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Baby Sleeps only in Bouncer Seat

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9-week-old will only sleep swadled in bouncer

May 2000

My baby is a very active 9 week old. She is also a restless and light sleeper who cannot sleep for more than about an hour at a time unless she is swaddled and in her bouncy chair. She has however slept through the night several time for 6 -9 hours if she is swaddled and in her bouncy seat. I am concerned getting her to sleep in crib lying down (we are now putting the bouncy chair IN the crib and that works for her) without being swaddled and out of the bouncy chair. Lisa


Does your daughter spit up a lot? She could have reflux and this causes her discomfort when she is lying down. The incline of the bouncy seat helps. My son had this problem and we did a few things. First we put him on medication for the reflux. We also put a wedge under the head of his crib to prop him up a little. Since we have done this he sleeps great. You can buy a wedge at Baby World on College. Gabrielle
I had the same thing with my son, he would sleep upright, but would cry shortly after we put him down flat. Turn out he had mild reflux. Not enough that he was throwing up an making it obvious, but it was burning his throat unless he was upright. THe doc put him on medicine which worked great. We also had him sleep in his carseat for months, which worked great, but ended up giving him neck problems because he slept with his head tilted. (We had to do some easy physical therapy--excersises, positioning--which worked very well and he was fine 6 months later) Sounds like you have the same sort of thing, so I would look into reflux and baby Zantac. Good luck. Ann
Our son, who is 13 months, also refused to sleep in his crib when he was a newborn. He would sleep swaddled in his bouncy seat or in his carseat. He began sleeping in his crib at about 4 months. He has slept through the night in his crib since about 5 months. Based upon our experience, I don't think you should be concerned that at 9 weeks he hasn't taken to his crib. We too were worried that he never would sleep in his crib. But, it just took a few months for him to get used to being outside the uterus. Deb

3-month-old will only sleep in bouncy chair

April 2004

I have a 3 month old son who will not sleep in his crib! I just can't figure it out. He will fall asleep in my arms or in his swing and I will put him down in the crib and he wakes up 15 minutes later screaming. I have tried to let him cry-but about 20 minutes is all I can take. I have tried to swaddle him and put a postioner around him but nothing works. Once I pick him up he immediately stops crying and then will fall back to sleep in his bouncy chair. He now sleeps in his bouncy chair between me and my husband. He sleeps from 9:30 until 6:00 (with a 12:00 feeding). Do I continue to let him sleep in his chair? Help!!! I would like to get him into his own room. Holly


If your little one is sleeping 8+ hours peacefully with only one nighttime nursing break, I'd count my blessing. My daughter slept in her bouncy seat every night for several weeks when she was 2-3 months old. She had terrible congestion from a respiratory infection so were advised to let her sleep in a more upright position. She eventually got well and grew out of it but I think the gentle rocking motion was very soothing and we were grateful that she was asleep. Sharon
We had the same problem, but with the car seat. He would not sleep flat at all. We bought a wedge shaped pillow (meant for the crib, it is a firm one that goes under the crib sheet) and finally were able to get him to sleep in the crib reclined. I have also seen things in catalogs to prop up one end of the crib. Maybe you could try putting the bouncy seat in the crib to get him used to the environment, then get him used to sleeping in the crib reclined in some way, maybe using that as well as the positioner so he feels more cuddled. Good luck! Anon
My son would only sleep in the carseat at that age. It's pretty normal. First, your child is too young for any crying- it-out to work. Four months is a bare minimum for that, often closer to six. When they learn to roll over and get more mobile, they want more room to scramble around and get tired of the bouncy seat. My son transitioned to the crib very easily just before six months. He was suddenly acting unhappy with the carseat, and I just laid him in the crib and that was all it took. I had been putting the carseat in the crib, so it was the same space for him, just more room.

One thing you should watch for is positional plagiocephaly, a mis-shaping of the skull, since he can't move around much in the bouncy seat. My son started getting that since he pretty much lived in the carseat. The doctor told me to just place a rolled-up towel beside his head, changing sides frequently to force his head into different positions. The problem resolved itself immediately. Been there too


I think 3 mo-old is way too young to let your baby cry it out! they don't understand what's happening at that age and 20 minutes is way too long as well! (this is my opinion, of course) Your baby is used to being in a small, cramped environment (your womb) and probably feels like the crib is too big. With my daughter, we graduated her sleeping environment. She slept in a moses basket until about 2 mos or so, then we graduated her to a small crib until about 5mos and then her regular crib thereafter. She also has to know that her sleeping environment is safe and I think that's why she prefers the bouncy chair--she can ''feel'' the difference. I recommend you buy the book ''Secrets of the Baby Whisperer-Learning to communicate with your baby'' It's all about sleep issues and what causes them etc. I read it when my daughter was about 9 mos old and still waking frequently....my daughter sleeps now from 8pm until 7:30-8am and wakes happily and plays in her crib for 15-20 min before she calls for me (she's 20 mos. now) Good luck. anon
My baby went through the same thing until he was about 4 1/2 months old. What happened then was that he learned to suck his thumb and learned to roll over both ways (at least when he had something to push off). After that I was able to pretty easily teach him how to fall asleep on his own in his crib. Before that he slept in his car seat which we put in the co-sleeper next to our bed (and he didn't sleep more than 4 hours at a time). I think he hated sleeping on his back and also never felt quite cozy enough in the co-sleeper (but he hated being swaddled, because he didn't like having his arms caught in something). Once we put him in his bed, he started rolling over and sleeping on his tummy which seemed to comfort him (I talked to my doctor about it, who said he was okay since he could roll front to back as well; he just cautioned me to keep blankets, toys, etc. out of the crib). Whatever bothers your baby, I would give him a chance to grow out of it before you worry. Three months is still very young! Stephanie
Your baby sounds like mine, but fortunately she didn't have this for 3 months. My baby wouldn't sleep in her mini co-sleeper bassinet, only in peoples arms or in the car seat or in our bed, and she would wake up as soon as we put her in her own bed (we called it 'the alarm clock'). Finally I noticed that the mattress provided with this thing is extremely cold to the touch (plastic), and hard. Once I figured this out, at 7 weeks or so, I put a thick blanket under the fitted sheet (and eventually bought a mattress pad) and warmed the spot where she would be with warm water bottles, and from then on she slept there just fine. In the meantime, I'd gotten all sorts of good advice: babies want to be in a cradled position (that's why they like bouncy and car seats) and warm (in your arms), so you can try to put rolls of blankets or so around him and under his knees (I put a warm water bottle under her legs for a while). I finally figured that this was not my daughter's problem because she slept fine on the sofa or on our bed in the 'flat' position -- it just had not been warm and soft enough in her own bed. Once I had the right mattress padding, I never even had to use the warm water bottles anymore because her own body heat would warm her bed in no time. So, check out your crib mattress. Good luck! Kitty
There are many children like yours. I know mine was and have met many a mom with a similar story (if not the bouncy seat, a sling, a swing, etc.). Children don't always sleep,etc. according to our plan. My first daughter wouldn't sleep during the day since birth unless she was held (or in a sling). I tried everything. I finally decided holding her was worth the 2 hour break and the nap she desparately needed. Others who took care of her had to do the same. By 7 months she started sleeping on the bed. Go figure. My second daughter was not like this. Every once in a while try out the place you would like your child to sleep and see if it works. Eventually it will. Mary
Our baby also only slept in her bouncy chair from about 8 weeks until probably 5.5 months. I too feared that she would never not sleep in her chair and invisioned her at age 18 lying in some custom made bouncy chair. Do not fear it will change... and then it will change again. And again... and again...

To get her to sleep in her crib we slowly transitioned her. At around 4.5 months we started putting her to sleep in the crib. We put a crib wedge in so her head was at a slight incline rather than lying flat on her back. We did this around the time we started letting her cry for short periods of time. Sometimes she would fall asleep in the crib, other times I would have to move her to the bouncy chair. We just worked with her. Once she woke up and I nursed her we would put her back in her chair (we decided to only set our sites so far.) Once we had the inital bed time part nailed (no crying or fussing about being put in her crib) we then slowly started putting her in the crib after her first feeding and so on... eventually she slept the entire night in her crib. I would also add that we put the bouncy chair in her crib this entire time -- so she was in a sense ''in the crib'' -- so it wasn't a completely foreign space for her.

I believe that it makes perfect sense that she wanted to sleep in her boucy chair -- it is much cosier and I think she really liked being upright. If I were you I'd just enjoy the rest you and your baby are getting and not stress out about it. If you change your babies patterns slowly and lovingly it should all work out fine. Good Luck! anon


To second others, my daughter slept in her bouncy chair and then in her car seat for a long time. My husband figured out she liked being swaddled and put in a bouncy chair in the first few weeks of her life, after we had both been up for several nights running. My doctor told me she would never make the transition to her bed, but she did, and very easily when her car seat got too small for her to lie confortably. I would try this again with another child--less possiblity of SID! Anon
Our daughter slept in her bouncy chair for a month until she started to slide out and then we moved her to her car seat which she slept in until she was 6 1/2 months old. We placed the car seat in the crib so that she was used to being in the crib so to speak. I too was worried that she would never become comfortable in the crib, but the transition was easy. We started with naps in the crib and then when she started to become uncomfortable in the car seat (it was clear because she became squirmy and woke up often) we moved her to the crib. I don't think you should worry about the transition, just do what works for now. Also, we bought a car seat cover from lands end which zips up and is like a sleeping bag so that we didnt even need blankets in her car seat (check landsend.com). chalyn

6-month-old will only sleep in bouncer seat - what next?

April 2004

My 6 month old son is quickly outgrowing his Fisher Price Sounds & Light bouncer seat. He has never been a great sleeper during the day. But when he is in this seat, I turn on the vibrating seat and lightly bounce him with my foot, and he naps peacefully for up to an hour. It has been absolutely critical in our house since he was a few weeks old! Since we haven't had much luck getting him to nap anywhere else during the day, I'm wondering what to do when he is too big for this seat. I think he likes the combination of the rocking and vibrating, plus seems very comfortable sleeping sitting up. Is there another product out there (vibrating and bouncing chair) for bigger babies? Other ideas? Thanks for any suggestions! Karen


Unless you want to drive your baby around in a car every day for several years to take naps (some do this!) I strongly recommend that you buy the book ''Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'' and work on getting your baby used to sleeping in a crib. I was a huge skeptic and then caved in. I told myself I would only read the chapter on his sleep data and then I became a convert. The longer you wait the harder it will be to make the transition. Been There
I'm assuming you're the parent of one since you didn't mention an older child. We have a similar situation with our 3 month old and the bouncy seat has been even more critical since we also have a 21 month old. Our 3 month old doesn't sound quite as bouncy seat dependent as yours does but it still is a constant fixture. However, having the toddler has made our situation even more desperate in terms of getting him/them to nap and we also have the benefit of seeing how our nap techniques work in the long run - both for our convenience and our older sons comfort with napping.

Since we think of our household as very child focused we always took our son's lead and tried to find ways to help him nap that were more on his schedule and at his comfort level. Big mistake in our case. We have had long periods of nap-disaster days and he now still has periodic problems napping - can be all over the map time wise, very situation dependent, have a hard time just going to sleep in his crib when he's tired, etc... In general he is generally not happy in regards to napping and neither are we. We are going to try hard not to make the same mistake with #2. My advice - and I would have cringed at this with my first - Ferberize, or some variation. I don't think I would ever be a Ferber purist, letting him scream till he finally went to sleep with only occasional check-ins, but it seems that a less strict variation has worked somewhat for our older son (when we finally got a clue) and hopefully for will our younger. We are now in the process of slowly ''weaning' our 3 month old from the bouncy seat - but of course this means a period of unhappy baby, and mommy, at times. My second piece of advice, gently and gradually get him used to what you eventually want for him, or as my friend likes to quote from a book ''start as you mean to go''. Hope this helps (both of us). Anon


The quote from the last post from the book of her friend, ''Start as you mean to go...'' is from Tracy Hogg's book ''Secrets of the Baby whisperer...how to calm, connect and communicate w/your baby'' (or something to that affect). A wiser and gentler version of sleep training, in my opinion. I highly recommend it. anon
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