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Your Baby

“Five S’s” Comfort Baby After Vaccinations

2:00 to read

Once an infant is given his or her vaccination, it’s up to mom or dad to find a way to comfort their crying baby. In a new study, researchers say the five “S’s” may help.

The five S’s are swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking.

Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, in the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, popularized the method.

Based on the new study, the result is less pain and a lot less crying, said Dr. John W. Harrington, of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, who led the study.

"It's probably working as a distraction technique," Harrington told Reuters Health in an interview.

Different infants will respond to different methods of comfort, whether it's swaddling, a pacifier or being rocked, Harrington said. "If you do all of the 5 S's, you're likely to hit upon the one that will help a child soothe himself."

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

After the vaccine is given, the baby is wrapped in a snuggly tight blanket. She or he is then placed on their side or stomach and gently “shushed” and rocked. If that fails, a pacifier is then given.

The study included 234 two- and four-month-old infants having routine vaccinations.

The researchers divided the babies into four groups. In the "control" group, infants were given a tiny bit of water right before their shots, and after the jab they were passed to their parents for comforting. A second group got sugar water instead of plain water.

The other two groups received either water or sugar water before their shots, and then the 5 S's afterward.

Overall, the researchers found, the 5-S groups showed fewer signs of pain -- less grimacing and frowning. And their crying faded sooner.

Only a few were still crying one minute after vaccination, versus about half of the babies in the control group and 30 percent of infants given sugar water only.

By offering physical comfort and a soothing voice, "I think we're just tapping into kids' natural ways of comforting themselves," Harrington said.

After the baby is vaccinated in a busy pediatrician’s office, are the 5 S’s really practical?

This study, Harrington said, was designed to test whether the measures work -- not how effectively they can be done in everyday practice. Harrington had pediatric residents on hand to do the 5 S's, which is a luxury not available in the real world.

But ideally, parents can be taught over the course of their routine "well-child" visits to perform at least some of the 5 S's, according to Harrington.

That way, parents will learn some extra tools for soothing their baby anytime, and not just after a needle stick. "Parents could do this instead of just giving them a bottle," Harrington said.

And unlike breastfeeding, he added, "dads can do this, too."

* Sucking is a natural calming reflex and helps baby’s level of relaxation rise.

* Swaddling is the cornerstone of claming. Swaddling also helps keep babies from accidentally flipping onto their stomach. Avoid overheating and loose blankets. I recommend wrapping babies with their arms straight at their sides. Wrapping with flexed arms usually fails because the arms soon wiggle free. Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. Swaddling is the only "S" that does not directly turn on the calming reflex. In fact, many babies struggle even more for a minute or two when first swaddled with straight arms; that's probably because their biceps are hypertonic from their position in utero—we don't know with certainty.

* Shushing. The louder a baby cries, the louder the shushing has to be to calm him. The noise needs to be as loud as a baby is crying for it to trigger the calming reflex.

* Side or stomach position. This "S" can be activated by putting a baby on her side, on her stomach (again, not for sleeping), or over an adult's shoulder. Some babies are so sensitive to position that, even on their side, they won't calm down if they are rolled the least bit toward their back. All babies should be put on their back to sleep.

Unfortunately the calming reflex goes away after about three months, Karp says, and Harrington found the 5 S's didn't work as well with 4-month-olds as with 2-month-olds.

But it’s worth a try!

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/five-ss-ease-babies-pain-during-vaccinations-155543760.html

Your Baby

How Much Water Does Your Baby Need?

2.00 to read

Since most of the country is sweltering with summer heat and temperatures well into the upper 90’s and even over 100 degrees, I guess I can understand parents’ concerns about giving their babies water. It seemed like a strange question to me when I first started hearing, “Dr. Sue, how much water does my baby need to drink every day?”  I know I am continuing to talk about staying hydrated during the heat wave, but we are really talking about those children and adults who are spending time outdoors, especially when involved in physical activity.

I have actually been telling parents with newborns that there is really no reason to take that sweet new baby outside for any length of time. I think it is too hot to enjoy being outside, and an infant doesn’t miss going to the playground like a 2 or 3 year old would.

But, when you have young children you have to get out (or go crazy inside everyday), so everyone just suffers through the heat. Remember to take your sunscreen and fluids and head out for an hour or two, in the morning or later afternoon if at all possible. These children need lots of water breaks, as do their parents and caregivers.

So, back to the water and baby question. Infants in the first 6 months are getting fed breast milk or formula which is made up of free water, so therefore a baby is staying hydrated by eating every  2 -3 hours. A baby doesn’t “need” water every day for any particular reason.

With that being said, it does not mean that your baby cannot have a bottle of water. This is especially true for a breast fed infant whose mother may have run out for an hour but is coming back to breast feed.  But what if the baby awakens or gets hungry 30 min or so prior to mother getting home.  This might be a good time to “stall” by giving the baby a bottle of water, rather than formula. In this case it is fine to use tap water (yes bottled water is not necessary, unless you have a well or something) in a bottle and see if the baby will even take it. Most babies don’t just gulp down 8 ounces of water!

If you are out in the heat with an infant, just remember to feed them every 2 – 3 hours and make sure they have nice drool in their mouths and wet diapers. If you are concerned about hydration take along a bottle of water for both you and your baby. You will probably need it more than your baby!

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

 

 

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