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5 S’s Method for Soothing Babies

All babies cry—and that’s a good thing. How else would we know if our babies were cold, hungry, lonely or in pain? So, what are the 5 S's and why are they so important?

Most doctors say that colic (crying for more than 3 hours a day) is a mystery. That’s unless you are part of Kung San of the Kalahari Desert, whose mothers usually calm their fussy babies in under a minute! We can be as successful as Kung parents.

The !Kung mothers are master baby calmers because they imitate the womb by carrying and rocking their babies 24/7...and feeding them 3 times an hour.

Parents have long turned to similar womb-mimicking tricks, whether they’ve realized it or not, like going for car rides and turning on the vacuum cleaner to soothe their babies.

Wriggles and Giggles deliver face to face group sessions in Yarm, Hartburn, Ingleby Barwick that you can join by booking a sessions that best suits you, if you are a parent or carer to an early years child from birth. All areas of learning are covered for your child's development and your own understanding of how that happens and how to get the best outcome for them with your parenting techniques. .

S’s Method for Soothing Babies

Smart parents around the world have invented all kinds of variations on the calming womb-like sensations of the 5 S’s: Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing, and Suck.

1. The 1st S: Swaddle

Swaddling recreates the snug packaging inside the womb and is the cornerstone of calming. It decreases startling and increases sleep. And, wrapped babies respond faster to the other 4 S’s and stay soothed longer because their arms can’t wriggle around. To swaddle correctly, wrap arms snug—straight at the side—but let the hips be loose and flexed. Use a large square blanket, but don’t overheat, cover your baby’s head or allow unravelling. Note: Babies shouldn’t be swaddled all day, just during fussing and sleep.

2. 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. You’ll see your baby mellow in no time.

3. The 3rd S: Shush

Contrary to myth, babies don’t need total silence to sleep. In the womb, the sound of the blood flow is a shush louder than a vacuum cleaner! But, not all white noise is created equal. Hissy fans and ocean sounds often fail because they lack the womb’s rumbly quality. The best way to imitate these magic sounds is white noise.

4. The 4th S: Swing

Life in the womb is very jiggly. (Imagine your baby bopping around inside your belly when you jaunt down the stairs!) While slow rocking is fine for keeping quiet babies calm, you need to use fast, tiny motions to soothe a crying baby mid-squawk. To do it, always support the head/neck, keep your motions small; and move no more than 1 inch back and forth.

5. The 5th S: Suck

Sucking is “the icing on the cake” of calming. Many fussy babies relax into a deep tranquility when they suck. Many babies calm easier with a pacifier.

The 5 S’s Take PRACTICE to Perfect

How Do You Wrap a Swaddle Safely?

Those first few hours in the hospital can be a blur of exhausted memories, so it may be hard to recall the precise, swift movements the nurse used to bundle your baby. Here are the basic steps:

Lay out a large receiving blanket.

Place square blanket down in a diamond position, so a corner points to the top. Fold down this top corner so that the point falls within three to four inches of its opposing corner (and blanket is long enough for the full length of the baby to lie in). This should now form a triangle shape. Place your baby face-up on top of the blanket, with their shoulders just below the folded edge.

Tuck one of your baby's arms gently at their side.

Wrap that side of the blanket across their body and tuck it beneath them on the opposite side. Do not cover their other arm.

Fold up the bottom corner of the blanket.

Make sure it's loose enough that your baby's legs and feet can still move freely.

Grab the last corner of the blanket.

Tuck your baby's loose arm down at their side. Wrap the blanket snugly across your baby's chest and tuck it beneath him.

The key to swaddling safely is making sure you're doing it correctly. If you can't fit two or three fingers between the blanket and your child, it may be too tight. It's also important that the pressure is in the right place. If swaddling is done correctly, the pressure is not on the hips, but around the shoulders. Swaddling too tightly around the hips can lead to hip dysplasia. To keep your baby safe, make sure they aren’t getting overheated while swaddled. Remove a layer underneath if need be.

When laying them down for a sleep, your swaddled baby should always be placed on their back.

When Is It Time to Stop the Swaddle?

As your baby grows, you may begin to worry that you'll have to visit their university room every night to swaddle them to sleep. However, like many other things, they will outgrow the need before you know it. A baby can be swaddled as long as the baby likes it, but when they start to try to break out, it may be a sign that they’re ready to stop.

If you think your baby is outgrowing the need for swaddling, try stopping gradually. You can test the waters every once in a while. Try putting your baby down for a nap swaddled with one arm out. If that works, next time try two, and then without the swaddle entirely. Most babies will outgrow a swaddle by six months; however, once your baby is able to flip over onto their stomach while swaddled, it's time to stop immediately.

The more you practice, the easier using a swaddle will become. If not, consider buying velcro or zipped swaddle alternatives, which can make it easier to soothe your baby, especially while fumbling in the dark at 3 in the morning.


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