How To Settle a Newborn

This week I wanted to talk to you about one of my all-time favorite thing’s….. NEWBORN BABIES!

I could actually talk to you about your squishy, delicious, perfect newborn all day long, however today I will limit it to some tips on how to settle your newborn baby.

Babies cry, some cry more than others and for parents this can be really hard to handle. As a mother of two children myself, I know how hearing your child cry can trigger certain emotions within you. I often say that when a mother hears her child cry it is like every nerve ending in your body is on fire. It can be physically painful to hear. Every ounce of you wants to do whatever is necessary to ‘turn it off’.

When I became a Certified Baby Sleep Consultant, I also became a Certified Happiest Baby Educator. If you haven’t heard of Dr Harvey Karp or the Happiest Baby on the Block, then you wouldn’t have heard of his 5 S’s either. Dr Harvey Karp is one of the worlds most trusted and respected pediatricians and the genius behind the 5 steps to settle a crying baby I am going to tell you about. When done correctly, it will turn on your baby’s ‘calming reflex’ and stop them crying.

Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s

The 1st S: Swaddle

Swaddling recreates that snug womb like feeling and is the cornerstone of calming. It decreases the startle reflex and increases sleep. Wrapped babies typically respond faster to the other 4 S’s and stay settled for longer because their arms can’t wriggle around.

The 2nd S: Side or Stomach Position

The back is the only safe position for sleeping, but it’s the worst position for calming fussiness. This S can be activated by holding a baby on her side, on her stomach or over your shoulder. If your baby falls asleep in this position in your arms, place them on their back once lowered into their bassinet.

The 3rd S: Shush

In the womb, the sound of the blood flow is a shhh louder than a vacuum cleaner! So when your baby is born and we are trying to keep things quiet, this can be very strange to them as they are used to noise 24/7. You can shhh in your baby’s ear by leaning in while they are in the side stomach position or use an app or a white noise machine.

The 4th S: Swing

While in the womb, your baby is being jiggled around every time you move. While slow rocking is fine for keeping quiet babies calm, you need to use fast, tiny motions to soothe a crying infant mid-squawk. Dr Karp calls this S the “Jell-O head jiggle.” To do it, always support the head/neck, keep your motions small; and move no more than 1 inch back and forth. Picture Jell-o wobbling on a plate, it is a gentle wobble- no jerking or harsh motions.

The 5th S: Suck

Sucking is incredibly soothing to a newborn baby, some would say it is necessary. Many fussy babies relax when they suck. This can be with a dummy or a breast/bottle.

Newborn Won’t Sleep

“All of this is information is great” I hear you say, “but, how will this help my baby sleep?”

Great question! When your newborn baby is in ‘active crying’ state they are in need of some adult intervention to help them calm down and feel safe and secure again. The 5 S’s will help to ease your baby back into either ‘quiet alert’ or ‘drowsy’ states. Both of which are a much happier place for everyone to be.

If your baby is ready for a sleep, you can continue to hold your baby in the side/stomach position until they are asleep.

Where to Now?

If you’d like to know why I became a Baby Sleep Consultant  you can find out more here. 

If you’d like to hear from some of my clients, please visit here.


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