The 5 S's That Will Calm Your Newborn

The 5 S's That Will Calm Your Newborn

Imagine living in utopia. A place where you never feel anything but safe and comfortable. You never feel hungry. You never feel cold. You don’t even feel the discomfort of gas pain. Life. Is. Perfect. 

Then, quite suddenly, you are in a very bright, cold, loud environment. There are uncomfortable feelings,. Nothing feels as safe as their home in the womb. Except the smell of the body you were born from. The touch of warm skin. The sound of a heartbeat or white noise. The relaxing sensation of sucking. The tight restriction of a swaddle blanket. 

Newborn babies are driven by their senses of smell, touch and hearing. These three senses are specifically designed to keep baby near the breast and actively seeking the breast. Instinctively, all a baby knows if they are near the breast, they will survive. 

If you want your baby to open their eyes, dim the lights. If you want your baby to relax and sleep, lay them on your chest. If you want your baby to wake up, lay them alone in a cold bassinet. Obviously in time like anything they will adapt but I thought this might be helpful if you’re not understanding why they can’t settle in those first few weeks into your fourth trimester. 

Newborns display a unique set of reflexes that disappear in the first year of life. 

  1. Startle
  2. Root
  3. Suck
  4. Stepping 

Your baby doesn’t like or dislike things. They are simply responding to reflex and stimuli in order to survive. Don’t stress it isn’t personal, getting a baby to settle down means learning to calm their nervous system. Remember you’re both learning on the job. Some days will be better than others. 

During the 4th trimester, your newborn baby will best be soothed when you help them feel safe and calm, similar to their womb experience.  

  1. Swaddle

So, the swaddle is not something babies are a fan of getting into. In fact, they will probably fight you. But swaddling gives your baby the boundaries they needs to feel safe. In the womb, your baby moved, then felt the very tight hug from your belly and relaxed. You’ve seen your baby startle? He is just having a reflex that helps him check in and make sure he is safe in your arms. If he startles and feels nothing, he will probably  get upset. Tight boundaries help.

Alternatively, you can create tight boundaries by wearing your baby in a wrap or sling style carrier. This tightly binds baby to your body, so it gives them boundaries and lets them know mumma is holding him. 

  1. Sucking:

Babies have a normal, appropriate need to suck. A lot. On your boob or on a pacifier, sucking soothes because it reassures a baby that his food is nearby. So, of course a baby wants to suck on the boob even when he isn’t hungry. Newborns can be melodramatic. If they don’t have a boob in their mouth, they get upset. Hence those early days of constant attachment to babe and you feel like you are constantly on tap. If you have a high needs baby find that dummy to help soothe. 

it can sometimes take a little bit of convincing to get a baby to take a dummy so be patient and keep offering. 

  1. Sway or movement:

“Sway, the 4th trimester you will remember lots of things, swaying will be up there. This is where your pregnancy exercise ball comes in handy because it is only time your high needs baby will let you sit down. If you sit and assertively bounce, bounce, bounce on that ball, he may just be fooled into thinking you are standing and walking. Otherwise, expect to walk and bounce and walk and bounce and walk and bounce and…

  1. SHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!:

Loud, repetitive shushing. Vacuuming. A loud bathroom fan.  The bath water running. The hair dryer.  Loud white noise reminds the baby of the sounds he heard in the womb. It was LOUD in there!  So, typically, a loud “SHHHHHHH” will make your baby break his crying cycle long enough to look around and get a look on his face that seems to say, “Hey, I have heard that somewhere before.”  

  1. Side:

There is something about laying a baby on his side that makes him settle. I don’t know why. It just does. 

It also seems to be particularly helpful if you hold the baby away from you on his side. That way his reflexes aren’t triggered to root toward a warm body.

Okay, so the magic comes when you put many of these into different combinations. My favorite is putting all five together like this:

  • Tight swaddle hands in
  • Lying on their side away facing away
  • Pacifier held in place with a thumb
  • Standing up and moving

You've got this Mumma. xx

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