These 5 techniques, when tried together, help sooth a crying baby, according to Dr Harvey Karp author of ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block.

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Swaddling is one of the techniques mentioned by Dr Karp to make a crying baby feel calm and secure. Swaddling has been in the headlines recently as tight swaddling has been thought to have led to a rise in hip problems in babies. If you decide to swaddle your baby never cover their head and make sure they don’t overheat by only using thin blankets.


Making a loud continuous ‘shushing’ sound will help soothe your baby as it’s similar to the sounds your baby would have heard in the womb. Many babies prefer white noise sounds to silence (eg hairdryer or the vacuum) loudly and soothingly making a ‘ssshhhh’ sound can help too.


When holding your baby in your arms in a side-on position very gently swing your baby from side to side. Always make sure you are supporting the head and neck and use gentle and very small motions to mimic the movements of being in the womb.


The final technique is to let your baby suck on something. Whether it’s a dummy, your or their fingers sucking can be soothing as can breastfeeding.

Side on position

Holding your baby in your arms in a side-on position is a soothing hold suggested by Dr Karp. Make sure you cradle your baby closely to you and securely. Babies should always sleep on their backs.

The 5 S’s – swaddling, shushing, swinging, putting them in a side-on position and giving them something to suck have been shown to quickly soothe a crying baby. All five techniques work when used together but can also be soothing on their own. They follow many of the techniques parents use naturally to soothe a crying baby but together they can help to quickly calm a fretful and crying baby.


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