Baby Sleeps only in Bouncer Seat
Berkeley Parents Network >
Baby Sleeps only in Bouncer Seat
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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
I would try this again with another child--less possiblity of SID!
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).
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!
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.
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
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).
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.
this page was last updated: May 25, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network