Sunday, November 4, 2012

End baby's crying with 7 S's

One of my wonderful colleagues is expecting a baby any day now. I thought of her when reading the most recent issue of "Parents" and wanted to write this for her and all new parents. It's not a secret that  a crying baby can be one of the most stressful things about early parenthood. Lots of books, articles and opinions have been written about it, suggesting different methods of dealing with the crying. 

Well, this is one of them. One Santa Monica pediatrician, Dr.Harvey Karp, developed the "5 S's system" to calm a crying baby. I've read a lot of baby books over the last 2 years, but somehow I'd never come across this information until this week. Sorry if it's a repeat for anyone, but I hope many of you will find this useful. Having been through the crying baby stage, this "5 S's" system seems genius and definitely works. Maybe for some babies all 5 S's need to be "recruited". For some just 2. And maybe you'll find my 2 additional S's helpful. 


  1. Swaddling. Wrap her arms snugly down against her sides, but leave her legs loose and flexed so that her hips have room to move.
  2. Side/stomach. It's easiest to calm a crying baby when he's lying on his side or stomach.
  3. Shushing. Start out as loud as your baby's cry. The womb has a constant rumbling, one that's louder than a vacuum cleaner. Womb-like sounds help babies sleep longer, even during teething and growth spurts. You can't shush for 24/7, but you can use a white-noise machine, fan in the summer or humidifier in winter, they all make nice shushing sounds. 
  4. Swinging. A slow and smooth motion keeps babies calm. But to put the brakes on explosive, "colicky" crying, your movements should be fast, tiny (about an inch), and jiggly - though not anything that feels aggressive or like shaking. If you get frustrated from all the crying, put your little one down and take a break. Never shake your baby.
  5. Sucking. For many babies, nursing or using a pacifier is the key to gliding into profound tranquility.


I thought of a couple additional "S's" that I found helpful too. 

  • Singing. Your baby loves to hear your voice and eventually familiar melody. It's comforting and calming. I've been singing the same lullaby to Allie ever since she was born and she still asks for it every night. Now I have to be more creative with it though and replace every other word of the song with either different animals, all of our relatives, or names of Allie's friends.  
  • Smiling. And when I say smiling, I don't necessarily mean that no matter how exhausted you are, you need to smile. I mean it in a way that your mood needs to be smiling, if I can say so. Somehow babies just seem to feel your mood, well at least Allie has always been that way. If I am stressed out, she will not calm down until I do. So if I am not in the best of the spirits, I breathe deeply, relax and try to smile in my mind and think of all the good things. I swear that helps.

I hope your baby sleeps well tonight!

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