Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Desperately seeking angel baby

Owen is two weeks old and there are at least a few hours during the day when I think we’ve reached the end of the newborn honeymoon. After declaring little Owen an angel/textbook baby last week, he’s starting to show a bit of his spunk and acting generally more agitated and in need of attention some of the time. I can’t blame the kid. Must be boring to lie around all day long.

So now I’m relying more than ever on two books to help me get it right with this newborn in terms of sleep and general peacefulness: One is "The Happiest Baby on the Block," by Harvey Karp, loaned to me by my friend Julie, who said she discovered it too late to help her once fussy son. The subtitle makes a big promise: “The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer.” Karp argues that humans really need a fourth trimester in the womb (that’s why we come out screaming and generally helpless, while creatures like horses can emerge from mama and start walking straight away). It’s just that our heads are so big that we’re forced out too early so as not to bust mother’s hips apart.

So Karp suggests using five “S’s” to help recreate the womb environment for the first few months: swaddling, carrying baby on his side or stomach when he’s awake, loudly “shhhing” your baby with white noise or your own vigorous shushing, swinging, and sucking (on breasts, bottles, pacifiers).

So far a nighttime swaddle and some white noise from a sound machine or radio static definitely seem to help Owen get to sleep and stay asleep longer. (The baby swing and a good toting around on the tummy are less reliable soothers for him.)
Of course nursing is the all-time favorite sleep inducer, but Owen would prefer to nurse whenever he’s awake even if it means spitting some of it back up from his overloaded stomach. So after avoiding pacifier use with Will, we're planning to try it with Owen – once we’re past the third week and any danger of nipple confusion. Karp says it’s pretty easy to wean a kid of his pacifier if you do it before about five to six months of age, so we’ll plan to make it a short-lived support system if Owen’s willing to take it.

I’ll cover sleep bible number two in an upcoming post.
And please leave a comment if you have any baby-calming tricks up your sleeve. I’m considering trying an exercise ball for bouncing Owen to sleep, since the rocking chair's not a sure bet with him.


carogreene said...

I am Carolyn, Dennis's daughter in Toccoa. We met while we were both pregnant....and I had my Will on May 19, 2007. I completely understand where you are coming from on your blog!! I had a very hard time with Will's fussiness in his first weeks. We did discover cds of white noise. They REALLY helped us in the evenings when Will was inconsolable. We would turn them on and he would be out like a light. My friend gave two cds to me and we haven't been using them anymore so I would be more than happy to send them your way so that you can try them out on Owen.

Will is almost 10 weeks old, weighs 16 lbs 2 oz and is already 26 inches long!!! I think he is starting to grow out of his fussy stage. Another thing that he loved when we tried EVERYTHING is to take a long bath. I even get in with him and hold him so that he can kick his feet around. This really seems to help him calm down and get ready for bed. We feed him after his bath and put him in his cradle. He is starting to suck him thumb to console himself. This will be so much harder to stop that the pacifier but you cannot take his thumb away!! So, we are going to have to battle this one later one.

Just let me know if you would like the cds...they really helped us out!



Our radio-static and sound-machine white noise seems to be working well, so you can save those CDs for another mom friend. Thanks for offering them! I wish I'd been clued into the white noise factor back when Will was a newborn.

We're still waiting for Owen's little petrified umbilical cord stump to fall off, but he already seems to be relaxed by a sponge bath and I'm planning to try a nightly bath ritual, just for the sake of relaxation, with him much earlier than we did with Will.

Glad to hear that your little Will is doing so well. I'd love to see a photo. Hope we can keep sharing war stories!


carogreene said...


I started a blog, too. There are some new pictures of Will on there. It is We will definitely have to continue sharing the war stories....and pictures. It is fun to see how much they change in such a short period of time!! Your two boys are adorable. You will have to keep me updated!!