I’ve been on the front line deep in the trenches over the years now and totally get how sleep deprivation can be likened to a form of torture. There are so many bloody parenting books out there which can often give conflicting advice and that’s why I believe there’s nothing like sharing real life shit supported by methods that hold some clout.
Enter Dr. Harvey Karp. The 5 S’s for Soothing Babies. Genius might I add. Let’s face it – crying takes a toll on bubs and parents. The witching hour is by far the ghastliest hour or in my case HOURS with anxiety levels soaring through the roof sweaty palms clock watching and knee crawling because we actually thought silence is the solution!
My babies were freakin’ adorable – no bias, however they liked to make a lot of noise and party all night and sometimes even go on a bender.
Back to lack of sleep for a quick mo. Apart from torture lack of sleep contributes to a myriad of problems and not just your health. It leads to poor decisions, marital stress and even car accidents! How could I ever forget that fateful day I almost ended up in the backseat of the Director Ms L’s creche? I mean what hope did I get of getting Mr. A a spot now? Talk about a grand entrance!
So it was time to take command and navigate my way through the sea of settling because everything was turning to shit. Afterall its not ideal for a wiped out mum to fall asleep with baby in tow.
Now apart from sleep school, which I’ll waffle on about in my future blogs, here’s some great methods by Dr. H to take for a spin. Whilst these are top line, further deets can be found on his website.
The 1st S: Swaddle
Reflects the sensation of the womb. 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 unraveling. I used a muslin wrap which worked but the Swaddle Suits are the bomb! Note: Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep.
The 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.
The 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.
The 4th S: Swing
Life in the womb is very jiggly. (Imagine your baby bopping around inside your belly 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.)
The 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.
The 5 S’s Take PRACTICE to Perfect
The 5 S’s technique only works when done exactly right. The calming reflex is just like the knee reflex: Hit one inch too high or low, and you’ll get no response, but hit the knee exactly right and, presto! If your little one doesn’t soothe with the S’s, watch the Happiest Baby DVD / Streaming Video again to get it down pat. Or, check with your doctor to make sure illness isn’t preventing calming.
Ok, so how do the 5 S’s link to another fave S word of mine, Sleep? Well the Doc is a huge advocate of SNOO. An innovative baby bed based on the 5 S’s that helps calm and ease them to sleep. Bloody win win! Check it out…
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