IT WORKS! How we used tips from Dr. Harvey Karp’s book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, to get newborn babe to sleep the night away in bliss!
Babies cry – that’s just the way it is! It’s their tiny way of communicating and letting us know they need food, love, or a warm blankie. For many previous generations, parents have been encouraged to let baby “cry it out”. That may work for some, but here at TFC, we pick our babies up every chance we get, so we took an alternative route!
Dr. Harvey Karp’s theory is that babies are born 3 months early and that a so-called “4th trimester” of life resembling the womb (bouncing, snug hold etc) is just what they need. This cozy environment triggers the relax reflex for babies which calms them and promotes sleep. Dr. Karp has called this “The 5 S’s: Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing and Suck”.
The “5 S’s” methodology is listed below. Please note this DOES TAKE PRACTICE – but it is oh so worth it so see youR beloved little snoozing peacefully. Once you master this, you will be able to do it in 1-3 mins! Our favourite portion of this method is to swaddle baby, which assists with the “Moro Reflex”; ie: when baby flings arms outwards and has the feeling of falling.
1st S: Swaddle
Swaddling recreates the snug packaging inside the womb and is the cornerstone of calming. It decreases startling and increases sleep. And, wrapped babies respond faster to the other 4 S’s and stay soothed longer because their arms can’t wriggle around. To swaddle correctly, wrap arms snug – straight at the side – but let the hips be loose and flexed. Use a large square blanket, but don’t overheat, cover your baby’s head or allow unravelling. Note: Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep.
2nd S: Side or Stomach Position
The back is the only safe position for sleeping but it’s the worst position for calming fussiness. This “S” can be activated by holding a baby on her side, on her stomach or over your shoulder. You’ll see your baby mellow in no time.
3rd S: Shush
Contrary to myth, babies don’t need total silence to sleep. In the womb the sound of the blood flow is a shush louder than a vacuum cleaner! But, not all white noise is created equal. Hissy fans and ocean sounds often fail because they lack the womb’s rumbly quality. The best way to imitate these magic sounds is white noise. Happiest Baby’s CD / Mp3 has 6 specially engineered sounds to calm crying and boost sleep.
4th S: Swing
Life in the womb is very jiggly. Imagine your baby bopping around inside you when you jaunt down the stairs! While slow rocking is fine for keeping quiet babies calm, you need to use fast, tiny motions to soothe a crying infant mid-squawk. My patients call this movement the “Jell-O head Jiggle.” To do it, always support the head/neck, keep your motions small; and move no more than 1 inch back and forth. I really advise watching the DVD to make sure you get it right. (For the safety of your infant, never, ever shake your baby in anger or frustration.)
5th S: Suck
Sucking is “the icing on the cake” of calming. Many fussy babies relax into a deep tranquility when they suck. Many babies calm easier with a pacifier.
For more information, check out Dr. Harvey Karp’s book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”.