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The 5 S's: How to Soothe a Baby

It might be that you have a fussy baby, or maybe you are going through one of those dreaded sleep regressions. Either way; doulas, parents and baby whisperers everywhere swear by the 5 S's to help soothe, calm and even put your baby to sleep!

Part 1: SUCK - There are two types of sucking, number 1: NUTRITIVE SUCKING (breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle). This is where the baby is consuming milk and getting nourished from it. There is also NON-NUTRITIVE SUCKING, where baby is using their sucking reflex to soothe or calm themselves, fall asleep etc. This can be done at the breast (where you might feel like a human pacifier but it’s very normal), the bottle, a soother or a finger. So when you need to calm your crying or fussy baby, help them fall asleep or stay asleep longer or hold them off until you are ready to feed; your first step might be to encourage the sucking reflex!

Part 2: SOUND (SHUSH) - Did you know that inside your womb it is as loud as a vacuum!? Thats why it’s no surprise that babies don’t generally sleep well in silence. ✨SOUND MACHINES ✨are a baby MUST HAVE In my opinion. Constant noise or “white nose” like the sound of a fan, vacuum or rain is ideal for new babies 0-3 months, while changing noise (like an ocean) are best for babies 3 months and older. One of the best ways to soothe a crying baby - you guessed it, loud shushing noises in their ear! ✨This will mimic the noise they hear in utero and help them settle 💤

Part 3: SWADDLE - Now this is a tricky subject because according to some professionals, swaddling is no longer recommended for newborns. Others, like the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) do not have official statements on swaddling. Why babies LOVE to be swaddled: in utero, you baby is always warm and curled up, so it only makes sense that they would want to be the same on the outside too! Many parents have noticed that warm and swaddled babies CALM quickly and even SLEEP longer. So why is it not recommended? At 2 months, babies start to move, even roll. This can cause the swaddle to become loose, increasing the risk of suffocation. TIP: use a sleep sack or a wearable blanket such as the SwaddleMe instead. These both provide the warmth and security that babies are accustomed to & are safe for older babies that move and roll as well.

Part 4: SWAY - A light bounce, a figure 8, hips moving from side to side. Pair that with a tap on the bum or gently rubbing your thumb in between your baby’s eyes and I can almost guarantee a calm (if not sleeping!) baby. Remember, your baby moved WITH you in utero. They are use to constant motion; in fact, they often prefer it! Hands up if you still do the sway when you see a fussy baby? ✋🏽

Part 5: SIDE/STOMACH - Did you know that holding a baby on their back can trigger the falling reflex? This makes them feel scared and uncomfortable. That’s why, when you are trying to soothe your baby, you should place them in a position on their stomach or their side. A quick google search of the football hold, reverse breastfeeding hold, or the over-the-shoulder hold will give you some great examples. But don’t forget: safe sleep guidelines recommend that baby sleeps on their back!

If you're looking for help with our baby including postpartum doula support or infant sleep, please do not hesitate to reach out to the trained and professional doulas at The Doula Tree. Serving families in Norfolk County, Brant County, Haldimand County, Oxford County and surrounding areas.

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