Soothing Techniques: What Worked For Us


If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again: “This worked for us, I’m sure it’ll work for you, too!” Other moms & dads DO know…what worked for THEM. Not to say they’re tactics won’t work for you, too.

I’ve outlined below the soothing techniques that worked for US when O was fussy, over-tired and/or generally upset about something. They MAY work for you. They MAY NOT. I’m simply writing from about what worked for me & my husband in those early months.

The Happiest Baby…
It was mentioned by mom friends, in our birthing class, on mommy blogs, and by our health department: Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby On the Block and his 5 S’s. Before O arrived, I honestly thought it was the stupidest thing – a waste of time. I read the book & had seen the DVD in a baby care class, but still didn’t think it would work for O. I thought the idea of “shushing” my son was horrible and swinging him back & forth rapidly was dangerous. Had these people never heard of Shaken Baby Syndrome?!? Of course, O was quite the fussy baby during the first 6 weeks, so I caved and tried it. My husband was on board with the 5 S’s from the beginning, so he attempted it first. To my surprise, it worked! We used this method until O was around two months old and then we didn’t need it anymore due to finding other techniques that worked better for us.

What are Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s?

  1. Swaddling // Doing this will make baby feel like he’s in the womb.
  2. Side // Placing baby on their side in your arms assists in digestion, according to Dr. Karp.
  3. Shushing // These sounds imitate the “whooshing” sound baby hears while in utero.
  4. Swinging // Lying in your arms on his side, gently but quickly swing baby back and forth.
  5. Sucking // Many babies are partial to sucking on a pacifier or a parents finger.

Doing the 5 S’s together may help get your little one to calm down and fall asleep quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily work for all babies. Worth a try though, right?

In addition to “The 5 S’s,” we found singing to be a huge success. If you know me personally, you know I am not much of a singer. At all. After 2 weeks of O having meltdowns, I decided to start singing to him. This also helped to calm him prior to feeding when hubs was preparing his bottle. I started with the “ABC song,” but then I found the magic tune. “You Are My Sunshine,” which holds special meaning to me as it was sung to me as a baby by my Great Aunt who cared for me the first two years of life. Funny how things work out like that, eh? Anyway, this song has done the trick since week 2 and now we’re at week 20!

Musical Instruments
Hubs rediscovered his love for guitar when O was about 5 weeks old. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? He started to play songs every evening to calm baby down. O’s favorite song? “Grapevine Fires” by Death Cab for Cutie. I don’t know if it’s the soothing sound of the guitar or simply hubs’ singing, but it worked. Every. Single. Time.

From the beginning I wasn’t keen on getting O hooked on a pacifier. I thought it would cause him to have future orthodontia problems & obsessive behaviors and he’d depend on it for years to come. O didn’t take to the pacifier right away, but from day one he liked to suck on his hands constantly. I was secretly glad he didn’t want the pacifier. O isn’t nearly as fussy at 5 months old, but within the past month he decided he enjoys pacifiers. Now, sucking on a pacifier when he’s fussy helps to calm him down.

Since O was born, we’d take him on “walkabouts” whenever he was fussy. We call it a “walkabout” but it’s really just a walk through the house or up & down a hallway. Although it didn’t work in those early weeks (we tried!), he’s really coming around to it now that he observes his surroundings and gets easily distracted by a cat walking by or a noise from outside.

All in all, as time goes on, it’s getting easier to calm O down. The only times he really gets fussy is when he’s hungry, overly stimulated or tired – and we’ve learned all those different cries so it’s easy to resolve.

I wish all you mamas & daddys out there much luck in calming your little! Hopefully some of the things that worked well for us will also work for you, but remember to do what works for YOU! -themidwestmama


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