Friday, April 10, 2009

The 5 S's plus 2

Baby Bulb is almost 2 months old now, so it's time for a baby update. He is growing like a weed, and is already in the 3 to 6 month size clothes. He's sleeping at night, usually up once or twice to feed, but has learned to get back to sleep rather quickly. His older brothers adore him, and Teddy Bear doesn't stop giving him kisses.

For those of you with little ones, here is something I found helpful. It's called the 5 S's, or 5 things that start with the letter S that help calm a newborn baby. Somebody named Dr. Harvey Karp wrote a book about it. I'll summarize.

Swaddle: this is wrapping a baby up tightly so he can't move his arms or wiggle much at all. I use an extra large receiving blanket, and literally wrap him up like he's 'waraq dawaali' or 'rolled grape leaves'. The idea is that babies are all scrunched up in the womb and they like to be wrapped up tight. This technique really helps him fall asleep.

Suck: personally, I'm an advocate for pacifiers. It's a lot easier to throw away a pacifier when he gets to be about two than it is to get rid of the thumb-sucking habit. You can't exactly throw away a thumb! Around 6 weeks is when my boys have started enjoying sucking on a pacifier. The calming effect works wonders. We use the nuk brand. Oliver called his pacifier a 'this-y' because I used to ask him, 'do you want this?' Teddy Bear called his pacifier a 'fire' as in the last syllable of the word. When we relegated the pacifier to the bed, he used to call for his 'fire, fire, fire' and it was quite comical. I wonder what Baby Bulb will call his.

Side: while babies should sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS, sometimes babies like to be on their sides or tummies. Often a change in position makes a big difference if a baby is fussy. Mine really enjoys tummy time, especially after a feeding. It helps him release some gas, and he's much more content after a few minutes on his tummy.

Shh: in almost any language saying 'shh' seems to mean 'be quiet'. By saying 'shhh' really loudly into your baby's ear, your baby will often calm down immediately. The theory is that a baby in the womb hears a sound similar to this. Variations of this technique include blowing a hair dryer or vacuuming nearby. I've heard stories of desperate parents tape-recording a vacuum and playing the tape near their baby to help him/her get to sleep. Playing the radio on static has a similar effect. We have a ocean sounds baby aquarium that plays music, waves, or basically white noise. Again, it works wonders!

Swing: the theory behind this one is that a swing simulates the motion of being in the womb. An electric swing is great, but often our little one likes being swung by mommy or daddy. Rocking, bouncing, and pacing all have a similar effect.

I've got two more to add, and I even came up with more S's. Singing! Baby Bulb has been attending choir rehearsals with me throughout the pregnancy and after being born. We just finished our marathon week of rehearsals and concerts and I hope to post about that later. In any event, babies love it when you sing to them. I think part of the reason it works is that if you are holding a fussy baby - especially one who just won't calm down - you are likely to be tense and irritated yourself. Try singing while you're irritated - it doesn't work. By singing, you relax yourself, and babies can sense tension.

The second one to add is this: Solo time. Leave your baby alone! A few nights ago Baby Bulb would not calm down. We'd tried all of the above, along with changing him, feeding him, etc., etc. My mother-in-law and I couldn't think of anything else to do, and were both tired and tense. Finally we put him in his bed, and left. He immediately calmed down and was content. Sometimes babies just get overstimulated. If you're a stressed out mom and feel overwhelmed, sometimes the best thing to do is just to set your baby down safely in his bed and take a break.

Also, congrats to the family of Babycue and Hondorp family on their new little ones. Happy parenting!

~ Um Tulip

1 comment:

Sharon M said...

To go along with the swaddling, it's also a great idea to use a baby wrap to carry them around during the day. Our daughter LOVED this method of transport, and I found that it was so much easier to get stuff done while she was curled up against my chest, leaving my hands free to do other things. Great tips, Um Tulip!