How do I get my baby to sleep alone?

Heather - posted on 04/29/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My 5 week old baby won't sleep by herself at night. She will nap anywhere during the day - in her crib, her snugglenest, her vibrating chair, etc, but at night she will only sleep when being held. I have tried swaddling her (she hates it and cries until I free her arms), putting her in her vibrating chair, white noise, pingy child music, lullaby CD's, light, dark, putting her on one of my worn shirts, putting her next to me with my hand on top of her, everything!! At night, we sleep on the couch because she will only sleep on my chest. Obviously, I cannot go through my child's life holding her on the couch, and letting her cry it out is not an option for me. Please help!!

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Courtney - posted on 05/04/2010

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My midwife gave me the best advice when it comes to sleeping with a newborn...We are the only species of animal that takes our newborns and put them in another room by themselves. It would be the same as an animal taking their offspring and putting them to sleep in a different forest. That doesn't make any sense but then why do we as humans expect it to work with our babies?
I have three children (10, 6, and 18 months) and I co-slept with all of them till they were between 4-6months. When they moved to the crib on their own they were ready and the transition was very easy again because they were ready. Babies crave touch and nothing is more soothing than having their mothers touch the same one they experienced for nine months. I do know that sharing your bed can be demanding and frustrating at times but try to look at it this way...this is the only time in your child's life that you will expereince this and sadly the newborn phase is very short when looking at their whole life...enjoy it:)

Wendy - posted on 04/29/2010

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Firstly congratulations on you new baby daughter. And yes YOU do need to get adequate rest. Have your baby checked with paediatrician or nurse that your child isnt being wakefull due to colic or refux.. It can be an exciting/anxious/exhausting time being a new mum and I am amazed at the initiative you have taken to find a way that will work for you and your baby. Also amazed at how many things have been invented to put a baby to sleep.(My youngest is 21) You know that there is never a right or wrong answer, only what works for you.. I used a motto of "Keep it simple" I started by putting baby to sleep (like you) on my chest..(She hated going to bed too).Then carefully transfering her to her crib..Sometimes this worked.. having my first newborn in a crib next to my bed I could hear her breath, I even tried putting and open book over her bottom.This worked for a bit..but I got exhausted .. Then one night I was so tired I put her in her to bed and walked out, close the door.(I muttered something along the lines of "For F sake give me a break").Yes she cried for two minutes and so did I..And then her sleep pattern changed for the better. Whether it was because I felt more confident in making the decision that I was in charge, Or she was going thru a growth spurt and needed more feeding.Or Or Or..I'll never know.. But its a huge learning curve.. Let your little one go to sleep as you would want to go to sleep. Bed time is bed time..Not play time and distraction time.. Good Luck,,Enjoy your baby's first smiles

Michelle - posted on 05/04/2010

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Your baby is getting exactly what she needs to sleep... you. There is nothing wrong with this... as a matter of fact, it is necessary for healthy growth and sleeping cycles (for the human infant) to be close and have human contact the majority of their 24 hour schedule. Sometimes we confuse a need with a want. Babies don't have "wants", they only have "needs". She will change as she gets older and this need for your touch will turn into security (that you are there for her)... security leads to independence.

Along with being a parenting educator, I am a mother of 3. All were brought up through their infancy differently... running from the "old school" of independence of crying it out to bedsharing. My "old school" child is now an adult... shy, a bit immature, and insecure. My youngest (now 6), who I kept close to me for the first two years is confident, secure, and independent. My middle child is "in between" because she was raised with both models of care. We offer our bed to both our 6 and 8 year old as always, and when they need us they come in... but mostly, at their own choice they sleep in their own beds at this time.

Jenny - posted on 04/30/2010

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I have a 5 week old too. She did sleep a lot better when I was holding her on my chest. I noticed she was waking herself up every time she was laying flat on her back. I started working on her laying flat for her naps. A hand on the face normally works when they are half asleep, that and holding a pacifier in her mouth until she is completely out. I slept with one of her blankets for a night or two and used that blanket in her crib so it had my sent...I also put a flannel sheet in her bassinet so it was a little more cozy. Over the last week she's gotten much better with sleeping in her bassinet...she's even made it 4 hours strait without waking up. Don't just let her cry...it will just wake her up more. Keep at it! She'll get used to it eventually.

Lyndsay - posted on 04/29/2010

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Make sure she's really drowsy before you put her in her crib, then keep a hand on her face or chest and sing or talk softly to her. Then just slowly eliminate the contact. We're on day 3 with my son and he only needs a hand on his face already. No more outbursts! Most important is to not pick her back up once you've laid her down to sleep. She'll learn if she cries, she'll get picked up.

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Irene - posted on 10/24/2014

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Did all of your children decided by themselves to leave your bed? I am a new mom, my daughter is 2 months and 10 days old, and from the day we brought her home she sleeps only on me (day and night). Although we sleep together at night, I am constantly thinking of this situation and when she will learn to sleep in her crib... Of course I am enjoying this phase but I don' t want to last for years. So, even though I want to do it, at the same time I am struggling with this experience.

Heather - posted on 05/04/2010

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Thank you everyone for your advice! I have gotten to a happy medium - she spends half the night on me and half in her crib. When she wakes up for her 2 am feeding I feed her, change her, and cuddle her for 20-30 min until she falls really really asleep. I know parents all say put them down when they are mostly sleeping, but she will be up in a second! She is an extremely loud sleeper, and the few times we had her in her mini crib in our room it was a total disaster - she would wake us up and keep us up every half hour stretching, making little cries, etc. Now we have a video monitor for her so I can check on her without going in - it is a total godsend, not just for nighttime but for naps! I can see when she is going through her 'light phase" of sleep vs. really waking up.
Thanks again for all your advice everyone!

Alison - posted on 05/04/2010

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Swaddle, swaddle swaddle!!! You have to do it right - nice and tight - and it will work miracles!!!



Do not let your 5 week old cry it out.

Krysta - posted on 05/04/2010

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I co-slept with my son until 3 months because he wasnt comfortable with sleeping on his own. Now i let him fall asleep with me and then place him in his bassinet. To start off with we put him in his boppy in his bassinet/crib until he was comfortable with being in there sleeping

Melissa - posted on 05/04/2010

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I understand you needing sleep but at that age they are a little clueless. Try positioning her on her sides or in her bassinet or crib put a pillow UNDER the MATTRESS to elevate it and try with a sleep positioner to make sure she is snuggled!! Do not do the cry it out... it can cause insecurities or even more crying!! To let them cry for about a minute or two ok but not for multiple minutes or hours!!

Cicely - posted on 05/04/2010

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We had this problem until my husband suggested the carseat. Yes, I know. But, it worked well because it was cosy and it cradled her all around. And, think about how often they fall asleep when you drive them around. You just put the whole portable carseat into the crib. Good luck to you and enjoy her. This too shall pass. My baby is 6 now.

Brea - posted on 05/04/2010

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Try placing the Shirt you wear today on top of the baby (obviously not near the face). The baby can smell your scent and will sleep better. You will need to let her cry it out some.

User - posted on 05/01/2010

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Hi Heather
My daughter was the same way, she slept everywhere during the day but at night she hated her crib. She had a bounder that vibrated and played music she loved it so I put the whole thing inside her crib at night so she would get use to it. She hated to be swaddled so I would put her a long onesie with socks on because she had to be all tight she likes to stretch, the ones that come with the feet covered I use to cut them out. After a few days of her sleeping in the crib with the bounder, one night I put her to sleep with my worn shirt and from there on she sleeps in her crib. The smell of you comforts her, she's more relaxed and at ease. Good Luck Tasha

Shaunette - posted on 05/01/2010

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check out the "nap nanny" ... is online .... or put your t shirt near her... she may be nocturnal

Gwen - posted on 04/30/2010

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Sounds like maybe your baby just doesn't like being on her back. Could you try putting her on her side or tummy? My daughter always did best on her tummy, but it depends on your personal feelings about SIDS.

Gwen - posted on 04/30/2010

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At five weeks, there is nothing wrong with picking up a crying baby. They depend on us for absolutely everything. Responding to you baby's cries builds security and trust.

Amy - posted on 04/29/2010

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I feel your pain I have a six week at home and we're going through the same thing. A couple of things we've done is swaddle her with her arms out because she hates them in. We've also started putting her to sleep in her bouncy sleep on vibrate, that way she's not laying flat and the vibration calms her till she falls asleep. Good luck, I'm looking forward to seeing other suggestions because I just bought really comfy couches but it's hard to feel rested when a little life is sleeping on top of you!

Gwen - posted on 04/29/2010

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She's so new, and teeny tiny. She was inside your nice, warm tummy for 9 months! From her perspective, nighttime is cold and scary. Developmentally, if babies can't see us, we don't exist. Maybe try putting her in a bassinet beside your bed w/ a t-shirt that you have worn. This way she can still hear and smell you. It will take lots of trial and error to find what works. Time and patience. Good luck :-)

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