Bees, I need your knowledge. My son is 5 weeks and fights going to sleep, especially for a nap, like it's a death sentence. I have spent the past three weeks alone every day (DH is back at work) and I'm out of ideas and running low on stamina. Everything I read says to start "drowsy but awake" right away if you can. Don't feed to sleep, Eat + Wake + Sleep, etc. I'm trying my darnest, but I can't get this kid to nap to save my life. I feed, swaddle and diaper change, go to the darkest room in our house (the bathroom!) and proceed to rock+shush. I know he's tired. His eyes are drooping, he's yawning. But the moment he falls to sleep or I try to set him down--BAM. AWAKE. Sometimes it takes me so long to get him to this point that he's hungry again and the whole process has to start again. AGH.
I am exhausted and without anyone to tag in to relieve me. Some days I get so tired and frustrated with myself and my inability to do this that we're both crying in the bathroom. How how how how do I get him to nap?! What am I doing wrong?
nectarine / 2288 posts
Both my kids have nursed to sleep and just slept on me for naps (I wear them when I need to get stuff done) they will occasionally nap in a swing. And we bedshare at night so they sleep next to me.
My 3 year old now goes to sleep on her own and sleeps in her own room. She's slept there easily since she was 2.
I think it's totally unreasonable to expect a tiny baby to sleep on their own, on their backs on a hard surface. They've spent the last 9 months sleeping somewhere warm where all their needs are met.
I just enjoy the snuggles ️
I'm sure other moms will have suggestions too but just another perspective
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
#1 you’re not doing it wrong!! 5 weeks is just a super hard time. I would do whatever it takes until at least 3 months and then you can worry more about habits.
Others will write more I know but a few thoughts:
- will baby nap in a carrier? Mine did that a ton until 3m. Not every baby loves it but many love your warmth and smell and you can actually do things while they sleep!
- if baby will sleep on or next to you and you can manage the time, do it. Also I totally fed all mine to sleep at that age.
- make sure you are putting down before baby looks tired. That age can have almost no awake time after eating, depends on the kid. Too tired makes it hard to fall asleep, the fighting may indicate that.
Hang in there!!
persimmon / 1483 posts
@foodiebee: you’re not doing anything wrong! All that sounds about right for a newborn. Sometimes I could put my girls down if they were super knocked out, but most of the tome o held or wore them until they were a few months old. I probably didn’t even start trying I earnest until they were out of their bassinets and into cribs. They are 3 and 5 now and sleep just fine on their own Do what you need to do!
pomegranate / 3230 posts
You’re doing nothing wrong. Every baby is different. All baby advice should be viewed as a buffet, and you should select which items are best for you and your baby on any given day. If I were you, I would just cave, find a comfortable baby carrier, and wear my child is much is possible.
Warning/disclaimer: I do a lot of cosleeping, and my kids all suck at going to sleep by themselves!
pomelo / 5257 posts
I've nursed both my kids to sleep. I swear "drowsy but awake" is a myth for all but a tiny number of babies! With my son, I nursed him to sleep for 19 months. I hope to not do it for quite so long with my daughter, but I'm still doing it at 16 weeks. It works for us! She sleeps in her crib for pretty much all naps and nighttime sleep, I just put her in there after she falls asleep nursing. How long are you waiting after he falls asleep? Sometimes you need to wait around 20 minutes to make sure they're in a deep sleep before putting down. ETA: I will say, while we still don't do the drowsy but awake thing, I feel like I can put my daughter in when she's not super deep asleep now and she'll move around a bit, stick her thumb in her mouth, and go to sleep. Honestly, my first didn't suck his thumb, and it's been kind of amazing that my second does. Neither one took a paci at all, so I feel like she's much better at self-soothing. But until she discovered the thumb, she had to be DEEP asleep before putting her down.
grapefruit / 4291 posts
Your baby is SO little and it is absolutely ok to nurse to sleep and just do whatever works and brings you sanity! LOTS of babies don’t do the whole “drowsy but awake” thing or follow eat, play, sleep so ditch the books and just follow your baby’s lead.
grapefruit / 4466 posts
My son did not do drowsy but awake at all until maybe around 4 months. He's now has very good sleep habits. The physiology of baby sleep changes so dramatically over the first six months, there is plenty of time to form good habits after fourth tri, and it's much much easier usually when they're a bit older and more physiologically mature.
What worked for us when I was exhausted and needed to nap too (sometimes) was side lying nursing, then we'd both drift off to sleep, when he started to wake up per usual 20 minutes later he could put himself right back to sleep b/c the boob was already in his mouth and I got some much needed rest.
newborns are hard!
persimmon / 1095 posts
I'm right there with you. DD2 is usually nursed to sleep. We eat, play, nurse to sleep. She's actually sleeping on me right now. I hope to move her off me in a few minutes. She'll sleep on the boppy on the couch. I rarely cosleep, but occasionally I'll nap or early morning cosleep.
At some point, I'll make sure she can sleep without nursing to sleep, but right now, she can't do that. Worst case scenario, daycare will figure out how to get her to sleep.
nectarine / 2431 posts
Oh, mama, you are doing EVERYTHING right!! I nursed my son to sleep, let him sleep on me, rocked him to sleep, and it got to the point that we would just lay him in his crib awake and he would go right to sleep. I don't adhere to a lot of the sleep habits as being ride or die. Your baby just wants you. There is PLENTY of time to develop independent sleeping habits. Just enjoy the snuggles. Swings are great for when you want your arms to yourself.
nectarine / 2433 posts
@foodiebee: these early weeks are so so hard! Sounds like babe wants to be on mama for naps. And that's ok! My boys never slept in anything that didn't snuggle their body, like a rock and play, my chest or the cuddle cove attachment thing from the pack n play. With few exceptions, I found most newborns will not lay on a flat surface and sleep.
What about a swing or a Cuddle cove from Graco (aka the safe alternative Rock N play?)
I also spent time crying in the bathroom. Still do here at 6months pp!!
Actually for my second son, I just had him nap on his tummy. He's always been a great napper because of this.
clementine / 828 posts
@foodiebee: first, for me 5 weeks with my first was and remains my lowest point in parenting. you got this!! it will get better. second, i could have written your post. there is a LOT of advice out there about how to get your babies on a schedule and i honestly think listening to it so much made me way more miserable on my mat leave with my first than i had to be. with my second, because i was so busy with my first, i just fed her when she seemed hungry, and tried to get her to go to sleep when she seemed tired, and if she wouldn't i just picked her back up. both my kids ultimately grew into really solid sleepers but getting newborns to nap is a struggle for soooo many. don't be afraid to just hold the baby for a nap while you watch tv and give yourself a break.
kiwi / 544 posts
Just here to ditto what everyone else is saying! You are doing great. My LO basically only napped while being held until 10 weeks and always had a bottle before sleep until probably 4 months. That’s when we started drowsy but awake and sleep trained at night. 5 weeks is so little and so hard! It will get easier!
cherry / 189 posts
@foodiebee: my daughter had pretty high sleep needs that early (felt like 24 hours/day), and was crying pretty much every second she was awake, yet would fight going to sleep so hard and sleep for minimal time if I did get her to sleep too - it was impossible. She wouldn’t even fall asleep nursing after 2 weeks old - she would get tired but then just get mad instead of going to sleep. I eventually found if I nursed her while bouncing gently on a yoga ball, she could get to sleep. Enough distraction or something. I’d keep bouncing until she went into a deeper sleep (maybe ten - fifteen mins after she first fell asleep) then I could move to the couch. No putting her down until I was ready for her to wake up, haha. It was SO HARD and it felt like the longest, hardest stage that we’d never escape. It took a while (months). But it did get better eventually. Mentally it was so hard but doable once I fully embraced being a couch potato, watching crappy tv all day, and neglecting everything else.. Hopefully your situation is not so extreme! but I thought I’d share what worked for me, just in case
cherry / 189 posts
Forgot to add we’d do lots of stroller walks when I felt like I couldn’t hold her for one more minute - she’d fight sleep in that too but luckily only usually for a few minutes.
pomelo / 5620 posts
Just wanted to say do what works for you.
DS1 pretty much only napped on me and always nursed to sleep. He’s 6 now and a pretty good sleeper.
DS2 is 10 months. Until recently he always nursed to sleep. At about 4 months we did drowsy but awake for bed, it took a few days but he got it. Now if he doesn’t nurse for naps he will go down and fuss a few minutes. For the first 4ish months he napped in th RnP in the living room or on me.
kiwi / 662 posts
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. Honestly, I’ve spent the past week feeling like a total failure over this. I have no confidence bc I’ve never done this before and have no exposure to babies before this. I love the snuggles and don’t mind him sleeping on me at all , I just truly thought we were supposed to have them nap + sleep in the same place all the time. We have a Solly Wrap that he wasn’t big enough to use until now, so we can give that a try soon.
kiwi / 662 posts
@nwm: Yes this is so me. It’s been a low week for sure. Being alone probably isn’t helping, bc when I have questions I turn to Google, which is all, “YOUR KID SHOULD SLEEP IN THE SAME PLACE FOR X HOURS A DAY” and I’m just like... how?! Anyway, I’m grateful for HB and everyone’s experiences to help me feel normal!
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
@foodiebee: my last baby LOVED the solly - I hope it works for you! It’s so cozy for them.
clementine / 935 posts
My daughter wouldn't nap for more than 30 minutes unless she was on someone until she was a year old!! If we wanted more than 30 minutes we had to hold her or wear her. It was kind of brutal at times, but looking back I'm so glad I got all the snuggles I did. And pretty much the week she turned one she started napping in the crib for 2+ hours at a time and did for as long as she kept napping (she did drop the nap tragically early, though...by 2.5 she was basically through).
All that to say, you're not doing anything wrong, try to enjoy the snuggles, it will get better eventually, and you're definitely not screwing up their sleep forever.
persimmon / 1483 posts
@CObee: we also did a lot of stroller naps when DS was really young, especially if I had tried to put him down and it didn't work.
grapefruit / 4291 posts
This is how we roll for naps at our house, nurse to sleep, cuddle for five minutes then into the Mountain Buggy to nap outside!
We got a two month stint when Eloise (now fifteen months) would nap in her cot but she’s otherwise had every nap in either the pram, the carrier, the car or my arms!
You’re doing great, Mama, keep up the good work!
pomegranate / 3192 posts
I think 5 weeks is WAY too young for “drowsy but awake”. It sounds so stressful and exhausting trying to get him to nap! My third babe is 4 and a bit weeks and I have yet to actually put her down for a nap. She’s napped on me, nurses to sleep, in car seat if we are driving, or in the carrier for every nap. Do what you need to do to get them to sleep!! and enjoy those snuggles, they grow up so quickly
clementine / 854 posts
I am a FTM too and honestly I have started to take the approach of letting my instincts tell me what to do. So far so good I think! I do come here for advice now and then but I am trying to refrain from doing what the "experts" say and just doing what I think is best.
You got this!!
My son is 3.5 months and will sleep in his crib for naps but if for some reason he is just not having it, I let him sleep on me. I'd rather he sleep than be cranky. We are all happier that way!
kiwi / 624 posts
@foodiebee: he’s so little! You aren’t doing anything wrong. I don’t even start worrying about it until they’re 3 months old and then I start trying to do the slightly awake and not feed to sleep thing.