The Happiest Baby on the Block: Swinging


The fourth S, as discussed in Chapter 11, is Swinging. “Swinging refers to all manner of rhythmic motions” (page 158). Karp says the swinging is another item that turns on the calming reflex. Here are some ways he lists for swinging (page 156):

  • Baby slings and carriers: Karp states, “Babies adore infant carriers” (page 156), but I have to say, both of mine hated them.
  • Dancing
  • Infant swings
  • Rhythmic pats on the back or bottom
  • Hammocks
  • Rocking in a rocking chair
  • Car Rides
  • Vibrating bouncy seats
  • Bouncing on an exercise ball
  • Brisk walks

Karp says for a really fussy baby, the swinging must be fast and jiggly. To successfully apply the swing (page 158):

  • Start out fast and jiggly.
  • The movement of the head, not the body, turns the reflex on. But please, be cautious of damaging baby’s head. Remember, tiny movements. Do not whip head around, which would cause shaken baby syndrome (page 160)
  • Follow baby’s lead. Just like with the Shh…, the intensity of the jiggling should reflect the intensity of the crying.

Swings (page 168):

  • Karp says babies can easily be weaned from swings by 5 months of age.
  • Karp says a swing will not calm a screaming baby, but it keeps a baby calm and lulls him to sleep.
  • Karp says to swaddle, buckle baby in, recline seat as far as it will go, and use the fastest swing speed.

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