It wasn't until we were having a baby that we heard about the "Happiest Baby on the Block" phenomenon.
If you haven't heard of it, a professor of pediatrics named Harvey Karp developed what he calls "The 5 S's" which help your baby sleep well and be happier and more adjusted than other babies in the neighborhood.
While we were in Georgia – babyless in our room when Max was in the NICU – we watched the 'Happiest Baby' video. I have to say, it was impressive. Screaming, crying babies were immediately silenced once Karp got his hands on them. Your could physically SEE when the baby was silenced into perfect babydom.
Harvey Karp's 5 S's are meant to mimic what it's like inside the womb, and they are:
1. Swaddle (wrapping the baby tightly in a blanket)
2. Side position (rolling the baby on its side on your lap or in your arms)
3. Shush (SHHH-ing your baby loudly in its ears)
4. Swing (jiggling or gently shaking your baby)
5. Suck (satisfying the sucking instinct with a pacifier)
They are good IN THEORY. And believe me, we've tried them.
But they don't work for us.
Max has what I'll call his 'witching hours', and they are between 9pm and midnight. He's just…awake. Sometimes fussy. Sometimes crying. Sometimes just staring at us expecting entertainment.
So we're sorry, Dr. Karp, but your 5 s's aren't working for us.
So I've created our own steps for getting our baby to quiet down and sleep late at night or after nighttime feedings.
"KK's 5 S's"
1. Straight jacket. With Max, we need something stronger than the swaddle. I'm sure it works for many babies; however, we have "Little Houdini" at home, who can get out of a swaddle like it's NOBODY'S business. No sooner do we wrap him tightly that we see one of his little arms making their way up and out.
2. Sway. This is OUR fancy way of saying "rocking". Even moving him side to side works. Just MOVE. This kid likes motion.
3. Sing. After midnight, I turn into a singing sensation. "Mary Had A Little Lamb"? I know the first 5 verses and I make up the rest. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift? We got it down.
4. Sweat. Our little baby likes to be warm. So sometimes when he can't sleep, we bring him in the bathroom under the ceiling heater. And now, with the colder weather, I'll bring him out to the living room after a middle-of-the-night feeding and sit in from of our toasty fireplace. Warm baby = sleepy baby.
5. Swig. This one's for the parents. Grab what you can: wine, beer, tequila…whatever you can reach.