Oh, the Joys of Motherhood

Here’s how my morning went: I awaken promptly at 5:30am and made breakfast, as usual. Shortly afterwards, my ears danced to Jayden’s angelic, playful laughter 🙂 He was awake but not fussy so I continued my morning routine. Twenty minutes later, giggles turned into cries so I went to get him out of his crib. He smiled a sweet smile that could instantly cure any heartache. He melts my heart; I smiled back. I gave him a hug and we walked to my bedroom. Along the way, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and noticed fresh, brown stains on my shirt. Confused, I looked around and discovered a trail of tiny brown footprints. Upon closer examination, I realized Jayden’s feet were almost buried in poop, and he was no longer wearing a diaper. I screamed in absolute disgust! This scared Jayden. He ran and jumped on my bed, painting white sheets dark brown. The commotion awoke RaShad. He went to see what was going on but slipped on the trail along the way. I was speechless. Two kids covered in poop! Oh the joys of motherhood! I immediately placed them in the bathtub and broke out the cleaning supplies to scrub my bathroom floor. I changed his sheets and mine as well. I tracked down the dirty diaper for disposal. I carefully cleaned toe nails to remove any evidence. Almost a half hour later, I felt clean once again…only to get to work and have someone ask “what’s that on your neck?”

 I died a little.

How I Got the Happiest Baby on the Block!

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!

How I Get Sleep With a Newborn Around

1. Dreamfeed

This is the key to getting your newborn to sleep through the night (or most of it). Feed your little one right before bed, even if he is asleep. Don’t wait until he wakes up in the middle of the night crying.

I have 100% success with this method when I increase the last feeding. Jayden downs three ounces during his feedings; however for the feeding right before bed, I give him 3.5 ounces. Works like a charm!

2. Swaddling

I first learned about swaddling during a parenting class while I was pregnant with my first child, and I remember thinking, “is this a joke?” I couldn’t believe the instructor was suggesting we tightly wrap our baby so he does not move! After doing research, I learned it is a soothing technique and that since babies are used to being in a tight space (in mommy’s tummy for 9 months), swaddling is quite comfortable for them. After trying it once, I was in love! This is the secret to calming a fussy baby. Whenever my little one is throwing a fit or having trouble sleeping, I get a large blanket and swaddle him. Once he is completely wrapped, the crying ceases, and he instantly falls asleep. I kid you not. It is amazing!

3. Routine

I am a “schedule everything” type person. It helps my days run smoothly. Having a consistent schedule teaches the little one when it’s time to go to bed. This can be very simple. For example, after giving your baby a bath, give him a gentle massage followed by storytime then a feeding. After a while, your baby will associate a bath with bedtime. It is important to remain consistent, though or this will not be effective.

Happy sleeping 🙂