22 Apr 2016

#atozchallenge S is for Soothing and the 5 S's

Today I'm continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge! The aim is to write a post for every day of the month except for Sundays, with each post representing a different letter of the alphabet. This year, since I've just become a mum for the first time, my theme is: 'an A-Z of Newborn Care'. I'll be talking about all the highs and lows of parenting, sharing things that have been useful for me and posting some cute pictures.

For the letter 'S' I have chosen to talk about Soothing and the 5 S's. It's a fact of life that babies cry and sometimes despite your best efforts you just cannot calm them down. You've tried all the usual things like feeding and changing, but nothing is working and you're quickly getting stressed and upset yourself. Read on to discover my tips for surviving those difficult moments.

If your baby seems unusually fussy or upset and/or makes a high-pitched or 'wrong' sounding cry, seek medical attention immediately.


The 5 S's

This article on the Happiest Baby: Using the 5 S's has been a lifesaver for us! The basic principle is that newborn babies need a 'fourth trimester' where you re-create the sensations they felt in the womb (being held snuggly, soft touch and jiggly motion for example). You can use 5 basic techniques to help your baby relax:

Swaddle-imitate the snug packaging of the womb by wrapping your baby up in a thin blanket when they are fussing or ready for a nap. Make sure you don't overheat, cover your baby's head or allow loose blankets. You should also stop swaddling once your baby can roll over. You can find lots of great swaddling tutorials on Youtube or try a sleepsack such as the Halo or Swaddleme.

Side or stomach position-either position is great for calming a baby but remember that the only safe position for sleeping is on their back so roll them over once they fall asleep.

Shush-In the womb the sound of blood flowing is louder than a vacuum cleaner, so recreating a loud "shushing" sound will help to quieten your baby almost instantly. You can try making the sound yourself, but a white noise CD or app will usually work better. My little one likes the sound of heavy rainfall.

Swing-Babies get jiggled around a lot in the womb so they love motion. Fast and small swinging motions tend to work best for quickly calming a crying baby. Make sure you support their head and neck and NEVER shake them, just swing them gently. You could buy a swing seat to do the work for you, such as these swings from Argos.

Suck-most babies calm right down if you offer them a breast or dummy/pacifier to suck on.


Other Soothing Techniques

Some other ways to soothe your baby are:

  • Have some skin-to-skin contact and lots of snuggles.
  • Wear your baby in a sling or carrier and have a walk about.
  • Give your baby a warm bath followed by a gentle massage.
  • Change their position-try holding them up above your head or over your shoulder, for example.
  • Take them outside or into a different room. A change of scenery often works wonders.
  • Distract them with a toy that makes noise or lights up. 
Try Dr. Hamilton's technique "The Hold". I love this video!





Do you have any top tips for soothing a fussy baby?

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