53 Responses to “The Sleep Battles”


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  1. i’ve heard from all of my friends that this is normal, but i still can’t imagine how hard it is. well, i guess i will KNOW soon enough though! but it sounds like you guys are doing a great job of trying everything you can. we have some friends who had the incline sleeping position work great for them, but it turned out it was because their son had acid reflux. regardless, hang in there! you’ll have that sweet baby boy sleeping in no time πŸ™‚

  2. I know it isn’t much consolation right now, but this too shall pass!

  3. Sounds like you are doing a great job at figuring out what works for you, and it seems like things are headed in the right direction- yay!
    I know it doesn’t work for all babies, but we don’t use the swaddle blankets because they don’t get tight enough, so instead we use two receiving blankets to make sure she can’t wiggle out.
    Hope the extra sleep continues for you!

  4. Lindsey

    Everything seems to increase the risk of SIDS, doesn’t it? We have a 7 week old little boy who also refuses to sleep in his back because of reflux. I’m learning that instead of trying to do everything by the book, to trust my instincts and do what I feel is best for our baby (and will get us the most sleep!). We use the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques and they work great for us. He always used to break out if his swaddle too, but now my husband wraps him up even tighter with his arms down and he really seems to love it! We also lie him on his side in the bassinet and he sleeps for hours! When he doesn’t want to sleep in the bassinet in the middle of the night he either sleeps in between us in our bed or on one of our chests. We’re just doing what we think is best for our babe and we’re all a lot happier! Good luck! πŸ™‚

  5. My sister-in-law had the same problem a year ago when her son was born. She ended up letting him sleep in a sing that played music if someone wasn’t holding him. It seemed to work really well!

    I hope Bambino starts sleeping better for you guys!!!

  6. Tammy

    Just want to tell you that I’ve so been there, know how incredibly hard it can be …. BUT it will get easier. So much easier. Hang in there!!

  7. SO sorry to hear! He is looking so long!

  8. Linda

    The struggles with sleep are one of the hardest things with babies. It’s hard on the whole family when everyone is tired. Just keep trying new things until you find what works for your baby. Things will continuously change and they will get easier. Trust me…before you know it you’ll forget about these long days/nights. Hang in there! Your baby is absolutely precious and you’re doing a great job!!

  9. Pam

    I also felt scared and guilty about letting my baby sleep in the infant seat, but for the first 4 weeks of her life, that truly was the only place she really slept and slept well. So I let her sleep there. We also ended up buying one of those silly $150 swings and she LOVES that! She sleeps beautifully in the swing for HOURS, but now I am beginning to worry about trying to wean that. I guess I’m going to just face the battles as they come πŸ™‚ I 2nd the “Happiest Baby on the Block” dvd… has great ideas in there. I also recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”…it is a very reasonable book that makes a lot of sense. Good luck πŸ™‚ The advice from others never ends πŸ˜‰

  10. His facial expression is so funny! Have you tried a wombie – like a mini sleeping bag that contains the arms and legs? It’s probably pretty similar to swaddling though. Good luck!

  11. Lily

    My baby slept for hours in the lamb swing too….and we also used to put her in the car seat near our bed for a little while. But, we put her down to sleep as soon as we were home from the hospital. We didn’t let her cry it out at all, but when she was tiny we did let her cry a little bit and then put the pacifier in her mouth…to sooth her. Once she started to flip onto her stomach (3 1/2 months) I called the pediatrician and she said she was fine to sleep that way if she wanted to…which she does. at that point we got rid of her swing and pacifier.

    your little one seems a little young for a schedule. i think you’ll see that it will change as he gets older.

    I have a friend that is currently dealing with the EXACT same sleep issues as you…her little one is 13 days old and violently attacks the swaddle!!!!!!

    Good luck

  12. My R slept in his swing fairly frequently during the day when he was younger… Other than that, not sure what to tell ya, other than good luck! We’re fighting with a lil man who only wants to sleep on us, too right now, but since he’s 5 months, it’s a bit different. Things that are working for us that might help you: we put a space heater in his room to raise the temperature a couple degrees since the house is cold, we sometimes put a heating pad in his crib to warm up the sheets before putting him down, he is bundled like an eskimo to sleep (fleece sleeper, fleece sleep-sack)… Can you tell that cold is the issue w/ us? Ok, enough rambling. GOOD LUCK!

  13. Alexis D

    Give yourself a break, he is still new to the world and very few babies are perfect sleepers from the get go. Check what Healthy Sleep Habits…nand see what it says about this age. I think it is at this point that he’ll finally be able to have routine sleep. Also, this is the issue with first born children – we never put them down so of course they love to snuggle on top of us and refuse to go to sleep elsewhere. My first always nursed to sleep and then I had to figure out how to get her in a crib without waking her- it became torture. He may also be having a bit of reflux if he likes the upright position. Check out One Step Ahead, they have plenty of pediatrician approved sleep aids.

  14. Stacey

    Hi Sabrina-

    I just typed up a long email and it deleted. So I’ll make this short. I came across your blog and am a new mom from Philadelphia too. Your story was ours 6 months ago. I tried everything under the sun. He would only sleep on an incline in his favorite chair that we swear by. I can send you the link from Babies R Us if you want. All of my friends swore by it. Anyway, after 5 months of crying and basically no sleep and trying every formula, natural remedy out there…Zantac for reflux changed our lives! Email me if you have any questions. I hope this helps!!!

  15. Buy the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. It will save your life!
    The best $50 I ever spent!

  16. Ugh… I hope things start getting better for you! I know how it is to have a screaming baby who does eventually fall asleep – I can’t imagine having one who won’t! πŸ™ Poor little guy! Don’t get discouraged – I know you’re still a wonderful mom!

  17. Kim

    Fisher price rock and play sleeper!!!

  18. Stacey

    The chair I referenced was the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. We are on our second one! Best chair EVER!!

  19. Kelly

    I think I recommended this in another post, but try the woombie swaddler. It isnt such a stiff swaddle that they cant move their arms and legs like with a blanket or a velcro swaddler. There is some stretch, so it feels like they are in the womb still. The other thing that worked wonders for us-our little girl would easily fall asleep in our arms and wake as soon as she hit the crib. We keep a heating pad plugged in next to the crib and turn it on and lay it in there as we’re gettng her to sleep. When shes finally out, we move it and put her on the warm spot. Feels like body heat to them so its less of a shock of even a warmer flannel sheet. Only other consolation – it will pass! Promise πŸ™‚

  20. Melissa

    Has he been tested for GERD? I am a nurse at CHOP and many of our kiddos that had had difficulty sleeping tested positive for GERD, and that could explain why the bambino has had success sleeping on an incline. GERD is simply gastric reflux and is really common in little guys, and it is easily treated with zantac. πŸ™‚ Good luck!! hopefully more restful nights are in your future!!

  21. OMG! We had the same issue. Do you have a boppy newborn napper? It saved our lives (ok, maybe I’m being dramatic ;)). She sleeps happily on that thing. It says not to let them sleep on it…but its fine!

  22. We used the incline roc and play sleeper for the first three months. I never heard about it increasing sids risk. We transitioned to the crib slowly around three months, starting with naps, and eventually she got it. Raffi will too!

  23. Christina

    Lots of great suggestions from other moms. Being a mom, especially a first-time mom, is all trial and error which can be really frustrating when it comes down to whether people in the family are getting enough sleep or not.
    Have you read up on sleep habits? It’s amazing how important sleep is for babies and children and yet it is rarely ever addressed in all the birthing and baby classes out there.
    For swaddling, what worked better than all the other ones out there for us was the Woombie. There was 0% chance of escape (it is zippered) but the material was stretchy enough that our son could still stretch around inside of it and not feel totally constricted. It more just prevented him from wacking himself in the face πŸ™‚
    Scheduling. I know you didn’t touch on this yet, but what is a really great routine to start from day one is to (try to) eat-play-sleep. Eating right when they wake up provides for a better play time because they are well rested AND well fed, which then makes for a better sleep because they have gotten quality play time (good stimulation).
    Rocking/nursing to sleep. We definitely learned this the hard way with our first daughter (it took us 7 months before we realized we couldn’t rock her to sleep all the time). It’s soooo hard not to rock your little ones to sleep after you’ve been waiting for months to hold them in your arms. But it really can create some unhealthy sleep cycles. Babies tend to wake up slightly while they are sleeping, and if all they remember is being close to their mom or nursing and then all of a sudden they are alone in this big bed, they freak out. Really striving for letting them put themselves to sleep is key to good sleep. That said, we have 3 kids and we didn’t get to that point with our third until close to 3 months. It’s a hard skill for them to learn.
    Sorry this is so long – I hope you found some good tips in it! Number 1 mommy mantra for ALL moms out there is, This too shall pass. πŸ™‚

  24. Christine

    My son would only sleep in his car seat for the first several months. I always put a blanket behind him so he would get a flat spot on his head. The key thing I have read about SIDS is that the risk increases if you suddenly change his sleeping position. Like if you always put him on his back and then you start putting him on his tummy.

  25. Rachael

    Sorry to hear you are having sleep problems….my 2 month old isn’t a fan of swaddling either, so I hear your frustration on that front.
    It’s a bit unconventional, but a friend of mine has an infant that simply will not sleep out of human arms (preferably held tightly). Taking a cue from the weighted vests that work for some autistic children (provides the pressure they crave), she made a baby-size version, checked it out with her pediatrician, and put it to task. Ended up working for her baby, though that’s never a guarantee it’ll work for someone else…
    Hang in there mama!

  26. Scheduling is so hard when they’re so little πŸ˜› That’s my biggest issue. But having a good bed time routine is what has helped us get them to sleep. Even if we put them to bed at a different time, as long as we do the routine, they might grunt and move around for a little while but they’ll go to sleep without crying. We usually put on music, have a quick bath (or a long bath if they’re really gross that day), have baby lotion massage time, feed them, then turn off all the music and lights and lay them in their bassinets. I’ve had to keep them sitting up because of reflux and i’ve put a receiving blanket under their bassinet mattress (per recommendation of a dr) so they’re sleeping at a bit of an angle, and he didn’t mention anything about increased risk of sids. Mine also tend to nap in their swing and bouncey seats and I just let them go. As long as he’s strapped in, there’s nothing he can cover his face with, and he’s in a safe place, I’d say you’re fine to let him sleep there if he’s happy. We try to do atleast 1 nap in their cribs a day, just to help them get used to it. As they get older, I’ll try to make all napping in their cribs, but as long as they sleep good during the day and at night and are eating well, I just let them go at this point.

  27. Kathryn

    I’m probably your oldest reader (my baby is 23), but he was a terrible sleeper! He HATED swaddling, so we gave that up. We didn’t have any swings, incline seats, etc. Our pediatrician finally gave us the tip that worked….after nursing, put baby down to sleep, stay with him for 1 minute and then leave. If he starts to cry, come back in 1 minute and comfort him and then leave. Next time, wait 2 minutes before repeating. Next time, wait 3 minutes, then 4 minutes, etc. We had 2 TERRIBLE nights, and then he got the idea.

  28. Lily

    I did this sleep training myself…..i did 30 sec, 3 min, 5 min, 10 min….etc. The crying peaked at day 3 and now she sleeps in her crib three naps a day for at least an hour each and her crib for bedtime at 6:30-7am and up 1-2 times to eat—-she’s breastfed. No crying. Does really well. It is harder on the parent than the baby!

  29. My neice was the same way. My cousin would put a heating pad in the crib (to feel like the warmth like a body), and her shirt (for scent)…. It worked eventually?

  30. My niece was the same way. My cousin would put a heating pad in the crib (to feel like the warmth like a body), and her shirt (for scent)…. It worked eventually?

  31. Diana

    I second the Healthy Sleep Habits book. It really helped us out alot.

  32. stephanie

    I have no baby advice for you. However, I have to say that that photo is hilarious/adorable. He looks like he’s doing battle. Battle of sleep.

  33. good luck with it! it must be so exhausting for all of you.

  34. Annalisa

    umm…it sounds like you have a newborn! just when something works, it’ll change. you might want to consider co-sleeping. it gets a bad rep but man, we slept great with our newborn-now-5-mo. old. like, 7 hour stretches great. when my baby is alone, she sleeps like crap so there is something to it. also, i’m not in your house but a newborn on a schedule is sort of like taking water out of a sinking ship. babies go through so many milestones making their needs differ from day to day. my 2 cents is to ride the wave and enjoy the smooth sailing that 10-14 week olds bring.

  35. Bless your heart! I can only imagine how difficult it is to get into a rhythm with your child.

    It’s so hard to believe he’s posing for 1 month photos already πŸ™‚

  36. my reflux-ey baby sleeps in the fisher price newborn rock n play sleeper. Unlike bouncy seats, this one is tested for sleep, so no sids worries. Worth the 40 or 50 bucks!

  37. Kerry Murray

    I haven’t read all of the comments, I am on my way out the door to bring my 10 year old (a former nonsleeper) to a sports practice:) but we always used the carseat. It was our saving grace. That seat was the only place he would sleep unless another person was holding him (he’s the first grandchild on both sides!). Good luck and hang in there! Oh and our pediatrician gave us the carseat tip.
    P.S. Love your blog and you’ll get back in the kitchen!

  38. Julia slept in her Snugabunny chair (which is also a warm and fuzzy incline chair) for the first week a half or so and she loved it. I’d never heard of it increasing the risk of SIDS, but I’m not sure. It’s great that you’re figuring out what works for you guys. I know it’s frustrating now, but you’ll find the perfect fix soon and you’ll all be sleeping better! Keep up the great work, momma!

  39. Danielle

    You’re not alone! πŸ™‚ Your little guy is still very new and is adjusting to the world. Some other things that might be helpful to consider (if he seems overly fussy/colicky and not just newborn fussy): Is there anything in your diet that might be bothering him via breast milk? I quickly learned that Mason could not tolerate me eating broccoli! I also eliminated dairy from my diet for a while, but reintroduced it when he turned about 3-4 months (dairy and soy are 2 big things that often upset babies bellies). I opted to alter my diet before considering GERD and medication.
    In terms of sleep…Dominic absolutely hated being swaddled with his arms by his sides. Have you tried swaddling Raffi with his arms out? I know that sort of defeats the purpose, but Dominic liked the tight security of being ‘swaddled’; however, he preferred his hands free. Another thought is co-sleeping. Co-sleeping really allows everyone to sleep, and gets you through those rough first couple months. We started the sleep training somewhere in the 4th month with Mason (we were lucky with Dominic who slept through the night on his own at 6 weeks). The “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” book gives you such a great explanation of a schedule, and the science behind it, at each age. Sometimes you just need the “okay” to let them fuss a little to figure it out. I learned this quickly with my 2nd. I literally couldn’t run back to pick Mason up upstairs if I was doing something with Dominic. And, I’ve found babies/kids thrive with routine and schedules. Mason has been doing amazingly well since we stopped hovering. πŸ™‚ He never even really cried when we introduced the prescribed schedule in the book. If you have any specific questions about the book, email me. Lots of helpful info in there. For instance, Dr. Weissbluth believes babies should go to bed between 6 and 8 per their natural biological clock. We were putting Mason to bed at 8:30; he’d cry on and off ALL night; we moved his bedtime to 6…TADA! He’s sleeping 12-13 hours most nights, and waking up only once to nurse!
    Some other thoughts that might help… We have the same routine every night. It has worked well with both boys. Tubby time, bedtime story/stories, nurse, sleep. We also play music and a sound machine in their rooms all night, and we have a flannel sheet on Mason’s bassinet. πŸ™‚
    SORRY FOR RAMBLING!!! But if any of my experiences can be of any help, I figure I might as well try and share them! Good luck!!! It’s a lot of trial and error to start. It will all come together. πŸ™‚

  40. Danielle

    P.S. I think they say any type of sleep situation where they are inclined in something increases the risk of SIDS because of the possibility of them wiggling somehow and either tipping it over on top of them, or getting stuck in a way that could restrict their breathing (since they’re typically strapped in).

  41. Brittany

    Our baby had sleep issues as well. We used the chair at an incline for the first 5-6 weeks and it was the only way she slept more than an hour at a time at night. And naps were done with cuddling. After week 6 she flipped some sort of switch and started sleeping! We moved her at night to the bassinet in our bedroom and did naps either in the crib or in the swing or in the chair…whatever worked at the time. Now she is 11 weeks, sleeping in her crib and only waking up twice at night for food. She is also doing her first nap in the crib and the other two in her swing, sometimes lasting 2-3 hrs. All in all, it does get better! I thought I was dying for the first 6 weeks, and even though there are still bad nights (about 1-2 times a week), overall she is much better with sleep.

  42. Donna Porter

    Aww, how I remember those days! My youngest, she’s now 10, but when she was born I thought I’d have to stay awake until she went to college! The only think that kept her asleep was the “smell” of mom. I was nursing, so that didn’t help! I finally learned a trick. I would sleep in a tshirt, then that tshirt went into her bed for the next day. The smell of mom on the tshirt helped soothe her during naptime! Good luck!

  43. Jen

    I second this! We’ve been using it since our daughter was born (she’s now 8 weeks) and it is the BEST.

  44. Jen

    @Jen, Oops, meant to say that I second the FIsher Price Rock and Play Sleeper!

  45. Brittany

    The book that helped me so much was “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Was recommended to me by my friend with twins. Amazing asvice, gives you a feel of what to expect of little one and is broken down by age. Maybe I just got lucky, but my little man is a great sleeper and napper. He is one now and this book has helped with every phase!

  46. Was going to ask the same thing! Bambino sounds just like Hunter his first month (i could NEVER put him down). It wasn’t until he was two months that he was put on Zantac but that was about two months to late. I know it is really frustrating right now, but in a few months this will all be behind you and you will be wishing that he was still tiny enough to fall asleep in your arms. Hang in there Sabrina! Things will get so much better.

  47. oops- this was supposed to be a response to the GERD commenter…

  48. Tons of great advice above! Just promise me you won’t feel badly if/when you run into this person: “My baby slept through the night from the time s/he was three weeks old.” All babies are different, not all of them sleep well right away, and you’ll figure it out. Good luck!

  49. Cornelia

    I have the same problem with my 3 week old! So happy to hear that I’m not alone! We tried everything, but no luck…until we tried co sleeping…it was not something I wanted to do but I could no longer sleep sitting up on our couch, I gave it a try…She still hates her bassinet and crib but my friends tell me it will pass in a couple of weeks and she should be sleeping in there in no time…good luck and congrats to your new addition!

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