Hap­pi­est Baby on the Block

Little Treasures - - SLEEP -

by Har­vey Karp

Gen­tle, prac­ti­cal and fun, US pe­di­a­tri­cian Har­vey Karp’s out­ra­geously suc­cess­ful guide is short enough to be able to read in a hurry with a new­born cry­ing in the next room – although we rec­om­mend get­ting started on it sooner. Karp (and our own Baby Sleep Con­sul­tant Emma Pur­due, see page 64) is a pro­mul­ga­tor of the Five S’s: swad­dling, side or stom­ach po­si­tion (for calm­ing, not sleep­ing, which should al­ways be on the back), shush­ing, swing­ing or rock­ing, and suck­ing. The five S’s are all tech­niques to trig­ger your baby’s calm­ing re­flex, which al­lows them to nat­u­rally drift off to sleep. Each baby will re­spond to a dif­fer­ent set of calm­ing tech­niques, so you’ll need to fig­ure out which of the five is your baby’s magic ‘off switch’. Shush­ing in­cludes white noise – sounds in the womb can reach 65 deci­bels (a vacuum cleaner is about 70). Karp is a fan of white noise, as it helps distract ba­bies from ex­ter­nal dis­tur­bances. If it works, play it dur­ing the sleep rou­tine, and all night. Ex­pect to nurse your baby 10-12 times a day dur­ing the first month, says Karp. You should get 3-4 hour stints free at night. More sleep boosts a mother’s milk sup­ply, low­ers the risk of mas­ti­tis, and re­duces anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, he says. Three-week-old ba­bies usu­ally sleep in blocks of 2-4 hours with al­ter­nat­ing hour-long wak­ing pe­ri­ods. By three months it may be 5 plus hours in a row. Most ba­bies don’t sleep through the night even at six months, so it’s key to get them back down quickly. Keep­ing ba­bies awake dur­ing the day doesn’t help them to sleep at night; in fact, the op­po­site. Feed your baby dur­ing the day every 1.5-2 hours and put to sleep be­fore they be­come yawn­ing and droopy. If they nap over 2 hours, wake them up. Feed in a quiet room, so there are no dis­trac­tions. One study of breastfed ba­bies found two schedul­ing things worked in the first two months – wak­ing them for a night feed 10pm-mid­night, and re­spond­ing to night-time cries with a few min­utes of hold­ing or a nappy change be­fore feed­ing.

real par­ents say

“We used the Five S’s on both our ba­bies in the first three months, which Karp calls the fourth trimester, and found they worked bril­liantly. Both ba­bies loved to be swad­dled, and my first born had a dummy, as suck­ing was one of his main calm­ing re­flexes. My sec­ond baby re­fused to take a dummy but he loved white noise, and in the early days this would send him quickly off to sleep. The only catch was it had to be on all night or he would wake up. At first I used a white noise app on my phone, then I bought a small bat­tery-pow­ered de­vice. If the bat­ter­ies ran out in the mid­dle of the night we knew all about it!” Bianca Zan­der, Lit­tle Trea­sures Edi­tor

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