My ds is 5 weeks old and just does not sleep well on his back. He is constantly stretching and making groaning noises and just can't seem to get comfortable. He also does not stay asleep for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. He loves sleeping in his carseat and usually sleeps 2-3 hours at a time in it. We have started putting him in his carseat at night so that we are able to get more sleep but I just feel so guilty about it and I am so scared that we are starting something that is going to be difficult to change later on. Does anybody have any advice?
When my son was that young, we did the same thing. That was the only place that he would sleep for long periods of time at night. I think it's because he was nice and snug, but for some reason swaddling didn't help. He eventually grew out of it and went without any problems to his crib. Don't feel bad. At this age, it's whatever works!
He might not be just the snug feeling , but more of the position. When he is in the car seat he is more upright. He may have reflux. You might want to discuss that with your dr. You may have to switch formula or alter what you are eating if you are brestfeeding. Having him in his car seat actually is what you would do with a baby with reflux, so don't wory about that. You can also elevate the head of his crib. The safest way is putting a rolled up towel UNDER the head of the mattress. Make sure it doesn't leave a gap between the mattress and crib side.
I think you have to do what works. Some people will say that having them sleep in a car seat is not good for their development, but as long as your son gets plenty of activity during the day, it is fine.
I would try a swaddle as well. We used a Miracle Blanket with my son b/c he would not sleep at night. It really helped us.
And yes, it could be reflux, but you would only know that after each feeding - not only at night.
I think once your son is able to sleep on his tummy, he won't want the car seat and it will no longer be an issue. My son started to sleep on his tummy at 4 months.
My dd wouldn't sleep on her back at all, either. We went and got a crib wedge and positioner and swaddled her up and laid her on her side. Worked like magic and I didn't have to worry about her rolling onto her belly.
Almost all babies will sleep much better and longer in a carseat, swing, bouncy, swaddled, on the tummy, on the side or with you, then they will on a firm mattress flat on their backs. Its just not a natural and comfortable position, plus if they have gas, it makes the pain worse. Just do whatever works for now. Once your baby is rolling onto his tummy, or whenever you are comfortable with him sleeping that way, he should be fine in the crib.
We had to use the carseat some early on too and I would not worry about it becoming a habit. we also used the swing but we we just eventually move DD to her crib when she was sleeping. Also you can try elevating the crib mattress just slightly to see if it works. we did that for a while and it helped although DD seemed to kind of slide towards the bottom of the mattress by morning. but at only 5 weeks, I would do whatever works to help you and baby get some sleep.
Thank you so much for all of the great advice. We do swaddle him at night and I do try having him sleep in the bassinet before I put him in the car seat. If he keeps waking up I just put him in the car seat swaddled. I don't believe he has reflux because he is not a fussy baby and hardly ever even spits up. I need to try and fiind one of those Miracle blankets because somehow he always manages to get his hands out of the other swaddlers that I'm using. We do have one of the wedges and he does do better on that than laying flat but he still is just so restless. Every once in awhile, I do lay him on his tummy to take a nap but only if I am staying in the same room as him. He does sleep so much better on his tummy. I can't wait till he starts turning over himself so that he can sleep on his tummy.
The only real concern about the car seat is that it tends to put baby in a position where he's kind of slumped over, especially when sleeping. This causes his diaphram to not have enough room to get full breaths. To combat this I would try to tilt the car seat back a little more than it normally is if you're going to put baby in there. Of course, I'm sure you strap baby in, since a wiggler could manage to wiggle out and over the edge...
One of things I did to make my DD more comfortable when lying on her back was to buy a small pillow (available at the major toy retailer) in a semi-circle shape. They come in designs of different animals -- she has the duck and rabbit ones (one for the crib, one for the playpen). What nice about it is that she doesn't lie ON the pillow but rather she snuggles up INTO it. It lies just above her head on the bed. She then puts her little hands on each end of the pillow and has something to hold onto. It makes her feel very secure. She still sleeps this way at 7 mos. I learned this from my girlfriend who's 14 year old son did this when he was a baby. Now that she's rolling around and crawling she does sleep on her side some... but she never sleeps on her tummy.
Oh, and the reason your baby is waking up every 30-45 minutes is because infants' sleep cycles are only that long. Adults have a sleep cycle of about 90 minutes. So every 30-45 minutes your baby goes from a light sleep to a deep sleep and back to a light sleep... and that's when a lot of infants wake up. The key is getting them to calm themselves and fall back to sleep on their own -- and that's a learned behavior.
Last edited by xinerevelle; 07-01-2007 at 04:13 PM.
Reason: Forgot to add the part about the sleep cycles.
My son didn't sleep well on his back either when he was younger. We bought a sleep positioner and it worked wonders. He loved sleeping on his side. He outgrew it once he was rolling all over, at about 3 and a half months.