Sleep like in the womb: The 5S Method
Some sleeping aids, such as the cradle, the pacifier or the famous hair dryer, are well known and just as popular because of their effectiveness. But what is actually behind it? Why do these tricks work so well? sleep consultant Caroline Helmig the 5S method according to Dr. Harvey Karp takes a closer look and shares her practical experiences.
Table of contents:
1. The 5S method (according to Dr. Harvey Karp)
Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America's most renowned pediatricians and an expert on (early) child development, has examined the topic more closely. According to his theory, our babies are born 3 months early. Some children seem to have more trouble with this than others. And according to the theory, babies who cry more than 3 hours a day have a particularly hard time coping with the transition from the womb to our world. They sometimes cry for a long time and excessively - colloquially they are therefore also referred to as "cribbing babies". To put it simply, they would have needed some more time in the womb.
Dr. Harvey Karp took a closer look at these babies and developed the 5S method.
In short, this is about simulating the womb for the little ones a little longer. This happens through the so-called 5S:
- Swaddle (wrap) – that means creating a spatial boundary, for example swaddling
- Laying on your side and stomach – when calming down on your arm to suppress the so-called Moro reflex
- Sch sounds or white noise – sounds like those in the womb simulate the heart and blood vessels
- Swaddle / movement – rhythmic wobbling in the case of screaming children, a child in the womb is shaken quite a bit
- Sucking – oral calming, for example with a pacifier – a calming reflex
If the 5S-method are used at the same time and correctly, they are extremely helpful when you have difficulties falling asleep. Gradually, the individual “S” can then be “dismantled” again in order to avoid sleep associations, i.e. dependency.
The complete instructions for this technique and more detailed information about the background can be found in his book The happiest baby in the world read in more detail.
2. My experience as a mother & sleep consultant
Whether there is any truth to his theory of premature birth or not is not necessarily decisive. There are certainly a number of other factors that play a role in why some children cry more than others. Among other things, overstimulation due to fatigue is very far ahead.
But the 5S are undeniably extremely effective.
I myself had a "cribbing baby" and helped him to calm down very quickly using the 5S method in combination with my holistic methodology (age-appropriate wake times, suitable bedtime routine, etc.).
But the method can also help babies who do not cry more often to sleep better. In my opinion, the combination of limitation, white noise and movement is worth its weight in gold, at least in the first months of life.
That's why I'm also a big fan of swaddling newborns. The Wombis are then the perfect continuation, they allow a smooth transition away from swaddling, which should not be used for too long. Due to the spatial limitation, especially on the arms, the little ones usually find it easier to sleep and can also stay longer in it. “Annoying” Moro reflexes, which keep the little ones waking themselves up, are contained. And the feeling of tightness gives them security and comforting warmth, just like in the womb.
3. But: Every child is unique
Despite all the theory, there is only one truth for me about baby sleep: Every child is individual and unique. No method will be applicable to every little earthling according to the scheme F. This is exactly what makes my job as a sleep consultant so interesting, every case is different, new and unique. Nevertheless, the 5S are of course extremely tried and tested and it doesn't hurt to try them out. Who knows? Perhaps your child will simply sleep better simply because it is spatially limited, for example. Trust your intuition, you will feel what feels good for your child and yourself. And it is precisely this intuition that will also tell you that no child deserves to be left alone screaming!