Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Sean may be the only baby on the block, actually. There are loads of children in our neighborhood, but Sean is probably the youngest.

At any rate, the Happiest Baby on the Block is not a descriptor of Sean per se, but the title of a DVD I was loaned by a fellow father from the office. In essence, it's about calming new babies. Now, Sean is pretty mellow, as 2-week-olds go, often sleeping quite soundly for a couple of hours at a stretch, several times a day. Some of the babies in this DVD were hardly sleeping at all, and their poor parents looked pretty ragged. So I was already feeling pretty lucky. Naturally, we decided Sean was cuter than all of the babies in the video as well, but, that's to be expected.

So Dr. Karp (baby whisperer to the stars, including Madonna and Michelle Pfeiffer) came up with the 5S system - Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shush, Sway, and Suck (not to be confused with 5S in Lean - Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain - used to quickly organize work areas for increased efficiency). It was amazing. After tightly swaddling baby with arms at the side, and then holding him on his side/stomach, it was as if the Dr. had found the crying off-switch. In later scenes, he shush-ed loudly in the ear of a crying baby, and then brought out the big guns of swaying or jiggling baby while shush-ing, and using a pacifier or a finger.

It was amazing as the Dr. illustrated this set of techniques working over and over again. We've already been taking notes from Supernanny and Cesar, the Dog Whisperer. So now we have the Baby Whisperer.

I have changed my swaddling technique, and we're going to try playing a white noise CD to encourage longer sleep at night. (We already learned that Sean likes the vacuum). Poor Joy has been doing the lion's share of the night feedings since I went back to work, so anything we can do to prolong sleep and quickly calm Sean is a bonus.

For the calming system, check out Dr Karp on the web. If you want to learn more about Lean 5S, to help get organized, check out this site.

- James

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