Newborn Tip – The 5 S’s to help soothe a baby – Your Charlotte Mom and Newborn Photographer – Knowles Photography

Hey New Mom – I see you. I remember when I had my little one for the first time and I was trying to figure so much out on my own. Being a newborn photographer I already had these 5 secret tips in my back pocket from utilizing them in my newborn photography sessions to help soothe babies during their baby photo session.

There is not one way that works. Babies are all different but if we apply these five basic soothing tricks for a newborn baby it helps most babies to calm down.  As a new mom, one of the most stressful things can sometimes be when your little baby starts crying uncontrollably. If you implement these five soothing tips below they are easy to use while you are at home or even out and about if your little one starts crying you know that you are more prepared with handling it in public. The 5 S’s will have you in a head start to helping calm your little one when they get so upset. They have helped me personally as a mom of two and a newborn photographer throughout every one of my newborn sessions one of these techniques is always used.

The 5 S’s of Baby Soothing

These imitate the womb. There are lots of variations out there (ie: riding in a car, turning on a vacuum or blow dyer, etc). These are ones that I used on my own two little ones when they were babies.


This recreates what I like to call “womb packaging”. Babies generally respond better or faster to the other 4 S’s. The baby might still be fussy but swaddle through the cry.

In newborn photography we have a common saying of “wrap through the cry”. I even tell my parents that I will continue wrapping through the cry so they are kept informed throughout their session as to what I am doing and why. As photographers we use specific wraps that are stretchy or provide extra texture for your little’s ones session and are only used for newborn sessions. But as a mom these are some of my favorite newborn swaddle blankets or swaddle sacks.

Swaddle Blanket – The swaddle blanket is the more common to start with. You get the blankets from the hospital and there are two different ways you can swaddle with these. My biggest tip is do not be afraid to ask your labor and delivery nurses to show you how to use the swaddle blanket. Feel free to ask someone every day while you are there if needed. The more you see it and practice it at the hospital the easer and more natural it will be for you when you are home.

Swaddle Me – These are great. They are stretchy and you can velcro it closed to help keep baby’s arms down to prevent their startle reflex from waking them up. The ones we used with my two littles had a slot near the bum so you could even used these in their car seats too. Sooooo good.

Sleep Sacks – When they got a little older we moved to these sleep sacks. It was great too because they can wear their pjs underneath but not have to worry about using a blanket and the possibility of the blanket moving during the night.

Knowles Photography Maternity and Newborn Photographer


Back is best for sleeping. Some babies may have gas and during the fussy period will find relief on their side or stomach. If they are swaddled side lying is better for this S.

During most newborn sessions some babies might fuss when on their tummies, but most babies relax into their side lying pose when positioned on their side. It takes the pressure off their tummy especially if they have reflux or tummy issues.

If your little one is still upset after being swaddled hold them in your arms and turn them onto their side. This will also help to mimic the side lying pose you see below. Plus it puts you in a great position to utilize the next S!

Soothe newborn baby


When you make a loud and long “SHUSH” sound it sounds very similar to the sounds of blood flow the baby heard in the womb. A white noise machine or app is a great alternative when you need something portable.

Let me share with you some of my favorites as a mom and newborn photographer.

Baby Susher – I love this one so much I have two of them. It is the first thing I turn on for my newborn sessions. As parents we may get annoyed by this sound, but it isn’t about us. It is about helping our baby feel calm and it is a great way to help adapt them into their new world. This is also great because it has a timer for either 15 or 30 mins which I loved, because I didn’t want it to be on all night long. It is meant to be used to help soothe babies to sleep with a sound that is familiar and calming from when they were inside our tummies.

Relax Melodies App – This is perfect for when you are on the go. We had it on every phone and device. You can customize the sound combinations and volume levels to your liking. Definitely download the free version to start with check it out in your App Store. I use this as a back up during my newborn sessions as well. It still remains on my phone to this day and my kids are much older, but sometimes when we travel it is nice to use if the hotel is a little noisy. When my kids were babies I could put it on the stroller and take them for an afternoon walk or in the car for long car rides.


This helps mimic the motions of in womb movement. When you were pregnant they would be moving when you were walking, going up steps, or just your daily routines. You do not want to shake the baby, but instead fast tiny movements similar to small vibrations.

As a newborn photographer we use this S all the time throughout your baby’s session to help calm the baby between posing or during wrapping. We will constantly sway them or pat them on the back for the vibration or movement babies love to help soothe them.

As parents swings can be a lifesaver if you have multiple kids or if you need to get some chores done too. I always preferred a swing that gave me options with different directions to choose from {front and back or side to side}, speed choices, optional sound or vibrations too. If you don’t want to change batteries often look for one that also gives you the option to be plugged in too.

5 – SUCK

This is a natural reflex for babies. It is a built in calming mechanism for them. There are a long debate on whether or not to use a pacifier or not, but it is still a good resource to have in case needed during those super fussy moments.

As well as most photographers will recommend bringing one to a newborn session in case needed during transitional posing since they are being messed with more and moved than during their typical sleep. Please refrain from bringing one with an animal attached to it. Although I loved these as a parent because it also has the benefits of working on those fine motor skills for them to grip them and comforting with their textures, those adorable animal stuffies get in the way when it comes to posing and wrapping your little one during their newborn pictures.

Personally I recommend the soothies for pacifiers as you can easily turn them slowly while in the baby’s mouth to break the suction and remove from the baby’s mouth with minimal disturbance. Plus they are one solid piece of material so you do not worry about the tip of the pacifier breaking off to become a choking hazard. They also make premie sizes as well. Definitely ask for one while you are at the hospital as most hospitals supply this kind as well upon request.

A lot of photographers will implement these and do not even realize they are throughout their newborn sessions. If you use one of these items or techniques as a mom I would love to hear how it helped you soothe your baby.

I’d love to capture your little one for their maternity & newborn sessions. Click contact us and lets chat more on planning your sessions. I can’t wait to anchor your family’s memories with capturing these memories for you.

Amanda @ Knowles Photography


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