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Three week old won't sleep on her own

Attleboro, MA
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Three week old won't sleep on her own

My three week old doesn’t seem to want to sleep anywhere except on a person. I’ve been sleeping sitting on the couch at night with her lying on my chest. I have a pack-n-play in our bedroom right next to my side of the bed. If I try to have her sleep there, between feeding, fussing, and small noises when she finally calms down my husband and I get no sleep at all before she has to feed again. I tried this a few times and by around 3 am I give up and wind up on the couch again to get any sleep at all.
Is this a phase she’ll grow out of on her own? Is there anything I can do to encourage her to sleep quietly in the pack and play for at least two hours between feeds so I can sleep in my own bed for at least a little while?

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  1. I am sorry to say that this is pretty much par for the course with brand new babies, in my experience 🙁 We existed in survival mode for the first 6 weeks or so because our son was exactly the same way. We did find that swaddling him tight in a sleep sack, rocking him to sleep, and then very gently laying him down in his bassinet gave us a little bit more time of sleeping by himself. I know how you feel! Maybe try to take shifts with your husband so that you can snooze in the bed for a little while at night?

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    1. We do shifts somewhat. He goes to bed later than me, and holds the baby for one or two feeding cycles while I sleep (except for the actual feedings). If this is par for the course I guess we can just keep going this way for another few weeks. I’m just worries that we’re building bad habits that will be hard to break later.

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      1. I remember being worried about creating bad habits also but, honestly, when they’re that little- they just want to be held 🙂 Keep doing what you’re doing and take things at a pace that feels right for your family. She will learn to sleep, it may just take a little while for her to adjust to the world.

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        1. How did you know he was ready to sleep on his own? Did you keep trying until he did it, or did he give some cues?

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          1. We just kept trying and he gradually adjusted to the new habits and got comfortable without us holding him. I remember laying next to his bassinet with my hand on his stomach so that he would sleep but I could sleep, too so it went in stages.

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  2. What great support and advice Laura has given you Nicole! I agree with her in that sleep is not developed at 3 weeks of age nor can babies this age learn to “self soothe”. I would try swaddling and perhaps see if you can safely elevate the pnp or bassinette that may help. Do whatever you can to get her naps– swing, rock-n-play, wear her…anything. I also like the idea of slowly transitioning to having your newborn lay in her bassinette next to your bed with your hand on her to comfort her. Don’t worry about creating bad habits! Anything you do now to help get her to sleep can easily be undone later. Promise! Make sure you also share what is going on with your pediatrician to rule out reflux for instance. Hang in there!

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  3. The first couple months of your new baby’s life can certainly be exhausting. And even though a full night’s sleep for you is a distant memory right now, I assure you they will return. In the first couple months of life, your baby has no predictable sleep routine, simply because she is too young. While you may hear of your friend’s baby sleeping all the way through the night from the day he arrived home from the hospital, most babies wake up frequently through the night for the first several weeks (or even months) after birth, and many don’t like sleeping on their own. There is no magic formula for getting your baby to sleep through the night in her own bed at such a young age, but nighttime sleep will come with time over the next several weeks as you baby’s patterns become more predictable. Over the coming weeks, try to watch carefully for cues your baby is tired during the day, and encourage good naps before your baby becomes overly tired. Often good sleep during the day leads to good sleep at night. Also, remember that it’s ok to let babies squirm and fuss for a few minutes if they wake up during the night, especially if you know they don’t need to be fed. Sometimes if you leave a baby alone for a few minutes they will go back to sleep on their own instead of relying on mommy to soothe them back to sleep. Best of luck and remember…this difficult phase will soon pass!

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  4. Just let your child sleep with you. My son almost never slept in his crib. He loved to snuggle with his mama and papa. He slept with us for years. He is now 20 and has always been a kind loving boy. He was never spoiled. He had all his needs met. He is a friend to everyone he meets.

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