When babies cry parental instinct is to soothe them right away. There’s a myriad of reasons your baby might be fussing, but often overtiredness is the culprit. Whether they’ve been fighting naps all day, are overstimulated, or are just in their witching hour, having some tricks up your sleeve to calm them is key.
So, we asked our newborn sleep expert, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Jennifer Denzel, what parents can do to lull their little ones to sleep. Her answer? Sometimes, all you need is to fall back on the 5 S's, a soothing technique from the pros (spoiler alert: It works like a charm!).
5 ways to calm an overtired baby using the 5S’s:
Swaddle: Wrap baby’s arms snuggly by their side but allow their legs to move freely. This helps recreate the cozy, womb-like environment baby is used to.
Side: Hold baby on their side or stomach across your forearm. Once baby falls asleep, place them on their back as this is the only safe position for sleep.
Shush: Make a shushing sound in baby’s ear that is as loud as baby is crying. White noise is calming because it reminds baby of the sound of blood flow they heard in the womb.
Swing: Gently use your hand to move baby’s head back and forth in a jiggling motion. Keep
motions small and move no more than 1-inch back and forth.
Suck: Baby may naturally suck on their fingers, hands or lower lip and may feed
to soothe. You can also encourage sucking on an adult’s clean finger, mom’s nipple, or a pacifier.
Don’t forget, if your little one is crying, make sure to check all their basic needs first: food, diaper, and then if they need a nap. If they are tired and just too tired to fall asleep or calm down, bring in the info above to help you out.
For more tips on calming your baby, finding their optimal sleep schedule, preparing their sleep space, and more check out our class Newborn Sleep: Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits from the Start. We'll show you how to set a healthy sleep foundation for your baby from day 1. Learn the components of a safe & sleep-conducive environment, how to identify baby sleep cues, suggested schedules, and strategies – like soothing techniques — to help you feel better prepared for those (totally normal!) middle-of-the-night wakings and more!