Difficulty getting Baby to Sleep

NBB Question from Lia: “I have a 7 week old baby boy. Since birth he hated sleeping on his back or swaddle. I know it’s bad but he sleeps on his belly or at least he used to. He now rarely sleeps during the day and we have tried everything from sling, ergo, pram, car, holding him but nothing works. He even hates a dummy. He would sometimes be awake for 5 hours straight. At night he will sleep from 8pm for 4 hours and then wakes up every 1.5-2 hours till morning and after that hard to put him to sleep during the day. We sometimes try more then an hour (or more) each time to put him down. I am breastfeeding and seem to have enough milk but due to him not sleeping, the feed, play sleep cycle is not working well. He also suffers from gas/wind/belly aches. Should I go back to swaddle? Not sure how to teach him to like it as he cries. I would love any bit of advise, suggestions or any professional help.”


Lia, this sounds very difficult for you and your baby.  There can be many reasons babies don’t sleep. It sure is time for help. You could try swaddling again, but be sure his hands are up on his chest so he can reach his hands if he needs to suck. Also with wraps, make sure they are not too tight across their little chests, but tight enough not to come unwrapped. Sometimes if you wrap a baby, then cuddle them again for a while, they seem to be able to relax into the wrap more.

From 6 weeks on, this is the time when babies are at their most unsettled, and their crying peaks during this phase, so lots of cuddles are needed.

Does your baby settle when feeding, or does he stay unsettled when feeding? There are so many things from wind to reflux, always check with your maternal child and family health nurse and discuss what you are going though. They are free and will assess your baby, because you are at risk of being swamped by lots of ideas which may result in you getting into further sleep struggles.

Please don’t even think about a routine with an unsettled 7 week old, think about survival and calm and the rest will happen more easily, when he’s a bit older and more able to self-regulate. There is help out there that will help you through this.

See here on how to settle your baby to sleep or for further support you visit www.helenstevens.com.au.

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