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How do you put your baby to sleep?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I feel like I must be doing something wrong b/c my 4-week-old just will not sleep like a normal baby! In addition to not being able to put him down on any kind of bassinet or other surface to sleep, last night he was fussy even on my chest, which has been the "last resort" sleeping place up until now.

When he does pass out on my chest and I am able to transfer him to another person or surface, he wakes up w/in 10 or 15 minutes. He will conk out in the carseat if I take him for a drive or a long walk but these just don't seem like reasonable options at 2 and 4 a.m.

I clearly need a lesson in what to do. So, can you outline step-by-step the process you use to put your baby to sleep, how long it takes, how you do daytime naps differently than nighttime, etc!! I feel like I have tried everything - swaddling, shushing, bouncing, changing him before I nurse, nursing him down, pacifier, etc. - but I clearly just don't have it right yet.
post #2 of 21
DD was much like you describe. I guess cosleeping was our answer because the only way she would sleep was cuddled up to me. She would go for several hours in the night like this before waking. During the day i really didn't try to put her down. She slept either in my lap or not at all. I got a lot of reading done during this time.

As she got a bit older, I got one of those bouncy chairs and she would sleep in that after being rocked to sleep, but was never one to just sleep in a bassinet. Ds was pretty much the same. I think it is actually normal for some babies, but it does get easier as they get older.
post #3 of 21
First off define "normal." LOL You may need to adjust your expectations a little. Your baby is only 4 weeks old. You also may need to consider that it's not what YOU are doing or not doing right. Some babies are just more resistant to being put down. That will change as baby gets older. Of my 3 kids, only my first was the type I could put down once he was asleep. I haven't really done anything differently with the other two. They just need more. In the early weeks, sometimes babies are fussy and can be hard to comfort. I wouldn't take it personally or think that it is abnormal. All of that said, have you tried reading "The No Cry Sleep Solution"? I think Dr. Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon have some books dedicated to sleep too. Whether or not the methods work for your baby, you can take comfort in knowing you're not alone or at fault.
post #4 of 21
Right now it depends.... during the day, I change her diaper, feed her until she's sleepy, and then try to transfer her to the bassinet. About half the time this works (and it does NOT work if Daddy transfers her!).

At night, we've had to resort to co-sleeping because she will not sleep in her bassinet at night. Not sure why, so we do a diaper change, a feeding and then cuddle in bed. I've given up transferring her for the time being (she's almost 3 weeks old).

I should note that for our little one, she needs noise and light to sleep. So during the day we have music playing (or NPR) constantly, and at night we have a space heater fan running that sounds like white noise -- during the day obviously there is a lot of light, but at night we keep a night light on so even though it's mostly dark, there is a little ambient light in the room. Those two things have made it a little easier.
post #5 of 21
My two cents: every day is different. I don't have a set pattern that I can follow from this little guy... Only twice has he fallen asleep and successfully been transferred to the co-sleeper for longer than ten minutes. Other than that, he falls asleep on me and I move him onto the bed or bouncy chair, but it only works well if he is swaddled up and can't move his arms. The longest naps during the day have happened after a car ride. I wake him to feed then he has gone back to sleep. He sometimes takes 2 hour naps during the day. But I really can't complain about my tiredness from tending to him during the day because he sleeps pretty well at night.
post #6 of 21
Do you have a babycarrier? Many babies who are resistant to sleep will pass out in a carrier. You usually do have to keep moving while wearing them to get them to sleep, so I recommend bouncing on a birth ball while babywearing--much easier on your exhausted self than pacing the living room at 2am!

My little one gets good and knocked out in the wrap, so that when I move her to bed she usually sleeps a while.
post #7 of 21
I nurse her until she's sleepy then I swaddle her and put her in her bouncy on vibrate. Many of my babies would sleep swaddled in the boppy (head on back cushion) because it felt like arms.
At night I co-sleep. She sleeps well in her moby too.
post #8 of 21
I don't think there is one way for all babies. I am so lucky in that I just hold him/nurse while we watch tv and knit etc. He will fall asleep between 10 and 11 and I lay him next to me on the boppy. Then when we go up I bring him with us and he sleeps next to me until 4-5a when he wakes. I am reeeally lucky with him though. My daughter was the same way--actually made it a lot worse when she stopped sleeping well at 8 months--I was spoiled.
post #9 of 21
During the day, H. naps mostly in arms or in a carrier (I was a big fan of a stretchy wrap for this at first, but now I kind of prefer a mei tai, if only because it's easier to get in and out of for me) - at night he's swaddled and we do family bed. He'll also nap, unswaddled, during the day with an adult.

But honestly, he rarely sleeps "by himself" - I promise I'm not at all dogmatic about this, and he does occasionally nap for 20 minutes in his otherwise-unused bassinet if he's deeply asleep and milk-drunk when I put him down. But my life is so much easier (and I get so much more sleep myself) if I just accept that he likes to sleep on or next to people than if I try to convince him to sleep by himself. (Again, I'm not dogmatic about this stuff... just lazy and desperate for sleep.)

Wearing him in a wrap or carrier is very helpful: When I'm wearing him, unless he's in a calm-alert period (in which case he looks around) he tends to pass out and stay passed out until he wants to eat next.

So I don't really have any tips for you, since my kid is basically attached to an adult (it doesn't have to be me unless he wants a snack) almost all the time, but when I just go ahead and follow his lead, he is the mellowest baby imaginable, and I get so much more sleep than in the first few days when I tried to get him to sleep in the co-sleeper and he woke up every 15 minutes to complain. Are trying out co-sleeping and babywearing an option for your family's lifestyle?
post #10 of 21
I can't usually put Elliot down either. Libby was just the same. Some babies are just like that. I nurse Elliot to sleep and go from there. Sometimes it's up in the sling, sometimes I put him in the swing, other times I swaddle and hold for 15mins or so and then give the bassinet a shot. At night I change/swaddle/nurse/cosleep/whatever until he finds a way to settle down. I'm not worrying about routine at all at this point...maybe closer to 6mo or when he's a little more consistent about what he likes.
post #11 of 21
I nurse him to sleep or I wear him (carrier).
post #12 of 21
first of all, your baby sounds perfectly normal. Babies just spent nine months in a very soft snuggly place that was never really quiet-- with your heart beat, and digestion, etc.

So now we are instructed to put them to sleep on their backs on a hard surface-- it just isn't going to happen!

Swaddling works well, and having a baby bouncy seat or swing works for some babies, too.

I could never put mine down unless we were co-sleeping...

So during the day, this is what I do--

I'll lay down with baby in the middle of our bed (baby's in the middle) and nurse him in the side lying position. When he is totally fully and asleep from having a belly full of warm milk, I'll quietly get up and sneak away, putting pillows at each side of the bed (for when he starts rolling).

He will often sleep for a few hours like this... but he doesn't like it to be too quiet, so often he'll sleep on the couch on a pillow. He sleeps through my LOUD kids, the vacuum, etc.

this is of course during the day-- not at night. He is co-sleeping with us at night.

Dr. Sear's has a lot of good advice on making your bed a safe place to co-sleep. After going through the frustration that you are going through with my first, I co-slept and have done so with all of my little ones.
post #13 of 21
My DD HATES to be swaddled and will struggle to get out of it unless she is already about to fall asleep. We gave up swaddling entirely a week ago and nothing about her sleep patterns changed.

During the day, someone is either napping with her or holding/wearing her. I've begun getting work done at my desk while wearing her in a wrap/moby and using an exercise ball as a desk chair. Otherwise I wear her while doing things around the house. I have a bouncy chair that I used for like 20 minutes a day, twice a day when I need to do stuff like shower and cook (I do the prep wearing her). She also tends to be OK in the bouncy chair for slightly longer periods if someone else is in the room with me and we are talking (so she knows we are near, I suppose). If I put her down for a nap and walk away, she will be awake within 10 minutes.

At night we cosleep - I nurse and burp her and lay her down next to me. I can turn out the light whether she is awake or asleep as long as she is cuddled up to either me or DH. She makes rooting noises or grunts when she is hungry or working on her latest diaper masterpiece and I wake up. She hardly ever cries at night or the day, except for when she's feeling particularly gassy or getting her diaper or clothing changed.
post #14 of 21
Sounds pretty normal to me, (at least for my two babies). Ds is currently in the swing but it's the only time he has not been held all day. It will only last a few minutes. Ooops he's up!!

At night we co-sleep he'll sleep an hour and a half to two hrs next to me and wake to nurse.

Gotta go, hold my baby!

This too shall pass...
post #15 of 21
At night, I change his diaper and put him in a terry footed sleeper and a fleece swaddle sack with the swaddle flaps fasten around his waist, then nurse him until he's had his fill. If he's looking drowsy, I'll rock him and sing to him until he drifts off, but if he isn't quite ready I'll give him some of the breast milk I've pumped during the day in a bottle to make sure he's good and full before his long sleep...that usually gets him sleepy before long. Once his eyes are staying closed while I rock him, I get up and take him to the bedroom, wrap the swaddle flaps around his arms if I've forgotten to do it before I rock him, and then put him down in his co-sleeper. Swaddling him will usually make him wake up a bit, but often he'll go back to sleep with just some laying of my hand on him to comfort him. If that doesn't work, I pull him in next to me and cuddle with him until he falls back asleep, and if that doesn't work, I get up and rock him again. He usually falls straight asleep after nursing in the middle of the night now.

During the day he sleeps whenever he falls asleep, usually on my nursing pillow, and then ends up in my arms, on the couch next to me, in his swing or in his bouncer. I'll occasionally put him in his crib if I'm trying to get his laundry put away or something, but that wakes him up most of the time.

He's been doing much better at going to sleep at night lately, but it's still pretty much on his schedule. We're night owls, though DH needs to sleep earlier than he'd like because of work, so I start the process with whatever feeding happens around midnight. Sometimes we get to bed by 1:30 am, sometimes not until 3 am depending on how much he eats and whether he's wide awake after he's full. I pretty much try to follow his schedule because we're both happier than when I was trying to manipulate it, though I do have the goal of getting to bed at the same time as DH. Hopefully we can move bedtime to midnight eventually...DH would appreciate that!
post #16 of 21
We cosleep and during the day we use a heating pad to warm the bassinet and remove it when we put ds in it.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
I got a lot of good ideas from you guys! Thanks. I'm glad to hear other people are/have struggled w/ this too.
post #18 of 21
I've found two consistant ways Levi will sleep, in the wrap or if I nurse him in bed and don't move him when he's done.

At night, I'd like for him to sleep in his bassenet as much as possible. I swaddle him, he doesn't like it at first but once he's nursing, he's fine and then he seems to sleep longer,at least some of the time and I'm able to put him in bed some of the time as well. I'll take the gamble-I've gotten 2 or 3 four hour stretches of sleep in the last 2.5 weeks...anything I can do to promote one of those a night is worth it!
post #19 of 21
Your little one sounds like my 3 kids. It is always nice to know that this is somewhat normal so I just thought I would share.

During the day, I wear Ali (5 weeks). She falls asleep and naps on me or if she is in the sling I can almost always slip it over my head and settle her into the carseat with a blanket laid down it it. This may get me 30 minutes. Long enough to jump in the shower, go to the bathroom with out her, and maybe even make lunch!!! Nighttime is a different story for us. She is a spit-upy baby so, unlike my other two, I can't side-lay nurse. Her crib is attached to our bed by straps. I prop myself up with pillows and nurse her. After that, I have to hold her upright for 20 minutes and then I will lay her down in her crib. She always wakes up so I bring myself into her crib and let her nurse for a little while in hopes that she will go to sleep. If that doesn't work I bring her into my bed and she will usually fall asleep in the crook of my arm for 1.5 to two hours. If I could side-nurse we would be up for 30 minutes tops but since I have to keep her upright it takes 1.5-2 hours each time.

That's our story. The best part about her being my third child is that I know these times are priceless and soon enough she won't need me. For now, I will just fully offer every part of myself up to her because one day she will gain so much independence that she won't want me to be by her side every second. Although, some days and nights I do have to remind myself of that because we are all moms and we do need sleep too!!!
post #20 of 21
Originally Posted by Craftymama View Post
The best part about her being my third child is that I know these times are priceless and soon enough she won't need me. For now, I will just fully offer every part of myself up to her because one day she will gain so much independence that she won't want me to be by her side every second. Although, some days and nights I do have to remind myself of that because we are all moms and we do need sleep too!!!
Yes, same here!
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