The single most useful book I read while pregnant (and re-read key portions with a days-old newborn) was this one: “The Happiest Baby On the Block” by Harvey Karp, M.D. This was the one baby book that both my husband and I read in the weeks before our son was born in a naive attempt to ‘get ready’.
When I first heard about the 5 S’s and this book, I was skeptical, but the researcher in me was compelled to cover my bases by reading as many parenting books as I could before the little peapie made his debut. In his well-known book, Dr. Karp explains how human babies are born essentially too early and spend the so-called ‘fourth trimester’ outside the womb. To care for this evicted baby, parents need to know that all babies have a calming reflex and parents can learn how to switch this natural phenomenon on simply by following the 5 S’s to a tee. These are Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Swing, Shush, and Suck. The most important S in our family (which I still use to this day, and my son is five months old) is Shush. However, when you have a newborn and don’t know what to do, having all five calming tricks these in your arsenal can be clutch to get a screaming demon child to sleep. Did I just call my baby a demon child? Yes, I did, but I haven’t called him that in months. He sleeps so well these days, and I think the swaddling and shushing had a lot to do with it.
One caveat about the 5 S’s is that you really have to do them correctly. Case in point: Swaddling. In the hospital with basically no sleep and a screaming hungry baby (another story for another post), we desperately tried to learn to swaddle our newborn with the thick cloth swaddles they have to no avail. Our sad attempts to tightly bundle our baby yielded an arm sticking out or a caterpillar-like loose cocoon instead of the tight burrito that the nurses would make with our baby nestled snugly and contentedly inside.
Once we got home, we tried out a SwaddleMe Original Swaddle which basically takes the guesswork out of swaddling and makes an easy three step bundle that withstands all squirming with Velcro fasteners. Tuck legs in, hold right arm down and tuck one flap under the trunk, then hold the left arm down to the side while wrapping another flap over, and there you have a happy, bundled baby. Simple and stay-put swaddling in 1-2-3!
With the Five S’s, coupled with a few easy-to-use SwaddleMes, this newbie parent was getting her tiny newborn to settle down to sleep and stay asleep longer. If only the rest of caring for a newborn was that easy!
Snug as a (sleeping) bug in SwaddleMe swaddles:
SwaddleMe Original Swaddles, 3 pack for under $23