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Old 01-29-2013, 10:10 AM   #1
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4 week old will only sleep on me!

Hi everyone,

I'm an exhausted new mom, and I could really use some advice from some experienced parents who've been there, done that. My four-week-old newborn is a lovely baby, and seems fairly easy-going, baby-wise, but I can't put her down! We have an Arm's Reach mini co-sleeper attached to the bed and she HATES it. She could be dead asleep and as soon as we put her down, she is wide awake and fussing up a storm. If we let her fuss, she'll progress to crying in short order. We also have the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer, and she'll sleep in that sometimes, but only sometimes, and it's not really meant for hours of sleeping.

My sister-in-law gave us a Fisher-Price Rock and Play Snug-a-Bunny Sleeper, and said it was a life saver, but the reviews on amazon are really scary...MANY people saying this product gave their baby plagiocephaly or torticollis, and that their baby now needs PT and/or to wear a helmet, and others complaining about toxic flame-retardants...plus there was a recall due to mold growth on some of the products.

The only place that she'll sleep is in my arms or on my chest, and while I like having her in the bed with us, I'm afraid that she'll roll off of me, fall off the bed, or be caught under blankets or pillows. Plus our mattress is definitely on the soft side. My husband is nervous as well, as he is a heavy sleeper and fears he could crush her in his sleep. I just really need some good sleep sometime soon! Does anyone have any advice for me? Product recommendations are welcome as well.

Thank you!

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

We cosleep and my baby has been sleeping on me for naps for 9 months now. I have never had a kiddo down. Hope you find something that works for you and other mommas have thoughts.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

My babies all slept on me, too. My DH was also a major worrier, especially when they were all tiny.

Have you tried swaddling? With our babies, they all slept better as newbies when they were tightly swaddled, and it certainly helped with transferring them.

Hang in there, mama!
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

I think any piece of equipment can give the baby a flat head, if you leave them sit in it too long. Just don't leave baby in there all day. Give it a try, maybe it will work and you can at least get a nap alone.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

Been there, done that. I just dealt with being majorly sleep-deprived. We had the Arm's Reach co-sleeper, too. I didn't co-sleep in the bed except for a few times out of total desperation.

I never knew it was possible to be that sleep-deprived and still be alive.

At that age, I held him for naps because he would wake up if put down and would not nap at all if I wasn't holding him. He did sleep in his co-sleeper at night, in a Halo sleepsack swadde with his arms swaddled down, although he would wake up very very frequently (but would fall asleep again after nursing).

All I can say is - what you are experiencing is normal and it does get better. It eventually passes and you will start to be able to get some sleep, although it will seem like that day will never come.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:39 AM   #6
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I really recommend swaddling. My 18 month old is STILL swaddled with her arms out because she craves the pressure and feeling if being held.

A thin blanket works well, or something like a swaddleMe that you can buy just for this purpose. We swaddle with arms in until they start pulling them out in the night. It is truly the only way I've ever been able to lay any of our babies- all four of them- down in a bed without me.

Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

I didn't cosleep until DD was +3 months, but DD did take naps on my chest. DH was afraid of rolling over her. We have a very low bed and once, DD actually did roll off my chest onto the carpet. I was horrified and felt guilty for weeks.

At that age, DD refused to be put down to sleep too. I would often let her fall asleep on me and transition her to a bassinet. When she was fussy and wouldn't stay asleep, I would out her in a swing . It was the only way I could sneak away and take a shower.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

I'm a new mom too, and my daughter is 4 weeks old as well. For the first week+, she did exactly what your DD is doing, despite having a cradle and a crib. DH & I were at our wits' end. At one point I was so desperate I put her on the cradle mattress, put her on the floor then slept next to her one night hoping that would work (only worked once for a short time). What we did, though I'm not sure what exactly worked: (this is sleeping at NIGHT, she doesn't nap well during the day)
1) make sure the temp is right. We live in Northern NH, it's really cold, and her room was at 63-65 F. We dragged out the space heater and increased the room temp to 69-70F. Put a hat on her & dressed her better. Put a thermometer in the room to monitor it. Used a rice sock to initially warm the mattress esp where her head rests
2) Swaddle her!!! And, swaddle her TIGHT, it's more womb like and comforting. We used just 2 receiving blankets at first, now she has discovered she loves her Halo fleece swaddle/sleep sack
(hated it at first). The Halo is great, she outgrew the blankets quick. I think you have to be careful about swaddling their hips/legs too, google it, I can't remember
3) the midwives at our hospital suggested putting a shirt that smells like you in the crib. I shoved a decent sized burp cloth up my shirt for a bit then spread it in the crib where her head rests- don't think this made a difference. I think they also said a car seat for an couple hours is ok too if you need a nap badly.
4) Try white noise in the room. A fan maybe. My mom had given me a giraffe (www.cloudb.com) that has several sound settings (running water, a static like sound etc) & can velcro to the the crib. Forgot she gave it to me until week 3
5) Pacifier in the mouth so she can soothe herself
6) Try a sling/baby wearing device (ergo, moby) during the day so she'll nap & you can do stuff
Can you ask your local hospital if they have suggestions?
Of all these things, the swaddling & temp adjustment help the most, IMO, but I don't know. Now, she is sleeping 3-4 hours at night...!!! Good luck. Sorry for the long post but I was where you are.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

another thought - when she sleeps on you, she's on her tummy right? And I assume when you put her down it's on her back? Some babies just plain won't sleep on their backs. My DD only slept on my chest until 4 weeks old (when we gradually transitioned her to in bed beside me), just like you're describing, and, in hindsight, I think it was as much about being on her tummy as being on me. I know on the back is what is recommended, but, for me, with the one I'm growing right now, if she'll only sleep on her belly then belly it is. However, she'll be in the bassinet right beside me so I feel comfortable with that.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:59 AM   #10
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Re: 4 week old will only sleep on me!

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all of the replies; they are much appreciated. As far as swaddling goes, we have tried it! She was doing fine with being swaddled when we first got home from the hospital, but after the first week or so, she started to HATE it. Initially, she'd cry while being swaddled, but then calm right down...not any more! She screams bloody murder because she's so frustrated that her arms are pinned down, and she Houdinis her way out of everything we put her in. A friend of ours gave us the Miracle Blanket, because that really holds the arms in, and it was a no go. She fell asleep for all of five minutes, and then woke up grunting, shrieking, and squirming to beat the band. Our little baby was so angry! So we've given up on swaddling, although maybe I'm getting desperate enough to give it another go.

As far as other, external factors go, we keep the temperature of our bedroom between 69 and 71 degrees or so, so it's plenty warm enough, and she sleeps in a cotton onesie, cotton footie pajamas, socks, and a lovely, cozy, LanaCare woolen sleep sack. We tried a hat initially, but she hates those too, and she'll squirm around until she works it off!! She's feisty like her mom.

I play womb sounds for her as white noise, and that worked for the first few weeks too, but not anymore! She's on to me. And we have a fan going while she sleeps, to increase air circulation and reduce our risk of SIDS.

The only things mentioned that I haven't tried yet are a hot water bottle/heating pad to warm her mattress a bit before putting her down, and a pacifier. We were waiting until she turned one month old on recommendation of our pediatrician, to avoid "nipple confusion." I think I'll see how she does with the pacifier tonight. Maybe it'll work. Fingers crossed!!
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