If you find it challenging to soothe your baby and get them to sleep soundly, you’re not alone. Many parents and guardians have wondered what tricks they can use to calm their fussing babies.
Fortunately, you don’t need superpowers to help baby relax. You can comfort your baby by mimicking the conditions they grew accustomed to in the womb with the top five tips for soothing your baby: the 5 S’s.
Swaddling a baby means wrapping them in a blanket tightly to limit movement. When a baby hears a surprising sound or feels unexpected movement, it can trigger the baby’s Moro reflex—this is when an infant stretches out their arms with the palms upward. The Moro reflex can wake a baby up from sleep, but keeping baby swaddled can help them feel secure and cozy, just like they were in the womb.
2. Side- or Stomach-Position
The next of the 5 S’s is to hold your baby on their side or stomach. This tip is very helpful for soothing your baby, but keep in mind your baby should be in these positions only while you hold them. To sleep safely, babies should be placed on their backs. When you hold the baby in either of these positions, be sure to support their head and keep the baby close to your body.
3. Shhh (Shush)
In utero, babies hear the sounds of their mother’s circulatory system and other processes all the time. A completely silent environment can make baby feel tense. You can soothe your baby by holding them and saying “shh” into their ear.
The louder your baby is crying, the louder your shushing should be so they can hear you. Then, as baby’s volume decreases, so should yours.
Just as your baby heard a lot of sounds in utero, they also experienced a lot of movement. Rocking your baby has a calming effect. But when baby is fussy, a little more movement is needed.
Always support your baby’s head and neck. Then move the baby back and forth in small motions, no more than an inch in either direction. Never shake a baby! Gently jiggling mimics the baby’s daily experiences in the womb.
Babies’ sucking reflex helps them eat, and it calms them even if they’re not eating. If you breastfeed and want to give your baby a pacifier, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing so after you and your baby have an established breastfeeding routine, typically when baby is around three or four weeks old.
A one-piece, dishwasher-safe pacifier is easy to clean and won’t dismantle. Avoid long-string pacifier attachments that can wrap around your baby. Instead, opt for an accessory such as a pacifier-holding toy.
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