I’m not sure if everyone is aware of this so I figured I do a little post about this book/dvd. At our hospital The Happiest Baby on the Block (ref) is pretty much required viewing before you go home and for good reason. Essentially this video shows you a method on how to calm down a crying/screaming baby and I’ve got to say it works as advertised.
In fact just an hour ago our daughter was screaming uncontrollably and all the normal stuff (nuk, bouncing, walking) was just making her more mad. Well I finally realized I should be trying the methods shown in the video and sure enough within seconds she stopped crying immediately and has been asleep ever since. It’s almost like having magical powers over your baby 😉
Seeing as how there isn’t a big plot-line to the video I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you. The book/video are the creation of Dr. Harvey Karp a pediatrician and child developmental specialist who over the years has come up with an almost sure fire way to calm a crying baby. The book/video explains how to implement the 5 S’s (Swaddle, Side, Shooshing, Swinging, and Sucking) and talk’s about what Dr. Karp refers to as the 4th trimester and the “Calming Reflex”.
Essentially the idea is that new babies are so immature that they are essentially fetuses on the oustide of the womb and have a rough time adjusting to their new surroundings. The idea is to mimic the feels/sounds that they were used to in the womb the last 9 months.
Swaddling your baby – essentially means wrapping up your baby very tightly in a blanket and restricting the movement of their arms. This provides continuous contact and very much mimics what they were used to in the womb.
Side – From my memory I believe you are suppose to hold your baby on their left side. I’m not exactly sure the reason behind this, but trust me this works. The swaddling usually just gets them more fired up right away but turning them to their side as a noticeable effect.
Shooshing – This is one where you make a “shoosh” sound very loud and close to your babies ear. Apparently the womb is very loud and so they are actually comforted by this. Rule of thumb is to shoosh just as loud as the baby is crying otherwise they won’t pay attention to you. As they calm down you can lower the decibel level on your shoosh. This is the equivalent to colicky babies who are only calmed down by the hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, etc. Another idea is to put the radio station between stations and play the static for your baby. I forget the actually example but I was surprised to find out the decibel level in the womb, but “shooshing” is usually the silver bullet once they are swaddled and on their side.
Swinging – For this you Dr. Karp after putting the baby on their side simple “jiggles” the babies head (Note: never ever shake your baby). It’s a very gental jiggling motion that I believe was compared to as jello on a plate. Other methods include putting your baby swaddled and on their side in a swing (at the highest speed). This again mimics the motion they are used to in the womb as mom moved around.
Sucking – This one is kind of obvious as involves giving your child a pacifier (nuk, dad’s nuckle, etc). This is a very common method used by just about everyone to calm their baby down as I believe it causes some kind of internal release of chemicals that calm your baby down.
The above S’s I believe are actually in chronological order. You should always start with swaddling and then move your way up the chain. Sometimes it only takes one or two S’s other times it takes all 5. Some of them take practice to perfect, but when done correctly the results are pretty amazing and a sleeping/happy baby = sleeping/happy parents. 🙂