There are several great books that I recommend reading when you are expecting. It is hard to read them all though! One book that is at the top of my list is The Happiest Baby on the Block. When I was expecting my oldest, I was given this book as a baby shower gift. At the time, I thought “oh great, another book I need to read”. Let me tell you, if you decide to read just ONE book focused on calming and caring for your newborn, The Happiest Baby on the Block is the book to read.
First off, YOU will know what is best for your baby. YOU have created that special bond and are the only one that has already created a 9-month relationship with your newborn. But, caring for a newborn is hard and even when you know what is best, sometimes you need reassurance and support. You and your significant other may be exhausted and your hormones are going haywire! (By the way, a postpartum doula may also be a great option!) 🙂
There are no such books, classes, or workshops that will tell you how to parent. I like to think of all these options as resources for you to gain knowledge of why your newborn may be acting the way they are and tools you can place in your back pocket and pull-out when needed.
When I first read The Happiest Baby on the Block, within the first ten pages I had an epiphany! The Fourth Trimester. What?! Why was this the first time I had heard of this? The Fourth Trimester is becoming more known and talked about, but not all parents’ still understand this period of time.
The Fourth Trimester is described beautifully in The Happiest Baby on the Block. So, what is it? In short, our babies are born super early compared to other species of newborns. They are born early, so they can fit through our birth canal. When your infant is born, they cannot walk and speak (this is a duh!), but think about giraffes who are born and quickly are able to stand up and walk around. Our newborns rely on us to provide their basic needs, and the only way they can communicate discomfort and/or concern is through crying. I highly recommend reading chapter 1 of The Happiest Baby on the Block, which will explain this much better and YOU will have your “aha” moment.
Now that we understand there is a forgotten Fourth Trimester, what do we do now? The Happiest Baby on the Block will walk you through the 5 S’s which will help turn on your newborns calming reflex.
Swaddling. There can be an art to swaddling and it does take practice! The Happiest Baby on the Block does a good job breaking down why swaddling is great and several different ways to swaddle.
Side/Stomach lying. This position is a “feel-good” position for your newborn. It sounds strange and you may be thinking “I thought they needed to be on their back”. When done safely, this is another step in calming your newborn.
Shushing. When your newborn is in your womb they constantly hear the “shhhh” sound. Whether it is white noise or you saying “shhh” this is another comfort to them and allows your newborn to calm down.
Swinging. Any rhythmic movement is very soothing. Even as adults swinging can be a great way to relax and calm us. Whether you place your newborn in an actual baby swing or if you create a rhythmic movement while carrying your baby around, this is another great way to calm your newborn.
Sucking. Sucking is usually the final step that seals the deal. Whether it is nursing (another great benefit to breastfeeding) or a pacifier, the sucking motion creates calm almost instantly. The Happiest Baby on the Block does a great job going into detail about all the different ways you can help your newborn create the sucking reflex and why it is so important.
The Cuddle Cure. The Happiest Baby on the Block explains that The Cuddle Cure is that special mix of 5 S’s that calm your baby. I wish there was an exact recipe for each baby, but there isn’t. One baby may like a thumb instead of a pacifier for sucking, and one baby may hate the swing while the next baby LOVES the swing. It may take some time to figure out the “just right” mix of S’s for your newborn, but when you do it will be amazing! 🙂
The Happiest Baby on the Block has some great, detailed information that every expecting parent should read. It’s understandable there is a lot on your plate preparing for your newborn and when your baby arrives, taking time to read is not a priority. I love to share with parents and families I am supporting, the 5 S’s in calming a newborn. Since I believe they are so important I have created a printable for YOU to print and post on your refrigerator or in your bedroom. Put it somewhere, so when you are struggling with calming your baby, you can glance at this printable and be reminded of the 5 S’s.