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Are you having trouble putting your baby down to sleep? It's a common problem for new mums to find that their baby will drop off to sleep in their arms, but they can't for the life of them get them to sleep in their Moses basket! We run through possible causes and mums tell us how they overcame the problem.

Reasons your baby won't sleep in their Moses basket

Reflux

Reflux is very different to colic or wind and can often go undiagnosed. It's a problem that causes your baby to regurgitate the contents of their stomach back up into their wind pipe and mouth. Along with milk, the acid from their tummies can also come back up causing them discomfort and heartburn.

This happens because the muscular valve at the bottom of their food pipe isn't developed enough to keep things down.

Because of this, babies can find it uncomfortable to feed and lie on their back to sleep.

Symptoms of reflux include:

  • Bringing up a lot of milk after a feed
  • Coughing after feeding
  • Actually vomiting, rather than just bringing up a little milk
  • Starting a feed eagerly, but soon breaking off or crying

If you suspect your baby has reflux, talk to your GP and health visitor. There is medication that can calm the effects and help your baby get to sleep.

Sharon Trotter, midwife, parenting author and founder of tipslimited.com suggests the following things to help sooth a baby with reflux:

  • White noise can be soothing - try sitting a baby next to the tumble dryer
  • A warm bath can help calm your baby, the Tummy Tub is ideal as it keeps baby in an upright position
  • If you can, breast milk is best as it's easier and quicker to digest and less acidic than bottle milk

Mum's advice

Sophie Lambert, mum to Kitty 2, and Darcie, 3 weeks:

My baby had reflux and she just wouldn't settle on her back in her Moses basket and she'd scream every time I put her down.

She was our first baby and it was hard to know whether her crying and being sick was normal or not - that's what babies do after all!

I stayed for a weekend at my mum's when my partner was away working and it was someone else seeing the extent of her upset that made me realise that something wasn't right. Our GP diagnosed reflux and we were prescribed Ranitidine and Domperidone which helped a lot.'

They miss you!

Your baby has been used to hearing your heartbeat and feeling warm and cocooned for the last nine months - to now be placed alone in an empty basket can seem scary.

You could try putting something like one of your worn T-shirts next to the basket so that baby can get your scent - it might help to calm them.

Swaddling your baby is another option. This can make them feel safe and warm and they might find it easier to settle.

When they cry, try not to pick them up but practice controlled crying. Comfort them, let them hear your voice and reassure them but avoid rocking them off to sleep in your arms. They will only come to expect it and never really learn to get to sleep on their own.

Mums' advice

Lizzy Parr, mum to Jack, 2 and Ellie, 5 months.

'Letting your baby cry in their basket is hard but so worth it, I didn't do it with my first one and I battled with getting him to sleep for much longer than with my second baby. I would go every 10 minutes and talk to Ellie, rub her tummy and try and soothe her. I won't say it happened straight away, and it was quite stressful at the start but I was glad by about two months that I'd stuck with it because she learned to settle herself.'

Sarah McGrady, mum to Skye, 5 months

'On my grandma's advice, I tried wrapping my baby up in swaddling
clothes. It seemed to settle her at night as apparently it helps babies
to feel more secure - even if they do look a bit ridiculous!'

They have wind

Wind is very different to reflux and just means that your baby hasn't burped enough after they've fed. If your baby isn't settling in their Moses basket, it could be that gas inside them is causing them discomfort.

To burp your baby successfully, hold them over your shoulder or upright with a hand under their chin, and gently pat their back. Have a cloth on hand to wipe up any milky burps and wait around 15 minutes before putting your baby down after a feed.

Jane Blanch, mum to Izzy, 6 months

Mum's advice 

'When Izzy has bad wind, I feed her a small bottle of cooled boiled water. It helps her get her burps up.'

Have you got tips on how you got your baby to settle in a Moses basket? Share them in the comments section below

Where to next?
- Why is my baby crying?
- Getting a newborn into good sleeping habits
- All our help on baby sleep problems

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Laura

My baby had a very strong 'startle reflex' where he would 'jump' every few minutes and wake himself up. He slept much better if he was swaddled really tight so he felt much more secure :-)

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