How can I get my 4-week-old newborn to sleep in his bassinet/crib?
Q: My baby is 4-weeks-old and will not tolerate being put down for more than 10 minutes max. He will only sleep on me (or a warm body) & not anywhere else. Will this change and when? I love cuddling the lil man, but cannot get a thing done including using the bathroom! At what point/age do I let him cry in his bassinet for sleeping purposes? I am also nursing.
A: Newborns have very immature nervous systems, thus they are born with few strategies to soothe themselves. They are used to being snug and warm inside the womb. And, they know how to suck, which is soothing for them. That's about it! So, for the first 2-3 months, you've gotta do what you gotta do to help soothe your baby for him to relax and fall asleep. Yes, that means rocking, snuggling, singing, etc. after spending 24/7 with your newborn, you will figure out what reliably works to help your little one settle down. I only suggest that you find a safe sleep place for your baby. Sleeping on your chest can be a risky place because you may fall asleep due to sheer exhaustion-even if you don't plan on it. A baby can roll off of a parent's chest who is reclined on the couch or rocker. Or a parent may roll over on a baby while in bed with her. So, if your baby will only sleep if she is skin to skin with you, I suggest a co-sleeper bed attachment that allows the baby to have her own sleep space next to you. I also highly recommend a good swaddling technique so your baby feels snug--for the first 2 months of life.
Between 3-4 months, I do recommend giving your baby her own space, removing any sleep crutches you have adopted (feeding to fall asleep, rocking to sleep, etc) and a little time to fall asleep on her own-to see if she can self-soothe.
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Answered by Dr. Ari Brown