Have you ever seen those moms that just seem so relaxed like they have it all together? I hate them too. :) That is until I learned their deep, dark, newborn calming secrets…
Babywearing and the genius that is the Five Ss.
Honestly, babies don’t need a lot to be content. BuyBuy Baby might make you feel otherwise but other than meeting basic physiological needs like food, water, sleep, etc. you don’t need a ton of gadgets to be able to calm your baby.
Here is what you do need:
Babywearing carrier of your choice
Boob or pacifier
Yep, that’s it. These three beautiful things will give you all that you need to calm your screaming, crying, insecure little person! Here’s how it works.
Somewhere along the way America decided that we were spoiling our babies by carrying them all the time. We said, “tough luck baby, you’ve been carried, safe, secure, and loved in my belly for 40+ weeks but no more!” Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Women all over the world use baby wearing not only for efficiency purposes, which we Americans are always looking for, but to help baby feel exactly as they did in the womb, safe, secure, and loved. Babywearing helps calm infants, is a great way to nurse hands-free, and lets you get loads done while you and your little one get much needed snuggles. Did you know that having your baby skin to skin with you increases milk supply too? I don’t know too many mom that aren’t worried about having enough milk to feed their babies.
With all carriers, it’s a learning curve. Practice at home and you’ll be confident to use them when in public instead of lugging around a heavy baby in a heavy carseat.
The next are the Five Ss. The Five what?! It’s a term coined by Dr. Harvey Karp in his book The Happiest Baby on the Block. If you are one that likes to learn about why the techniques work then by all means read the book, it’s a great read. I've also included a short video below. There is also a DVD you can purchase. If not, here is the Cliff Notes version:
1St S- Swaddle (This is where the swaddling blanket comes in)
Swaddling imitates 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 flail wildly.
Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep. 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 loose blankets.
Does your baby struggle against the swaddle? Just add the other S’s and within minutes he’ll be calm…and sleep better, too!
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 putting a baby on her side, on her stomach or over your shoulder.
3rd S – Shush
Contrary to myth, babies don’t need total silence. That’s why they’re so good at sleeping at noisy parties and basketball games! 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 with a white noise sound.
4th S – Swing
Womb life is jiggly (imagine your baby jiggling inside you when you walk down the stairs!). Slow rocking is fine for keeping babies calm, but to soothe crying mid-squawk, the motion needs to be fast and tiny. (Dr. Karp’s patients call this the “Jell-o head” jiggle.) Always support the head/neck; keep your motions small (no more than 1 inch back and forth); and never, never, never shake your baby in anger or frustration.
5th S- Suck (This is where your breast or pacifier come in)
Sucking is the icing on the cake of calming. Many fussy babies relax into a deep tranquility when they suck. You may bring baby to breast, use a pacifier, or even a pinky finger.
The 5 S’s only work when they’re done exactly right. The calming reflex is just like the knee reflex that only works when you hit the knee exactly right (hit 1 inch too high or low and you’ll get no response).
See there you have it! Now go calm that sweet little squish and be the envy of all moms!