Monday, November 28, 2011
Recent research is telling us that babies are most calmed by conditions that mimic life in the womb. Humans born at nine months gestation are physically ready to enter the world, however, developmentally, they are still not there. It makes sense that the transition from the warmth and comfort of the mother’s body to the cold and noisy world makes babies scared and fussy!
Dr. Harvey Karp a pediatrician and child development specialist at UCLA has developed a program to help parents and caregivers learn specific skills for calming babies. The Happiest Baby on the Block teaches parents to use the “5 S’s” to soothe a fussy baby if the standard steps such as feeding, burping, diaper-changing and rocking do not work. These five steps are:
Swaddle- wrapping a baby snugly in a thin blanket reminds him of the secure feeling he has when he was bundled up inside his mother.
Side position- for the calming phase only! Babies need to sleep on their back; however, during the time when you are trying to soothe the baby, holding him on his side is more comforting. Once he is calmed, he should be put to sleep on his back to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Shush- The “shush-ing” sound is very comforting to a baby as it is strikingly similar to the sounds of the mother’s body that he had become so accustomed to. Holding the swaddled infant on his side and making a loud “shushing” sound close to his ear provides the baby with the security he needs to relax.
Swing- Babies miss the jiggling motion they experienced inside the womb. While supporting the baby’s head, make gentle, rapid jiggling motions with your arms. Be careful not to shake the baby or let his neck go unsupported.
Suck- This is the most natural way that babies calm themselves. Nursing, pacifiers and even babies’ own fingers are the best tools for this technique.
Posted by Denise Continenza at 9:40 AM