Puck & Pearl
Okay, now let’s leave some of the theory and research on sleep behind, and get down to the nitty gritty of what I actually did to put A to sleep. I’d like to document this for my own sake, and for A’s, since neither one of us will remember, and it’s a piece of A’s vital history. It also documents how I spent countless hours. And who knows, maybe there’s some value in this to you…an idea to try out or steal, at the very least.
For the first month or so, my husband and I used Harvey Karp’s 5S method (Swaddling, putting on his Side, Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking) from his book entitled the The Happiest Baby on the Block. In particular we found that swaddling helped calm A’s moro reflex, which involved his flailing his arms in front of his face when threatened. It created an immediate sense of being contained, and safe. Putting him on his side also helped. And eventually, sound and movement became paramount.
Eventually these techniques evolved into our own rendition of using the 5S method, and drawing on different sensory experiences.Now, it’s true that I can’t really boast much here. Others (no names mentioned) made fun of me for resorting to these silly tactics, but I clung to them anyway, because they worked for me.
After spending about a month trying to soothe A in these multiple ways with varying degrees of success, I discovered something nearly miraculous. I wish I had videotaped it to prove to you all, but believe me, I have witnesses. The big discovery? Every time I played this one song, my baby Adar would instantaneously calm down. In sheer moments, he went from balling to complete silence. Everyone who took care of Adar downloaded this song onto their iphones so that they could also use this magic. What was the song, you ask? Well, I had played it multiple times when A was in the womb. Maybe that’s why it had such a calming effect? Or was it just the white noise effect (which Harvey Karp MD writes about as a one of 5 soothing elements)? Or, was it the repetitive rhythm that mimics the heartbeat? I don’t know. See for yourselves:
Yes, if you can believe it, the song is coincidentally entitled “EYES BE CLOSED”- from the album Within & Without.
The sleep tactic for the first few months became to put Adar in the carrier facing me, while holding my phone and playing Washed Out songs. I always had to start with Eyes Be Closed, but could then graduate to other songs from the same album, which would continue to lull him. I would then dance with him on me, till he fell asleep.
That’s what I did.
Everyone said this was too much to do. Wasn’t this too hard on me? They said he would get used to those tricks and he wouldn’t know how to fall sleep any other way. For a while, he really didn’t fall asleep any other way. So, like it or not, that’s what I did. I enjoyed it most nights, but it’s true, it was physically grueling. But, it worked for us.