Find Out How to Help Your Baby Sleep Calmly Without Being Held!

Find Out How to Help Your Baby Sleep Calmly Without Being Held!
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Last Updated: 16 December 2020

If you’re experiencing a situation when your baby won’t sleep without being held, it must be very frustrating and tiring for you. Not because you don’t love your child, but probably because you didn’t imagine that you’ll have to have them in your arms all the time.

holding baby to sleep

Don’t worry, you’re are not the only one whose newborn won t sleep unless held! The majority of parents find themselves in a situation, where babies start screaming the second they’re put in the crib. It means that the little one feels very secure and comfortable when close to you, and thus enjoys being held more than being alone in the bed.

Parents, on the other hand, often feel exhausted. They also start to wonder whether it’s wise and safe to hold babies when they sleep. We received a lot of messages from concerned parents, who said that their babies keep fighting sleep. Thus we decided to do some research and find answers for you.

Is It Dangerous to Hold Baby to Sleep?

Parents whose baby won’t nap unless held are often troubled with question – how dangerous is it? Well, in general, if you are awake and focused while holding a sleeping bundle of joy, it is perfectly safe. We would say that it is not ideal that the baby develops this habit. Still, everything is okay if they sometimes fall asleep in your arms and don’t wake up when you put them in their crib. But if you are among parents who take turns sleeping because your newborn only sleeps when held you need to know that this can be pretty risky!

Before we start talking about risks, it is crucial to say that there are parents who choose to take turns napping not only because newborn will only sleep when held but also because they believe it makes their little ones feel secure and safe. That it creates a special bond. However, keep in mind that co-sleeping is associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which caused 1.300 deaths in 2018. Besides, there are fatal sleeping accidents and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). It‘s necessary to point out that these accidents happen when babies fall out of bed, get overheated or suffocated by pillows, etc. One way to prevent this is that the baby sleeps in a separate co sleeper next to your bed.

How to Get Newborn to Sleep Without Being Held

Learning how to get baby to nap without being held is something you should start from the beginning. When the baby learns that a crib is a place for sleeping then it’s likely they won’t have a problem going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Those kids who are not used to it will scream, calling for parents to put them back to sleep.

co sleeping with baby

Keep Baby Busy During All Day

What’s necessary to remember is that newborns spend most of their first weeks sleeping. They sleep on average, somewhere between 14 and 17 hours. However, during these first months, their sleep is pretty interrupted – they doze off for 30 minutes, and then they wake up. What you can do is fill the baby’s awake time with activities! Sure, you can’t play a lot when a baby is just two weeks old but don’t forget that they like to be entertained– you can play music, talk to them, etc.

Calm Baby At Night

Babies don’t have the notion of time and can’t make the difference between night and day! Telling them that it is time to go to bed won’t work. What you can do, though, is create an atmosphere that will signal your little one that this time of the day is made for sleeping. For example, you can give them a nice bath, read them stories, put soft, relaxing music, and dress baby for sleep.

Use Swaddling

Swaddling is an excellent technique to help a baby sleep. When you swaddle the baby they have the feeling that they’re as secure as they were in the womb. It calms them Also, swaddling prevents them from waving with their hands and hurting themselves during sleep. Swaddle also keeps babies comfortable and warm.

Try Rocking

baby napping in swing

Another technique you can try when baby won t nap unless held is rocking. Some, like Dr. Karp, author of the book The Happiest Baby on the Block, call it swinging. He developed the 5 S methodology and says that it can calm the majority of babies anytime. You can sit in a rocking or vibrating chair, holding the little one, and gently rock them to sleep.

Make Sure That Baby Can Sense Your Smell

A simple trick that helps when the baby won’t sleep unless held is to let them sense your smell. If the room smells of you, the child will be under the impression you’re close. It will make them more secure and safer. So what you can do is lay on a piece of cloth long enough for it to absorb your scent and then swaddle the baby in it.

Make Sure That The Baby Isn't Hungry

Keep in mind that babies cry when hungry! Also that they eat a lot! Then, imagine going to sleep with an empty stomach! It is not nice, is it? Well, same as it is not good for you, it’s not for your angel, and it’s to be expected that a hungry baby won’t nap unless held.

Useful Products For Baby Sleep

Baby Swing

Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams
Graco Simple Sway
Graco DuetSoothe
Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle 'n Swing
Graco Simple Sway Swing
Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker
$127.99
$89.85
$118.99
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Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams
Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle 'n Swing
$127.99
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Graco Simple Sway
Graco Simple Sway Swing
$89.85
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Graco DuetSoothe
Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker
$118.99
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Useful when you need help to put the baby to sleep. It imitates the rocking movement and keeps them entertained while they are awake. But you have to pay attention to the baby if you are using a swing and make sure that you don’t leave them sleeping there. When babies fall asleep, transfer them to their crib.

Pacifiers

BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
MAM Night Pacifiers
BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier | Made in Denmark (Iron/Sand, 0-6 Months) 2-Pack
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier, Pink/Purple, 0-3 Months, 4 Pack
MAM Night Pacifiers (2 Pack, 1 Sterilizing Pacifier Case), MAM Pacifiers 0-6 Months for Baby Boy, Best Pacifier for Breastfed Babies, Glow in the Dark Pacifier, Baby Pacifiers
$14.99
$8.89
$4.99
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3,829 Reviews
BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier
BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier | Made in Denmark (Iron/Sand, 0-6 Months) 2-Pack
$14.99
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Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier, Pink/Purple, 0-3 Months, 4 Pack
$8.89
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MAM Night Pacifiers
MAM Night Pacifiers (2 Pack, 1 Sterilizing Pacifier Case), MAM Pacifiers 0-6 Months for Baby Boy, Best Pacifier for Breastfed Babies, Glow in the Dark Pacifier, Baby Pacifiers
$4.99
3,829 Reviews

Known to be useful when you need to soothe the baby. Little ones like to suck on things because it reminds them of breastfeeding and the time when they were in the womb, which calms them down.

Sound Machine

Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine
Letsfit White Noise Machine with Adjustable Baby Night Light
Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise
Letsfit White Noise Machine with Adjustable Baby Night Light for Sleeping, 14 High Fidelity Sleep Machine Soundtracks, Timer and Memory Feature, Sound Machine for Baby, Adults, Home and Office
Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine: Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother, Owl
$59.99
$19.99
$37.99
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Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise
$59.99
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Letsfit White Noise Machine with Adjustable Baby Night Light
Letsfit White Noise Machine with Adjustable Baby Night Light for Sleeping, 14 High Fidelity Sleep Machine Soundtracks, Timer and Memory Feature, Sound Machine for Baby, Adults, Home and Office
$19.99
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Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine
Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine: Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother, Owl
$37.99
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A device that can help some babies sleep better. These machines usually produce white noise that blocks other sounds in the house. Some of them can also make a heartbeat sound that can comfort the newborn, as they will think the mother is close.

Blackout Shades

AmazonBasics Portable Baby Travel Window Blackout Blind Shades
  • Blackout curtain blocks out sunlight and harmful UV rays, reduces outside noise, and ensures total privacy; measures 78" x 51.2"
  • Creates energy-saving insulating barrier against heat and cold, keeping room cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
  • Velcro edges allow you to customize the dimensions of the curtain, to fit to various window sizes while on the go
  • Suction cups affix to the window for easy installation; cannot be mounted to a curtain rod.
  • Be sure window is clean and suction cups are dry before installation.

Something that you should consider installing in the baby’s bedroom, especially in summer. These will prevent unwanted light from entering the room, thus improving sleep.

When Can Babies Sleep Without Being Held?

It is okay to hold a baby under four months until they fall asleep. But, four months and older babies should start learning to sleep alone. From this moment onwards, you should put your child in a crib even if they’re just drowsy, and leave to fall asleep by themselves.

Conclusion

Now we went through some suggestions for what you can do when newborn won t sleep unless held! It’s necessary to remember that teaching baby to sleep alone is a process, and thus you won’t succeed right away. But you’ll see that eventually, your efforts will give results. You just have to be sure that your little one is clean, fed, and healthy!

Topics:
baby sleep how to
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