After one of my clients raved about how successful Dr. Karp’s “Happiest Baby on the Block” technique is, I was very interested in trying it. She explained to me that by following the 5 S’s, she was able to achieve uninterrupted sleep as well as very seldom crying throughout the day. I didn’t believe it! A secret to getting your baby to sleep 8+ hours every night AND almost never crying? Yeah, right!
According to Dr. Karp, to sooth a crying infant, recreating the womb environment helps the baby feel more secure and calm. Dr. Karp recommends:
- Swaddling: Tight swaddling provides the continuous touching and support your baby is used to experiencing within the womb.
- Side/stomach position: The infant is placed on their left side to assist in digestion, or on their stomach to provide reassuring support. “But never use the stomach position for putting your baby to sleep,” cautions Karp. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is linked to stomach-down sleep positions. When a baby is in a stomach down position, do not leave them even for a moment.
- Shushing sounds: These imitate the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb.
- Swinging: Newborns are used to the swinging motions within their mother’s womb, so entering the gravity driven world of the outside is like a sailor adapting to land after nine months at sea. “It’s disorienting and unnatural,” says Karp. Rocking, car rides, and other swinging movements all can help.
- Sucking: “Sucking has its effects deep within the nervous system,” notes Karp, “and triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain.”
When I got home, I immediately wanted to put it in effect. Surprisingly, Jayden was in an excellent mood–no crying, no fussing, just smiles. While I enjoyed this very rare occasion, I almost wanted him to cry so I could see if the 5 S’s worked (terrible, right?). Fast forward to 1am, I was beyond tired and ready for bed. I held Jayden in my arms and proceeded to rock him to sleep, but he had other plans. If he wanted to play any other time, it would have been perfectly fine with me, but after being up since 6am the previous day and working until late night, I simply did not have the energy. I finally have to chance to put the 5 S’s into motion!
I grabbed one of his blankets and swaddled him…still cried. Then I layed him on his side in my hands with one hand on his head, palm up and I gently swayed him…still cried. I then made “SHHHing” sounds in his ear…still cried. Last step was to put the pacific in his mouth…and BAM! He was out like a light almost instantly! I had to check to make sure he was still breathing! While he did not sleep for 12 hours like my client’s little one on the first night, this method did calm him down immensely. I have tried it for about a week now, and it works every time– only I now use an app I downloaded called “Sleep” to play sounds of rain or white noise instead of SHHHing in his ear. It is amazing, and he around a 7-10 hour stretch every night. Pure Bliss!