Infant Soothing: The Five S’s

By: Katie Minton, MD

After babies are born, they often soothe by efforts that help recreate the womb environment. After all, a newborn has spent far more time in the womb than they have out in the fresh air and an adjustment period is to be expected. There are five interventions that have proven to be pretty effective when attempting to sooth a sad little one. This helpful list of maneuvers is known as the “Five S’s”…

Suck: most parents recognize that a baby calms when they feed, suck on a pacifier, etc. Unless you are having difficulty with latch, short durations of pacifier use is fine for breastfeeding babies and can be very helpful for parents dealing with a fussy baby.

Swaddle: Swaddling a baby can help recreate the snug environment of the womb (visit our swaddling post here for more information).

Side/Stomach positioning: placing a baby on their side or stomach while awake and fussy can help them calm.

Swing/Bounce: A light swinging or bouncing motion is very familiar to parents and caregivers as a way to turn on the calming reflex. These motions can be made by a caretaker (who is holding the baby) or by a swing. Note: Never leave a child unattended in a swing.

Shhh: Making a soft but steady “shhh” noise yourself or by using a device to play “white noise”, can also prove quite effective when attempting to calm a fussy newborn.

Despite this set of tips, you may still have an unhappy little one on your hands but rest assured, this too shall pass. If you feel alone or helpless, know that we are here for you. We can work through this period together.

Until next time,

Dr. Katie Minton

Parkside Provider, avid runner, and music fanatic

  • Expecting
  • Infant
  • Newborn