Fathers are often the partners that jump right into practicing the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques. They “shush” loud and long, they do the quick jiggle (for swinging) with enthusiasm, and they can usually use just one arm to support a newborn on it’s side to calm them. Moms are in awe of their guy who couldn’t stand to change a diaper and was too nervous to even hold that baby a few weeks ago. Go, Daddy!
Women do not have the corner on the comforting market. Yes, they can nurse a baby to calm them, but not every fussy baby is a hungry baby. Men can be a warm, yet rock-solid, source of physical comfort for children. The Happiest Baby techniques seem more intense than a standard soft cuddle. It’s because they are more intense. Not dangerous in any way, but designed to give newborns a replication of the more sensory-rich womb experience . Dr. Karp’s awareness of temperament and early development refine that basic concept to give newborns what they need to pull it together, get calm, and get some sleep. Giving them more touch, more movement and more loud and steady white-noise sounds all together is the key. The fact is that learning these techniques are new to moms as well helps a father not be intimidated by the “natural” knowledge of women. The truth is that no one is born knowing what to do, and you can’t google it either. The parents I teach are pretty much on a level playing field for this stuff. And the men sometimes amaze me with their new skills.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who have stepped up their game, and mastered the easy way to calm their newborns!