The 5 S's to Help Soothe a Crying Baby

The 5 S's to Help Soothe a Crying Baby

Crying is entirely normal for babies. After all, it's their way of communicating with you when they're uncomfortable, hungry, lonely or hurting. Yet a crying, fussy baby can be overwhelming and stressful for an exhausted parent. If you're desperate for a way to comfort your baby, the 5 S's can do wonders to help you figure out the best way to care for and soothe your baby. 

The 5 S's are: Swaddling; Side/stomach position; Shushing; Swinging and; Sucking. They were developed by Pediatrician Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block. These methods help recreate the feeling of baby being in the womb. So, when you've tried everything else to comfort your baby, and nothing seems to be working, try out the 5 S's.

 The 5 S's to Help Soothe a Crying Baby

The 5 S's to Soothe Your Baby

The 5 S's are the foundation for soothing your baby. Every baby is going to be unique in which one works best, but these methods are a great place to start, adapt, and evolve to find the perfect way to soothe your baby. And no need to pick and choose… for some babies you’ll need to do all 5.

1. Swaddling

Swaddling is a way to wrap your baby in a blanket securely and safely to limit their movement. Sounds and objects around your baby can trigger your baby's Moro reflex in an alarming way, causing them to stretch out their arms and legs. With swaddling, your baby can mimic the feeling of being inside the womb. A swaddled baby is a cozy, secure, and soothed baby. With your baby soothed to sleep via swaddling, you can safely lay them down in their crib or bassinet for their nap or at bedtime- on their back, of course.

And while swaddling is a completely safe method, checking on your baby is essential for your peace of mind. Having a baby monitor is a must for most moms, and for good reason! You can regularly check on your VTech Smart Monitor to watch and check in on your sweet baby, sleeping soundly as if they were back in the womb. It’s a mom-favorite, and the clear images and movable camera allows you to adjust the view and easily ensure your baby is safe, comfortable, and still asleep.

2. Side-Stomach Position

While babies tend to sleep better and more soundly when placed on their stomachs, laying a baby on his/her back is the only true way to allow them to sleep safely. Any other position can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  

When you have a fussy baby, laying them on their stomach can be a way to calm and soothe their systems. The way to manage this safely is by simply holding them on their stomach or side by laying them over your shoulder or across your forearm. You want to support their head and neck with your hand in this position. And note that holding babies on their left side can help with digestion (which could be a reason for fussiness).  Once your baby has calmed and even fallen asleep, gently place them in their crib on their backs to continue their slumber. 

3. Shushing

When comfortably nestled in the womb, babies slept through a lot of muffled noise, including those internal noises coming from the body, like hearing circulation, rhythmic breathing, rumbling digestive systems, and heartbeats. So contrary to popular belief, babies do not need silence to sleep. In fact, they do much better with white noise and sounds that mimic the environment in the womb- and shushing is one way that comes pretty close. 


Shushing babies can help soothe them into a calm sleep. And when you can't always be around to shush, white noise machines like Vtech’s Myla the Monkey, can easily take on the job of helping your baby sleep longer and more soundly. It’s a great one to have for home and on the go! But investing in a quality monitor, such as the Vtech Smart Baby Monitor, allows you to quietly check in through the monitor while allowing babies to listen to soothing sounds and lullabies. It also has a two-way talk that allows you to shush them gently back to sleep. 

4. Swinging

It instinct to pick up a crying baby and find yourself swinging them back and forth in the hopes they'll calm down or fall asleep. Gentle, rhythmic movement has been proven to be a great way to soothe a crying baby. After all, life in the womb was not stationary.  

Babies moved around in the womb as you moved throughout your day- and even if they were asleep you were likely bopping them around with your own motions. So it’s only natural that a swinging baby is a happy baby. But note that small, repetitive movements are the ideal type of swing to soothe your crying baby. Support the head and neck and sway your baby gently back and forth while adding a little bounce. 

5. Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex all babies have. Many babies even suck their thumbs while in the womb. Babies are easily calmed by introducing a pacifier that allows them to suck without the need to feed them. It's recommended that you only try the pacifier once you have a solid breastfeeding routine. Not all babies like the pacifier, and that's okay- no need to force it. You can also offer them an opportunity to nurse or take the bottle for just a little bit, and that sucking could be all they need to fall asleep.


A fussy, crying baby can be overwhelming, especially when you feel lost as to how to help calm and soothe them. Practice trying out the 5 S's and remember that you can use multiple (if not all!) at the same time. A well-rested family is a happy family, and when your baby is soothed and sleeping better, everyone in your home can relax. 

And we understand that shopping around for the best baby products isn't always an option for busy, new moms. Here at the Women's Choice Award, we do the hard work for you, surveying moms across the country to determine their favorite brands they can't live without. Incredibly, 9 out of 10 women recommend VTech baby monitors to their friends and family. So if you’re looking for a little help in the sleep and peace of mind department, a baby monitor is a great place to start!