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I am a first time father with 1-month old DS. My wife has been exclusively breastfeeding, 20 mins on each breast every two hours. Currently both my wife and the baby are on a medication because they have thrush.

I have some issue with how my baby is doing in relation to the situation my wife and I are in.

I had about two weeks off work to help out my wife in raising the baby. He basically starts crying when he is in unwanted position. The only position in which he would not cry is having his chest up on my shoulder. Everytime my wife and I try putting him on the floor or making him sit or holding him on his back to our chests, he bursts out crying like he lost his world.

It's quite okay for me to hold him on the shoulder but as my leave is going to end soon, I am very worried that my wife would have hard time alone with the baby at home without anyone helping her. (She would have to eat, sleep etc but could not do so without the baby off her body)

An additional issue is that the baby is sleeping for an average of 8 hours a day most of which is through the night which will make my wife's job even harder. (He wakes up everytime we put him to his crib and starts crying) Breastfeeding is IMO quite efficient as there is not much resting between sucks.

Because we also have hard time making him fall asleep at night (wakes up when he lies down), we have been considering to put him to sleep training

So based on the above, the questions are:

Is there anything we could do to make him like other cuddling positions at least?

Is the amount of his sleep okay?

Is sleep training appropriate at his age? There are some methods suggesting Cry-It-Out, but wouldn't it harm babies' growth?

Any advice or opinion is greatly appreciated.

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Your question covers a few points, which is usually discouraged here but as you are a new parent and new to this site I'll let it slip.

A few suggestions:

  1. If your baby always cries when in a horizontal position, I suggest talking to your healthcare provider. Some babies have reflux problems (similar to heartburn in adults), which can be really painful. This needs professional examination / treatment. Do not hesitate.
  2. 8 hours is not enough sleep for a newborn. Yet point 1 could be the reason for frequent waking/crying. Normally a baby "takes" as much sleep as it needs, if not, there is a reason. But sleep training is absolutely not the solution for a 1mo. I'm not a fan of it myself, but all sources I know say a baby should be at least 6 month old before you start.
  3. If you need to keep your baby upright (please, no "sitting" yet!), I suggest you try babywearing. This means using a cloth / sling to carry your baby in an upright, anatomically correct (-> hips!) position in front (later also on your back) of your body. This can be very soothing for the infant, reduce reflux and allow the parent to move, do some housework or go out. Be careful that some of the more rigid carrier systems may not be designed for very small or young babies, most slings can be used from birth. Speaking from experience I can recommend the products of Didymos, but I'm in Germany. Our first child slept in his first year almost exclusively if in close contact to our bodies, so I can relate. Tying these long cloths can feel daunting at first, but usually you get the hang of it really quick. Practice with a teddy bear first...
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    Definitely ask a medical professional about reflux: that was my first thought when seeing that he cries when being laid down! It's also possible he's just generally uncomfortable from the thrush, but ruling out reflux is definitely worth it. – Acire Jun 25 '15 at 11:55
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    Reflux summed up all the symptoms DS is having atm: being fussy, sudden screaming, squirming when breastfeeding, finding it hard to swallow his mucous, vomiting etc. I now raised a crib so that his position is a bit tilted. He is fine sleeping for now. Will have to watch him if he sleeps through the night okay. I will definitely visit a hospital first thing tomorrow morning. I also want to apologise for asking several questions in one go; did not know that there exists such a rule. Thank you guys for sharing your knowledge; I really appreciate it. – Dolfromspace Jun 25 '15 at 12:47
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    @Dolfromspace, good luck and welcome to the site! We'd love to keep you as active participant here. If you have a free minute, you could take the tour of the site and visit our help center pages to learn how this site works. Best wishes for your son! – Stephie Jun 25 '15 at 12:55
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@Stephie nailed it, but I'll add a couple more suggestions. If you don't currently swaddle your son, try it. In the last trimester, babies are crammed quite tightly in the uterus, and tend to find being swaddled snugly to be comforting. We swaddled both of ours as long as we could do so safely.

Our elder child didn't sleep until she was two, so we tried LOTS of things to help her sleep. One that was a huge help was suggested by our pediatrician, which is the 90-minute activity cycle. Essentially, after waking, a child will be active and hungry for approximately 90 minutes, and then be ready for another sleep, and will nap for 90 minutes or a multiple thereof, at which point they awaken and you lather-rinse-repeat. Watch his activity for a few days; if you see that he starts getting tired and cranky about 90 minutes after waking, go ahead & put him down for a nap and see if it helps.

For sleeping in his crib, that's going to take time and patience. The swaddling might help, and having a routine will DEFINITELY help (turn on the white noise, rock and feed, place him on his back and gently rub his chest for a few minutes, things like that; do these things every single time you put him down, so that he knows what to expect and will be less anxious trying to anticipate what will happen next).

Oh! Just remembered the Five S's! We used these to great effect with both ours (swaddle, swing, side (not while sleeping!), shush, suckle). Heck, my older child is nearly 7 and when she's had a really bad day, I still use some of those to help her calm down.

  • Definitely things worth trying, but My DS hates swaddling and he unravels the swaddle with his hands and feet in 4-5 mins (sigh) 90-minute rule seems very interesting and I will try that on DS. Thank you for your time to answer my question. – Dolfromspace Jun 25 '15 at 12:55
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We have a six month old boy, and to me, it sounds like your child may have gas in his stomach, or even some stomach reflux problem (as other responders have pointed out). If it is only gas, patting him while his chest is on your shoulder could relieve the pain.

Here's a trick that we found extremely helpful: after breastfeeding, keep the man in an upright position (on your shoulder or on your own chest while sitting, etc), for 10 to 15 minutes, and degas him by patting. This calms him down and lets him sleep much more comfortable.

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I'm going to echo the recommendations for forcing naps every 1.5 to 2 hours, as well as the recommendation for swaddling.

My daughter will not sleep unless we actively force a nap on her. Since we increased the frequency to every 2 hours, it has helped combat her colicky cries.

Also, there's a chance that he doesn't actually hate swaddling. Fighting it does not mean they dislike it. Newborns do not have much going on in the way of deliberate motor control. My colicky 6-week daughter suffers similar issues with refusing to sleep anywhere other than our arms, and even then tight swaddling with a blanket that is at least 40 inches square must be part of her calming routine. The fact that she flails and breaks free if left alone in it doesn't change the fact that she needs it. Without a swaddle, the only position I can have her in is the shoulder position you describe. With it, many other holds also work.

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