Friday, June 12, 2009

The Happiest Baby on the Block

This book could also be called: The Most Sane Mommy on the Block

Seriously? This book should be required reading before you are allowed to leave the hospital with a baby.

I'm pretty sure that I was vaguely aware that babies cried sometimes. That is, babies other than mine. My baybee was never going to cry. And if she did? I would need to just pick her up and that would calm her. Other people's babies cried and fussed all day and night, but not mine.


The reality is that I had no idea how to calm a baby. I had no idea that babies, after the first few weeks, need help calming and falling asleep. I didn't understand what people meant when they said that the first six weeks suck. It wasn't until I started referring to Olivia as an Asshole in casual conversation that I truly understood the suck that was the first six weeks.

I spent a lot of time rocking, bouncing, pacing the floors. Begging. Reasoning with my 5 week old...PLEASE JUST SLEEP, GAWD!

At the recommendation of my pediatrician, I turned to my best friend in the entire world: Google. The 5 S's search hooked me up with this:

I read the book in one day. I watched some You Tube videos of the method and some interviews with the author, Dr. Harvey Karp.
And then my life changed for the better.

Dr. Harvey Karp - Jennepper's Pick for Sexiest Man Alive

He does have nice teeth, doesn't he? I love him. Like fat kids love cake. More than that even.

The whole point of this book is to calm your fussy baby using The Five S's:

I'm sure that you've tried at least one or two of these with little to no success. ME TOOOO! But the thing is, you have to do it a certain way for it to work, and you pretty much have to do all of those things at once.

Let me describe it to you New Kids On The Block Style:

Step 1: We Can Have Lots of Fun!

Wrapped up like a delicious baby burrito, that is!
Your baby will scream at you like you are the Satan himself. Just keep going. Swaddle that screaming little shit, really really tight, and then move on to step 2.

We use the Swaddle Me blankets, because we need Velcro to keep Olivia in burrito prison. No matter how tight we swaddled a receiving blanket, screaming Houdini would bust free. Whatever you do? If you want sleep? Make that swaddle tight.

Step 2: There's So Much We Can Do!
While laying on our side/stomach!
After you strap your baby into its straight jacket, turn her over on her side - all the way on her side, almost so her belly is leaning forward. When Olivia was little, I could do this standing up using one arm. Now that she is a 10 pound heifer (ha!), I put my thighs together and lay her down with her butt against my belly and her legs on my side.

Step 3: It's Just You And Me

Or so your baby will think since you will now shush in her ear so loud that it's impossible for her to hear anything else! You shush as loud as she is crying. You get get softer as she calms down, but keep it up for as long as it takes for her to be completely calm for a significant period of time.

Step 4: I Can Give You More

So this lyric doesn't really follow the method, but too bad because I'm too far in to back out.
The next S is for Swing. Sway. Shake. Stuff like that. There are a few different ways to do this. You can calm the baby with swaddle, side, shush, then plop them in a swing on the fastest speed. Or you can shush and sway.

Or, my favorite, you can jiggle the baby's head. Really light and quick, like you had too much caffeine. Or, as Dr. Karp says, "like jell-o on a plate."
Now that you think I'm crazy, here's a YouTube video I found. And interview with Dr. Karp, where he demonstrates this entire thing...

Step 5: Don't You Know That The Time Has Arrived

For you to suck it!
Or, more accurately, for your baby to suck it.
Once you have the baby all calm and jell-o-on-a-plate-y, you can give them a pacifier, finger, or delightful nipple to suck on.

Here is another video that I found, and I thought these people were funny. Plus, they actually calm a crying baby, and not some well-behaved fame whore like on the talk show in the first video.

So. Do this.
Live it, love it, and dream about it when you actually GET SOME SLEEP.

The happiest baby on my block:


areyoukiddingme said...

Isn't it amazing how that works? It's a freaking life saver! We didn't even have a screamer, but man, swaddling sideways while shushing and swinging worked every time. Dr. Karp is awesome.

alison said...

I couldn't agree more! We watched this DVD in our childbirth class and it was seriously a Godsend. We snickered when we heard how LOUD he would shhh the babies not knowing then that we would give birth to a baby who had his lung volume turned UP and we would have to shhh that loud to be heard. Ha j is shhhing B as I type this. This is the best book ever.

Emily said...

In TOTAL agreement! With my son , I was all stupid and stuff and thought, "Swaddling? Won't he be hot? WTF?" But I read the book when I was eight months preggo with #2 and she was MUCH happier. Even though she had HUGE reflux issues...she was so easy to calm!

I agree...required reading!!

Beautiful Mess said...

YAY for the happiest AND cutest baby on the block! Glad ya'll are getting some sleep. I've ALWAYS sworn by swaddling. We did it for a LONG time. Side note: that first video is one of our local morning shows. YAY Portland Oregon made YOUR blog! We're on the map now, BABY! w00t

angie said...

OMFG-you are hilarious! I'm not even pg but I picked this up for a $2 steal at Goodwill b/c of your high reviews!

Stacy Woodruff said...

Good Lord, your baybee is freakin adorable! That is the prettiest baby I have seen in a long time. What a smile.

poppy.f.seed said...

he looks like a skinny-faced Kevin Kline.
I hope she does continue to beat all babies on your block for happiness!

Aunt Becky said...

The 5 S's, how I love thee. They didn't have them when I had the Ben--I mean, they HAD them, but they didn't advertise them.

And man, Ben wouldn't have probably liked them. Because he is his mother's son.

Kelly J. said...

Loved the new kid song layout!! Thanks for making me laugh....and its soooo true!!!

Courtney said...

I'm almost done reading this book on bedrest...definitely glad I decided to read it especially after your review! I'm going to link to your blog today because I have a funny story of what happened last night when my husband heard one of the video's playing.

Mandy said...

A nurse at the hospital actually made me watch a video about this before I checked out. At the time I was a little irritated that she was being so persistent, but it SAVED us. Now I recommend it to every new mom I know!

Alyssa said...

OMG, I could've written this whole post except you are way funnier than I am. I lurve this book. I want to have 10,000 of its babies. It saved my sanity, for realz.

calliope said...

dude- she looks so so cute (& HAPPY!)
We got the dvd of this book at my baby shower and totally embrace it. Our MUSTS for successful sleep are swaddling, white noise, and being on the side.
Now if only he came out with a happy baby with reflux book- then I would have to marry him.

Doug Wade said...

The DVD was a huge, huge help. My only problem is that once her neck muscles got strong enough to resist jiggling it became much less effective - but by then we were far enough along that it wasn't really needed.

Dana said...

oh my god your NKOTB lyrics are cracking me up :)

Isn't it pretty to think so said...

Goodness, your baby is CUTE!!!

B MoM said...

omg, SUCH helpful information. Thank you so much!!!

Christine said...

It's amazing Dr. Karp is able to calm anyone with that hair-do! Cool stuff though. Cupcake is so cute - even more than a few weeks ago!

Heather said...

Great review for the book. I always wondered exactly what secrets did it talk about. Thanks! With two babies coming home (hopefully sometime soon), we'll need all the help we can get.

Parsing Nonsense said...

Man, when even all these things fail you? It's time to drink a margarita while your baby screams downstairs for awhile. My niece absolutely would not nap. Ever. I never drank when I was her nanny, but to say I was never tempted would be a HUGE lie.

Glad this works for little Olivia, though!

Sarah said...

I wish I had known about this when my son was an infant! Amazing!!

Michelle said...

Dr. Karp is quite amazing, but the problem we ran into was that it was very hard to sleep while Jello-wiggling, shushing and stuffing flailing limbs back into the swaddle. While we kept it up, she was all happy sleeping baby. But as soon as we did something deceitful (like lay her down in the crib) she would pop open an eye, arch her back and SCEEEEAAAMMM with the SCREEEEAMMMING! So we took turns, meaning we each got about 3.5 hours of sleep a night. HAWT!

The good news is that now at 2.5 our daughter sleeps 11 hours straight. She's been doing it for a year and half, and we are like newly released political prisoners, all grateful and weepy but with a bit of lingering PTSD about the whole thing.

iambrowneyedgirl said...

OMG! Genius! Thank you so much for posting this! This is gonna come in very handy for me very soon! Awesome!

Keri said...

This is hilarious and helpful:-)!

Anonymous said...

I haven't laughed so much in a long time. Your NKOTB approach to describing the book was hilarious!

Sandalina said...

Someone just posted a link to your blog on babycenter in our birth club...and I'm dying laughing at you NKOTB approach.

So clever, helpful, and entertaining. Loved it!

flygyrl72 said...

SO glad to know someone else has been in my shoes. Have a 4 week old that now holds me hostage every night, never knowing whether or not it'll be a "good" night for her. Talked to a co-worker today who told me about the 5 S's. Am going to try this tonight. Will be picking up the DVD this week, no doubt. Feel better that I am not the only one referring to my kid as an a-hole...LOL...