Drum roll please! The final S from Dr. Karp’s Five S’s is…. Sucking! In The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp refers to sucking as “the icing on the cake”. If, after implementing the first four S’s, your baby still seems a bit fussy or discontent, provide something for them to suck on whether it is a pacifier, a bottle (if it is time for them to eat), or your finger (clean finger of course!).
If it is near your baby’s mealtime, or bedtime, filling up their belly with a bottle will undoubtedly calm them and allow them to proceed with activities or, just before bed, drift off to sleep with a full belly. If you know your baby is not hungry, providing a pacifier or your finger for them to suck on will satisfy their non-nutritive sucking need which also triggers the calming reflex.
Now as we all know, there is a debate whether or not offering your baby a pacifier is beneficial or if it will cause nipple confusion or become a bad habit. PINK Newborn Services supports the responsible use of pacifiers to soothe babies and fulfill their non-nutritive sucking need. Below are some do’s and don’ts of pacifier use to ensure no bad habits are formed in the process of calming your infant.
- Do understand that an infant’s non-nutritive sucking need is healthy and normal through the first 6 to 10 months of life. In other words, stop pacifier use before 12 months of age.
- Do reconsider before introducing a pacifier to your breastfeeding infant until he/she is at least 3-4 weeks of age.
- Use a pacifier for your baby’s benefit but not as a substitute for nurturing.
- Consider an orthodontically correct pacifier over a cherry-shaped pacifier.
- Use other means for comforting and calming your newborn (e.g., music, humming and rocking, etc.).
- Remove the pacifier as soon as your baby falls to sleep.
- If a pacifier is introduced and your baby rejects it – do not insist upon it.
- Please, do not use a pacifier excessively as a convenience or to stop vital communication (i.e., talking, playing, interacting with you).
- Do not constantly give an infant a pacifier at the first sign of fussiness (crying may be irritating but is okay for a while)
- At the first sign of a cold, stop pacifier use! Continued use may exacerbate the condition, generate an ear infection or prevent necessary breathing through the mouth.
- Do not give your baby (under one year of age) a pacifier dipped in honey (honey is a known source of bacterial spores that produces a toxin which can cause infant botulism).
I hope you have found these Five S’s from Dr. Karp helpful in soothing your fussy baby. For more detailed information on these, and other, techniques refer to The Happiest Baby on the Block written by Dr. Harvey Karp. It is a wonderfully written book with easy to follow instruction on how to implement his calming techniques. PINK Newborn Services has been practicing some of Dr. Karp’s techniques for years for one simple reason… THEY WORK!