Sweet Baby: The 5 S’s of Soothing

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Not sure about swaddling your infant when he’s fussy? Discover the technique that babies and parents love.

Studies published in Pediatrics (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) backs up the claim that the happiest infants may be those who receive the 5 S’s of soothing when they’re upset. The 5 S’s come from Harvey Karp, M.D., author of The Happiest Baby on the Block (Bantam; $15.99 on Amazon). In one  study, 230 2- and 4-month-old infants received either standard comfort from parents or the 5 S’s after receiving shots in both thighs. The 5 S’s calmed the babies significantly better than the parents’ efforts.

Try the 5 S’s for your infant the next time he’s upset. They are:

The art of tightly wrapping your baby to provide warmth and security, swaddling is thought to be one of the most effective ways to calm and quiet an upset baby. Learn how to swaddle at You Tube by searching “How to Swaddle Your Baby.”

Babies are born with the sucking reflex and sucking can be done on a pacifier, bottle or breast. Sucking is natural and allows babies to work out gas and colic pains.

Parents do this naturally when a child is fussy, but Karp says shushing loudly is the key. The “shah” noise mimics the noise of the womb, so when babies hear it, it can be very effective in soothing them.

While all babies should be put on their backs to sleep, when Baby is fussy, while holding him, place him either on his left or right side to help him digest, or even on his stomach. Once the baby is asleep, put him in his bed on his back.

Whether in your arms or in an infant swing, swinging is highly effective in calming babies. Swinging motions are comforting to infants, Karp says, because they are similar to the way the baby moved from side to side in the womb when the mother would walk before birth.

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.

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