The purpose of using the 5 S’s is to recreate the sensations baby felt in the womb. No quiet sounds or gentle motion in there!
Tips for Sleep Success
- 1. The 5 S’s only work if done just right, which comes with practice, so take your time and keep trying! A slight change in position can be all it takes…
- A fussy baby needs vigor: trick is to meet baby’s level of intensity and back off when baby begins to calm; you’ll both be rewarded!
- Expect baby to resist initially but persist for long enough, and baby will slip into a blissful peace.
Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5S’
How to calm your baby
SWADDLE: wrap with arms down and legs free to move. This is comforting, keeps baby from flailing and helps him to pay attention to the other “S’s”.
SIDE POSITION: baby’s favourite position for settling, which is slightly tilted forward. Remember to turn baby to her back for sleep after she is calmed.
SHUSHING: use your voice, a white noise machine or even the vacuum! The louder babies cry, the louder the shushing/noise should be. Tone it down as baby calms.
SWINGING: use rhythmic, monotonous, jiggly movements that should be vigorous at first if baby is very fussy, and reduced to a gentler motion as he calms. This can be combined with patting firmly in the centre of baby’s back.
SUCKING: this triggers baby’s calming reflex and releases natural chemicals in the brain, which leads to relaxation and calm. Breast, bottle or dummy!
Signs your baby might be tired:
- Lull in movement or activity
- Movements slower
- Less vocal, quieter
- Sucking is weaker or slower, disinterested
- Baby is calmer
- Baby appears less interested in surroundings
- Eyes are less focused
- Eyelids drooping
Keys to helping your baby sleep:
Helping your baby to sleep before she becomes overtired is the key to great sleep for you and your baby, now and in future months, as overtiredness is a leading cause of nighttime awakenings and sleep problems in children of all ages. The key is to tune in to your baby and recognize your baby’s tired signs, as an overtired baby finds it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep. When your baby begins to show signs of being tired, you have a 10-15 minute window of opportunity in which they’ll fall asleep easily. Eventually, you’ll be able to anticipate when your baby might begin to become tired, so you can start baby’s sleep ritual or routine before tiredness hits. Babies up to 6 weeks old usually have an awake window of between 1 to 1.5 hours, and at 6-12 weeks, this increases from 1.5 to 1.75 hours. N.B. This time period is from when your baby wakes to when she is fully asleep again, so things like feeding, playing and bath time fall into this…
☐ I’m aware of how long my baby been has been awake for
☐ My baby is showing 1 or more tired signs
☐ Have I checked my baby’s nappy and made sure she is not hungry?
☐ If yes, as soon as possible, I will begin to help baby to sleep using Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s settling techniques
☐ HELP! I missed the tired signs and my baby is overtired
☐ If I ticked yes, I will not despair but I’ll do whatever works to settle my baby and try again next time
☐ I have patience, perseverance, and LOVE and I’m a GREAT MUM