I have great milk supply, but these are my issues:

  1. My son has barely ever slept more than 30-40 minutes at once during the day. :(

    (At night time he does sleep for 3 hrs at least once. But generally every time he falls asleep after feeding I try to put him down, but he won't stay asleep unless I hold him on my chest. He wakes up almost 5-10 min into placing him down and rooting and giving signs like he hasn't eaten for a whole day. Then I feed him again etc and so this goes in circles.)

  2. I am aware of the growth spurts but this is going on since birth. Is this ever going to shift?

    He has gained weight, has perfect amount of dirty diapers etc.

    I've read that other babies sleep 2-3 hrs straight, feed, then sleep again. I wish I could say the same.

  3. Also he shakes his head while my nipple is in his mouth and gets frustrated, cries, bangs his head with my nipple in his mouth... :confused: (this happens after like 3-4 hrs of straight feeding=him hopping from one nipple to the other after loooong hours...

Bottom line is, he doesn't sleep in his bassinet or on his very own unless I hold him. What can I do? I'm getting tired and a bit frustrated too.

  • The only thing that concerns me about this is that normally babies don't nurse for hours if the milk supply is adequate. He might be hungry. Please have him weighed to make sure he's staying where he should be on the growth chart. Otherwise I agree with @Ida (except for co-sleeping, sorry Ida.:)) Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 3:28
  • check answers to this question, they may be of some use how to put a newborn to sleep to bed without waking her
    – Dariusz
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 7:30
  • Pamela Druckerman in French Children Don't Throw Food believes that babies may cry between their 2-hour sleep cycles and that French mothers wait few minutes for their babies to fall back asleep or take them for a short walk around the house without feeding them. The author described a case of frequent feeding by an American mother as an extreme opposite to what the French do.
    – eel ghEEz
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 16:20
  • Yes, He gained a 1.5 pounds since birth last time we checked. Actually we are going to ped.doc.today to check his weight again. :)
    – Cicamica
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 17:04
  • Maybe you've already found your answer, but it is possible that your 3 week old was trying to increase your milk supply for the days ahead? Both of my babies nursed a lot (!!) at 3 weeks. I felt like a human pacifier. Then, they went back to the usual 3-4 hour wait between feelings.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 4:31

7 Answers 7


So this doesn't seem too unusual to me. Many babies prefer to be held, and some more than others.

A few suggestions:

  • Have you tried swaddling? The feeling of being wrapped mimics the feeling in the womb, and my babies would not sleep without being swaddled.

  • have you tried a swing? Some babies really like the gentle rocking motion (again, this mimics the feeling of the womb), there are many different models available. It didn't really work for any of my babies, but for some babies this is the magic bullet.

  • Have you tried a pacifier? Your description of him eating for long hours and then getting frustrated seem to indicate he does a lot of non-nutritional sucking, he sucks for comfort. He might not want more food, but want to suck. A pacifier will help. Speaking form experience: A pacifier will not ruin the latch, it will not cause nipple confusion, and to get them used to it you have to start early!

  • Does he sleep in a stroller/pram? We used both a traditional pram, where the baby lies flat, and the infant car seat (bucket seat) stroller attachment. Both babies loved to sleep while walking.

  • Related to sleeping in stroller/pram: Have you tried putting him to sleep in the stroller/car seat/pram outside? In Scandinavia it is quite common to have babies (in appropriate clothing/blankets/sleeping bags of course) take naps outside in their prams, even when it is quite cold. My second baby really slept much better outside than inside.

  • Do you have anything you can do while he sleeps on you? I read a lot of books on my iPad, and played a lot of little games. It was nice and relaxing and just what I needed right after birth. I just sat there with him.

  • Have you tried baby wearing? My issue with holding while sleeping was not so much me not getting sleep as me needed to get stuff done around the house. Wearing my baby helped me do that, and he slept great. I used a Moby wrap when they were very young, and an Ergo when a little older, but there are many great products available.

  • For sleeping at night, consider safe co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend it, but it other countries it is less controversial. It may allow you both a little more rest.

Lastly: Remember this doesn't last forever. Having a newborn is exhausting, and they do want constant care, holding and so forth. They will gain their independence, they will sleep more. Some babies earlier than others, but eventually sleep will happen.

  • This is an exhausting list of the points I'd have hoped to come up with, +1 from me. Also have a look at this and this. And always remember the parental mantra: It's just a phase... :)
    – sbi
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 1:22

From what you describe about the baby's feeding patterns, it sounds like the baby is not actually feeding for the whole time he is latched on. At the start, it can be difficult to tell the difference between nutritive sucking and comfort sucking. You can try feeding the baby in a quiet place and see if you can hear him swallowing. For much of the time that you consider you are feeding him, you may find that he is just sleeping whilst sucking for comfort. When my baby was small, I rarely found that he would unlatch seemingly happy, full and satisfied as I had read should happen. The reason why the baby starts rooting after waking up could be because he wants to suck to help him go back to sleep, not because he is hungry. You could try using a pacifier if the baby takes to it.

As for the sleeping, it can be difficult to get babies to sleep on their own. There are already a lot of good suggestions in these answers but a couple more things that I found were:

  • the baby associates the mum with milk and it can be difficult for her to persuade the baby to sleep without feeding. You can try having your partner put the baby to sleep after you have fed him. This can often be done by rocking, shushing and patting. That can also give you a break from feeling like you have to deal with everything and stressing about it.

  • You can try feeding lying down until the baby is asleep, unlatching him gently and carefully moving away. You may need to lay next to him for a while until he seems settled before moving.

  • My baby didn't like being swaddled but we found a baby sleeping bag very good. You can move the baby in the sleeping bag into his bassinet when it seems he is sound asleep and you don't need to worry about waking him as you arrange the blankets.

According to many baby sleep experts (eg Ferber, Pantley), you can do this type of thing for about the first three months and then you have to start worrying about sleep associations i.e. if you help your baby to sleep in some way like feeding or rocking, then you will need to do the same each time he wakes at night . I'm not sure I totally believe this, or at least I think it's more complicated than that but it's something to be aware of and make up your own mind.

The other thing to know it's that things change very quickly and you have to pay attention to your baby to understand when he wants to do things differently. As soon as you get used to him getting sleepy after a certain amount of time for example, you will suddenly find he can stay awake longer. This can affect how long he will sleep for, especially for daytime naps.


Here's a possible solution I don't see listed above: your child may have problems sucking or latching on. If your child is gaining weight but seems to be eating constantly, this might be a cause. He may not be getting as much milk for his efforts and is also a little hungry/frustrated most of the time. I would talk to your pediatrician about "tongue tie" (ankyloglossia 1) or talk to your local La Leche League/lactation consultant to rule out these possible causes!

  • Welcome to Parenting.SE! This is a good possibility to mention. Thanks for sharing.
    – Acire
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 16:03

You probably need to accept that baby wants to be sleeping with you and learn to simplify the feeding process, such as by co-sleeping. This can last 2 years, but it does end, as @Ida says.

To add to @Ida's answer, make sure that your partner is taking a fair share of the load to give you a chance to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. This may include taking the baby for a walk or drive for over 1 hour so that you can sleep. Taking baby for a walk might be better, because it can be dangerous to leave a young one in a car seat for so long.


As you have asked a while ago: Hope you are better now!

But as maybe more parents will check your question and the answers, I'd like to add my five cents.

Ida has given an excellent list of hints, most likely your answer can be found there.

Practical advice: when your baby wakes up when you put her down, you might be triggering the Moro reflex: try putting her down sideways, then turn her to her back.

But: There are babies who simply can't cope on their own. My firstborn slept during his first year almost only with body contact. And no, we dind't "teach" him this, this started from day one at the hospital. Over time, we tried most approaches, but nothing worked. We worked closely with our pediatrician, too. His advice: Your son needs you. Deal with it. It will pass. And it did.

The answer: We have a gifted child. His brain can't filter the impressions during the day properly, also, his brain works like a racing car -> this keeps him awake, even today. And he's eight now.

Summary: You might be able to make a baby sleep on his own, but there are cases where you simply can't. But whichever way it turns out: It's soooo worth it. Enjoy your child!


That seems normal to me. Or rather, one of the many things that can be considered normal. Many babies do feel like they nurse for hours on end, especially ones this young. It's not because there's a problem with you or with the baby, it's just what some babies do. They aren't eating meals and they aren't nursing just for food. Being close to mama and snoozing on her warm chest just feels right to them, and suckling nearly constantly is fine. Remember, when they were womb-bound they had a constant flow of "food" into their system from the placenta. The outside world adjustment is a tough one! It can be convenient to give yourself a break by switching out mama for pacifier, but let's face it, some babies just won't take one...

Your milk flow isn't constant and while your baby is this young, sometimes it lets down very quickly. If he's having enough wet diapers and is gaining weight normally, you shouldn't be concerned about your son getting enough food, but it's very possible that he does get frustrated with milk flow when it slows down (hence the fussing, getting upset, etc. while nursing). What's probably happening is that at that particular time, your milk isn't letting down as fast as he'd prefer. Breast compressions can help, but changes in milk flow are unavoidable. Try to relieve the frustration by walking and rocking, or you might just have to endure it if there's nothing you can do.

The sleep issue can be a difficult one. Babies that are of the constant nursing variety get their snoozes in this way, which is totally fine, but you do have stuff to do and sometimes you just want to feel like you have some freedom. What helped me was wearing my baby on me (I used an Ergo or a wrap, tummy-to-tummy). Bed sharing was also helpful: baby gets mama, and mama gets sleep, everybody was happy.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that your situation sounds like one of the many normals, and that the best things you can do is be patient, take it one day at a time, try to look at the bigger picture in which babies grow up SO fast, and try and find some tricks that allow you to remain sane while giving your baby what feels right to you. I had to part with so many of the expectations I had of what early motherhood would be like. Every baby is unique and it sounds like you're doing the right thing, although it may not feel like it because so many other people seem to have these magical babies that sleep all night, sit quietly in their strollers and nurse every three hours for fifteen minutes.


From personal experience:

When babies continue to root and sort of whip their head around, it tends to be because they are searching for the nipple. When they delatch and bob head and root again, this is all because they are seeking comfort, but not the normal comfort you are thinking of. I liken it to when we go to the medicine cabinet for relief.

When a baby displays this behavior it can mean that they are in pain. Don't freak out, not serious pain, but more of a discomfort. Usually because they have air in their gut, either in the stomach or the bowels. They do that because that's all they know.

Burp them or try a right angle body shape position to get rid of gas or poop. Also if that doesn't help, then I would try laying baby on your ribcage area on their stomach then, after baby is comfy, slowly flex and even roll your stomach muscles slightly. This will apply some pressure to the problem spot or spots of your baby.

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