Mom’s Question: Help! My Baby Will Only Sleep On Me
Does your baby sleep only when held in your arms? Babies tend to get clingy to mom during the first three weeks of life.
You can’t blame your little one; he/she spent nine months in your womb. Weighing just a few kilos, you can still carry him for hours.
But what if this sleeping routine persists longer than expected?
We usually coax and rock baby to sleep only to have him wake up the moment you put him down. It’s a daily cycle that can get tiring at times.
Is there a better way to make baby sleep independently without too much struggle and sore arms?
Tips And Tricks To Make Your Baby Sleep On His Own
1/ Cluster feeding after dinner time
Cluster feeding helps your baby to get more breast milk for his longer stretches of sleep. If you find your little one unusually hungry or nurses longer at dinner time, then he is preparing himself for the night.
If you are cluster feeding, take your time. Do not break off breastfeeding; let him nurse all he wants.
Just make sure to have a glass of water and some snacks nearby. Find a comfortable spot in a nursery glider or on the bed. This type of breastfeeding will leave your breasts dry, and your arm sore, so better get ready.
Here's the trick:
If the baby is feeling full, he will fall asleep faster. Do not wait until he is fully asleep before you put him to his crib or bed. On his half-asleep state, bring him down and let him continue his sleep from there.
2/ Dream feed at bedtime
If you suddenly find yourself awake in the middle of the night, try to breastfeed baby without fully waking him up. Dream feeding is a term being used to nurse the baby while he is half-asleep. Dream feeding works best for infants less than six months of age.
You may offer your breasts even if baby seems asleep, he will instinctively suck on it.
Tap your partner to wake up on a particular time and bottle feed baby with the breast milk that you had pumped.
Babies tend to wake up in the middle of the night because of hunger, so the best way for uninterrupted sleep at night time is to feed him midway. It will save you the trouble of waking up to a crying and starving baby at the wee hours of the evening.
3/ Prepare the crib
You need to make baby’s crib or co-sleeper feel and smell mom-like. One of the main reasons why your child wakes up the moment you put him in the crib is due to the abrupt change of temperature.
A cold crib will surely startle baby, and he will fight his way to stay longer in your arms.
What do you do with this?
Keep an ideal room temperature in your nursery or bedroom. Maintain the crib as warm as your body, if possible. If the weather is too cold, warm up your crib by using a heating pad.
You can also put the baby in a swaddle wrap to induce a feeling of being embraced. Another valuable tip is to make the swaddle cloth smell like mom. Try to wear the swaddle around the house while doing your daily tasks.
A co-sleeper that is entirely flat can feel unusual to the baby. You can choose a co-sleeper with rocking motions to mimic your child’s time inside your womb.
4/ Use some white noise
An entirely quiet room is not the best sleeping environment for baby. Let your little one get used to some white noise. Just a small fan or a room humidifier can do the trick of giving some comforting humming noise without being too noisy.
If you want to take this further:
Try using a white noise machine that you can purchase at some baby care stores. Some of these machines recreate sounds akin to what may be called “womb music.”
It is just simply the rhythmic sound of mom’s heartbeat and the occasional swooshing noise of amniotic fluid inside the womb.
5/ Use some rocking tactics
For a newborn to three months of age, you can rock baby in your arms with varying tempo for a few minutes. In my experience, I found that the best way for me to put the baby down without waking him up is to make different rocking motions while trying to put him to sleep.
Shift your position at least a couple of times. Now and then, you will find that your little sleuth will peep in between his eyelids to check if you are still holding him up.
Vary your routine a few times more until he gets accustomed to position changes. When you finally put him in the crib or co-sleeper, he will think that you are still holding him up, and continue on his slumber.
For babies that are at least three months of age, you can try doing some sleep training. A single tactic is not guaranteed to work for all kids, so try and experiment what would best work for you and your little one.
There is nothing wrong if you feel that it is taking too long for your baby to settle on sleeping on his own. It is alright also to feel tired.
Children will naturally gravitate toward mom’s embrace, but you don’t want your child to sleep on your arms up to his first grade.
So what do you do if your baby will only sleep on you?
Begin as early as now to train your child to sleep on his own. After all, you need to rest, to sleep and to have some time for yourself.