Parenting Tips - Ways to Comfort and Calm Your Crying Baby

It's hard to see the baby's crying. Pediatrician Harvey Karp's five soothing techniques—swinging, swaddling, soothing sounds, suckling, and the side-stomach position—have been proven to calm fussy newborns and encourage better sleep.

Harleen Kaur
New Update
Parenting Tips - Ways to Comfort and Calm Your Crying Baby

Parenting Tips - Ways to Comfort and Calm Your Crying Baby

When babies cry a lot, it can be tough for new parents. Even after changing diapers, feeding, and dressing them warmly, the crying doesn’t stop. So, why do babies cry so much? And how can parents figure out what’s wrong and help them feel better?

It's really worrying when your baby cries without pause, turning red in the face, and sometimes even seeming to skip a breath. It can be scary to see your baby so upset.

I remember feeling really upset when my baby cried loudly and seemed to struggle to catch her breath for a moment. It made me worry a lot about her.

Seeing a baby cry can make you feel sad too. It's tough to watch them in pain.

But then, I found this helpful method from a doctor named Dr. Karp. He noticed that parents all over the world were doing different things to help calm their babies. He put together five simple things that really work. He called them the 5 S’s. Pediatrician Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, says his "Five S's" method can calm fussy newborns and help them sleep.

Tips for New Parents: 5 S's of Soothing Crying Baby

Swaddle: Babies love feeling cozy and safe. Wrapping them snugly in a blanket can make them feel like they're back in the womb. This helps them feel secure and calm. Be sure the baby’s hips are loose and flexed, and the baby is only swaddled when they’re asleep or fussy.

crying baby swaddling

Side-Stomach Position: After swaddling your little one, holding them close in your arms or laying them gently on their tummy across your lap can be really soothing. Sometimes, if a baby is colicky or has gas, laying them facing down on your lap can help relieve discomfort. While it's important for babies to sleep on their backs for safety, offering them a comforting cuddle on their tummy or side can sometimes make them feel better, almost like giving them a warm hug.

side and stomach position

Shush/White Noise: Babies liked the whooshing sound they heard when they were inside the womb. Machines that make similar sounds—like white noise or a gentle "shush"—can soothe them. This is why many babies respond to their parents making shushing sounds (shhhh).

soothe baby

Swing: Inside the womb, babies were always moving. Rocking them gently or using a small, steady movement, making tiny swinging or light jiggling motions, can help calm them down. It's like a reminder of their time in the womb. You might even set out for a drive in the car but don’t hit the road if you’re too tired.  But never, ever, shake your baby in anger or frustration as you’re trying to get them to stop crying. 

rocking baby

Suck: This is the final step of the 5 Ss. When the other 4 tricks don't work, this last tip always does the trick.  Many fussy babies begin to relax when they suck, which is why breastfeeding, a bottle, or a pacifier may help them to finally soothe and stop crying.  Infants have a strong sucking instinct, so a pacifier can calm your colicky baby.  Babies find sucking really comforting. So, offering them a pacifier or letting them suck on their thumb can make them feel better.


Every Child is Unique: Finding What Soothes Your Baby

Every baby is different, and what comforts one might not work for another. It's like a little puzzle you solve together. Try different tricks or combinations and see what works best for your baby. It's all about practice and figuring out what helps both of you feel better.

It's important never to get upset or angry because your baby is crying. Crying is their way of telling you they need something, whether it's a cuddle, a change, or just some extra attention from their mom or dad. Being patient and understanding helps create a stronger bond between you and your baby.


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