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New Techniques to Calm a Crying Baby

Imitating the Rhythm and Noise of the Womb May Stop Baby's Crying

The 5 S's continued...

Karp says that tightly swaddling a crying infant with its arms down by its side initially may make the crying worse, but holding the baby on its side after swaddling and gently jiggling it while supporting the head and neck has an immediate calming effect, he notes. "Overstimulation is not nearly as big of a problem as understimulation. Babies miss the rhythmic, hypnotic sounds and movement."

"If the five S's are done exactly right with just enough vigor, the calming reflex will be turned on and the baby will stop crying," Karp explains. "If a parent can get the baby to stop crying they feel like a million bucks, but if they can't they feel miserable. Parents need to be taught how to quiet their babies."

Teaching this to parents may be useful," says Karen Miller, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Tufts University in Boston. "But more research needs to be done to show the techniques are safe and effective."

Many of the individual techniques have been found to be valid, she says. "It's the whole package that needs further research before it is endorsed."

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