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.