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New Dad Blog: Happiest Baby on the Block Method, Does It Work?

By Ryan, Tidewater Parent Blogger

By Ryan, Tidewater Parent Blogger

“Fold the corner over to make a triangle. Grab the opposite corner.” [Dah dunn dunn dunn dunn dunn, Da-ah dunn dunn dunn dunn dunn dunn] “Pull up and wrap like a toga. No, not like a tortilla, a TOGA — UNDER the arm.” [Daah – naaa. Dah – naaaah.] “Roll the baby and tuck underneath. Don’t lift the baby! Keep baby on the table.” (Breathing heavily.) [Daah – naaa. Dah – naaaah. Dah dunn dunn dunn dunn…] “Pull the other side over the shoulder and wrap across to make a belt. Roll the baby again. Oh no! The blanket is stuck — the blanket is STUCK! Pull it through — but NOT too hard. Tug. Wrap. Tuck. Done. DONE! Yes, I win!”

Those were the thoughts racing through my end the other weekend during the swaddle the baby drill, (complete with intense, circus juggler music) at our “Happiest Baby on the Block” class. The class was held at CHKD by a wonderful and knowledgeable wife/husband couple.

The pregnancy has reached the half-way point, so this l-o-n-g training camp is on the down-slope to the big game of caring for the real-live version of a baby (not the dolls that lay quiet and motionless on the tables).

Huddled in a nicely furnished classroom, the group of us new mommies and daddies got the first few pages of the playbook. The gameplan goes by the code word the “5 S’s,” and proper execution should quickly bring a crying newborn into a quiet repose. And Youtube confirms it, so there’s that.

The 5’s: swaddle, side, shush, swing and suck. This isn’t just a gameplan, it’s a “method.”

Methods are what brought us some of the great wonders of civilization, like vaccines, jet engines, musical arrangements and the 1985 Chicago Bears defense. But all of these pale in comparison to the ability to quiet a newborn baby.

The method is supposed to recreate the womb experience for a baby.
Swaddling replicates the confined space
Side is in refernce to turning the baby to the side where it feels more comfortable and soothed (apparently treating the baby like a football is recommended)
Shushing in the baby’s earis to replicate the consistent noise the baby hears in utero for months (and the sound is at the decibel of a vaccuum cleaner)
Swing the baby to replicate the rocking or jiggling motion in utero
Suck means to offer a pacifier or your clean finger to calm the baby.

So the two-hour class ends, and now it’s practice, practice, practice. We have a teddy bear that has been swaddled and reswaddled over and over again. Repetition, so that the day we bring the baby home, we don’t mess up the S’s and start scrambling for socks, soap, string, silly puddy and shoelaces — can we MacGyver this baby into solemnity?

But in the midst of practice, it happens. Doubt sets in. My wife and I are looking at video of the opposition, (youtubing crying babies), and I start to wonder about this game plan. We were planning to go basic and just feed, feed, feed. Now we’re getting crafty, and maybe that’s a bad idea.

So I’m asking veteran parents, does it work? Yes, I know all babies are different, but darn it I need some tested, tried and true advice here. You know, like rub a little dirt in that open wound, or don’t eat the yellow snow or never, EVER feed a magui after midnight type of advice. The clear-cut, easy to follow stuff.

Method-founder Harvey Karp makes the statement “The five S’s only work when they’re done exactly right.” Harvey, you’re freaking me out man! At 2:30 in the morning with a crying infant, I need a little room for error.

But I’ll give him this, at least it’s a plan, and unless I hear otherwise, it’s the best I got. So I’m willing to practice up and give it a go. But if I’m wasting my time and energy on a wing and a prayer that hasn’t a snowball’s chance in Sudan, I hope someone will please tell me.

And to my wife, if you wake up to find yourself swaddled in our bedroom comforter one night, don’t be alarmed. I’m just getting ready for the big leagues.

Read more New Dad blogs about Preggie PopsThe Perils of PregnancyBuying Diapers and the upside of Chick Flicks.

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About Tidewater Parent Staff

One of our staff who provides news and information for families in Hampton Roads.

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