how much sleep does a baby need

Discover the Secrets to Soothing Your Baby: Expert Tips for When Your Little One Only Wants to Sleep on You

Having trouble getting your baby to sleep anywhere but on you? Discover effective strategies to help your little one settle into a peaceful slumber without needing constant cuddles.

Table of Contents

Why does my baby only want to sleep on me?

Many babies develop a preference for sleeping on their parents because it provides them with a sense of security and comfort. Being close to their parent’s body warmth, heartbeat, and familiar scent can help soothe and relax them, making it easier for them to fall asleep. This preference is often seen in newborns and young infants who are still adjusting to the world outside the womb.

Another reason why babies may prefer sleeping on their parents is because they feel more protected and safe in their arms. They may associate being held with feelings of love, care, and reassurance, which helps them feel more at ease when it comes to falling asleep. Additionally, being held by their parent allows them to easily access food if they get hungry during the night, which can also contribute to their preference for sleeping on you.


Factors contributing to a baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent:

  • The need for physical closeness and comfort
  • A sense of security from being near their parent
  • Familiarity with the parent’s scent and heartbeat
  • Easy access to food during nighttime awakenings
  • The natural instinct for babies to seek proximity with their caregivers

How long does this preference typically last?

The duration of a baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent can vary. For some babies, it may be a phase that lasts only a few weeks or months until they become more independent sleepers. Other babies may continue to prefer sleeping on their parents until they are toddlers or even older. It is important to remember that every baby is different, and there is no set timeline for when this preference will change.

However, as babies grow and develop, they become more capable of self-soothing and may gradually transition to sleeping in their own space. Introducing gentle sleep training techniques or creating a consistent bedtime routine can help encourage your baby to develop healthy sleep habits and become more comfortable sleeping independently.

When did your baby start showing a preference for sleeping on you?

Early signs of preference

From the moment our baby was born, we noticed that she seemed most content when sleeping on one of us. It started in the hospital, where she would instantly calm down and fall asleep as soon as she was placed on our chests. This preference for sleeping on us continued as we brought her home and settled into our daily routine. It became clear that being held close to our bodies provided her with a sense of security and comfort.

Gradual development

As the weeks went by, this preference for sleeping on us only grew stronger. We noticed that she would become fussy and restless whenever we attempted to lay her down in her crib or bassinet. Even if she had fallen asleep in our arms, the moment we tried to transfer her to a different sleeping surface, she would wake up and cry until we picked her up again. This pattern made it challenging for us to get any rest ourselves, as we were constantly holding her throughout the night.

Signs of attachment

Upon researching this behavior further, we learned that it is not uncommon for babies to show a strong preference for sleeping on their parents during the early months of life. This attachment is believed to be a result of their need for closeness and reassurance as they navigate their new environment outside the womb. While it can be exhausting for parents, it is considered a normal part of infant development.

Overall, our baby’s preference for sleeping on us started from birth and has gradually intensified over time. We understand that this behavior is rooted in her need for security and connection during these formative stages of life.

Have you noticed any patterns or triggers that make your baby want to sleep on you?

Soothing touch

One pattern we have noticed is that our baby tends to want to sleep on us more when she is feeling unsettled or overstimulated. The gentle touch and warmth of our bodies seem to provide her with a sense of calm and security, helping her to relax and drift off to sleep. This is particularly evident after a busy day or when she has been exposed to new environments or people.

Feeding time connection

Another trigger for her preference to sleep on us is during feeding times. After nursing or bottle-feeding, she often falls asleep in our arms, and the transition from being in our embrace to being placed in a crib becomes challenging. It seems that the combination of fullness from feeding and the comfort of being close to us creates an irresistible urge for her to stay snuggled up against our chests.

Sleep regression phases

We have also observed that during certain developmental stages, such as sleep regressions or growth spurts, her desire to sleep on us intensifies. These periods are characterized by increased fussiness and frequent waking throughout the night. During these phases, she seeks even more reassurance and closeness from us, making it almost impossible for her to settle anywhere other than in our arms.

Recognizing these patterns and triggers has helped us understand why our baby prefers sleeping on us. It allows us to anticipate when she will need extra comfort and adjust our routines accordingly.

How long has this been going on? Has it always been the case or is it a recent development?

This subheading addresses the duration and timing of the baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent. It is important to determine whether this behavior has always been the case or if it is a recent development. Understanding the timeline can provide insights into potential causes or triggers for this behavior.

If the baby has always preferred sleeping on their parent, it could be due to factors such as attachment style, comfort, or familiarity. On the other hand, if this behavior has recently emerged, it may be helpful to consider any changes in routine, environment, or the baby’s overall well-being that could be influencing their sleep preferences.

Possible reasons for a recent development:

  • Teething discomfort
  • Growth spurt
  • Anxiety or fear


For some babies, teething can cause discomfort and disrupt their sleep patterns. If your baby is experiencing teething pain, they may seek additional comfort from being close to you during sleep. Similarly, growth spurts can lead to increased hunger and restlessness at night, making them more likely to prefer sleeping on you for easy access to breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Are there any specific circumstances when your baby is more likely to fall asleep on you?

This subheading explores any specific circumstances that may contribute to your baby’s preference for falling asleep on you. Identifying these patterns can help create strategies for encouraging independent sleep in different situations.

Possible circumstances:

  • Naptime vs. bedtime
  • Noise level in the environment
  • Feeding schedule


You may notice that your baby is more likely to fall asleep on you during naptime compared to bedtime. This could be because naptime tends to be shorter and less structured, making it easier for them to rely on your presence for comfort. Additionally, if the environment is noisy or stimulating, such as during family gatherings or in a busy household, your baby may seek the familiar and soothing presence of their parent to fall asleep.

Have you tried different sleeping arrangements or techniques to encourage your baby to sleep elsewhere?

This subheading addresses any attempts made by the parent to encourage their baby to sleep in alternative arrangements or using different techniques. Exploring these efforts can provide insights into what has been successful and what may need further adjustment.

Possible sleeping arrangements and techniques:

  • Bassinet or crib in the same room
  • Gentle sleep training methods
  • Transitional objects


You might have tried placing a bassinet or crib next to your bed, allowing your baby to sleep in close proximity without being directly on you. This arrangement can help create a sense of security while gradually transitioning them towards independent sleep. Additionally, gentle sleep training methods, such as the “pick-up-put-down” technique or gradual withdrawal, can be used to gradually reduce dependency on being held during sleep. Introducing transitional objects like a soft blanket or stuffed animal can also provide comfort and serve as a substitute for your presence.

What are the possible reasons behind your baby’s preference for sleeping on you?

This subheading delves into potential reasons underlying the baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent. Understanding these reasons can help address the root cause and develop appropriate strategies for encouraging independent sleep.

Possible reasons:

  • Need for physical contact
  • Feeling secure and comforted
  • Soothing scent or heartbeat


Babies have an innate need for physical contact, as it provides them with a sense of security and reassurance. Being held closely to their parent’s body can mimic the warmth and security they experienced in the womb. Additionally, the familiar scent and sound of a parent’s heartbeat can have a soothing effect on babies, making them more inclined to fall asleep when in close proximity.

How does it affect your daily routine and ability to get things done when your baby only wants to sleep on you?

This subheading explores the impact of the baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent on the daily routine and productivity of the parent. It addresses the challenges faced when trying to accomplish tasks or maintain a structured schedule while attending to the baby’s sleep needs.

Possible challenges:

  • Limited mobility
  • Difficulty completing household chores
  • Lack of personal time or self-care opportunities


When your baby only wants to sleep on you, it can significantly limit your mobility and ability to engage in activities that require both hands or movement. This can make it challenging to complete household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, or even taking care of personal hygiene. Additionally, constantly attending to your baby’s sleep needs may leave little time for self-care activities or pursuing personal interests.

Have you sought advice from pediatricians, experts, or other parents who may have experienced similar situations?

This subheading addresses whether the parent has sought advice or guidance from professionals or other parents who have encountered similar situations. Seeking support and insights from others who have faced similar challenges can provide valuable information and potential solutions.

Possible sources of advice:

  • Pediatricians
  • Lactation consultants
  • Parenting support groups


If you are struggling with your baby’s preference for sleeping on you, it can be helpful to consult with a pediatrician who specializes in sleep issues or seek advice from a lactation consultant if breastfeeding is involved. Additionally, joining parenting support groups or online communities can connect you with other parents who have faced similar challenges and offer suggestions or strategies that worked for them.

What strategies or solutions have others suggested for dealing with a baby who only wants to sleep on their parent?

This subheading explores the strategies and solutions that have been suggested by professionals or other parents to address the baby’s preference for sleeping on their parent. It provides an opportunity to gather different perspectives and consider alternative approaches.

Possible strategies and solutions:

  • Gradual transition to independent sleep
  • Establishing consistent bedtime routines
  • Creating a sleep-friendly environment


Some professionals and parents may suggest gradually transitioning your baby towards independent sleep by implementing techniques like the “Fading” method, where you gradually reduce your presence during sleep while providing reassurance. Establishing consistent bedtime routines, such as bath time followed by reading a book, can signal to your baby that it is time to sleep and help them feel more secure. Creating a sleep-friendly environment, with dim lighting, a comfortable mattress, and white noise, can also promote better sleep habits and reduce dependency on being held.

In conclusion, it seems that the baby in question has developed a preference for sleeping on their caretaker. This behavior may be due to a need for comfort and security, and it is important for parents or caregivers to find a balance between meeting the baby’s needs and encouraging independent sleep habits.

What to do when your baby will only sleep on you?

Change the sleep associations by putting your baby in the crib and gently bouncing it to create movement. Place your hand on their chest to simulate the feeling of being close to you. The aim is to begin with some kind of intervention and gradually reduce it as your baby gets used to it.

Will baby grow out of sleeping on me?

In simple terms, there are no downsides to allowing children to take naps while in contact with others, and eventually they will no longer need these naps. Allowing these types of naps is the least stressful option for the entire family and is often the best choice to accept and even enjoy.

At what age should you stop letting your baby sleep on you?

Dubief cautions that if your baby has only ever slept on an adult, by the time they reach six months, they will be accustomed to this routine and become upset if you try to change it. If you don’t want them to continue napping on you in the long term, it is best to gradually transition them out of it starting at around three months of age.

Why does my baby wake up every time I put her down?

As babies reach around 3-4 months old, they start to become more attentive to their surroundings. This can make it challenging to put them to bed while they are still awake, but with consistent practice, it will become easier. If your baby is a newborn and wakes up when you lay them down, it is probably because they are in their initial stage of sleep, which is a lighter sleep.

Why won’t my baby stay asleep when I put him down?

Babies wake up when they are put down because they are naturally attuned to sensing separation. Professor James McKenna, a renowned authority on co-sleeping, explains that infants are biologically programmed to perceive separation from their caregiver as a potential threat.

Why will my baby sleep on me but not in crib?

If a newborn refuses to sleep in the crib or bassinet, it may be because they have become accustomed to falling asleep in a different location. Some common places where they may fall asleep include being held in your arms, on your partner’s chest, or in the car seat.

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