How to Soothe a Fussy Baby (5S’S)

Sadly, babies are not always happy, bundles of joy. Just like you, infants experience different emotions and physical sensations, both good and bad. There are a lot of reasons a baby may be fussy. It may be caused by the discomfort of a stomach ache, needing sleep, or hunger. And because they cannot speak, their only way of communicating their needs to us is through crying. This can cause you as a caregiver or babysitter to feel overwhelmed. Below are 5 tips that may help you to soothe a fussy baby.

1. Swaddling

Swaddling provides warmth and security – the same way your baby felt in the womb.
For instructions on how to do it properly, go to our page Swaddling and Safe Sleep.

2. Side/Stomach Position

Hold your baby on the left side to help with digestion. This also stimulates a womb-like sensation for the baby. If your baby is fussy, this will help calm them. Once asleep, place your baby on the back in their crib. The back is the only safe position for sleeping, but it can be the worst position for calming fussiness.

3. Shushing

This imitates the noise in the womb, making your baby feel calm and safe. It works best when done loudly. Babies do not need total silence to sleep. Silence can make the baby fussier, because it is not what they are used to in the womb. The sound of shushing imitates the sound of blood rushing through the placenta and uterus. White noise and shushing are powerful triggers for calming your baby.

4. Swinging

You can rock your baby in your arms or use an infant swing. Babies like to be rocked because this also gives them the comfort they felt in the womb. When rocking the infant, sway back and forth, in a slow and steady motion. Remember to support the head, neck, and body of the infant while swinging them. An infant swing may also be used to help soothe an infant; however, if your infant falls asleep in the swing, they need to be relocated into their crib and placed flat on their back.

5. Sucking

It is natural, and babies enjoy sucking even when they are not hungry. A baby cannot cry and suck at the same time! Offering a pacifier and/or feeding an infant that may be fussy can help to soothe them. If the infant does not take the pacifier when offered, do not force them to take it.