The 5 S’s to calm your baby are swaddling, side-stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking. Developed by renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, this method mimics the calming environment of the womb, which can be very comforting for your baby.


    If you’re a parent with a newborn, you may certainly understand the struggle of getting your baby to sleep, sometimes feeling like you need to hold them all day long. Some parents may even develop wrist pains from holding the baby for prolonged periods, which eventually develops into mommy's hand (de quervain's tenosynovitis) or tennis elbow. Luckily, there are some proven ways that can calm most babies and help them sleep!

    American pediatrician and child development specialist Dr. Harvey Karp first introduced the groundbreaking “5 S’s approach to infant care” in his bestselling book The Happiest Baby on the Block

    This method is specially designed for babies from birth to the ages of three or four months old. With the 5 S’s method, Dr. Karp explains that these methods mimic the environment of the mother’s womb. The calming rhythms and sounds of the womb can trigger the baby’s innate calming mechanisms, helping them (and you) sleep better!

    The 5 S's Method

    While Dr. Karp recommends doing all five S's, please note that every baby is different. You don't need to follow all five S's if your baby doesn't need them. Experiment and assess what works best for your little one.

    1. Swaddling

    Keeping your baby's arms straight and wrapped in a swaddle blanket can make your baby feel more secure. It prevents your baby’s arms from flailing, which can often startle and cause them to cry all over again.

    Swaddling does require some skill and technique. If you’re new to swaddling, be sure to check out our 4 tips on using a baby swaddle.

    Please note that when your baby grows and begins to develop mobility, such as rolling over, the body should no longer be wrapped in a swaddle blanket to avoid accidents.

    2. Side or Stomach Position

    After you have wrapped your baby in a swaddle, you can begin to calm your crying baby. Pick up your baby gently and hold them on their side or stomach. Only do this when your baby is awake. 

    When your baby has calmed down, please place them on their back in the crib. Do not let them sleep on their stomach or side to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. In any case, the safe sleeping position for babies should be on their backs.

    3. Shush

    Gently make a "shhhhhhhhhhh" sound in the baby's ear. This sound is very close to the sounds that your baby is used to in the womb, from the sound of your blood circulating to the rumble of your digestive system. These sounds mimic the womb closely and have a soothing effect for babies. Alternatively, you may also use a white noise machine or baby shusher.

    Pro Tip: Match the volume of your shushing to the volume of your baby’s crying. When they begin to calm down, you can turn down the volume of your sound machine. A volume similar to a shower is suggested.

    4. Swinging

    Hold the baby in your hands to imitate a cradle and move it slowly left and right, no more than 1 inch in any direction, making sure to support the baby's head and neck. Swing gently!

    5. Sucking

    If the previous 4 S’s do not work, try using a pacifier. Sucking is a primitive reflex that babies developed in the womb. Sucking provides great comfort for many babies.

    Please note that this is only recommended after you have established a breastfeeding routine, which is usually at around 3 or 4 weeks of age.



    Stephanie Huen
    Certified Health Consultant, Pediatric Sleep Expert
    Co-Founder of Hush Home and Little Hushies

    About Stephanie

    Stephanie is the Co-founder of Hush Home and Little Hushies.

    As a certified infant and adult sleep expert, she's passionate about educating others on the importance of sleep for overall wellness. Her aim is to promote and encourage optimal sleeping environments through natural, sustainably-made products.
    After her own premature newborn needed help catching up on development, Stephanie delved deeper into studying infant sleep science. This inspired her to launch Little Hushies and develop products specially designed for baby wellness. With backgrounds in marketing and logistics, she brings expertise to both guiding her brands and empowering parents on establishing healthy sleep habits from a young age.
    When she’s not pursuing a deep and rejuvenating sleep or spending time with her son, Stephanie can be found on the tennis court or at the piano!