5 S’s to Soothing a Newborn


We all know babies cry! Sometimes it’s because they are hungry or wet or just tired. Babies also cry because that is their only way of communicating, period. I remember that first time Bella would not quit crying. It didn’t matter what I did. I changed her diaper, I tried feeding her, I held her, I put her down. I put her on her stomach, her back, propped her up. I tried a bath and then I assumed she was sick or in pain. Finally, I put her in the car and began to drive. I figured if she didn’t fall asleep I’d drive to the E.R. The motion of the car put her to sleep and she slept in her car seat that night.


The following methods are for soothing a newborn (0-6 weeks), although some will work much longer than that. Some methods will work for some babies and not for others. You may need to tweak them to fit your lifestyle or needs. I also like to add a bonus making a nice even 6 ways to sooth a newborn. Doing all 5 (or 6) at the same time can work like magic, but I suggest trying one at a time first.


Swaddling creates a “womb-like” feeling for the baby which is very comforting. It’s important to swaddle correctly. Don’t wrap the blanket too loose and of course you don’t want to over heat the baby. For instance, if it is summer and baby is in a sleeper a onesie might be better while being swaddled. Also, when swaddling it’s important to know that baby will go into a deep sleep and then he is harder to wake, creating Sleepy Baby.

Neither of my babies liked swaddling. Maybe I just didn’t like it…that’s probably more of it, but another form of swaddling (in my opinion) is babywearing. Any kind of stretchy wrap or woven wrap, even homemade or a sheet tied into a sling, and boom baby is content.


Its a comfort for a baby to lay on either side or stomach. Again, it replicates the womb and can also ease stomach discomfort.


Shhhh’ing can be very effective to quiet a little one down. Imagine baby in the womb and the noise from the outside is muffled a little, like static or white noise. There’s a trick to shhh’ing, though. You need to shhh a lot louder than what you would think, so baby can hear it over their cry. Put your face by baby’s face so that your mouth is right by their ear and shhh loud. Singing, even if it’s just the ABC’s will also work. A baby loves to hear their mother’s (or father’s) voice.


Swaying imitates the ride baby was on while in the womb. Swaying, swinging, rocking, bouncing, even dancing will help calm an upset infant.

This is how the companies have made millions with their swings, and vibrating chairs; I’m not knocking them!! I’ve had and used both and thank goodness for them sometimes, but their is nothing that will work better or faster than being held by someone that is gently swaying.


Oh, of course, sucking! Babies love to suck, period! This means finger, breast, and then pacifier. Breastfeeding families need to remember that for this “S” a finger or breast is recommended to be used only for the first 4 weeks of a breastfeeding relationship then you can introduce a pacifier.


This is the 6th “S” that for some reason is left off. I, personally, think it should be number 1. Skin-to-skin stimulates baby’s brain to have baby behavior; such as, rooting and sucking, staying content and warm, maintaining body temperature and maintaining blood sugar. Skin-to-skin also releases oxytocin, the love hormone, which helps in creating a strong bond.


If momma (or father) is having a hard time soothing their infant this would be my first recommendation; get skin-to-skin and hold your baby close (in a carrier if you have one), then sway while baby is sucking and sing.

This is a great way for dads to really connect with their infant and feel like they are contributing to the relationship. The connection made when you can soothe your baby is so rewarding and is a great parenting self esteem booster.








  1. Ashley -  June 12, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Probably should note that the stomach/side sleeping puts baby at a high risk for SIDS and you can get the same benefit out of babywearing without the SIDS risks. I know most mamas know this but not all new ones do 🙂

  2. Ellie -  June 17, 2013 - 6:24 pm

    Nice article, definitely some good pointers for brand new first time moms. I think it’s important, however, to properly source your work! These are tips from The Happiest Baby on the Block book / DVD by Dr. Harvey Karp.

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