Every baby cries, which is a healthy thing. How would we know if our vulnerable children were cold, hungry, lonely, or in pain if we didn’t monitor them? Moms and dads have always been told to keep their heads up and wait till the baby grows out of it. That is, however, easier said than done! So, what exactly are the 5 S’s and why are they so crucial?

Crying Takes a Toll on Babies AND Parents

Around sunset, babies get increasingly irritable, which can last for hours. It’s no surprise that parents are concerned, upset, and exhausted.

Exhaustion caused by incessant wailing causes a great deal of stress in families, resulting in marital strife, maternal and paternal melancholy, and obesity. It contributes to automobile accidents and other mishaps because anxious and weary people make a variety of poor decisions. It also puts babies in danger when a sleep-deprived parent falls asleep holding a baby on an unsuitable couch or bed, increasing the risk of SIDS and infant asphyxia. And, believe it or not, the national expenses of newborn crying-related problems and parental exhaustion exceed $1 billion each year!

My ‘Aha!’ Moment on Calming Babies

Colic (crying for more over 3 hours per day) is considered a mystery by most clinicians. Until 1981, when I learnt about the!Kung San of the Kalahari Desert, whose mothers can calm their fussy babies in under a minute! I recognised that we may be as effective as!Kung parents the more I thought about it, but only if we accept two new ideas:

  1. Every baby is born three months early. Our mushy tiny newborns, on the other hand, cannot run within an hour of birth. It’s possible that a simulated 4th trimester of womb feelings (soft touch, jiggly motion, snug holding, etc.) is just what they need.
  2. The rhythms felt inside the womb cause a reaction that keeps newborns calm. This relaxing reflex acts as a virtual cry-off switch and a sleep-on switch.

Because they replicate the womb by carrying and rocking their babies 24 hours a day…and feeding them three times an hour, the!Kung mothers are excellent baby calmers.

Whether they realise it or not, American parents have long used similar womb-mimicking techniques to soothe their babies, such as going for car rides and turning on the vacuum cleaner.

The Basics of the 5 S’sMethod for Soothing Babies

Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing, and Suck are just a few of the many variants on the calming womb-like feelings I’ve coined the 5 S’s for: Swaddle, Side-Stomach Position, Shush, Swing, and Suck.

1. The 1st S: Swaddle

Swaddling is the cornerstone of soothing because it recreates the snug packing inside the womb. It reduces startle and promotes sleep. Because their arms can’t wiggle, wrapped newborns respond faster to the other 4 S’s and stay comforted for longer. Wrap the arms tightly—straight at the side—but leave the hips flexible and bent to swaddle properly. Use a large square blanket, but don’t let it get too hot, don’t cover your baby’s head, and don’t let it unravel. Babies should not be swaddled all day, only while they are fussing or sleeping.

2. The 2nd S: Side or Stomach Position

The only safe sleeping position is on your back, yet it’s the worst for reducing fussiness. Holding a baby on her side, stomach, or over your shoulder can activate this S. Your infant will become relaxed in no time.

3. The 3rd S: Shush

Contrary to popular belief, newborns do not require complete silence to sleep. The sound of blood flow in the womb is a shush louder than a vacuum sweeper! However, not all white noise is the same. Because they lack the womb’s rumbly character, hissy fans and ocean sounds frequently fail. White noise is the greatest technique to mimic these magical sounds. 

4. The 4th S: Swing

The womb is a highly jiggly place. (Imagine your baby bouncing about within your womb as you dash down the stairs!) While gentle rocking is good for keeping peaceful newborns tranquil, you’ll need to soothe a wailing infant in the middle of a squawk with quick, small motions. This movement is referred to as the “Jell-O head jiggle” by my patients. To perform it, keep your head/neck supported at all times, make little motions, and move no more than 1 inch back and forth.

5. The 5th S: Suck

Sucking is calming’s “icing on the cake.” When fussy newborns suck, they often fall into a deep state of relaxation. A pacifier can help many babies relax.

The 5 S’s Take PRACTICE to Perfect

The 5 S’s technique only works if everything is done correctly. The soothing reaction works in the same way as the knee reflex: hit it an inch too high or low, and nothing happens; hit it exactly right, and presto! If your child isn’t calmed by the S’s, try a different approach.

How Do the 5 S’s Relate to Another Favorite S – Sleep?

Swaddling and white noise are the keys to a good night’s sleep. Another “Aha!” moment occurred when I discovered that technology may help parents with their fourth-trimester responsibilities.


  1. What are the 5 S’s for soothing a baby?

    It just so happens that the “5 S’s” are a set of tricks. Swaddle, side-stomach position, shush, swing, and suck were invented by paediatrician Harvey Karp, who combined five common tactics used by moms and grouped them into an easy mnemonic: swaddle, side-stomach position, shush, swing, and suck.

  2. What are the steps to soothing a crying baby?

    How to Calm a Crying Baby
    – Swaddle the baby. This soft receiving blanket wrap keeps your new bundle warm and safe.
    – Sucking should be encouraged.
    – Consider using a front carrier or sling.
    – Glide, sway, or rock.
    – Activate the white noise generator.
    – Sing a song to yourself.
    – Get drenched.
    – Give someone a massage.

  3. What are 3 ways to soothe a crying baby?

    To calm a crying infant, do the following:
    Make sure your child doesn’t have a fever first.
    Check to see if your child is hungry and has a clean diaper.
    With the baby, rock or walk.
    Sing or speak to your child.
    Provide the baby with a pacifier.
    Take a stroll with the infant in a stroller.
    Take slow, calm breaths while holding your infant close to your body.

  4. What is the first strategy for soothing an infant?

    allowing the infant to calm down before approaching them after they have awoken By caressing their backs or shushing them, you can soothe the baby without taking them up. allowing them to sleep with a security object, such as a blanket or soft toy (if the child is old enough).