Have you ever heard of baby sleep training? It became a lifesaver for us! When our son was born, we of course had several things to learn about babies and parenting. One of the first things we noticed is that he liked to stay awake at night and sleep during the day. This threw all of our sleep schedules off for a few weeks! I remember nursing him at 2am and playing with my cell phone after he had dozed off in my arms, and texting people at that hour, waking them up. Bad me! Not to mention, our son was colicky his first few months of life, from about the age of four weeks until about three months old. So everyday while my husband went to work, it was me and the baby, trying to navigate ways to help him feel more comfortable.
I started browsing through some of the books about babies I’d purchased or been given. One of those books, that had been given to us by our cousin, was titled The Happiest Baby on the Block. A quick internet search revealed that there was a DVD based on the methods of comforting a baby that are found in the book. Not having the mental capability at that point (sleep schedule out of whack, and a baby who cried for about four hours every afternoon like clockwork) to go through the book, I found that our local library had the DVD for rent and decided to borrow that. At that point, I wanted the “quick and dirty” teaching, if you will. No dirty diaper puns intended.
I picked up the DVD, popped it into our Blu-Ray player, and as my hubby munched on his pre-dinner snack (why do men do that!?), I attentively watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, with him watching from the sidelines. Within an hour, we had a perfectly content and swaddled little baby boy who was silently laying in his Pack ‘N Play, and his eyes were growing heavy.
And then I cried.
The methods used in the book and DVD were so simple, yet so effective, I became a staunch advocate of them. Seriously, if you have a little baby at home who doesn’t want to stop wiggling, stop crying, calm down or go to sleep, chances are you may benefit from one, multiple or all of Dr. Harvey Karp’s “Five S’s”. Nothing within the methods are harmful, weird, or even questionable, it’s just a matter of what your little one needs and what makes him or her feel safe. The “S’s” refer to Swaddling, Shushing, Swaying, Side or Stomach Position, and finally, Sucking.
As for my little one now? At 3 1/2, he is in bed around 7:30 each night (sometimes 8, depending on how hectic our day and evening were). We don’t really have special occasions in which we “let him stay up late”. He’s 3. We are his parents and know what’s best for him, which is a good night of sleep. As he ages, that’s something we can revisit, of course he won’t have a 7:30 bedtime forever. But aside from the occasional bad dream/need some water/got konkywompus in bed, it’s a rare instance for him to wake up until it’s morning time. He’s usually awake at 7am, sometimes a little later on weekends.
As for materials, there’s nothing you really need to begin this method that you probably don’t have already. For the swaddling, my husband was able to make a great, tight swaddle from the blankets we had. Mine, however, sucked. I found and invested in a few of those SwaddleMe wraps, and we used them so much they wore out in the wash. I highly recommend those. For the sucking part, we’re talking about pacifiers you probably also already have. And finally, the shushing noise. You can certainly do that on your own, but if your little one is going to take a while to go to sleep, you might save some of your own energy by downloading a free white noise app on your smartphone. We found one with about 20 different sounds, and our baby’s favorite was one that sounded like a vacuum cleaner – didn’t sound very relaxing for us, but he loved it!
You can check out The Happiest Baby on the Block here:
If you’re more the “quick and dirty” type of girl, like me, check out the DVD:
And get yourself some Swaddle wraps!
Happy Shushing your way to YOUR Happiest Baby on the Block!