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Baby only sleeps in car seat! Help please?

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by Laila619, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    Hi mommas,

    My son (almost 3 months old) is a GREAT sleeper, but he ONLY will sleep in his car seat! My DH and I created a monster I think. :???: He hates the Pack N Play bassinet because it's flat and it's too big for him. My DH and I figured out that he loves sleeping in the car seat because 1) it helps his reflux feel better since he's elevated and 2) it's snug-feeling and doesn't allow him to move too much. He likes to be cocooned. In the PNP, he wiggles around too much beause there's so much room (even swaddled), and so he wakes himself right up. Plus it's flat, so it irritates his reflux. So just let him keep sleeping in the car seat, right? Well, no. We can no longer let him sleep in the car seat because the pediatrician said it's not good since the limited range of motion could give him a flat head since he can't really move his head around like a crib. So we've started trying the bassinet for sleep and he hates it--he's up every two hours or so when he used to sleep 8 straight hours in the car seat. Soooo...I'm really hoping someone can help me come up with a good solution or share things you tried with your babies--is there something similar to a car seat that is safe for sleeping? Should I try the Fisher Price Rock N Play? http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3739296 Anyone have experience with it? Or is there a way I can *safely* rig the bassinet to make it elevated? Thank you SOOOO much for any advice or suggestions at all. :knockout: <------- very sleep deprived PSer
     
    


    


  2. somethingshiny
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    by somethingshiny » Mar 2, 2011
    My cousin had the same problem. She just put the carseat in the crib. Eventually he associated the crib with sleeping as much as the car seat so she was able to switch him over. I understand the flat head concern if he's in it for 14 hrs a day, but with being up and around, in your arms, on the floor, etc, personally I wouldn't worry about it too much.


    JT slept in his bouncer seat most of his first few weeks. I was able to get him into the crib by playing the same music as his bouncer.

    You an safely elevate the bassinet. There are all sorts of wedges to put under the mattress. You can get them anywhere. If he likes to be cocooned, try swaddling him tightly and putting him on the elevated mattress.

    Good luck finding a solution.
     
  3. Puppmom
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  4. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 2, 2011
    Here is exactly what I would do in your shoes.

    1. Elevate the crib on one side by putting towels under the mattress.
    2. Swaddle baby really tight -- we used a swaddle me AND then swaddled Hunter in a large receiving blanket over top once he got to be about 3 months old. Worked great to keep him immobile.
    3. Get a musical mobile and see if it helps, worked a charm for us.
    3. Sleep train him for the crib. We used the pick-up put-down method. This mean I rocked him in my arms swaddled until he was drowsy, then put him down. If he cried (which he did ;)) ) I picked him up and soothed him again then put him down. Repeat. The first time we did this the process took about 1.5 hours until he fell asleep on his own. The next time it took 45 minutes. The next time it took 10 minutes and then after that he would fall asleep on his own in his crib (with regressions along the way).

    You can teach your baby to sleep anywhere if you are a stubborn mule like I am 8) It takes tremendous patience and will of steal, plus a little immunity to crying (baby cries in your arms in this case not CIO, but it is still hard to listen to), but it is worth it and works if you don't give up. At his age, he is probably ready for this. ETA: We did this at 4 weeks old.

    Another option is to practice baby wearing if he will nap like that, and then cosleep at night if he will sleep that way. That is not my preference but it works for a lot of moms.
     
    


    


  5. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    LOL, SS! That's funny about your cousin putting the car seat in the crib! I guess it worked though, right?
     
  6. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    hiya, puppmom! Thanks! DH and I actually bought the Nap Nanny, BUT we realized he had to be strapped in to sleep in it, and we couldn't use the harness and still swaddle (swaddling's a must with my wee one!). So we returned it. It sure looked cool though and I really thought it would work!
     
  7. fieryred33143
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    by fieryred33143 » Mar 2, 2011
    I can see your dilemma! Sleeping in a car seat for long periods of time is dangerous and can lead to a flat head. But it conflicts with the parenting motto of whatever works, works ;-)

    A big hearty ditto to Dreamer's suggestions of elevating the mattress. Also, you can try a sleep positioner. Sophia liked to feel cocooned BUT she wasn't a mover/shaker. If your guy tends to wiggle a lot then I wouldn't use the positioner.

    At 3 months it's completely normal to still be waking up at night. Even with sleep training, it's not a guarantee that he'll sleep all night. The only way I survived those first 6 months was to have really, really low expectations lol. I did a routine and never changed it, did my sleep methods but then would go to bed saying she'll be up in 30 minutes. If she slept an hour, I was "pleasantly surprised" :p I think it's crueler to have a newborn that is a wonderful sleeper and suddenly stops than it is to have a terrible sleeper from the get. No one wants to have their sweet sleep taken away :p
     
  8. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    Great advice, Dreamer. Thanks. The thing with number three though, is--I could see Luke doing this process all night and just not going to sleep--or he'd do this for two hours and it would be time to nurse again then diaper change, thus delaying bed time even more. Stubborn dude!
     
  9. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    Oh I know, fiery! I think I got soo spoiled by him sleeping in the car seat for so long. Ah well...I guess I'll just have to get used to the sleep deprivation for a while if nothing else works, right? :rodent: I sure hope we didn't give him a flat spot. :(( The ped wasn't concerned but said to stop immediately.
     
  10. DivaDiamond007
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    by DivaDiamond007 » Mar 2, 2011
    My son (now 2.5) was the same way as a baby. He was born 4 weeks early and had a terrible startle reflex. If we put him in a bassinet or crib he'd flail his arms once and then wake up screaming. Wash, rinse, repeat day and night. He wouldn't go more than 10 minutes at a time before waking himself up. We let him sleep in the carseat until he was about 8 weeks old and then conacted the pedi. She recommended that we put him on his stomach to sleep. It obviously goes agains the grain, but it worked for us. He started sleeping in longer intervals, but still didn't STTN until he was 2 :rolleyes: My son's head is slightly flat in the back but the pedi doesn't think it's a problem or that it looks horrible. I think that many kids will have flat heads with the "back to sleep" mantra that moms hear over and over again so I wouldn't feel too bad if your son is a little flat too ;-)

    We've been using the FP Rock N Play for our daughter (8 weeks) and it's a lifesaver. Worth the $55 it cost at BRU. She is much easier though and will sleep just about anywhere :)
     
    


    


  11. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 2, 2011
    I would personally persist, even if he only slept for 10 minutes and needed another feed and diaper change, or even if bedtime is delayed, you "win" when it comes to this stuff if he falls asleep because that is the goal. But you have to make a choice about short term and long term goals sometimes ;))
     
  12. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 2, 2011
    This is true. Hunter woke 2-4 times a night at that age and continued to 9 months. Our hard work meant he would fall asleep with no fuss (still does now), but it was no guarantee of sleeping all night long.
     
  13. Hudson_Hawk
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    by Hudson_Hawk » Mar 2, 2011
    Aidan slept swaddled in his bouncy seat until he was 8 weeks old and we moved him to his crib. We'd let him fall asleep in the bouncy and then move him to the crib after where he slept on his tummy unswaddled. Aidan's pedi always recommended him sleeping in his carseat because of his reflux and the risk of him sleeping on his tummy, but he really preferred his tummy. I've heard that the RNP, while fabulous, can cause FHS just as easily as the carseat or bouncy seat. A doesn't like PNPs, not sure why, but he's never slept well in them. When he started daycare the caregiver asked if I minded him napping in his carseat and I said no. These days Aidan often naps in his carseat during the day but sleeps in his crib at night (and puts himself to sleep too!). Now that he's rolling he sleeps on his back-go figure-but he still doesn't sleep through the night. Now that he's both napping in his carseat and sleeping on his back we're seeing a flat spot :(
     
  14. Lanie
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    by Lanie » Mar 2, 2011
    Laila!!! I have the perfect solution bc we were faced with the same dilema (acid reflux, baby would only sleep in bouncy seat, etc)

    He sleeps in our pack and play, and we elevated the mattress by putting a pillow under it, between the side where his head would go, and the side of the pack and play. Our pack and play "mattress" folds just perfectly to make this happen.

    Now, the problem is that if you just elevate his mattress, he'll slide down, thus defeating the purpose of keeping him elevated. I guarantee, he'll be sideways when you find him a couple hours later.

    So, I have one of those Ergo infant inserts. I actually use it in combo with my boppy. The insert is like 40 bucks, and is the best investment I've made. I swaddle him, then put him in the insert. It's like a coccoon. It has a little strap about waist high that makes it even more snug. It also has a little pillow at his feet to keep him from sliding down. I then put the boppy under his head and around the back of the insert. He stays put, and elevated as long as he will sleep and he loves it. It's super cozy, just like a car seat would be. The boppy keeps him from sliding around. I swear, I should patent this.

    Let me know if this doesn't make sense, and I'll take a picture.

    Speaking of pictures...you know what helps babies sleep better? Posting a long overdue picture of them on Pricescope. Yup. That's what you need to do. :cheeky:

    Dreamer -- does your method work for the initial putting down of the baby, or do you use it also in the middle of the night to get them to sleep through the night?
     
  15. fieryred33143
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    by fieryred33143 » Mar 2, 2011
    This reminds me of when my daughter was around 6 weeks. We did a bed time routine that resulted in her sleeping for 6 hours, nursed, then another 4. The first day I thought, awesome it worked. The second day, I wanted to tell everyone about what I did, like on a blog or something. When night 4 came, I felt like a rockstar. She woke up 30 mins later. No big deal. Then 45 mins later and continued waking all night long. I cried lol. I'm thinking what did I do wrong???? At one point I told FI that when I put lotion on her, I started with her tummy instead of her feet so that must have been why it didn't work. And he was sleep deprived so he goes "what?! Why would you do that! Don't change the routine!!!!"

    So silly but not sleeping sucks!!!!

    Also Lanie, I'm not Dreamer but followed that method after she suggested it to me and I also did it overnight.
     
    


    


  16. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    Thanks DivaDiamond! Luke sounds like your son in that he has a terrible startle reflex also. CONGRATS on the birth of your new baby girl by the way!!!!

    Hudson, thanks! Bummer about the RNP not really being the magical answer. Ah well. Sorry about Aidan's little flat spot. I read that boys are more prone to them than girls for some reason. I wonder why? :confused:

    Lanie my friend!! Anderson is just sooooo darn adorable. Our boys share the same middle name too! Whatever you rigged with the Ergo insert and the Boppy sounds great--you SHOULD patent it and get rich! :$$): Can you post a pic if you have time so I can better visualize how it'd work? I know I've been a bad poster but I never have time anymore, even though I read when I can...here are a few pics of Luke T. just for you!

    fiery, lol. Love your Sophia stories. Just when you think you've got it figured out, the little ones sure keep us on our toes.

    Thanks so much for the advice everyone!!

    nomorepicsplease!!!.jpg

    Lukeonemonth.jpg
     
  17. Mara
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    by Mara » Mar 2, 2011
    Laila... I would elevate the crib and use a mesh sleep positioner. This is what we did when J was younger and sleeping elevated for reflux. Though I think sleep positioners are no longer recommended, J would slide down his but it was mesh and quite wide...maybe using it for naps would make you feel more comfortable than long stretches of sleep but it can help them in that 'being cocooned' feel.

    I also would put the car seat in the crib when I'd bring him home from somewhere and he'd be sleeping....not all the time but maybe like 2-3x a week he'd finish his nap in the car seat in the crib. I don't see anything wrong with doing the transition that way as someone else mentioned. Whatever works, right?!!

    I personally wouldn't swaddle him at this point because then you'll just need to break him of the swaddle around 4-5mo anyway when he starts to roll and move around more though you could maybe try the Woombie which is stretchy material kind of like a big sleep sack but is tighter so makes them feel cocooned but yet allows for movement. A lot of parents report the transition from Woombie to sleep sack or free limbs being a lot easier than swaddle to sleep sack/free limbs.

    Do you have a swing? It also is great for sleep stretches and is raised slightly. J would nap sometimes in the swing. Buttttt IMO, unless the kid is sleeping like 16 hours a day in the car seat only then I wouldn't think you have to totally go cold turkey... I think you'd be ok with gradual steps. Maybe try getting him to nap first (2 hours) with a sleep positioner on the elevated crib in a swaddle or the woombie for a few days. Then once he is doing that well, tackle the nighttime sleep?
     
  18. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 2, 2011
    I don't know if boys are more prone to flat spots, but I do know that the car seat will absolutely do the trick. I have 3 friends who had their kids sleep in the seats, one of them who did it for 4 months for ever nap and nighttime. Her daughter's head looks like a flat lollipop in profile. The interesting part is that none of the mothers realize it and I just keep my mouth mum, especially since it's only a cosmetic issue.

    Just keep turning the head as much as possible (side to back to other side) and do plenty of tummy time. The usual blah blah blah advice, but it helps if you really care about flat spots. Some people just don't. A sign is if your kid's forehead seems to be growing wider, and the face gets more of a triangular shape. The brain has to spread somewhere, so it's not like the spot happens and something else doesn't grow out. But again, it's only a cosmetic issue.

    You got good advice on the sleep options...good luck!
     
  19. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 2, 2011
    Yes and No. At night I would nurse him and then stand with him by the crib til he was calm and drowsy and then put him down drowsy and use the pick-up put-down to basically help him learn to fall asleep without a prop (like rocking or bouncing or nursing right to sleep etc.). Sometimes in the early times when he got too worked up I would nurse him again until calm when I picked him up (still swaddled), then stand by the crib and rock him until drowsy and then put him down. That process worked pretty fast to help him learn to fall asleep without needing props, but we could never just do that at night to get him back to sleep. We tried it all! DH went in, offered a bottle of expressed milk, I went in, picked him up, didn't pick him up, patted his bum, and on and on. At night he wanted/needed to be nursed, even for 5 minutes, then I could put him down drowsy and he would fall right to sleep on his own. So the benefit of the work we did was the night wakings only lasted about 10 minutes (nurse and pop him back in bed -- he was EBF so never pooped at night after the first couple weeks so no diaper changes). So for us it helped baby learn to fall asleep without props (though we did use binkies) but did not help us with STTN. He did not stop night wakings until we used CIO at 9 months. I wil likely use CIO a little earlier this time, maybe at 7-8 months.
     
  20. Kay
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    by Kay » Mar 2, 2011
    A did not like sleeping in the PNP or her crib initially because they were just too big for her. We ended up using a Serta organic 3-sided contoured changing pad with a soft organic cotton cover and just put it inside the crib or pnp. She liked sleeping on the contoured pad because it cradled her. When she was sick, we propped up the one end to help her breathe.
     
  21. Deelight
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    by Deelight » Mar 2, 2011
    No experience here as mine is still baking but if your worried about flat spot there are special pillows you can buy for the baby - I know one was developed by a pedi which can be placed behind there head - it has a small hole behind it to help prevent the flat spot forming

    This is the one http://www.babiesgalore.com.au/bedtime/bedroom_bedding/lovenest_head_support Not sure if that is a viable option as I said I have no experience so take what I say with a HUGE grain of salt.

    A friend of ours son had a flat spot and he had to wear a helmet to correct it - gosh he looked so cute :) so if it does happen they can correct it

    GL :)
     
  22. Pandora II
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    by Pandora II » Mar 3, 2011
    I had Daisy in a co-sleeper with the mattress elevated and a blanket rolled up lengthways behind her - she was a side-sleeper from the start and the blanket stopped her rolling over onto her back which she hated.

    In the end I just gave up and we co-slept which was a huge success - although she is still there 2 years on!

    Carseats don't just cause flat-heads, they are also bad for spinal development which is why you shouldn't keep a baby in one for more than 3 hours at a stretch.
     
  23. violet3
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    by violet3 » Mar 3, 2011
    I don't have children, but i do know that it's not always a cosmetic issue to have a flat head -- my 10 month old nephew had to wear a helmet for months to reshape his skull. He didn't sleep in the car seat, but just on his back, and had tummy time as often as he would tolerate. The doctors said that the mishapen skull could cause jaw alignment problems as well as migraines in the future. As our family pretty much ALL suffer from really bad headaches and migraines, they felt it would be worth the $3,000 to fix it now.
     
  24. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 3, 2011
    I believe they can also cause issues with digestive or intestinal development because of the smooshed position of the abdomen (learned this from a parent of an affected child a while back, may not be accurate).
     
  25. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 3, 2011
    Great. Did I permanently damage my poor kid? :((
     
  26. Pandora II
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    by Pandora II » Mar 3, 2011
    Most probably not, but I wouldn't let him sleep there any longer. I checked just now and they've now brought in an hour and a half rule for under 6 months here in the UK last year. I believe the issue they've had was with people using SnG travel systems where they would take the baby from the car to the stroller to the car to the house etc and the kid was maybe spending 8+ hours at a time in it.

    Otherwise, this car-seat has been designed for babies to sleep in without harming their spinal development: http://www.pramworld.co.uk/product/6044/Besafe_Izi_Sleep_Car_Seat_Soft_Beige_ExDisplay

    They're a Norwegian company - I have their Izi Besafe Combi which is a rear-facing car-seat up to 40lbs and scores the highest in safety in Europe and I believe we have more stringent tests than you do in the USA.
     
  27. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 3, 2011
    I doubt it. The child I am referring to was neglected and spent basically the whole day 24-7 in the car seat. But these are probably reasons along with flat head that the doc seems to be urgent about finding another option.
     
  28. Lanie
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    by Lanie » Mar 3, 2011
    OK Laila...here's my setup. It seriously works great. I imagine as he gets stronger, it won't, but hopefully by that point the acid reflux will be more under control. Hope you find something that works for you!

    The first pic is how we put the pillow under the pack and play. Second is showing the strap that can make it more "cozy" and the third is my son...I tried to take a pic at night as best as I could without waking him up with the light!

    pnpdemo.jpg
     
  29. Lanie
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    by Lanie » Mar 3, 2011
    ...

    pnpdemo2.jpg
     
  30. Lanie
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    by Lanie » Mar 3, 2011
    ...

    pnpdemo3.jpg
     

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