Reasons Why Your Newborn Wont Sleep In The Bassinet
Iâve worked with many parents who have babies who will only sleep in arms. Their ages vary from 4 weeks up to 13 months. I recently worked with a 2.5 year old who would only nap in arms. Why is that? While the drive to sleep is biological, the way we sleep is a learned habit and these habits start as early as 4 to 8 weeks of age. During that window of time you are teaching your baby what sleep looks like. At 4 months babies hit the 4 month sleep regression where they wake up to the world around them. This manifests with waking up more at night and taking shorter naps. If your baby will only sleep in arms this becomes a very trying time.
It seems to me that some kids fight to sleep in arms more than other babies. My first question for babies who only sleep in arms is probing any circumstances that might have led them to seek the comfort of human touch more than the average child.
These circumstances include:
- Mom having low milk supply/tongue tie or latch challenges
What Are The Signs Of Infant Sleep Problems
Once a baby begins to regularly sleep through the night, parents are often unhappy when the baby starts to wake up at night again. This often happens at about 6 months old. This is often a normal part of development called separation anxiety. This is when a baby does not understand that separations are short-term . Babies may also start to have trouble going to sleep because of separation anxiety. Or because they are overstimulated or overtired.
Common responses of babies having these night awakenings or trouble going to sleep may include the following:
Waking and crying one or more times in the night after sleeping through the night
Crying when you leave the room
Refusing to go to sleep without a parent nearby
Clinging to the parent at separation
Sleep problems may also happen with illness. Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby begins having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, especially if this is a new pattern.
Tips For How To Get Baby To Sleep
As baby grows and becomes more aware of their surroundings, its easy for them to cross that line between cautiously curious and decidedly overstimulated. In the first months of life, an infants social, emotional and intellectual skills are slowly maturing, says James McKenna, PhD, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. During these critical developmental years, new daily experiences can cause baby to construct new things to worry about, to be aware of, to think about and to be afraid of.
In other words, just like for Mom , babys daytime stressors can impact nighttime sleep. And that means baby craves the comfort only you can provide. So what can you do to help baby get some ZZZs? Here are some guidelines for how to get baby to sleep easier.
Also Check: How Warm Should Formula Be For Newborn
Get Sunlight And Avoid Artificial Lighting At Night
Make sure you expose yourself and your baby to bright light during the day. And keep lights outor at least dimmedafter sunset.
As noted above, natural lighting helps influence newborn sleep patterns. But it also helps you keep your own circadian rhythms from drifting, which is important if you are going avoid insomnia and be a source of daytime cues for your newborn.
The Back Sleeping Position Is Best For Newborn Babies
Some health professionals and parents continue to place newborn babies on the side immediately after birth in the belief that they need to clear their airway of amniotic fluid and are less likely to aspirate when in the side position. There is no evidence that fluid is more readily cleared in the side position.36 Babies should be placed on the back as soon as they are ready to be placed in the cot or bassinet. It is important that parents observe health professionals placing babies in the supine position as they are more likely to model this practice when they go home.45-48
Read Also: How Much Formula Should A Newborn Have
My Mum Says I Was Slept On My Front And That Was The Advice Then Why Has It Changed
Many parents will have been slept on their tummies as babies, as that was the advice before 1991. However, research has since shown that the chance of SIDS is much higher when a baby is placed on their front to sleep.
We know that in the early 1990s, there were thousands of babies worldwide dying suddenly and unexpectedly every year. The reason the number of deaths is much lower now is due to the new advice being followed by parents, such as lying babies on their backs to sleep.
Can I Sleep On My Back While I’m Pregnant
Pregnant women are also recommended to avoid resting on their back, especially during the second and third trimesters. When a woman is pregnant, her weight is distributed differently, and back sleeping can decrease circulation throughout the body, which is not good for the mom or the baby.
Lying on the left side is considered the best sleeping position for expectant mothers, and there are several reasons for this. First, this posture keeps the uterus off of the liver, located on the right side of the stomach. Secondly, resting on this side of the bed improves circulation for better blood flow.
While you shouldnt experience too much discomfort napping on your back during the first trimester, this time is a prime opportunity to get used to resting on your side for the later trimesters. However, we recommend discussing this with your doctor as well.
Learn More: Complete Guide to Sleeping While Pregnant
Don’t Miss: Is My Newborn Covered Under My Insurance
Dont Be Tempted To Wedge Your Baby Into Position
In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning to parents to stop using sleep positioners.
They cited reports of 12 babies who died when they suffocated in a sleep positioner or between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet.
There have also been reports of babies who were placed on their back or side in a sleep positioner but were later found in a potentially hazardous position in or next to the positioner.
The incidents involved two types of positioners: flat mats with side bolsters and inclined mats with side bolsters.
Always place your baby directly on his sleep surface without additional props designed to keep him in place.
The incidence of SIDS has dropped from one in 500 to one in 1000 since the Back to Sleep campaign began. However, the other guidelines are just as important. Find out more about reducing the risk of SIDS.
More On What To Do If Baby Rolls Over At Night
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff
Also Check: What Is A Good Going Home Outfit For Newborn
Helping Babies Sleep And Settle In The Early Months
In the first six months of life, babies need to wake at night to get enough food for growth and development. For most babies, sleeping through the night and settling by themselves comes later, when theyre developmentally ready.
But there are three things you can do in the early months to help with baby sleep and settling:
- Emphasise the difference between night and day.
- Put your baby to bed drowsy but awake.
- Start a sleep routine.
And if you do these things in the first six months, it can help your baby learn to sleep and settle independently later on, when baby is developmentally ready.
Remember: responding to your baby and being flexible are the most important things in these early months. Its OK if your baby falls asleep while feeding sometimes. Its also fine to cuddle or rock your baby to sleep if theyre unsettled.
Safe sleeping practices can help you minimise the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy . These practices include sleeping your baby on their back, making sure your babys head is uncovered during sleep, and sharing a room with your baby for the first year of life, or at least for the first six months.
What About A Ride In The Car
Some parents claim that a ride in the car is a sure-fire way to induce sleep. In desperate times it may be tempting to buckle baby in the car seat and drive around the block. Just dont do it for long, says Dr. Ahmann.
Sleeping in the car, while sometimes unavoidable, is not a good habit. Your baby is safest sleeping on a firm, flat surface, not propped up in a seat.
Every year hundreds of U.S. infants die due to unsafe sleep environments. Make sure your baby sleeps safely all the time. Its non-negotiable, says Dr. Ahmann.
For babies, safe sleep means lying flat on the back with no blankets heavier than a hospital receiving blanket. There should be no stuffed animals in the crib. Do not use crib bumpers, pillows or any type of cushions for propping up your baby not even items marketed to help babies sleep better.
Read Also: When To Schedule Newborn Photos
How Can I Get My Baby Used To Night And Day
It’s a good idea to teach your baby that night-time is different from daytime from the start. During the day, open curtains, play games and don’t worry too much about everyday noises when they sleep.
At night, you might find it helpful to:
- keep the lights down low
- not talk much and keep your voice quiet
- put your baby down as soon as they’ve been fed and changed
- not change your baby unless they need it
- not play with your baby
Your baby will gradually learn that night-time is for sleeping.
A Note On Sleep Patterns And Cycles
Within the first 6 weeks after birth, babies typically take a nap between their 2 or 3 hourly feeds.
For the first three weeks of a babys life, they are relying on maternal melatonin to help them prepare for sleep and their drive to sleep is strong.
Sleep cycles typically last about 45 minutes to an hour for newborns.
0-10 minutes they start to fall asleep, 10 to 20 minutes they are getting into deeper sleep.
20 to 30 minutes they are heavily asleep, 30 to 40 minutes they are coming out of heavy sleep, and 40 to 50 or 60 minutes they are in light sleep and easy to wake up.
This is why if you help baby to sleep by patting or shushing, but only do it for 5 minutes, baby wakes up or cries.
Its because they are not yet in deep sleep.
Recommended Reading: How Long In Newborn Diapers
How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Tip : Learning Your Babys Sleepiness Cues
In the first 3 months, babies don’t follow a set schedule for sleep. That is why we need to learn to read their tiredness signs, or “cues”. By 3 – 4 months of age, a sleep pattern will emerge and you will get better at reading their cues.
At any age, you want to watch for over-tiredness. A common myth that the longer you keep them awake during the day, the better they sleep during the night. Thats like suggesting that if you starve them during the day they eat better at night. Unthinkable, right?
Sleep is just like that. In fact, babies that are overtired will take a lot longer to fall asleep. So keep watching for their tiredness cues. Here are some of these cues, some more subtle than others:
Yawning: The easiest way to tell you baby is sleepy is if your baby yawns.
Rubbing Eyes, Ear or Head: Consistently scratching the ear or rubbing the head or eyes is a common sign of sleepiness.
Looking Away: Your baby may not hold your gaze and may look away.
Jerkiness or Fussiness: An overtired baby also gets fussy. The cry may vary from a soft whimper to harsh shrill, depending on how tired the baby is. Listening for cues earlier in the process will help preventing them from getting to this dangerous point. Once crossed this point your baby may take a lot longer to sleep making it a painful experience for both you and him.
How to Soothe an Overtired Baby
Dont Assume That Its Pointless To Lie Down If You Dont Fall Asleep You Might Pass Into A State Of Drowsy Semi
Too wired to sleep when the baby sleeps? If so, keep in mind that quiet resting is better than nothing. In fact, if you are lying down with your eyes closed, you might be asleep without realizing it.
In numerous lab studies, subjects who were awakened from the first stage of sleep often denied that they were asleep at all . A nap that consists only of stage 1 sleep might not help you improve your reaction times, but it will probably make you feel less tired. And if you manage to slip into the second stage of sleep even for just 3 minutes your nap may have recuperative effects .
You May Like: How Many Ounces Should A Newborn Drink A Day
Help Your Baby Sleep Comfortably On His Back
You are not alone, though, with a baby who hates to sleep on his back. Neither of my boys particularly loved it either, unless they slept right next to me with their heads propped on my shoulder or upper arm. By six months, Noah could roll over in his crib and that was pretty much the end of the back sleeping, no matter how much I fretted about it. But until your son is rolling over, you need a solution that will get you through the next four months or so.
One possibly solution is side-sleeping, like you did with your first son. We were told by the hospital to always keep Ezra on his back OR side, and a few of the less screechy SIDS-related organizations out there believe this is a perfectly acceptable option. A baby on his side can pull up into the all-comforting fetal position, but wont have the problem of re-breathing his exhaled air or smushing his face against the mattress and not waking enough to turn his head.
But look, I dont want you to lose your mind over this, or anything. An hour and a half stretch of sleep will increase your risk of all dying in a car accident when you pass out and drive headfirst into a nail salon. So I get your frustration.
If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvicegmailcom.