One of the biggest myths is that babies are ready for “life on the outside” on the day of their birth. That’s the key idea behind the 4th Trimester…which is quickly coming to a close.

Babies need a 4th Trimester of holding, rocking, shushing, feeding, cuddling. Like a kangaroo’s little joey, our newborns would love to dive back in the cushy womb for a few months. That’s why, even holding a baby for 12 hours a day is sort of a rip-off compared to the lavish 24/7 rhythms they loved for so many months before birth. That’s where SNOO comes to the rescue…giving babies a 12 hours per day boost of nurturing touch, motion, and sound.

For many babies, the 4th Trimester doesn’t wrap until 4 months of age, so there’s lots of cuddle-time still reserved on your daily schedule. (By 4 months, the 5 S’s are still a big help, but the calming reflex gets more unpredictable. In other words, try to shush and rock your upset 7-month-old and you may end up feeling like you are holding a hurricane.)

But for now, fear not! There is no pressure to drop any of these comforting measures. The 5 Ss will continue to be your key “go-to” to work its soothing magic for a few months to come.

Your 11-Week-Old Baby’s Sleep

Weaning the 5 S’s

As your baby gets better and better at self-soothing and recognizing patterns (like a bedtime routine), you’ll need the 5 S's less and less. And, by 5 to 7 months you’ll probably be saying good-bye to your SNOO. You’ll probably drop the S’s in this order…

Swaddling: By 4 months, most babies are ready to sleep soundly without a swaddle. There are two exceptions, though. First, in SNOO, it’s safe to continue swaddling for up to 6 months…even for babies who can roll when not in SNOO. (Most SNOO babies are ready to have one or both arms out of the sack swaddle by 4 to 5 months.)

Second, if not in SNOO, you should quit swaddling once your baby figures out how to roll (usually around 2 to 3 months). Start by swaddling with one arm out, then move to both arms out before you ditch wrapping altogether. Studies show that babies who are swaddled and roll to the stomach are at much higher risk of SIDS… eight to 45 times more!

Swinging: Every baby is different: Some love sound, some sucking, and some are mega-fans of rocking. Unfortunately, it’s not safe for babies to sleep in a rocking recliner or swing. (SNOO allows safe sleep while swinging because it prevents accidental rolling.)

By 5-1/2 to 6 months, most SNOO babies are ready for their parents to turn on Weaning Mode, a premium app feature which offers sound, but no motion…unless your child cries. With fussing, SNOO responds—as usual—until your baby is soothed. Then, it gradually returns to sound without motion.

Sucking: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a nighttime pacifier for the entire first year of life to protect against SIDS. But, because 90% of SIDS occurs under 6 months and since babies over 6 months may start to build an emotional reliance on pacifiers, your pediatrician may advise you to wean the pacifier sooner…especially if:

  • Your infant has recurring ear infections. (Sucking hard on a pacifier may make these worse.)
  • Your infant wakes each time the binky pops out.

If you need to stop the paci early, be sure to use white noise all night. And after the 9-month mark, consider swapping the pacifier for a hand-sized cuddly lovey your sweetie can hold. However, if your baby starts sucking their thumb, it’s probably better to reintroduce the paci than allow your baby to get attached to the thumb. Thumb-sucking pulls out the front teeth and pushes up the hard palate, causing much more extensive—and expensive—orthodontic problems than are seen with pacifiers.

Note: If you remove the paci and your baby starts thumb-sucking a lot, bring the paci back. Thumb-sucking causes much bigger dental problems than pacis…and is a much harder habit to stop (Lots of babies cherish their pacis through toddlerhood, and that’s okay!

Shushing is the one S that can help children for a long, long time. I think of white noise like a comforting teddy bear…in audio form. It can boost zzz’s well into the toddler years…and beyond! (Many adults even use soothing sound to help them sleep.)

Making Room-Sharing Comfy for Everyone

How are you feeling about your little bunkmate? The AAP recommends room-sharing (not bed-sharing) until at least 6 months (it reduces the risk of SIDS). Here are some tips for making the most of your room-sharing situation.

  • Continue the white noise, not just for your baby’s sleep…but for yours, too! If you’re a light sleeper, the sound can help cover your baby’s little grunts and squeaks that may be waking you up…even while they stay asleep.
  • Babies snooze best between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22.2 Celsius), so if that is too hot or too cold for you, change your blankets accordingly. 

Your 11-Week-Old Baby’s Development

Snuggling Builds Brains

Our ancestors had some great wisdom on raising children…but one thing many of them got wrong? There is no such thing as too much cuddling. In fact, research shows that hugs and snuggles support a baby’s emotional development.  

Hours and hours of sweet cuddles help your baby build a foundation of trust, attachment self-confidence, the ability to cope with stress, and healthy relationships. Cozying up can even help with the brain’s cognitive development. All the more reason to put snuggle time on the schedule! 

 < Your 10-Week-Old Baby | Your 12-Week-Old Baby >

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.