Happiest Baby on the Block: Misconceptions and Misunderstandings

AS a certified HBOTB educator, I have received comments and questions that help me clarify my message and improve my instruction. I imagine that many parents are thinking about these questions but may never ask me in person or on the phone. Time for some refinement.

Q: How can I use side or stomach-lying? The pediatrician said never to put my baby to sleep that way?
A: You are right; babies under 12 months should never sleep on their stomachs, in order to reduce the risk of SIDS. The HBOTB 5 S’s are used to CALM your baby, and then they sleep swaddled on their backs.

Q: Doesn’t pacifier use ruin their teeth?
A:  HBOTH is used with babies 0-12 weeks old.  Babies under 6 months of age generally do not have teeth. Sucking is a natural way babies soothe themselves at this stage of development.   Pacifier use after 6 months is more likely to affect dental development AND become an emotional attachment, not a biological need.

Q: I have heard that pacifier use will disrupt breastfeeding!!
A: If you are breastfeeding, HBOTB recommends that you wait until your baby has mastered nursing before you introduce a pacifier. That could take a few weeks. But most babies get very good at nursing very fast. Watch your baby’s swallowing; if she is at the breast but not swallowing, she is just soothing herself by sucking, which is normal and perfectly acceptable.

Q: My baby sleeps so well swaddled, won’t he sleep through a feeding?
A: If your baby is hungry, he will awaken unless he is experiencing other issues that create lethargy. True hunger cannot be eradicated by the 5 S’s: your baby will momentarily calm, then realize he is still really hungry!

By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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