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The Five S's to Calming Your Baby

By Dr. Anne Howard, Courthouse Pediatrics

A crying baby can be stressful to a new parent. During the first three months, a healthy newborn’s fussy periods can add up to as much as three hours a day. For babies this young, try these five S’s to help soothe fussiness when the basics – nursing, diaper change or burping, are not working.

The Five S’s

Swaddle your baby snugly in a big, thin blanket (42 inches square) during fussy times to help the baby sleep. Snug swaddling provides continuous touching and supports the infant’s sense of security.

Side/stomach hold. Place your baby on her left side to assist in digestion or on her stomach to provide reassuring support. Never leave your newborn alone on her side or stomach. Infants should always be placed on their backs to sleep.

Shushing sounds imitate the continual whooshing heard in the womb and provide the baby comfort. Try a strong five-second “shush” close to the baby’s ear, and once the fussiness lessens, lower the intensity.

Swinging. Newborns are used to swinging motions within their mother’s womb. Fussy babies calm fastest with quick, tiny movements. Try rocking your baby an inch or so back and forth, and remember to support the baby’s neck and head. Rocking, car rides and other swinging or swaying movements all can help. Never shake a baby.

Sucking has effects deep within the nervous system, triggers the calming reflex and releases natural calming chemicals within the brain. Allow your baby to breastfeed or suck on your finger. Avoid pacifiers until your baby is nursing well.

For more information about how to cope with crying, visit or

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About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.