Tuesday, July 1, 2008
While Mindy and I were at the aforementioned lactation establishment, she picked up a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp. Mindy kindly loaned it to us, and I had to admit I was highly skeptical of this book. It is not particularly well-written, some of the theories *seem* dubious, and the meat of the information could have been whittled down to an index card. However, this man has discovered the secret to placating babies. And it really works. Really! I'm not kidding! No wonder this guy is a celebrity!
Dr. Karp's book (and website) outlines the 5 S's (I'm not sure that should have an apostrophe, but I don't care about punctuation right now):
Swaddling: We know babies are calmer when swaddled; that's why they do it in the hospital as soon as they are born. We had been swaddling Penny at home as well, which kept her arms from going all crazy and from hitting/scratching herself in the face. So, we were already on the right track. Penny had started to kick out of the blankets we were swaddling her in, so Mindy also gave us one the "Swaddlers" she had been given (Thanks Mindy!). Always the critic, I thought, "That's not going to be any better than a blanket." Well, I was WRONG. Plus, the swaddler alleviates my psychotic fear that she will kick out of her blankets and suffocate in her sleep.
Sucking: Babies are calmed by sucking on something, also a no-brainer. I tried to resist the binky, but it quickly became Penny's favorite thing. I guess we'll have to deal with that later.
Swinging: Yep, we got ourselves a baby swing, thinking that would be a good idea, so we had that one covered.
Side (or Stomach): Ok, this one we didn't know. When Penny is upset, putting her on her side (on our legs) calms her down. I'll be damned.
Shushing: I always thought it was rude to shush people, but in the case of babies, it ostensibly reminds them of being in the womb and hearing your heartbeat, which triggers their calming reflex.
Now, it's the combination of these S-es that are the most potent. When Penny would get upset, and we knew it wasn't her diaper or hunger, we would wrap her up in the swaddler, give her the binky, put her on her side, and start swinging our legs back and forth. Sometimes we would shush too. Her infant anger was no match to the 5 deadly S-es! We were amazed.
Here she is, swinging and swaddled. Note how the binky is on stand-by. Note how she is not crying. Note that I have not buckled her in and she could go flying out at top speed. She looks like a little caterpillar in her swaddler. I love it! Thanks Dr. Karp! I'm sorry I said your book was poorly written.