The 5 S Method to Soothe Newborns

Updated on March 1, 2017

Soothing a baby can be difficult whether you're a new parent or a seasoned pro. The 5 S Method is five ways you can get a fussy baby to calm down and sleep. You should be able to get some rest as well. Even if you don't rest, your baby will be a much happier little person.

The 5 S Method is:

  • Swaddling
  • Side or Stomach Position
  • Shushing
  • Swinging
  • Sucking


Babies love swaddling and cuddling the first three months of life, and why not? The womb was a very cozy place that cuddled and swaddled them for about 40 weeks. Imagine leaving your nice warm bed to enter a cold room. Same thing as leaving the womb. Baby needs a similar environment for the first three months while they adapt. Having baby swaddled for the first three months will help them sleep better. It will prevent them from startling themselves awake. It will also prevent them from scratching themselves with untrimmed fingernails. Swaddling baby can also be an indicator for your them that it is time to sleep. If you're unsure how to swaddle your baby see this video:

Stomach or Side Position

Your baby is now swaddled but is still fussy. For many babies placing them on their stomach or side can bring great comfort. Baby will need supervision in this position. Always put your baby to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. Placing baby on your chest on their stomach or side can bring them closeness with you and be very soothing. They can hear your heartbeat from this position, which is like when they were in utero. This also gives you as a parent a chance to bond and take a break with baby.


Plenty of parents believe that baby needs a quiet space to sleep, like they do. That isn't true. The womb is a noisy place. Baby has had the constant companion of a heartbeat while they grew. Plus there is also the other strange noises the body makes. These noises acted as white noise for baby. If your baby is still fussy then try shushing them. Hold baby close and a little louder than their crying make the shh noise in their ear. As they get quieter lower your voice until they are calm. If this alone doesn't work move on to the next step.


Have you seen those parents who are swaying with their baby? That's what this step is referring to, but it can also refer to using a baby swing, driving in the car, or using a baby sling. Baby moved about quite a bit in the womb and these bouncing movements can imitate that motion.


Sometimes when all else fails baby needs to suck on something. This may mean they are hungry or need a pacifier. Baby may be full from lunch but that desire to suck is still there. Try giving them a pacifier or something similar (if you're not using pacifiers). Try this as a last resort and combine with the above steps.

With the 5 S Method for most babies they are calm after the first three steps. The swaddling video shows us that. If these steps don't work for you then remember to check baby's basic needs. Are they hungry? Wet? Do they need to burp? Don't be afraid to put baby in a safe place and walk away to calm yourself down. This is only the first step in the parenting journey.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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