Wanting to sleep in your arms is a very natural setting for your young baby and although it can be very frustrating and restrictive, it is almost like a developmental stage post birth, where some babies are just not ready to be separated from you in any way. This time is often called the fourth trimester, and I prefer to think of it as the perfect opportunity to build the loving trust bond and connect with your baby on a deep level, that will transform into a wonderful relationship for your lifetimes. I am a big advocate of always meeting your newborn where they are at, and to understanding that they have been held in-utero for 9 months and so they do gravitate towards that type of holding- both physically and emotionally. I feel that even acknowledging this as a stage can make the living of this period, easier for everyone.
I strongly encourage you to do your best to help your baby to feel loved, safe and secure at all times, by leaning into this need- and in other ways re-creating the feel of being in the womb-world. You may find that using the Love to Dream Swaddle Up, helps to create the womb holding, of being in a small space.
You will definitely find their needs easier to meet if you can learn to read the language of sleep- this involves become attuned, not just to their feeding cues but to their sleeping cues too. If you can try to observe their brief activities like small eye rubbing and tiny yawns and even moments of quiet and zoning out- this will mean that their body is naturally becoming tired ( and ideally not overtired- represented by intense symptoms rather than brief) and if you layer your sleep attempts with the holding them in your arms or laying them in their sleep space or pram and creating a rocking motion and then add a further layer of white noise; together these efforts are helping baby to achieve sleep before they are overtired and also enabling a felt sense of the womb- a world they have only just departed.
I often encourage parents to think of this time as nature’s way of diluting modern distractions of the outside world and helping parents and babies to get to know each other in the early days. I do think that it is helpful if we encourage both parents, if applicable, to learn how to support your baby and to draft in any other networks of support available and willing- such as grandparents or siblings.
Together with your baby, develop a host of ways to help them to soothe-holding, rocking, rolling, sucking, Swaddle-Up, swinging, singing, stroller and/or wearing a sling. Each of these activities is a way of learning to comfort a baby who has a high need of your for support. Don’t resist this need if you can help it- embrace it and encourage this beautiful, early connected relationship that will evolve as they get older. Your baby will not always want to be held, and believe it or not, you will one day feel melancholy for this time.
Look after yourself and each other- we will have lots of supportive sleep suggestions over the next few months that will help you to continue to grow your budding relationship and your baby’s sleep tendency as well.