tracking things but gives you a 'sweet spot' prompt to say 'this is when baby should be getting tired'. I'm honestly not being paid by them (maybe I should look into thisgrin) but might be worth giving a go in case you're missing sleepy signals or he's skipping a nap.

Second what a PP said though - newborns are buggers, please don't sweat the 'drowsy but awake' thing it's absolute bollocks. These books can be brilliant and helpful I'm sure but I ended up so confused with all the advice! Good luck!

Sorbet18 Thu 17-Sep-20 10:56:46

I also found this with my little boy once he lost the initial newborn sleepy phase. I bought one of the Love to Dream Swaddles (wish I'd done this earlier as I didn't hear about them until 9 weeks) & he's started sleeping longer stretches with it now & seems easier to settle.

We also use a white noise app & sometimes I gently stroke his eyelids down to encourage him to shut them. Also perhaps double check he's definitely done with his feed. My little boy will often stop feeding, go all sleepy & then 5 minutes later will be awake again but will take some more milk if offered it. Sometimes all it takes is an extra ounce to send him off to sleep properly

olderthanyouthink Thu 17-Sep-20 11:19:54

Don't worry about bad sleep habits, DD has been boobed to sleep most of her 22 month life. There have been patches where she could be patted or slinged to sleep but they change the rules so bloody often that rolling with it has saved my sanity. Babies will often cope with going to sleep differently in different situations (DD used to curl up and go to sleep next to DP when I was out but has never ever done that for me hmm)

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