baby only sleeps when being held

Dawn - posted on 04/24/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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This has been a HUGE issue for us. Anybody else have this problem? Any advice on how to fix it? He can be sound asleep in my arms for 30 min. I will gently put him down (hands still on him) but he wakes up instantly!!! My back is broken. Any advice?

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Ez - posted on 04/24/2009

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My daughter had the same issue, but generally only for her daytime sleeps. For the first 9 weeks of her life she did not sleep in her cot during the day, only on me or in her bouncer with the vibrate on. It was a nightmare, and very confusing since she would usually go down at night, and sleep through, without a problem.

After consulting my baby health nurse, I found the trick is to put her down sleepy but still awake. As it was explained to me, if they go to sleep all snug and cuddled THEN you attempt to put them down they will feel abandoned and wake up. This was certainly the case in my house.

So i embarked on a week of 'sleep-training', and it was surprisingly easy. Being so young it was not a case of just letting her cry, but I actually had to teach her how to go to sleep by herself. It literally took 2 days. I'm a big believer in swaddling/wrapping, especially if you've got a baby who likes a cuddle, as it makes them feel secure and almost as if they're still being held. So I watched for the tired signs, still gave her a bit of a cuddle (didn't want to deprive either of us of this snuggle time) then wrapped her and put her in bed AWAKE. The first few times she gave a bit of a yell and I stood with her patting her til she settled and closed her eyes. Sometimes she'll drop off then wake a few minutes later, have a bit of a grizzle then go back to sleep. She has learnt to self-settle, and it did not involve me letting her cry it out. But at the same time I didn't go running in there at every sound. I gave her a chance to do it herself, and usually within a minute or two the grizzling stopped and she's asleep. If this doesn't happen I go back in, 'sshhhhh' her, pat her and she closes her eyes. The trick is to comfort them while they're in their bed, so they get used to feeling safe and secure in there. My daughter suffers from wind so there has obviously been times when I've had to get her up and make sure that's not the problem, but then she goes straight back in again.

Hope this helps. It has changed our lives that's for sure.

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I was talking to my daughters pediatrician about this earlier this week. Our daughter sleeps fine at night, but during the day she wakes within 10 minutes of putting her down. I told him I try to let her fuss, but once the screaming starts I go in for her ... he told me that is the problem. She has learned that all she has to do is scream louder and eventually mom will come for her. So I need to let her cry through it and learn how to soothe herself back to sleep. He did tell me it is going to be very hard at first, but eventually she will figure it out, and it won't be quite so horrible, and will continue to get better over time.

I will tell you too, that the first few times, I did actually watch her go through it, and it actually calmed me to see that she was not really hurting from it, rather than listening to how horrible it sounds in the monitor. It was tough, but I just kept telling myself that she was okay, and would get through it.

J - posted on 04/29/2009

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My daughter is like that sometimes....what I do is...swaddle her very tightly...breastfeed her...then when she falls asleep at the breast...i put her down...SOMETIMES she will wake up ...but it;s usually because she needs a burp...so then I'll burp her...and she usually goes back to sleep after that...it's good to swaddle her tightly..cuz when you put her down...it will still feel like she's being held...or you can place a piece of clothing that smells like you by her...because baby's have a very sensitive sense of smell...

User - posted on 04/25/2009

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you have to just put him down and let him fuss a little bit. as long as he's been fed, doesn't have to be changed and has burped, he'll be ok. i had this problem too and i kept picking him up over and over cause i thought "oh he may have to burp again!" but then he kept falling asleep on my shoulder so i just let him fuss a few minutes and he went to bed. also, start to let him sleep on you since he's so used to it. you need to break him of the habit.

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