My newborn baby will only sleep on me. What do I do?

newborn baby


Newborn babies are biologically wired to be close to their mothers during the early months.  They depend on their mother or caregiver for warmth, security, safety and food.  It was the only way infants could survive throughout history.  When we entered the 21st century and our world began to change, we changed and adapted to a more independent lifestyle.  A lifestyle babies aren’t willing to accept but their environment can provide.

A newborn baby need lots of touch and holding especially during the 4th trimester (birth to 3 months of age).  It helps them develop mentally and physically as their growth is enormous during this time.  Carrying baby in a sling can provide comfort and touch for baby and relief for parent.  Hiring a postpartum doula can allow mom to rest and take a break if other partner is not available to help.

As parents we have a choice on how we want to parent and where our newborn baby should sleep. As long as you do things safely I have no problem with the choices you make.  In this article I want to address the issue of how to get your newborn baby to sleep not in your arms or on you when you need a break.

Swaddle your Baby

Swaddling reminds your baby of what it was like when they were in the womb.  Nice, cozy and warm with a feeling of continuous touching.    It also prevents him from flailing his arms due to the startle reflex.  This will help your baby to relax so he can fall asleep more easily without you.  If you don’t know how to swaddle visit  for a tutorial.

Use white noise

White noise mimic’s the shhhing sound he heard in the womb.  It sounds like the whooshing of blood flowing through your veins and arteries before he was born.  I recommend only using white noise for sleep as this can become a healthy sleep cue.

Make baby’s sleep environment cozy

Most newborns are not ready to sleep in a crib full time during the early weeks.  There are many different sleep apparatuses available on the market you can find that may enhance his chances for sleep.  The ones I like and work well include a Pack n Play which has a snuggle or cuddle seat in it also called a napper.

A Rock and Play is another option.

My favorite is a Moses basket.

A Moses basket can be easily taken anywhere around the house so you have something very portable so baby can be close to where you are.  I also like it because you can place it inside the baby’s crib so he can get familiar with his crib and still have a nice cozy place to sleep.  When he is older and ready for the crib it can make for a smooth transition out of basket and into the crib.

What do these all have in common?

All these sleeping apparatuses have 2 things in common.  First the baby’s head is slightly elevated.  With the Moses basket I always place a book or blanket at one end on the outside and underside of the basket so baby’s head is higher than the rest of his body. Second, they are small, compact and snugly.  Giving the infant a feeling of security.

There is no substitute for a parent’s arms but this can help newborns sleep without being attached to someone continuously day and night.

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