My Newborn Won’t Sleep Unless Held – Should I Be Worried?


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newborn wont sleep unless held

Why the newborn won’t sleep unless held?

When your baby is born, the next hot thing on your mind is how to be a good mom! You have spent 9 months with your baby inside your womb which has helped you develop a strong bond with him. The same is with the baby. He believes his best place to sleep right now is in your arms. That explains why your newborn won’t sleep unless held by you. The reason why they love so much to be in your arms is the warmth of your body. Besides, they love the familiarity and gentle movement of the arms.

Pediatricians at Cleveland Children Hospital have put this in simple words as the newborn finds the skin to skin contact soothing. It helps them sleep better than a cold and firm surface. To add to it making your baby sleep in your arms has nothing to do with the clingy behavior later in life.

Any hazard in sleeping while holding the baby?

You are a new parent and are struggling because your baby won’t sleep unless held. The moment you drop your baby on the bed to sleep, he wakes up and cries. And this happens whether it’s daytime or night. Your instinct will tell you to hold in your arms and make him sleep and you should do that.

However, you should be very careful as there are a few hazards associated with that. There are a lot of complaints of newborn falling of the chest of the parents and hurting themselves. Rarely, there are also incidents of suffocation, especially when sleeping in close space like a couch. So you should always be careful while holding the baby. The best way is to put them back on the bed as soon as they sleep and place some pillows around as well.

Newborn won’t sleep unless held – tips and tricks

Your baby won’t even know the difference between the day and the night unless he is 3 months old. He can’t sleep through the night and will wake up every five to six hours. And unless you hold him and make him sleep he will keep on crying. This isn’t what you have signed for while getting pregnant, right? And you are looking for some tips and tricks to make your life easy.

Here is what you can do:

Switch with your partner

Try to take turns with your partner so that you both enjoy what you are doing and it doesn’t become a burden on one of you.


Try wrapping the baby in a nice and warm blanket. It will give him the feeling of warmth and safety as if you are holding him.


What’s better than a pacifier to calm a weeping baby? If your baby gets to like a pacifier, it will do wonders from you. Try to put the pacifier in his mouth especially during the night. Not the baby learns to sleep alone but it also reduced the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Gentle movement

Hold the baby in your arms and gently move your arms. It helps the baby sleep. Once the baby has fallen asleep carefully put the baby back in his crib. Try to be gentle with your movements and careful while putting him back. You can also sit in your vibrating chair and hold your baby close to you.

Moving cribs

The same movements of your body can be imitated using a swing or vibrating crib. These are pretty solid aids for your hectic routine. Plus, these have a firm mattress eliminating the risk of SIDS.

Touch instead of holding

Instead of holding the baby every time he cries after waking up from the sleep you should try to calm him just by touching or tapping his belly. It helps most of the times and the newborn learns to sleep alone quickly. It also removes the burden from your head and makes your life easier.

Newborn won’t sleep unless held? Relax, it’s all a matter of time

In the end, it is going to take a few months for your newborn to learn to sleep in his crib. So don’t be hard on yourself or your baby. Try to spend some quality time with him and you will see a day will come when he will learn to sleep alone.

Safe co-sleeping practice – A solution if your newborn won’t sleep unless held

The recommended age for the co-sleeping is 6 to 12 months due to the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, if your baby wakes up a lot during the night you can make it work with proper arrangements. These include;

  • Making the baby sleep on the back instead of the tummy.
  • Avoid using a soft pillow under the head of the baby as it increases the risk of suffocation by several folds.
  • Choose a firm mattress for it. It is highly dangerous to use soft or water beds.
  • You should only use light blankets. As heavy blanket can cover the mouth of the baby leading to suffocation. However, it is ideal if you use infant sleeping bags. It avoids sharing the same adult bedding and reduces the risks of SIDS.
  • Another care you should always take is to place the baby on one side and not between you and your partner. You can additionally put a pillow on either side to avoid the baby from falling.
  • Also if possible keep the height of the bed low. So that if the baby falls down, he doesn’t take much damage. Furthermore, you can place pillows or soft cushions on the ground beside the bed.
  • Keep the environment smoke free and don’t use heaters especially in closed surroundings.


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