2.17.2009

the happiest baby

Tonight Ashley and I watched a DVD titled, "The Happiest Baby on the Block."

While I've never been one for the whole "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in making sure our little guy wasn't happy.

The DVD was very informative and it walked us through several steps toward soothing an unhappy baby. The method is promoted by a fellow UCLA man, Dr. Harvey Karp. His method has been deconstructed into the five S's. In my line of work, there are 5 E's - coincidence? - you decide.

The 5 S's:
Swaddling
Side Stomach position
Swinging
Shushing
Sucking

Most of these seemed pretty easy to perform. I was most impressed with the side-stomach thing. I mean, of course the video is edited so it enhances the effect of his methodology, but wow - he just slipped those babies on their side and it was as if he had performed a vulcan nerve pinch, rendering them totally lifeless. Pretty cool. And I also liked how it resembled the football hold. As you can see below with my nephew Ivan - this is my favorite position because of its functionality and taxonomy.


I have to admit I was a little caught off guard by the intensity of his "shushing" method. I mean, he stuck his grizzly bearded face right up to these screaming babies ears and shushed the hell out of them. They stopped crying, but I wondered if it was because he had made them deaf. Dr. Karp says the louder the cry, the louder the shush. Kind of scary. I guess the shush simulates the white noise that babies hear while in the womb. Dr Karp says that the white noise that babies hear while in the womb is louder than a vacuum. Wild.

So, just to make sure I had the swaddling method down I practiced on little G's teddy bear. I think I'm set.



So do you think you have the happiest baby on the block? Would you settle for the happiest baby in your apartment complex? Or maybe just the happiest baby in the room? Any advice on soothing method techniques and recommendations? I think I'm interested in that old-timey remedy where they dipped pacifiers in some sort of tonic or elixir. Anyone know anything about that?

15 comments:

Sally DeFord said...

We have this book and I really like it. I think knowing good soothing techniques is key to a happy baby and in turn happy parents. We swaddled both of our babies, nice and tight like cut little burritos. If you want tips for making your own swaddle blankets, it's super easy. We also still use a white noise machine. It's less to stimulate the sound of the womb now, but so we don't have to be super quiet while they are sleeping. For instance our band plays in the next room and they sleep right through it.

Dawn D. Lion said...

Yay, glad you found that, I would definitely recommend THBOTB to any new parent. Ivan was textbook fussy until 3 months or so, we used all those techniques with success.

david said...

two ringing endorsements from mothers i trust!

glad to know that this is useful stuff, not just baby-chicanery.

Serena Cherry said...

Well, I already told Ashley how we had a hard time soothing Lane as an infant and someone lent me that DVD. In a moment of endless crying, I popped it in, followed the instructions and as soon as I put her in the "vulcan nerve pinch"sideways pose and she stopped crying instantly. It was a happiest baby on the block miracle. I thought I'd discovered the elixir of life. Although it wasn't always quite that magical, we swaddle our babies like little pigs in a blanket. They loved it. Charlotte still loves it. Can't get enough, even at 10 months old. I am very impressed by the swaddle done on the bear.

MiaKatia said...

The swaddle is priceless. It was the only way we could get our kids to fall asleep when they weren't being held. I haven't read/seen THBOTB but I used the side hold method with both the kids as well and it really does make them happy, as do the swinging and sucking. I am going to have to check out the shushing. I also like the Baby Whisperer book. Her acronym is EASY Eat Activity Sleep You (time). Worked perfect for both of my kids, but it also just fit my personality. Worth the read.

And fyi I think what they dipped the pacifier in is some sort of hard alcohol, while it probably works I wouldn't recommend it ;)

Sarah said...

We also swaddled our babies and it worked like a charm. And, the sideways pose with the sushing only worked every now and then for us. There's one other book I would recommend. It's called The Baby Whisperer. I wouldn't bother reading the whole book, but the part about a baby's schedule, I found to be pretty true --- eat, play, sleep, wake-up time and repeat. My babies would do this over and over that I could predict the time when they would be ready to sleep after eating perfectly.

david said...

what about the happiest husband on the block, or the husband whisperer... would any of you guys recommend those spin-offs?

; )

Blythe said...

I haven't read the book...but the one child I tried swaddling (Scarlett) hated it. But she rarely slept like a typical baby; she always had her arms above her head in what we called her "I'm being arrested" sleeping position. She really liked to spread out. But it sounds like swaddling worked for nearly everyone but me.

The shushing sounds wrong, though. Can't you just rock them, feed them, and sing to them? I think I'd prefer that.

Matt and Jennae Porter said...

I too watched that DVD and thought it was great. A definite help during those first few weeks/months when you have no clue what they want. A white noise machine is a must. We use a humidifier in our baby's room at night (for the noise effects) and she sleeps amazing. We are so excited to see this little man!

Dawn D. Lion said...

Blythe, they love shushing. I know it sounds wrong, like you're saying "Shut up" to a baby. But once you think of it as white noise, its not bad, and it really works.

Blythe said...

Great! (Re: shushing). I am going to try it with my teenagers when they are fussy, and see if it is equally effective.

Marlo said...

I recently saw that video and I think it is pretty funny. We have had zero luck with swaddling, but both my girls prefer the "I'm being arrested" sleeping position as well. Also, the sideways hold just seem to make my girls cry louder. That being said, I have heard a lot of people use these techniques very successfully, and the shushing works sometimes for us as well--I don't do it nearly as loud as that guy. For us, the Baby Bjorn worked miracles. Whenever they were crying inconcolably (such as yesterday), I throw them in the Bjorn, sing a few Primary songs, and voila: instant sleep. The Primary songs also work when in the carseat as well. I guess this is the vulcan nerve pinch for my kids. I also recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby...or something like that. So now in case all that happiest baby on the block stuff doesn't work, you have a back up plan from someone you don't even know. Good luck.

MF said...

I was going to send you that book! Oh well. You are going to be a pro.
Good luck Ashley! I hope the delivery goes smoothly for you.
And David, you should consider taking a sharpie into the delivery room. When the boy comes out, mark him with a mark that only you can replicate.

david said...

thanks mike for that shrewt-like suggestion!

Disco Mom said...

yeah, man, i'm a big fan of the happiest baby. love the swaddle, and if he's a monster size like mine were and outgrow the blankets, get yourself a Miracle Blanket - seriously, it's one of the baby bombs, and i mean that in a good way. just in case you need the baby a-list again here you go! can't wait for the good news!