Soothing Your Baby

Author: Rayna Charles

In his book The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer, Dr. Harvey Karp offers a practical plan to sooth your baby. Try following any or all of Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s: swaddling, side or stomach, soothing sounds, swinging, or sucking.

Dr. Karp's 5 S's


    1. Spread a square blanket on a flat surface in a diamond shape.
    2. Fold the top corner down so the top point touches the center of the blanket.
    3. Place your baby on the blanket so her neck lies on the top edge.
    4. Straighten your baby’s right arm down at her side and pull the blanket by her right shoulder down very tightly across her body, tucking it in under her back. It should look like half of a v-neck sweater.
    5. Straighten her left arm down at her side and bring the bottom corner straight up to cover her arm over her left shoulder.
    6. Pull the blanket corner located over her left shoulder down to her chest.
    7. Grab the last free blanket corner with your right hand and pull it straight out to your right to gather up any slack. Finally, pull it around the baby and tuck it so it’s snug behind the baby, tucking the end in the blanket folds. Practicing the swaddling technique on a doll first may help you feel more confident before you try it on your baby.

Side or stomach. Do this while calming your infant, since this is how he likely feels most secure. However, when you finally place him in his crib, put him on his back to sleep.

Soothing sounds. While in utero, your baby heard a constant “whoosh” of sound in your body. Once born, these rhythmic sounds can continue to soothe her. Use of a white noise machine, the dishwasher, or washing machine are sounds you can try. Singing to your infant or playing music softly can also help calm her. Even talking to her softly can do the trick – your calm voice may reassure her and make her feel safe.

Swinging. Since your infant got used to moving around with you when he was in the womb, gentle, rhythmic movement may help to soothe him. Try taking him for a walk in a stroller, putting him in an infant swing, or rocking him.

Sucking. Sucking turns on your infant’s calming reflexes. Dr. Karp suggests introducing a pacifier for the first four months of your infant’s life to help calm her when she is upset

The Five S's of Quieting Your Baby – In this video new mom, Alecia, reviews Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s in an easy to follow way.

The Five S's of Quieting Your Baby-The Baby Book

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