Local News

Technique Designed To Quiet Most Crying Babies

Posted July 3, 2006

— When new parents bring their bundle of joy home, sleepless nights filled with crying often follow. Now, dozens of hospitals across the country are helping parents quiet their baby down.

Newborn twins Emma and Amelia rest peacefully now, but life is anything but peaceful for their parents. Days and nights are filled with crying.

"They're the bosses. They run the household. We've gotten four to five hours of sleep and then there's days when we only have two hours a night," said Britt Paxton, the twins' mother.

Britt and Craig Paxton hope a special class will help them get more sleep. Registered nurse Jennifer Zeman teaches parents how to quiet crying babies using techniques from Dr. Harvey Karp in his book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block." The idea is to simulate the sounds and feelings newborns had in the womb. That's done with a series called the 5 S's.

The first "S" is tightly swaddling the baby in a blanket. Next, hold them on their side.

"They're screaming, you turn them a little down to their side and they calm right down," Zeman said.

If they are not calm by this point, researchers suggest doing a gentle swing and a gentle jiggle with the baby. The baby can also suck on your thumb or use a pacifier to help them calm down. The final "S" is shushing, simulating the sounds of the womb.

"Remember you want the shushing to match the loudness of their cry so (it's) very, very loud down in their ear," Zeman said.

Experts said it does not work every single time, but nurses said the techniques are effective. The Paxtons hope it will help put their twins to sleep, so they can do they same.

There are other things you might try instead of shushing your baby include running a household appliance like a vacuum. There are also CDs that play white noise that may help calm your baby.

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