Friday, January 16, 2015

The Happiest Baby

Babies cry for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes they’re hungry, tired, need a diaper change, and sometimes we don't know why they are crying. How can you soothe a crying baby when their needs are met and it seems like they’re crying for no reason at all?  Dr. Harvey Karp has some suggestions as to how to do this.  He says that babies are born with a “calming” reflex that can be triggered using these 5 “S’s”.  Sometimes babies will calm down with one, while other times they will need more, possibly all five before the calming reflex is turned on. 

The 5 “S’s”
What they look like
Wrapping them tight in blanket, arms confined
Side or Stomach
Turning them to side or stomach while holding them, after they are swaddled.
White noise, as loud as baby is crying-Shushing, vacuum, hairdryer, static noise.
High speed in swing, or letting baby’s head gently jiggle while supporting it with your hands
Nursing, pacifier, or finger

Dr. Karp suggests that the first three months should be considered a fourth trimester.  Babies need swinging/rocking, swaddling, and shushing, to help them feel at home.  Dads are just as effective at doing these techniques, and sometimes do them better than moms, since they are often not as timid with newborns.

Photo Credit


  • Swaddling should be the first thing you do, and should be done for the first few months of infant's life to make them feel like they are back in the womb.  
  • It needs to be tight, with their arms down, so that they don’t upset themselves with their arms.    
  • Click here for a video example of swaddling  


  • After baby is swaddled, turn her to her side or stomach, and she will often almost immediately stop crying.  
  • When babies are on their back, they often feel like they are falling.


  • Shushing is basically a white noise.  It needs to be as loud as the baby is crying, so that they can hear it over their crying.  
  • “Shushing” can be done in a variety of ways.  It can be the parents or caregiver shushing in their ear, vacuuming, a tape recording of caregiver shushing, the sound of a hair dryer, or turn the radio in between two stations and let the baby listen to static.  It reminds them of the sounds they heard in the womb. 

Swinging or wiggling:

  • Putting a baby in a swing on high speed will help to calm baby down.  
  • Make sure that they are tightly swaddled and strapped in so they won’t fall out.  
  • Wiggling: Sit down with feet shoulder width apart, knees together, and hands on the knees while resting her head in your hands.  Wiggle back and forth, and let her head gently jiggle a little like Jell-O. This should be a gentle motion, since doing it vigorously can lead to shaken baby syndrome.
Photo Credit


  • The last “S” is suck - using a pacifier, a finger, or nursing.  
  • A trick to help keep baby's pacifier in her mouth is to gently hit it so baby thinks she is losing it. This helps to strengthen the mouth muscles to keep it in.

Dr. Harvey Karp is an amazing pediatrician, He developed The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. To find out more, visit  

These tips can help calm a crying baby almost instantly.  We'd love to hear from you! Please comment and share your experiences and how these tips have helped you soothe your little one!

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