The 5 S’s

I call him The Baby Whisperer. His movements flow like the soft current of a river. He quiets crying babies flawless and with little effort or anxiety. He is quite literally the greatest thing in the world when it comes to calming a fussy baby. Question is, can I practice his techniques and achieve the same results? I certainly hope so and you’d better believe I’m going to try.

His name is Dr. Harvey Karp and he is the author of “The Happiest Baby”. Dr. Karp is a renowned pediatrician who claims that it’s easy to calm a fussy baby if you see it from the baby’s point of view. Dr. Karp goes into explaining that babies are continually fed, shushed, jiggled and cuddled while they are in the womb, but that after they are born they no longer experience the comforts of the womb which psychologically impacts a child. The change is abrupt and can often trigger waves of crying that can then lead to a frustrating mommy and often a bout of postpartum depression.

Basically the technique that Dr. Karp suggests in order to mimic the effects and security a baby feels while in the womb involves the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side or Stomach, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking.

Swaddling: all mothers know what this is or at least you should. What you’re hoping to do is to give the baby the tight effect of still being in the womb by swaddling the child by using the D-U-D-U method with the blanket…down, up, down, up.

Side or Stomach: if swaddling doesn’t immediately soothe a fussy child, then try the side or stomach technique. With this, you are placing the baby on its side within your arms while it’s still swaddled. Placing the baby on its side or stomach while still swaddled can also be called the football hold that most fathers use with ease.

Shushing: babies are used to hearing a mother’s voice and the sounds of daily activities mixed with amniotic fluid and heart beats. When listening to a baby’s movements on a doppler, it can often be confused with white noise. In order to give your baby this same level of security, shushing loudly into a baby’s ear will work. Should that not be the ticket, then using a blow dryer, keeping it within a foot of the baby’s head will provide the same effect.

Swinging: with your baby still swaddled, turn him over on his back and cupping his head in both of your hands, place him on your legs and gently swing him, allowing for his head to move just slightly. Obviously, we’re not looking for shaken baby syndrome, but offering a small swinging sensation gives your baby the same movements that he experienced while in the womb.

Sucking: finally, if you aren’t looking to give your child a pacifier just yet, placing your thumb or finger in his mouth with also give the same sensation. Here’s the catch, though, you want to make sure that you are encouraging the sucking by either pulling your thumb from his mouth, or in the case of using a pacifier then gently try to pull it from his mouth, forcing him to actually suck on the pacifier.

My husband and I watched the video for “The Happiest Baby” this afternoon and were completely in awe over the effects these five techniques had over any child, even apparently the colicky ones. I’m curious as to how many other parents have heard of the 5 S’s or perhaps something much like them and if they actually worked or not. Less than 4 weeks away and I should be able to try these out for myself. I’ll let you all know how well they worked or even if they did at all.


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