For thousands of years, moms and grandmas have intuitively known how to turn off their babies’ crying. But the existence of a calming reflex in babies was completely overlooked. The soothing sensations in the womb (and close imitations out of the womb) trigger this reflex over and over again. This reset switch is truly a baby’s (and parent’s) best friend.

For now, we are going to dive into the calming reflexes, or otherwise known as the 5 S’s. If there was ever a time you couldn’t figure out how to calm a newborn who you knew was well fed, changed and healthy then these are the techniques you’ll want to learn.

Swaddle

Swaddling is the baseline for calming a newborn. It helps them feel snug like when they were in the womb. A lot of parents say that their newborn never liked being swaddled, but most of the time it is because the newborn doesn’t like the process of being swaddled and still fusses. For some newborns a swaddle is all they need, but for most others you will need to find out what other of the 5 S’s they will need to help them find their calming reflex.

For now, we are going to dive into the calming reflexes, or otherwise known as the 5 S’s.
CREDIT: ISAAC QUESADA / UNSPLASH

Side or Stomach Position

This is where you hold a newborn on their side, stomach or over your shoulder. You’ll learn which one the newborn likes most with practice. Remember, infants should always be put down to sleep on their backs.

Shush

In other words, white noise. This can be magical. Newborns do not like it really quiet. It was loud in the womb. While holding them you can lean down to their ear and shush loudly into it and you will notice them calm. You can also use a white noise app or a white noise machine. The best kind is a consistent static type sound for the best results. White noise can be as loud as a vacuum and is perfectly safe for their little ears.

Swing

In the womb newborns get jiggled around a lot. By supporting the infant’s head and neck you can use fast, tiny motions (no more than 1 inch back and forth) to soothe them.

Suck

Sucking can be the icing on the cake! Add in breastfeeding or a pacifier and it can calm the newborn into a deep sleep!

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Information you can trust from A Matter Of Style

When it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust. All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources. Read more about our editorial review process.

Happiest Baby. 2021. What Is The Calming Reflex?. [online] Available at: <https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/baby/what-is-the-calming-reflex> [Accessed 10 January 2021].

Doyle, S., 2021. How To Find The Calming Reflex – Newborn Care Training Academy. [online] NCTA. Available at: <https://newborncaretraining.com/2019/01/17/helping-newborns-find-their-calming-reflex/> [Accessed 10 January 2021].

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