I once heard a story about the amazing baby calming chops of a father from Boise, Idaho. At a neighborhood sporting event, his wife sat in the stadium stands, their baby on her lap. When the little girl began to wail, the dad immediately called a timeout, sprinted across the pitch, quickly used the 5 S’s and calmed his little baby into serenity.

A brief reminder of the 5 S’s for soothing a crying baby

The 5 S’s are a valuable tool in parenting, and dads tend to be pretty good at executing them. The 5 S’s recreate a baby’s most loved environment: the womb. When newborns are faced with the sounds and sensations of the womb, it activates their calming reflex, which, calms crying. 


To review… the 5 S’s to calm a baby are:

  • Swaddle: Tightly wrap the baby.
  • Side/Stomach position: When holding a baby to soothe them, position the baby on their stomach or side—however it is important to remember that this is only for holding babies. The side or stomach is NOT a safe sleeping position (babies should be put to bed on their backs).
  • Shush: Make a shhhhh noise.
  • Swing: Gentle rocking works great for calm babies, but an upset baby can use more vigour  to activate the calming reflex.
  • Suck: Give your little one a dummy to suck. 

So why are dads so good at soothing babies?

Men do not typically excel at breastfeeding, but they are quite good at swaddling, jiggling, and shushing. To men, wrapping babies is like a puzzle, and they are pretty willing to put some oomph in calming. While mums tend to prefer soft singing and gentle swaying, dads are apt to crank up the volume on their shush and add some bounce to their jiggle, quickly reaching needed ‘takeoff velocity’ to flip on the calming reflex

Of course, this is not to say mums are not also able to expertly activate the calming reflex for their kids. But, sometimes, a dad’s touch can do the trick.

Remember, the 5 S’s only work if done just right. Time and again, dads prove they have got serious game!

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.