Before my first child was born I took a class that talked about the 5 s’s to help you soothe your baby: swaddle, shush, side, swing, and suck. Flash forward a few months and my body is sore from carrying my baby around all day. The 5 s’s I learned in the newborn class were a success, but any time I tried to set baby back down he would fuss until I picked him back up. I thought I was doing something wrong or that I had a nightmare child who always needed to be held. What I didn’t know was that he needed to learn to self soothe.
How does a baby learn to do this?
Give baby some time
Babies won’t have time to learn how to self soothe if you rush to their side and immediately pick them up. Wait a minute or two before attending to them. Go to the bathroom, unload the top rack of the dishwasher, or take a couple deep breaths with your eyes closed to give baby some time to try to reposition, settle down, or if it’s nap time, fall asleep. Of course, if you feel baby is in immediate danger or screaming uncontrollably then you should trust your gut and attend to baby as quickly as possible!
Try not to pick baby up immediately
If after you’ve paused for a minute and baby is still restless you can check on baby, but try not to pick him up. I am the worst at this! The crying tears at my heart. Babies are smart though. They quickly learn that if they cry they can get what they want. If you want the freedom to set baby down or get some better sleep at night then this step is crucial!
The reality of parenting is that you can’t hold your baby all the time, especially if you have more than one child. However, you do want your child to know that you’re there for them. Try comforting baby with encouraging words keeping your voice soft and low. “You’re a good boy!” “I know it’s hard to be a baby. You’re doing a great job.” “I love you!” You can also rub their belly or pat their bottom to help calm them down.
Get a pacifier wristband
At this point, if your baby likes a newborn pacifier, you should offer this as well. Infant pacifiers are excellent for comforting baby! The frustrating part as parent is that at some point it falls out, they’re too small to know where the pacifier went, and start crying again. This is why the Ingy Bingy Band is a total game changer! The Ingy Bingy Band is a pacifier wristband. The newborn pacifier attaches to the pacifier wristband so it’s always within their reach! When it falls out, they simply move their arm back up to their mouth to get their pacifier instead of screaming at you to do it!
Keep at it - you are doing great
Keep repeating the pause and comfort steps for as long as you feel appropriate.
Ultimately, you are the parent and you know what’s best for your baby!