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On the highest speed my baby’s head jiggles more than I expected. My baby seems calm, but is that much motion safe?

Yes, the amount of motion is perfectly safe on all levels.

Your baby’s life inside the womb is one of almost constant motion. During the day, imagine the fast jiggling a baby experiences when a pregnant mom hustles to a meeting or takes a hike or goes up and down the stairs…or is in an exercise class! And, a pregnant mom’s breathing rocks the baby in the womb, all night long.

That’s why swinging is one of the most important cues of 5 S’s and is so useful for soothing upsets. But, unlike gentle slow rocking, which is great for keeping a baby asleep – babies require jiggly motion to turn on the calming reflex when they are crying. That’s why some books recommend bouncing on an exercise ball or going for a car ride on a bumpy road. (It is also why adults fall asleep in trains, subways and on bumpy bus rides.)

In The Happiest Baby on the Block, I describe the motion to soothe crying as the “Jell-O head jiggle” because babies need a very fine, fast jiggle to calm. That motion actually activates the balance center of the brain where the reflex gets turned on.

The SNOO platform only moves ½ an inch - back and forth – which is enough to soothe most babies, imitating what it was like in mom’s belly. That amount of motion is perfectly safe and very different form baby “shaking.” Shaking is a dangerous motion where the baby is held by the shoulders and then roughly shaken with the head and neck unsupported, so that the head flails back and forth, like a rag doll. That amount of rough movement causes the brain to be slammed against the inside of the skull at high speed, as well as bruising and internal bleeding.

 

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