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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life.
I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode, we are covering the five S’s of soothing a baby this week, because it’s come up quite a lot with some of my private sleep coaching clients. I’ve got a lot of newborn sleep clients right now. And a lot of people asked me, Hey, I didn’t even realize you worked with newborns because you’re sleep training a newborn, and I’m not, I am providing foundations and education for new parents. So they never have to sleep train a baby, after they hit that wonderful three month developmental leap. That leads to a lot of different sleep regressions. So what I wanted to do today was really take a conversation I’ve had a few times with some of my new clients, and turn it into a podcast episode that so you too, could benefit from the education around the five S’s of sleep, what they are, what they mean, why we use them in the space of sleep, and why some babies seem to be a bit fuzzier than others. The first thing that you have to remember is that all babies, the first three months of life, have just come out of nine months of life in a really concrete, tight, loud environment. And they are learning what this new world is out there, right out in the open air, with this new person that’s around IE, mommy, and trying to figure out, you know exactly how to connect with other humans and manage all of the different things that they didn’t have to worry about. Right. And they’re actually born three months early, right, we call it the fourth trimester. But we have these little children that are reliant on us to now be the sole provider before our bodies did it for them, right? It gave them the proper nutrition as they needed to grow in your belly, right. And then all of a sudden that you come out that birth canal or you come out via C section, I had one of each when I had my two kids, and you have this child who’s like, oh, my gosh, like this world is cray cray, right? Now we have parents who are also trying to balance what a child needs, right? So you have constant feeding and changing and sleeping and crying, and you know, all of the above happening when you’re in the home with a newborn baby. And a lot of times as parents, I know, I felt the same way eight years ago when I had my son, right was, what the heck are we even doing? Right? Like, I don’t know what you need, I just fed you you just slept like what is going on, right. And so when we talk about the five S’s, they are typically the five S’s of soothing because you’re going to have babies that have different desires and needs. And once you meet all of the obvious, you’re going to have to figure out what your child is seeking. Okay, so when you start to hear the five S’s, it’s going to make more sense as it relates to, you know, what your kids are asking for, and then ultimately, how you can respond to their needs based on their preference. So the first of the five S’s is actually swaddling. When you come out and your baby is weighed, and then they do their little footprints at the, at the hospital, the first thing they do is they wrap your child in a really, really tight swaddle, they spent nine months jam packed in your belly, right? So they’re all tight in there, it’s loud. And they want to feel that sense of security and tightness, right? I’ve literally could have paid that nurse $4 million to swaddle when I came home from the hospital, because after they start to get a little bit stronger, and you suddenly leave the hospital, they’re breaking out of that thing. And frankly, it’s not a safe way to sleep anyway, but babies like tightness, they like that comfort. That’s how they just spent nine months and now all of a sudden they’re out in this world, and their arms are flailing about, they don’t have control over their limbs. Right. And so swaddling is a really great way to help that child to feel like they did in your womb. Okay. Now, when it comes to swaddling, one of the things that I recommend you pay attention to was for nine months was your baby’s arms up above their head? Or were they tightly kind of down at their side or kind of scrunched in front of their body? Look at your ultrasound, and I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve seen as a sleep coach that a child who spent nine months with their arms up in the womb doesn’t necessarily want their arms swaddled in they make different types of swaddles depending on this, right? So look at those ultrasound pictures and figure out like where my arms up or where my arms down, okay, that’s where your baby probably wants that swaddle to be so some babies like to be snug as a bug in a rug with their arms down. Others want their arms up, right? We love the love to dream for the arms up from a swaddle standpoint. And I love this product that is relatively new to the market. It’s actually an old sleep coaching client of mine, Courtney, who developed a product called Swan Waterloo. So SWANA Lu is a relatively new player in the swaddle space, but I love it because you can use it from the day they get home from the hospital. And it’s a double arms in swaddle without that really, really loud Velcro. So it’s a really nice product for swaddling, super tight with the arms down and it keeps the arms in because it’s a double product where there’s like the zipper and then the swaddle with the buttons. So again, it makes sure that baby’s little arms can stay in there when properly swaddled. So what that does is not only does it decrease that startle reflex, right, which is the part where they jerk and bonk and wake themselves up, right. But it also helps them to feel as they as though they were back inside the womb. So the first S is swaddling. I love it, I recommend it. Now, there are some babies that just don’t frankly, like it, but many do. It’s very rare that I find a baby that doesn’t want any aspect of swaddling, what you have to figure out is if they’re fighting arms down, they might be an arms up baby. And that’s where they love to dream, swaddle up I love because their arms can be up. It protects the startle, but it still keeps them kind of in that tight, snug as a bug in a rug situation. Okay, so the next thing you want to look at is where the child is, okay? So when you’re trying to calm an unhappy baby, right, and maybe you’ve got them in a swaddle, and they’re still a bit fussy, right, and you’re going through this mental checklist in your head. The next thing you want to look at is where they are position wise, right? I would say side swaying, right, like was always a go to for us in our family with my son, Max. Now my daughter Civello is a bit different. But with Max, he wanted to be on his side, kind of knocked in your arms. And that was the position that he likes, it was almost like holding him like a football, which is ironic, because now all he wants to do is play football. But it was almost like this side. And my husband could do it because the little guy was so tiny, right? Where it was like this one arm side position, okay. Or sometimes babies like over your shoulder from a belly pushing position, right? When you’re over the shoulder, there’s a little bit of pressure pushing up on their bellies, and sometimes that can feel relief for them, especially if they’re gassy. I love both options, right? When you’re trying to calm them, like sometimes they want that pressure, they could be sensory seeking some of that pressure on their belly, they might have a trapped bird. So you could be patting them on the back. And then also on the side, you know, if you’ve got them sort of cradled in your arms, and you’re doing a little bit of an S motion with your arm, that can be super helpful as well. So it’s that like side stomach position, right? Obviously a newborn, you are never putting down in a crib to sleep on their stomach, it is not safe. And they have a higher risk of SIDS. So I’m mentioning this as it relates to calming a fussing baby, not how you put a child to sleep just to be safe. The next thing I want to talk about is the loud noise that we make. Right? I purposely purchased the baby homedics sound spa when my son Max was born because it had a really nice heartbeat. That didn’t sound atrocious. When we brought Max home from the hospital. The heartbeat was like what he just heard for nine months, right? So I wanted to emulate that in his nursery. Now where we lived. And the way we set up our situation was my son was in his own crib from night, one totally safe sleep space video monitor and then the sound machine, the blackout blinds, all that stuff. We lived in a very tiny house. So we didn’t have an option to fit anything in our room, let alone a pack and play a bassinet or a crib. So we made the choice. As a family. I know the AAP now recommends six months of room sharing in a safe sleep space like a bassinet, crib, etc. You have to do what works for your family. But when I’m talking about that, shushing and the noise, it’s because that noise was calming to them. Right? I had a client that played really, really loud carousel music, which sounds super weird, but it calmed the baby. I had another gentleman who was in the Boston orchestra. So he was a big guy up there. And he played really loud orchestral music for their little one, because that’s what baby might have been used to hearing in the womb, right? They say babies can hear certain things and you know, parents do different things and activities. But I think more importantly, like he was surrounded by that those first weeks and months of his life, right? So it was something that was calming and soothing to him. The loud noise. If you ever Google like a YouTube video on like, what does baby’s sound like in the womb, it’s really, really loud. So finding that tone, whether it’s your own voice of shushing, whether it’s music or something to that regard, like, you know, sometimes even if you’re in the car and kids are crying, and you’re like, I can’t do anything, I’m driving, you’re crying. I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure what you need, right and turn the music up loud. Sometimes, like I would put on like the spa music and crank it really high. And then my crying newborn would calm down right until we could get home More I could pull over and we were in a safe spot, right? So babies like that white noise it’s what they’re used to just want to make sure you’re paying attention to like decibel levels and stuff, right? I’m not accessing, you know, I’m not expressing that you go play like, you know, Thunderstruck on like the top volume but just paying attention to like, hey what type of noise right I like white noise or pink noise. I love the hatch from a noise machine standpoint because it also will carry on to us later on with a nightlight, the nightlight I do not recommend that you use all night for babies. But that is a nice thing to have if you have to go in there. Or if you have a toddler who’s a little bit scared of the dark, you can put it on like the 1% orange setting and call it a day. But from a noise standpoint, they have a really nice white noise. I also love the yoga sleep dome sound machine, I actually use it in our room I travel with it. That is a white noise, which is really a mixture of sounds across all decibel levels. There’s also pink noise that has a different breakout of decibel levels, like all these different types of noise, right? They study them. And so I find white or pink noise to be the most successful as it relates to kind of that background noise. But in addition, our our human voice, just shushing is super helpful for families. So when you figure out you’ve got to swaddle, right, you’re doing this little arm positioning on their side, you’re trying to do some fishing, and sometimes you’re doing things in all threes. The next thing you add in is really what I started to talk a little bit about before that comes after you have that position with the baby. And it’s usually swinging, right? A lot of my private sleep coaching clients that come to tiny transitions will look for, you know, they’re like, I bounce on a ball every night to put this kid to sleep. I have great thighs, but I’m exhausted and I just want this kid to settle independently and sleep through the night. What Gibbs Right and so motion swinging, bouncing, rocking, you know, jiggling, right babies, they really like that, because that’s where they spent nine months in the belly, right? Like you’re going back to like nine months of this activity that they had, right. So oftentimes when you know you have a baby like laying sideways on your arm, you can squiggle them in almost like the shape of an s like I’m doing it as I’m sitting here, recording this, but you’re basically like Swizzle swizzling it right to use that word in the shape of like an S with your arm like swaying back and forth. Right. And that is and can be soothing. Now you have to find the swinging that’s most comfortable. Some kids like the bouncing some like the swizzle some like, you know, just the motion of walking around some like to be kind of tucked into, for example, like an Ergo baby, or
one of the different wraps. I know I almost had a nervous breakdown when my newborn was not, you know, not really in anything yet concrete from like a carrier. And somebody had bought me this rap and I like I was at a picnic and I almost had a nervous breakdown because I couldn’t put it on and then I was afraid I was going to drop them and I started bawling and you know, so I was no Rockstar as a new parent either, right? It’s very overwhelming and my girlfriend came over she’s like, dude, Alright, stop crying. And just calm down. Like, this is how you use this. This is what we’re going to do. Yes, he’s safe, you know. So, you know, sometimes taking a walk with, you know, babies in like a baby wearing thing or, you know, holding or just kind of shaking around not shaking isn’t like Shaken Baby Syndrome, I always have to, like be the obvious statement of, you know, you don’t shake your baby, but like movement, right? Swinging, like up and down of a stroller, right? That’s all motion based things like that’s what they like. So trying the side hold with like that swinging back and forth, can be super helpful in calming down a baby and you’re doing all the things in conjunction with trying to like stack them, right. So you swaddle them, then you show them, then you sway them, right? And you’re doing all these different things as you try to figure out like, Hey, what are they ultimately looking for? Get them in the right position, and then all of a sudden, you’re like, alright, well, what’s left if they just ate, there’s no trapped burp. They just slept like what are they seeking? Right? Like they’re trying to calm down and you’re trying to do that with these five S’s, right? And the final one is going to be sucking. So sometimes it’s sucking on a pacifier. Sometimes it’s sucking on your boob. Sometimes it’s sucking on a bottle, right? All of these things are really sensory seeking activities where a child is using that sensory to try to calm down, right? Sucking lowers your heart rate, it lowers your blood pressure, it lowers your stress levels, right? I had a mom this morning on Instagram, who was like, Hey, how do I get rid of my, you know, toddler doing this and we were talking a little bit about it, because it’s very soothing to them. Like I have some older children that like sucking still, but they obviously can’t be walking around with a pacifier. Sometimes kids will have anxiety, and they will suck on their shirt. So if you have like an older sibling that like is sucking constantly on their shirt and it’s like all gross with spit. It’s usually an anxiety thing. And that’s like the way they call them. It’s like a calming mechanism. They actually sell Adult kind of teethers if you want to look at it that way, like in the shape of like Lego men, like you could Google Lego teething ring or something right, and it’s for older kids, so they don’t have a pacifier, but it’s doing the same thing. It allows them to chew and suck as a calming or coping mechanism, right? pacifiers are fine. I love pacifiers. I think for many months, they actually reduce the risk of SIDS, they can be super helpful in calming a child when they’re upset. Some parents use them all the time, some only use them for certain situations, right? I’ll tell you as a sleep consultant, I don’t have a preference of when you use or choose not to use a pacifier. So long as you’re not the mechanism going in and putting that pacifier in 15 times a night. If your baby can’t settle with that pacifier and put it back in themselves, and they’re requiring you to constantly keep doing that, especially in the overnight hours, then my recommendation would be to remove the pacifier. But for a newborn, obviously, they can’t especially if their arms are swaddled in, so you do have to be the one who’s providing them with the pacifier. And that’s fine. There’s a lot of different types on the market. Definitely paying attention to the nipple style, the nipple size, the shape of the nipple, right and making sure that you’re using one that’s age appropriate for a child’s mouth, right? You don’t want to stick a newborn with a six month old pacifier because the ball on the end of the pacifier is probably huge for their little mouths. Right. And so, you know, trying to find the pacifier that most emulates, you know, what they’re interested in, some kids aren’t going to want a pacifier. And that’s okay. Don’t force the issue, right? If they want it, and they take it great. If they don’t, that’s okay. And the biggest thing as it relates to bottles, and nursing, right, is that you don’t want to become a pacifier. Right. Because if you’re using those things, as mechanisms to fall asleep, you will call us, and we will have to sleep train your child, if those things become habits kind of after three months of age, a lot of new parents freak out about these first 12 weeks and doing something wrong, I’ll tell you, you’re not doing anything wrong. You are dancing with the baby, who you are trying to figure out their personality, their preferences, their sleep styles, their timing, their preferable form of nutrition, right? Do they have something else going on? Right? There’s all these variables because you’re in this like dating stage, right? Like your speed dating a newborn and trying to figure out like, How can I best be the parent that you need and give you everything that you need? Right? So it’s really important that you just balance and recognize like, all of these five different methods of kind of soothing a child can be a helpful way to stack and start to bring a sense of calm. The number one mistake that new parents make as it relates to a newborn or an infant is a lack of sleep because they are overtired, which I know you’re probably thinking like that doesn’t make any sense. But we as parents don’t realize many of the times that newborns can only tolerate being awake for 45 to 60 minutes. So if you have a newborn, and they’re up for like two hours, and you’re like, they’re just not tired, they are actually hormones, so they are tired, and they cannot tolerate that long. And then you’re going to have poor eating, you’re going to have chronic exhaustion, you’re going to have a strung out baby who’s like freaking out on you, right, they don’t eat well, then they don’t sleep well. And you’ve got this whole mess of things going on. So the biggest advice I would give you, if you’re listening to this with a newborn, and you’re sitting there right now, trying to work through all these five different things, is to pay attention to the awake window and make sure that your newborn is not awake more than 60 minutes in between feeding and sleeping. That’s all they do. They feed, they sleep, they feed, they sleep, that’s the baby. And then every once in a while they pee or poop, that’s pretty much the first eight weeks of your life, aside from the crying or fuzziness, right. So paying attention to that, and knowing that it’s okay, you’re gonna get the balance. And the biggest thing with regards to daytime sleep is don’t let them sleep for like six hours during the day, let them have a longer stretch overnight, most babies will have one longer stretch. So you want to try to keep them with feedings every three hours, kind of like a 710 147 type day. Okay? So they’re feeding around every three hours, and then they’re sleeping about every 45 to 60 minutes. And if I have a child who’s a newborn, who’s been sleeping for like two hours, and they’re going to miss a feeding, because they’re sleeping, I will 100% of the time wake them up, because I don’t want a kid to then miss that nutrition. So I would wake them up, feed them and then put they can go right back to bed. So just some things to keep in mind, hopefully helpful for you as you’re working, learning and trying to work through things with your newborn. I know it’s a super hard time. Just trust that you know what you’re doing. Use your intuition and know that we’re here at Tiny transitions to help if you should need it. We are always happy to chat with you. We do again work with newborns we work with infants, we work with toddlers, we work with expected parents I mean, there’s coaching available as because it’s knowledge and education and support right for any different age. So definitely be sure to check us out tiny transitions.com jumped over to our free sleep community called slumber made simple and let us know if you have any questions. And I hope that you You find these five S’s are a helpful way for you to get a little bit of a happier baby through those daytime hours. And as you’re going into bedtime for the rest of the night, have a great day everyone. Thanks so much. Bye for now. Hold on one more thing before you go. As the value listener of the kids sleep show, I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show, but all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber made simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research, to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai