How to soothe your baby like a boss

Soothing your baby doesn't have to be complicated. Follow these tips to help fussy newborns adjust to life outside the womb.
Photo: istockphoto

Photo: istockphoto

Harvey Karp, an assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Southern California, says a few key strategies can keep your baby calm, reduce crying and increase sleep time for everyone. Here are his “five Ss” for surefire infant soothing.

1. Swaddling
Wrapping up your baby provides the feelings of continuous touch and support she experienced in the womb. Here’s how to swaddle safely.

2. Side or stomach lying
Placing your baby on her left side to help with digestion or on her tummy occasionally while she’s awake can be really comforting to her. If she falls asleep, gently turn her onto her back, though, to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

3. Shushing
Imitating the whooshing sounds made by blood flowing through arteries in the womb can have a calming effect. You can replicate the sound yourself, run a fan, or play a white-noise app while she sleeps.

4. Swinging
Your baby got used to lots of rocking motions as Mom went about her daily activities. Bouncing and swaying while you hold him, going on car rides or using an infant swing can all help recreate this sensation.

5. Sucking
The sucking action, accomplished at the breast, with a bottle or a soother, has profound effects on the nervous system, triggering your baby’s calming reflex.

A version of this article appeared in our October 2015 issue with the headline, “Through the haze”, p. 96.

Read more:
3 tips for surviving the first three months with baby>
Your guide to newborn sleeping habits>
Baby sleep: When your newborn is up all night>

Got a fussy little one at home? Check out this video for more info:

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